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Child, Adolescent and Family Psychiatrist    
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Young people today face a multitude of challenges. It is probably fair to say that many of these have existed for a very long time. At all ages children have been expected to take tests and sit examinations, with differing levels of importance and with various levels of pressure. Hierarchies can be evident within the playground, with teasing or even bullying of those who seem vulnerable in some way. Unfortunately children and adolescents are still the victims of ill-treatment and abuse. Some young people witness the serious illness or death of a close relative, or they themselves suffer chronic ill-health which significantly interferes with their ability to participate in age-appropriate activities. Adolescence is typically a time for self-exploration, and for some young people experimentation with alcohol or drugs results in binges or addiction. Such law-breaking activities may lead to contact with the police, as can temper outbursts which cause damage to people or property.

There would seem to be additional pressures today. The influence of the media can lead to dissatisfaction with appearance and body image, or unrealistic expectations in terms of lifestyles and future prospects. The latter is also affected by concerns about jobs and careers, the state of the environment and relationships. Escapism can be seen in the form of excessive usage of computer games, with the need to interact with a virtual reality appearing almost driven for some young people.

At times the pressures may appear overwhelming. While whether or not the problems incumbent upon these challenges are increasing can be disputed, arguably there is better recognition of disorders and emotional conditions faced by young people today. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are established throughout the country, but there are indications that these departments are being severely affected by the current economic climate with the development of significant waiting lists.