In Conversation… Emotional Regulation with Dr. Emily McGlinchey, and Dr. Joseph Morning

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Dr. Emily McGlinchey, and Dr. Joseph Morning discuss Harnessing Emotional Regulation Skills.

They talk about how emotional regulation manifests in children and young people, together with the key strategies and interventions. There is advice and tips for parents, and a discussion about the role of education and what schools can do.

Dr. McGlinchey explains the current research, key takeaways, and importance of putting the research into practice. This is further explained by Dr. Morning as he gives examples of his work at Verbal, and WellRead.

You can listen to this podcast directly on our website or on the following platforms; SoundCloudiTunesSpotifyCastBox, DeezerGoogle Podcasts and Radio.com (not available in the EU).

Dr. Emily McGlinchey

Dr. Emily McGlincheyDr. Emily McGlinchey is currently working as a Research Fellow at the Stress Trauma and Related Conditions (STARC) Research Lab, based in the Psychology Department of Queen’s University (QUB). Emily is also a BPS accredited Low-Intensity CBT (LI-CBT) therapist with over 3 years of clinical experience working across a range of both statutory and non-statuary mental health services. Emily has a research interest in the area of applied mental health, particularly in the areas of internalising disorders (such as anxiety or depression) and emotional dysregulation. Emily is currently involved in a number of high profile mental health research projects based in QUB.

Dr. Joseph Morning
Dr. Joseph Morning

Dr. Joseph Morning is currently working as Psychology Manager at Verbal, a charitable organisation which works in partnership to enhance wellbeing among individuals and communities using language-based interventions. Joseph has research interests in the area of sub-clinical psychopathology development, as well as child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing. Joseph is currently working within an interdisciplinary team developing WellRead, a parent-led digital bibliotherapeutic intervention designed to promote emotional wellbeing in young people.

Transcript

Interviewer: Hello and welcome to the ‘In Conversation’ podcast series for the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health or ACAMH for short. I’m Jo Carlowe a freelance journalist with a specialism in psychology. Today I’m interviewing Dr. Emily McGlinchey and Dr. Joseph Morning. Emily is a Research Fellow at the Stress Trauma and Related Conditions Research Lab based in the Psychology Department at Queen’s University, Belfast and Doctor Joseph Morning is Psychology Manager at Verbal in Northern Ireland, which is a charitable organisation that developed creative language base for storytelling programs.

Interviewer: The topic today is harnessing emotional regulation skills, Emily and Joseph welcome. Thank you for joining me. Can you each say a little about yourselves by way of an introduction?

Joseph Morning: As you said I am the Psychology Manager at a charitable organisation based Northern Ireland called Verbal. So we develop a range of different language based interventions. We kind of use storytelling to boost mental health and well-being. Before this I suppose I did my PhD research actually focused on psychosis and kind of the early stages of psychosis development.

Emily McGlinchey: Yeah, so my name is Emily McGlinchey. I recently, I only finished my PhD there in October of last year. So I’m very fresh out of the PhD. My PhD focused on mental health in adolescents over in Northern Ireland. As you said, I’m working now as a Research Fellow in Queen’s University in Belfast and up until I finished my PhD last year I also worked clinically for a number of years as well as a Low Intensity CBT Practitioner. So part of my role there was just implemented and CBT based interventions to help adults specifically with a range of psychological problems, like depression, anxiety, phobias and things like that.

Interviewer: How did you come to be interested in child and adolescent mental health?

Joseph Morning: It all began in my undergrad. I suppose, I started as a volunteer counsellor with Childline. So I worked there for two years and it was through that kind of working with young people I got interested in and realised that it was something that I wanted to focus more on. After that I got into my PhD. My PhD research didn’t actually focus on young people. It focussed on the very early stages of, kind of, the development of psychological illness.

That kind of naturally drew me back to children and young people again, because for a lot of conditions the origins can be traced back there. That’s when these kind of unhealthy patterns of thinking can begin.

