Child and adolescent psychiatry is a specialty within psychiatry working with children and young people up to the age of 18, and their families.
Working as a child and adolescent psychiatrist provides an opportunity for Dr. Mapatwana to make a significant difference to the lives of the next generation. It is an interesting and challenging specialty which has seen tremendous developments over the last two decades and is continuing to make great strides forward.
75% of adult mental health problems have started in before the age of 18, and there is evidence that early interventions can reduce the likelihood of mental disorders in adulthood.
Child and adolescent psychiatry combines the rigours and science of medicine, with the art and creativity of therapy. Dr. Mapatwana relishes the ability to advocate for young people and improve public mental health.
There are many approaches to treatment, ranging from cognitive behavioural therapy to family therapy. Medication and admission to an inpatient unit may occasionally be used, but this is less frequent than for adult mental health services.
Dr. Mapatwana believes in the importance of family and community and this is reflected in her service provision. She often collaborates with other practitioners in different areas, or with partners from other organisations such as schools, social services, hospitals, or the police. Consultation with other agencies is an important part of the work, to ensure integration of interventions at all levels.
Dr. Mapatwana sees a great variety of patients from all walks of life. Young people present with many different problems, including:
Neuro-developmental problems arising in childhood:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Autism and learning disability
- Tic disorders
Emotional and behavioural problems:
- Disruptive behaviour
- Feeding and toileting difficulties
- Anxiety and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
- Response to trauma or life adjustment (such as domestic violence and divorce)
- Attachment disorders
Other significant mental health problems:
- Eating disorders
- Self-harm and attempted suicide