30 November 2017
Improving Child Mental Health Treatment
Dr Nighat Nadeem, graduate of the King's MA International Child Studies, explains how the course improved her work in child mental health through developing a more holistic understanding of the child.
The International Child Studies MA is for professionals working with children in a range of overseas contexts. It is designed to promote a rigorous academic approach to contemporary issues in childhood, underpinned by a children’s rights framework. Here Dr Nighat Jahan Nadeem, a Psychiatry Speciality Registrar who recently graduated from the course, explains how it advanced her professional development.
Between Foundation training and Speciality training I took time out to complete a Masters. My long term career goal is to specialise in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and so I completed a Masters relevant to this. I chose to study International Child Studies (ICS) at King’s College, London as this course is ‘designed to promote a rigorous academic approach to contemporary issues in childhood’ and given the potential for research and expertise to be found in London, I felt that there would be no better place than London to study a Masters.
CAMHS is an excellent choice for those who like to employ a holistic approach to their patients and not only treat children as biological entities but also consider their feelings, emotions and relationships. In CAMHS, the child is very rarely treated in isolation and the child’s family unit also requires support. The MA in International Child Studies deepened my understanding and awareness of the psychosocial and cultural constructs of childhood and improved my understanding of the impact of the child’s wider network on his/her development. Given that childhood is a time of immense growth and development both physically and mentally, the impact of mental health disorders during childhood cannot be emphasised enough and can impact on the child’s whole life trajectory and future potential.
London provides outstanding institutions including the world renowned Maudsley Hospital which provides the widest range of mental health services in the UK. Institutions in London are at the forefront of scientific research and are world-renowned for the quality of their academia. This includes King’s College and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) which is ranked as the premier institution in Europe for the research, study and practice of Psychiatry and related disciplines and produces more highly cited publications in Psychiatry than any other university in the world. London is also home to the only specialist Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) for Mental Health in the UK which aims for improved treatment, earlier diagnosis and individualised patient care as well as supporting the training of the next generation of researchers who will help deliver transformative change in mental health care.
Training in London is truly a culturally enriching experience. It is a vibrant city which has the second largest immigrant population in the world (first being New York) and as 36.7% of London’s residents were born abroad, the world is truly represented in London. There are more than 300 languages spoken in London which is more than any other city in the world and London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world with a population of 8.7 million people. This promotes the development of a broader perspective of mental health disorders and fosters an appreciation of how cultural factors impact on mental health.
London has so much to offer and living here is a truly fulfilling experience as there is so much to do. With numerous attractions, restaurants providing worldwide cuisines, museums, art galleries and many parks, it is impossible to get bored. London is undoubtedly the premier place to study and provides an excellent springboard to develop one’s career. The multitude of benefits of training in London ultimately produces the very best professionals to serve one of the largest, most dynamic, multi-cultural cities in the world.
Having completed my undergraduate studies, postgraduate Masters and my Foundation training in London’s institutions, I know that there is significant clinical and academic expertise to be found in London and working under the supervision of experienced senior academics is a huge advantage providing an excellent platform for professionals to develop. The knowledge and experience I have gained from studying ICS at King’s College allowed me to further develop my Medical career as both a clinician and as a researcher and I have been fortunate to be able to present my Masters thesis at both national and international conferences.