Emily McGlinchey: My journey was very similar to Joseph. So when I was doing my undergrad degree in Northern Ireland I was working in Childline. As well as that I was working in a local based self-harm charity called Zest as well. So that began to get me interested in, kind of, what was going on by way of children’s mental health here in Northern Ireland, before I my PhD I was saying, you know, I worked clinically for a number of years in the area of CBT and when you’re working in that rule, you know, I started to see, you get to see the massive stretch that services are under and kind of the long waiting lists and I began to really become [inaudible 03:43] by way of prevention or early intervention.

So that led me to my PhD which focused on kind of mental health and adolescents in Northern Ireland with a particular focus on emotional regulation and what that was and can it be harnessed as a skill and what kinds of things happen when someone can’t develop healthy emotional regulation skills.

Interviewer: I want to start with the basics. What is emotional regulation and why is it important to young people?

Emily McGlinchey: Yes, so I suppose when you’re talking about it it can be good to start with emotions themselves. So the emotions both bad and good are a really important part of, you know, what makes us human. You know, we need them to contextualise situations. We use them to help us form connections with others and they’re important for helping us understand what our own needs are and they motivate us to make changes and they motivate us to navigate stress, really stressful situations and as part of that that’s where emotional regulation comes in.

So it basically is your ability to manage your emotions and your behaviour in the context of the situation you find yourself in. The kind of things that that involves are, you know, being able to calm yourself down when you’re upset. Being able to pause and think things through when you’re very upset and maybe after you’ve had a bit of time to think adjust your expectations or adjust your motivations and, you know, things like trying not to act on impulse and being able to handle frustration and anger without immediate outburst, for example,

Interviewer: So if a child or young person has poor emotional regulation or dysregulation how will this typically manifest?

Emily McGlinchey: So there’s no kind of… No two children are completely comparable. It can manifest in different ways depending on the child and depending on the context that they find themselves in and I think before I give examples it’s important to mention that, you know, throughout our whole life and I’m sure all of us have had, you know, anger outbursts or when we were young we’ve had tantrums or, you know, there’s situations were we’ve got upset in a way that wasn’t appropriate for the situation and that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a problem regulating your emotions at all.

You know, we all have times when we don’t respond perfectly, especially as lessons when you know you’re still developing in so many different ways, but you know, where emotional dysregulation comes in that. That’s where the difference is there. It’s the frequent and intense experience of emotions combined with an inability to cope with them happening.

Some examples would be difficulty understanding what you’re feeling and not recognising what you’re feeling. You’ve not really been able to put a label on that. Frequently being impulsive. Focusing on the negative. Having real difficulty calming yourself down when you’re upset and that happening a lot as well as, you know, exhibiting or displaying emotions that are too intense for a situation or not situation appropriate.

Some people may use self-harm or you know self-medicating with alcohol and things like that to manage really intense pain that they’re experiencing and that would be kind of more at the extreme end of things.

Interviewer: You’ve talked about helping children find these skills, but what are emotional regulation skills?

Emily McGlinchey: Your emotions can be regulated in many, many ways and there’s a lot of research out there that if you were to sit and go through it you’ll end up finding that there is a certain type of emotion regulation strategies that are seen as more helpful or adoptive, and there is another set that are kind of typically labelled as being not as helpful or more maladaptive in a way. Some examples of, you know, adaptive or more helpful strategies to regulate your emotions would be things like emotional awareness. You know, being aware of the emotions you’re experiencing and being able to have a good understanding of that.

You know, a lot of people struggle with being able to say, you know, I’m sad or I was angry. A lot of people, kind of, seem to mix up thoughts and feelings. So if you ask somebody how you’re feeling they might say oh I feel stupid, instead of the emotion itself that can be quite tricky to do. Another kind of adaptive strategy would be using cognitive appraisal. So basically all that is is being able to take a wee bit of time for pause. Think through your situation and, kind of, control what you’re going to focus your attention to and try and look at what’s happening to you or the situation you find yourself that’s distressing you from a more balanced perspective.

