Top Ten Questions
TOP TEN QUESTIONS FOR CHILD MENTAL HEALTH WORKERS TO CONSIDER FOR THEIR CLIENT GROUP REGARDING PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS
How can I best challenge the practice of prescribing psychotropic drugs to children with whom I co-work and about which I have ethical concerns?
- Do the Safeguarding Guidelines of my workplace or professional body apply equally to this area of prescribed psychotropic drugs for children? If yes, do you feel you now have the ‘ethical legitamacy’ to challenge the practice of medical colleagues who are prescribing psychotropics to children with whom you work, where you fear harm will be done?
- Has the informed consent of the young person and their parents been obtained prior to prescribing the psychotropic drugs?
- Has the data used to make a ‘diagnosis’ been triangulated to maximise its reliability i.e. evidence based data obtained from the family, school + community as well as the medical practitioner?
- Do you ever fulfill ‘the sleepless night criteria’ where your levels of anxiety regarding a child’s psychotropic medication interferes with your quality of sleep? What should you do the next working day if that is the case?
- Do you think the right balance has been achieved between the Medical and Social models of understanding the many factors that contribute to a child’s situation in the case about which you have ethical concerns?
- Have you ever asked about whether the child experiences any short, medium or long term side effects of the psychotropic drugs that cause you concern or investigated the possible consequences?
- How often do you have appropriately challenging conversations with medical professionals about your professional concerns regarding the psychotropic drugs they are prescribing for children on your caseload?
- Was the response of your medical colleague positive or negative to the professional challenge you made or what would you predict it to be?
- Have you, as many Directors of Children’s Services demand, executed your paramount responsibility for Safeguarding Children in your current casework practice?