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“Too Young to be Worried!” Psychiatric Assessment and Follow‑up of Young People after Severe Physical Assault in an Inner City Hospital of South London

S Viswanathan
SS Datta
PB Sheridan
T Lax-Pericall


Background: Interpersonal violence amongst youth is on the rise world‑wide and London is no exception. The resulting injuries can be very serious and even result in death. This is a difficult to engage subgroup of patients and there is likely to be significant unmet social and mental health needs. Aim: The current paper discusses the results of immediate psychiatric and social assessment of young people following a serious physical assault as assessed by a pediatric liaison Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). CAMHS in Kings College Hospital, London in one calendar year and also the help seeking behavior of the young people following the assault. Subjects and Methods: The Department of Pediatric Liaison Psychiatry is based within the Kings College Hospital and has a multidisciplinary team comprising of nurses, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrists and social workers who reviewed all patients who were referred to them following an episode of assault. All young people who were referred to the department of pediatric liaison psychiatry based within Kings College Hospital over one calendar year were included in the analysis. Results: 83% (29/35) of the victims were male and 83% (29/35) were from minority ethnic backgrounds. Although 70% (25/35) of the young people included in this study had significant safe guarding concerns, only 17% (6/35) turned up for their follow‑up appointments with child mental health teams. Conclusions: Innovative models of service delivery are required to cater to the unique needs of this group of extremely vulnerable young people.

Keywords: Adolescent, Africa, Assault, Psychiatric illness

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2141-9248