I suppose some of the maladaptive ones are ones that have been shown to be less helpful are things like rumination. So that’s constantly thinking about the negative. Going over and over and over again, as well as, you know things like suppressing or avoiding your emotions and saying that. Labelling an emotional regulation kind of strategy as purely just a good thing or a bad thing is really tricky because, kind of, the whole idea of regulating your emotions properly it all depends on the context and situation you find yourself in.

For example, if you’re having an argument with someone and you’re extremely angry and you’re about to, you know your reactions are bound to be very strong. You’re about to have a really severe anger outburst in the moment for, I guess, maybe an extreme situation for your safety and the safety of others it might be best to park those feelings of anger and calm down and come back to it later.

Interviewer: But how does one go about acquiring healthy emotional regulation skills?

Emily McGlinchey: It’s never the same for two people. So I guess if you were to say it this way. You know training someone I guess to regulate their emotions can be difficult if you’re not used to it, but there’s some things that people can be mindful of and practice. So there’s some key points. So the first one, first and foremost would be to try if possible increase your own, I guess, emotional vocabulary and awareness of your emotions and that can be difficult, but what that means is observing emotions as they are without trying to change them or suppress them, you know, in the first instance.

Practice and being able to label what your emotions are saying or writing them down. This is tricky to do. So talking about them to a friend, a family member or, you know, a therapist or someone you feel comfortable with can be really helpful with that because, you know, I talked about earlier labelling emotions can be really difficult for anybody no matter what age they are.

You know from my clinical work I’ve often found that adults of any age, including myself can have difficulty labelling what their emotions are. It can be hard to separate thoughts and feelings. So sometimes a therapist is the best person to help you with that, and it’s important with that as well to try and not only label your emotions and being able to put a name on it but to be able to kind of tease out the experiences or situations that come with a particular emotion. So that’s a big one.

Increase your own emotional vocabulary. A second one that’s really important is cognitive reappraisal and basically all that means is try and divert your attention away from the negative emotion and try to think about it from a more balanced perspective. That one can be quite difficult to do when you’re in the thick of it. You know, if you’re at a point where you’re extremely distressed and you haven’t had time to practice this as a skill. It can be quite difficult to do on your own.

The kind of steps involved would be getting into a habit of taking a moment for pause. Acknowledging what you’re feeling and as I said before try and get a handle on what the emotion is that you’re experiencing. Try and map, I guess, the situation or person or whatever it was that caused you to feel this way. Try and get a sense of how you in turn responded to what made you upset and then, you know, try and kind of tease out the emotion. What were you feeling?

How intensely did you feel it and then try and way up the different ways in which the situation can be understood and try and figure out the good ways and the bad ways that the situation or a feeling can be resolved I guess, and because there’s so many steps involved that can take practice and it can take time and sometimes, you know, talk and things like that can be really helpful to do with another person that you trust because sometimes we have a well tendency to just focus on the negative.

It’s kind of what we do as humans, you know. It’s easier to look at the negative things than the positive things, especially when we are upset and it can be really helpful to have someone else’s perspective.

Interviewer: Okay, and if you did want to get professional intervention?

Emily McGlinchey: CBT in itself has a lot of problem solving and cognitive appraisal techniques within it and then there’s also, kind of, dialectical behavioural therapy that aims to help you across a whole pile of different emotional regulation skills. By way of accessing those the first point of contact would always be your GP and then they can refer you onto whichever, I guess, severity level that was suited for you. Whether it be early intervention, like CBT or, kind of, a more intensive clinical programme.

Interviewer: You’ve talked about professional intervention, but what about parents? Can they do anything to help improve their children’s emotional regulation skills?

