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New Book Calls for Better Understanding of Young People's Wellbeing

A new book takes a candid look at how the modern social welfare system is failing children and young people and calls for better understanding.

The book – Child and Adolescent Psychology for Social Work and Allied Professions - aims to give social workers, psychologists and allied professionals new perspectives, underpinned by cutting-edge research, to help them provide more effective support to children and their families.

It has been co-authored by Dr Gabriela Misca, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Worcester and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and Dr Peter Unwin, a Principal Lecturer in Social Work at the University and Member of the British Association of Social Workers.

They said: “Contemporary social work with children and young people is in turmoil, and one of the reasons is a lack of psychological understanding about the issues behind behaviours of children and families in today’s fast-changing world.

“The rapid development of social media in particular has brought with it a culture wherein bullying and a relentless focus on looks and body image, together with distorted views of sexualities, have presented today’s children and young people with new and frightening pressures.”

The book, largely aimed at social workers, psychologists and allied professionals and students, though of interest to all those working with children and young people, introduces a range of developmental psychological theories and models and applies them to social work practice.

Timely, the book engages in current debates about concerns for young people’s mental health, as highlighted by the recent NHS report ‘The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017’, reporting one in eight 5 to 19 year olds in England having at least one mental disorder.

The book provides balanced arguments for early intervention to support young people’s wellbeing and resilience and also explores whether the increasing numbers of children and young people being diagnosed with mental health difficulties is the result of an over-zealous society, which could be too quick to label, and whether children are not being allowed to deal with what might be the ‘normative’ pressures of a social media-dominated childhood.

Reviewing the book, Professor David Howe, from the University of East Anglia, writes: “The authors make a compelling case for the important role that developmental psychology should play in social work if its practitioners are to work well with individual children, adolescents and their care-givers.”

This book comes a year after publication of the co- authors’ first book together, Psychology and Social Work, which looked more widely at the cross-fertilization of psychological and social work theories and practice approaches across the life-span. The new book focuses solely on children and young people.