About the Psychological Medicine Team:
We work in the overlap between physical health and mental health, so have a neuropsychologist, Dr Tara Murphy and a neuropsychiatrist, Dr Isobel Heyman, on the team.
The team works to help children where medical tests have not fully explained the severity or impact of symptoms: ‘medically unexplained symptoms’, helping detect and treat any psychological difficulties and maximising function.
We are happy to receive internal or external referrals from professionals, where there are concerns about the mental health of a child with physical illness/symptoms. Other members of the department may be involved in the assessment and treatment of children and families depending on individual needs.
A key step is detecting and diagnosing a mental health problem if it is present. They can often be common difficulties such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or behavioural problems. These problems have effective treatments that have been tested and are known to work, which are often called evidence-based, and these are our first-line treatments.
All children with long-term physical illness may have mental health needs. But children with neurological symptoms and problems are even more likely to often have emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties than children with other conditions. These psychological problems often have a significant impact on both the child and their family, and their school experience. These problems are nobody’s fault and may be related to the underlying neurological problem, but they are often easily treated.
What do the Psychological Medicine team do?
- We aim to identify emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties, and to offer the best, most effective treatments.
- We work closely with paediatricians, neurologists and other doctors so that psychological treatments are a fully integrated part of overall care.
- The children and adolescents we work with are aged 0-18 and have physical illness or symptoms, especially neurological problems.
- We get involved because emotional, behavioural and learning problems are getting in the way.
Examples of the difficulties we work with include:
- non-epileptic seizures
- neurological symptoms that may be related to stress e.g. conversion
- head injury
- demyelinating disorders
Paediatricians, neurologists, psychiatrists and other health professionals may ask for our input in assessing any emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties. This might be because a child is unhappy, angry, withdrawn or tired, to the extent that it is affecting daily life.
We have an ongoing programme of research, and you or your child may be invited to take part in a research project whilst under the care of the team.
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