Joseph Morning: So, yeah, parents can be in a really good position to, kind of, have a positive impact on their child’s ability to kind of regulate their emotions and there’s a couple of things that they can do. Again a lot of these parents do naturally. Do you know what I mean? So for a parent hearing this they think like well obviously but it’s always good to have a remainder. It’s always good to keep these things fresh and, kind of, to renew the focus on them.

The first thing and I suppose the most important thing is establishing a type of relationship between yourself and your child that values communication. That values honesty and that value sharing. You want to kind of build a relationship where a child feels comfortable talking to you about their emotions, about how they’re feeling and about what’s happening to them, but that’s not always going to happen. Again children are entitled to their privacy as well as anyone else and it’s not something you want to force. You don’t want to… You want to try and just create the relationship. It should feel natural. Sometimes that takes time.

A lot of it is listening. So I think it’s good for parents to pay attention to how they’re responding to their child if they come and decide to share something with them. The idea of being non-judgmental and listening and once you’ve kind of established that groundwork it’s a great opportunity to start working on emotions them. So parents can help their child to understand what they’re feeling. They can help to develop their emotional vocabulary so that they can have words to describe kind of what’s going on internally for them.

All of that work will facilitate this sharing and again they need that that. That’s something that they need if they’re ever going to engage in variable sharing of emotions which we know is a really positive, kind of, emotional regulation strategy. They need first to have that insight. So it’s about developing insight. Encouraging sharing and responding appropriately whenever they do share. I think that can be scary for parents sometimes. I think they worry if a child shares something with them and they don’t know kind of the right thing to say.

I think that’s something that you see a lot, but really it’s not about solving all the problems. It’s about listening and making sure that your child feels heard. Another thing that they can do they can work on some kind of practical skills with their child that can help them handle situations and handle their emotions better. So again, there’s that idea of delaying response time to their emotions that they’re feeling. So that which is kind of impulsive reactions but sometimes that’s not really possible in the moment if your child is in a really heightened emotional state.

It’s not the time to start chatting. Well, you know, can we handle this better? It’s better to go back after once kind of the situation has been resolved. You go back and you talk about that and you can talk about how they responded to the emotions that they were feeling. Was there an alternative way that it could have been handled because that’s a really important lesson to learn, regardless of what emotion you’re feeling.

Your reaction to that emotion is not inevitable. It can be changed and you can make kind of healthier choices. Again it’s about practice. So this isn’t really a pass/fail thing. The focus should be on the child trying and again another thing that’s really important is just to allow your child to problem solve. I think maybe for a lot of parents this is maybe one of the least natural strategies. This is the one that a lot of parents make struggle with about… You know, we have a natural instinct to protect our children.

We want to keep them safe and we want to kind of stand up for them whenever we can. They’ve got their problems in life. They need to be able to develop the skills to do that. So the most important thing from a parent’s perspective is to allow them to problem solve in kind of safer controlled environments, even if they aren’t able to solve the problem. It won’t have too many negative effects.

Interviewer: What about the role of education? Are schools a place where children can learn emotional regulation skills?

Emily McGlinchey: Yeah, I think so. Well for me from the research I’ve done throughout my PhD and you know the clinical work I’ve always kind of advocated for teaching emotional regulation skills as early as possible, you know, just given how protective we know it can be. I think emotional development should be a key component or you know a centre focus of preventative strategies. Whether they be in schools or not aim to tackle the onset of mental health problems among young people.

I really think that schools are one of the best places where such, you know, a preventative strategy focused on harnessing emotional regulation could be delivered, but not everyone is in a position where they can learn from their parents so that they can get the support at home. At the same time I think it’s important to stress as well that teaching staff are in many ways stretched to capacity.

So if that was to be done it would need to be, you know, sufficiently funded and sufficient teaching time allocated to that. You know, the same as physical education. I think both physical education and health education are equally important. This is a point that is kind of a key finding from my PhD and it’s a point that I can always come back to that teaching healthy emotional regulation skills could be incorporated within the Pastoral Care Programmes already offered by skills.

