Increased paediatric and psychiatry training is needed for GPs, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has claimed.
Fewer than half of GPs are given the opportunity to undertake a paediatric or psychiatry training placement during their training, RCGP has claimed.
However, the “vast majority” of NHS care for children and young people is delivered by general practice teams, meaning GPs have a “crucial role” in improving the mental health of younger people.
The RCGP is calling for all GP trainees to receive specialist-led training in both child health and mental health.
Working with the Royal College of Paediatrics and the Royal College of Psychiatry, the College is aiming to develop ways that GPs and specialists can train together.
RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: “It is important that children and young patients feel comfortable approaching their GP and that this GP is sufficiently prepared to discuss what are often sensitive issues with confidence.
“The RCGP is proposing that there should be increased focus on equipping GPs to deal with the common mental health problems faced by younger people – this includes improving mental resilience, managing anxiety, depression and self-harm, identifying suicide risk and in the early recognition of psychosis.”
Statistics show that 75% of adults with mental health problems will have presented symptoms by the age of 18 – and 50% by the age of 15.