In Conversation… Sleep and Mental Health

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Sleep difficulties are common in children and adolescents, especially in some high-risk groups, such as young people with neurodevelopmental conditions or mental health problems. Clinicians working in paediatric or child mental health settings need an understanding of sleep disorders as it is important to know how sleep disturbance impacts on a young person’s physical and cognitive development, and mental health.

At our recent Sleep and Mental Health Conference, ACAMH’s ex Digital Exeuctive, Stacey Kelly-Maher, spoke to, Dr Michael Farquhar, Dr Jenna Vyas-Lee, Dr Max Davie and Dr Sally Hobson to discuss the relationship between sleep, behaviour and mental health, as well as some insights into assessment, management and barriers to interventions.

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About the speakers

Dr Michael Farquhar
Dr. Michael Farquhar

Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Dr. Farquhar has been a consultant in sleep medicine at Evelina London since 2012. He works in both the general and hypersomnia clinics, and the diagnostics sleep study service. He also works with other departments to assist colleagues in caring for children experiencing sleep difficulties due to complex medical issues. Dr. Farquhar is also involved in educating healthcare professionals on the importance of sleep, with a focus on sleep for staff working night shifts. External departments wishing to request teaching in these areas should contact Dr. Farquhar’s secretaries to discuss this. Dr. Farquhar is a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, The British Paediatric Sleep Association, the British Sleep Society, the European Sleep Research Society and the British Paediatric Respiratory Society.

Dr. Max Davie
Dr. Max Davie

Community Paediatrician
Max Davie is a consultant community paediatrician, working in Lambeth as part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Trust Community services. He has a special interest in the assessment and diagnosis of neurodevelopmental conditions in school-age children, and in the mental health of paediatric patients more generally. He is the convenor of the Paediatric Mental Health Association. He is involved with the RCPCH MindEd and disability e-portal projects.

Dr Sally Hobson
Dr. Sally Hobson

Associate Specialist Community Paediatrician
Dr. Sally Hobson is a community pediatrician working in the London borough of Lambeth. She is passionate about understanding the presentations and needs of children with complex neurodevelopmental and behavioural difficulties in the context of their families schools and communities. Having recognised sleep difficulties as frequently significant and hugely impairing in this population she undertook training and increased clinical experience in diagnosis and management. Alongside a colleague she worked to demonstrate the significant frequency and impact of sleep difficulties in the children who present to community paediatricians and to design and set up a multidisciplinary cross borough sleep clinic in Lambeth and Southwark. This service aims to assess diagnose understand and support children’s sleep problems and to demonstrate improved outcomes when sleep problems are tackled.

Dr Jenna Vyas-Lee
Clinical Psychologist
Dr Jenna Vyas-Lee is a Clinical Psychologist who splits her working week between the Complex Autism National and Specialist CAMHS at the Michael Rutter Centre, and leading the psychology service in the Lambeth and Southwark Community Sleep Clinic in South London. Jenna has also spent time working in the Evelina Sleep medicine department where she set up and evaluated a sleep and mood group for teenagers with sleep difficulties. Jenna has an interest in sleep and exercise in vulnerable groups and is currently leading on a study to understand the impact of exercise on sleep and wellbeing in a population of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

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