Young people may develop PTSD if they experience something where they feel very frightened, helpless and fear they might die.
Many young people who experience horrible things recover without experiencing PTSD but some go on to experience some troubling symptoms including: flashbacks or nightmares, behaviour changes such that they keep busy or preoccupied with other things to avoid having to think about the traumatic event, poor sleep, anxiety, irritability and fearfulness, hypervigilance, loss of appetite, and depression. Young children may repetitively re-enact the trauma in play.
Initial intervention from other Tier 1/2 services (Universal and Targeted services) prior to specialist CAMHS involvement
It is normal to experience symptoms of PTSD in the first few weeks following a trauma. “Debriefing” immediately after the trauma can make things worse. However, keeping things as normal as possible, maintaining the usual routines, engaging in relaxing activities, exercising and spending time with family and friends all help.
Where symptoms are mild then professionals should “Watch and wait” offer support for 4-6 months before considering a referral. If symptoms increase and despite a period of time since the trauma, the problems persist, then refer to specialist CAMHS. If related to domestic violence or sexual abuse, consider involving Safety Net or PAC in the North.
NHS Self Help Guide
Service provided by Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service – Tier 3
Where symptoms persist and are having a significant impact on the young person’s life or mental state, or the young person is felt to be depressed or having strong suicidal thoughts, then specialist CAMHS will assess and offer treatment. May be offered CBT/Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)/Decider Skills