I think, you know, one way that that could look as, you know, we could teach by way of a class teach our adolescents to label and understand their emotions. You know, learn them to problem-solve through situations and practically apply the skills they’ve learned so that they can be used in times of stress. I think such a preventative strategy could kind of incorporate a whole toolkit of strategies to help children regulate their emotions. You know, teaching them kind of things like stress reduction techniques, such as relaxed breathing and mindfulness.

Help them practice those cognitive reappraisal skills that I mentioned earlier because that takes a lot of time and they could be doing tasks in school to learn how to do that, and I think doing it in schools as well by way of a preventative programme would be really cost-effective and I think it could be feasibly taught within a classroom environment if time allowed and of there was space allocated to the teachers to do that. I’d say at the moment there’s some research that these kinds of interventions have been working really well.

I think over in the UK we have to two. We have… I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Paths Programme. So that’s a classroom, that’s an intervention or more of a preventative strategy based within a classroom environment that, you know, focuses on those emotional regulation skills. It’s just nice evidence to see that these things can work and that they are working and as well as that there’s another one called Super Skills for Life.

That’s geared towards more are early intervention. I think that’s more tailored to children or adolescents who have begun the experience anxiety or depression but that intervention can be delivered in a school environment by school staff that are trained and it encompasses a whole range of emotional regulation skills that we talked about like, you know, stress reduction, emotional awareness, a cognitive reappraisal and you know, the research that I’ve read based on that programme shows that it’s working really well.

So I think that those are really prime placed for something like this to be done.

Interviewer: Talking about research, can you share a little bit more about your own recent research on emotional regulation? What have you looked at and what are the key takeaways from from this work?

Emily McGlinchey: Yes. So my PhD and we talked a little bit about it earlier, but I was interested in how common or what the prevalence of mental health was among adolescents here in Northern Ireland and as well as that I was really interested in what role emotional regulation had in relation to anxiety and depression. So where my research was a little bit different from research that came before, instead of focusing on particular emotional regulation strategies that we talked about earlier, like cognitive reappraisal or ruminating. I wanted to focus on emotional regulation ability.

So what I mean by that is a person’s ability or resources they have within themselves to regulate their emotions so the things you have within yourself that affect what type of strategy you’ll choose to regulate your emotions. So things like, you know, impulse control. Your ability to engage in goal-directed behaviour. Your ability to actually implement and choose emotional regulation status effectively. So what I did with that was I explored emotional regulation ability varied among adults in Northern Ireland. You know, had varied from those who couldn’t regulate their emotions very well, who were quite emotionally dysregulated. To people that were, you know, average at regulating their emotions and people that were really, really, I guess proficient on it, and what I did with that information then was I wanted to explore, I guess, how protective healthy, really healthy emotional regulation ability was versus how hindering emotional dysregulation can be in relation to anxiety and depression among young people and what I found was in terms of the kind of key take home points was that emotional regulation ability seems to play two roles in relation to anxiety and depression specifically.

So those adolescents who were extremely emotionally disregulated they were at significant risk for both anxiety and depression and, you know, as expected those who were really, you know, proficient in emotional regulation. they were significantly less likely to experience any kind psychopathology at all. The interesting about that was those who were really, really proficient in regulating their emotions they were significantly more protected, even compared to the adolescents that were, you know, average at it and I think the key take home message from that is it just goes back to that message that I was talking about earlier, that I believe that emotional regulation or emotional development should be a key component of preventative strategies that want to tackle or combat the onset of mental health problems adolescents.

Interviewer: Joseph, do you have anything you want to share in terms of recent research?

Joseph Morning: So our research I suppose at the minute is we’re still in the middle of it. So we’re at a really exciting time. The intervention that we’re working on Well-Read is quite new. So at the minute we’re in the middle of running a pilot. A pilot study kind of evaluate its effectiveness. So I’m looking forward to getting the results of that. I suppose it has been complicated as has pretty much all research running at the minute because of COVID and kind of the current situation.

Interviewer: Joseph, can you just explain what Well-Read is? How it works and also how parents can access it?

Joseph Morning: Well-Read is, it’s a website that we’ve developed with the purpose of helping parents to care for their children’s emotional well-being and to help them develop emotional regulation skills. I talked a little bit before about how parents kind of feel about looking after their child’s mental well-being.

I think, you know more and more parents are realising the impact that they can have and are becoming more passionate and wanting to engage in activities that can help the young people and help their emotional well-being, but I think a lot of the time they feel de-skilled and they’re worried about having these types of conversations that can be intimidating and there’s a lot of fear around saying the wrong thing or even just knowing how to start, like where do you begin to have these types of chats? So well-read was

So Well-Read was developed to kind of help that. To facilitate those conversations. To give a structure that is at the same time enjoyable for the child but also supportive for the parent and it’s based around a combination of storytelling and kind of targeted questions that the parent can use to spark conversations with their child about a range of topics around, kind of, emotional well-being and emotional regulation. So storytelling is a fantastic way to do this. Where you did, kind of, for three main reasons.

The first thing thing it’s really good for kind of engagement. This is kind of marketed as a bedtime story activity that parents and children can take part in together. That works really well because it’s a setting that’s familiar for both parent and child. A lot of parents read regularly to their children anyway. So it’s something that is kind of… It’s got these connotations of being a comfortable and relaxing time which is the perfect time to settle down and have some one-on-one time with your child which is getting more and more difficult to have with the amount of input that everyone has into their lives, like all getting busier. So creating that one-on-one time is quite difficult. So building it around a story is a perfect way to do that. The other reason that we use it it helps young people kind of latch on to some of the ideas that are involved in emotional regulation.

The issue with discussing these things with young people is that they’re all quite abstract concepts. The idea of thoughts and feelings and the impacts that they can have is quite abstract and sometimes young people work better when things are a little bit more concrete. So the stories are the perfect opportunity for that because they contain an endless supply of different situations and different characters who are dealing with different things. So they’re basically, they’re like examples. They’re like analogies. So it’s a great way to spark conversation and to make the concepts real to the young person because they can see it and they’re experiencing it through the story.

So the way the programme works, the website contains a series of stories that the parent can read to their child. As the parent reads they’ll be given questions along the way that they can ask their child. So these will explore kind of what happens in the story. So it could be like, how do you think the character is feeling right now? Why do you think they reacted in that way? Sometimes the questions encourage the young person to give the character advice? What could they have done differently? If this character was your friend what would you tell them to do?

So it’s in a very natural and kind of low pressure way. It introduces these concepts in a way that can be really…. even for the child and also supports the parent. A great way to kind of begin opening up and getting, kind of, a new insight into your child’s internal world because a lot of the time these things just would not come up in normal conversation. So this is a great way to, kind of, begin that and I suppose one of the things that I’m most passionate about when it comes to Well-Read is that idea that it’s building conversations around mental well-being into our everyday life.

Interviewer: Do you have the URL for Well-Read?

Joseph Morning: Yeah, so it’s www.mywellread.com. So you just login. It’s completely free. It’s being developed at the minute. It’s developed for parents to read to children aged between kind of eight and 12. That’s the age range that we’ve developed this far, but we’re really kind of constantly developing as it goes on. So myself and my team developed. We’re working on, kind of, adding other psychological aspects to the website and helping it to open it up for new age ranges and stuff like that, and we’ve also recently because of kind of lockdown we’ve built a small lockdown pack of five stories that is specifically exploring some of the issues that young people are dealing with during this time.

Interviewer: Emily and Joseph what else is in the pipeline that you’d like to mention.

Joseph Morning: Well I suppose for us at Verbal it’s all going to be about continuing to develop Well-Read. We’re kind of exploring different avenues the idea of having introduced into schools possibly as well, and again we’re also continually developing the psychology side of App.

Interviewer: Emily, is there anything you wanted to mention?

Emily McGlinchey: I supposed what’s going on for me right now, I’ve just started my new job at Queen’s there. I haven’t been in it for very long. So what we’re doing at the moment is very different to what I’m used to in terms of child and adolescent mental health because that’s kind of my background and where I come from, but now in light of everything that’s going on with COVID I’m doing some COVID research.

So at the moment my work is focused on doing some interviews with healthcare workers here working on the front line at the moment.

Interviewer: Why is evidence based research so important when it comes to children and young people’s mental health and how does one go about translating this into both clinical practice and policy decisions?

Joseph Morning: Anyone who’s kind of working in psychology research or has a background in psychology understands, you know evidence-based research is and should be at the centre of everything that we do. It’s the structure to our learning. Kind of how we’ve been able to develop and progress so far with the interventions that we have in the ways that we’re able to kind of help people with their mental well-being. When it comes to this type of research, especially preventative approaches it’s incredibly important. It’s everything because the thing is we live in a world of limited resource and whenever it comes to securing funding and demonstrating it, when it comes to mental health naturally the majority of funding goes towards people who are in most need of help. People who are dealing with the most severe symptoms and that makes sense and that’s how it should be. However, there’s evidence growing that a preventative approach or preventive aspect, you know, it’s going to be central to our response to mental well-being going forward.

Prevention is better than cure and I suppose we need the research to be able to demonstrate that.

Emily McGlinchey: Yeah, so I suppose kind of translating that to I suppose clinical and policy levels. I honestly think we’re there already in terms of clinical practice. You know, I think these ideas of, you know, a culture of prevention and emotional regulation is a skill and you know a culture of early prevention… sorry, prevention and early intervention. I don’t think that’s new in terms of clinical practice. I think clinical practice is already there.

I think at a policy level it’s more challenging because we’re based in Ireland. Sorry based in Ireland and Northern Ireland I can only speak to what’s going on here, but we have a lot of really great research here, like evidence base and we’ve mental health policies ready to go based on this, but it’s kind of getting home the message that a culture of prevention, early intervention is key to helping bring the problems of mental health here down, but we have a challenge here in that we have no overarching mental health strategy here that’s been implemented.

So we have a lot of great research and policies and, you know, key researchers and professors and things speaking about this culture of early prevention, but we haven’t been able to, kind of, push through at a policy level yet, and like COVID and everything as well it’s going to be very difficult, but I think being able to push that forward I think, you know, really we just need… It’s challenging but researchers, clinicians, funding bodies, policy-makers all need to come together and I think if we were to get an overarching mental health strategy up and running it would include obviously this culture of early prevention, alongside, you know improved and timely access to Mental Health Services, and I think that would need to be properly embedded in every aspect of community and statutory services.

You know like we were talking about earlier, like schools, like voluntary Community Based Services or primary care or CAMHS or the higher levels of intensity. I just think that over here we really need to get, kind of, an overarching mental health strategy up and running and properly implemented in line with what all the research is telling us, but there are challenges to that.

Interviewer: Finally Emily and Joseph, what is your takeaway message for our listeners?

Joseph Morning: I suppose mine would be quite simple. It’s about keeping those kind of key aspects, those they lessons of communication and sharing for parents to keep that in the front of their mind. We’ve passed the time where mental health and kind of provision for mental health is thought of as sitting purely within the hands of clinicians. I think there’s something that we can all do and I like the idea of moving towards a time where everyone is playing their part supporting their own and each other’s psychological well-being. I think it’s okay to not know all the answers. It’s okay to sometimes feel out of your depth or a little bit confused or a little bit uncomfortable, but that’s no reason to stop. I think it’s good for all of us to, you know, look after each other a little bit more.

Interviewer: Thank you ever so much Emily and Joseph. For more details on Doctor Emily McGlinchey and Doctor Joseph Morning please visit the ACAMH website. www.acamh.org and Twitter at ACAMH. ACAMH is spelt A C A M H.

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