Mental Health & CP

Mental Health in Young People with CP

The Disability Working Group of Telethon Kids Institute has found that a substantial proportion of children and adolescents with cerebral palsy in Australia are experiencing mental health problems that impact their quality of life.

For a long time, families and therapists of children with cerebral palsy (CP) at Ability Centre have requested increased psychological and social work support for children and youth with mental health and behavioural challenges. Therefore, when we were invited to join the Disability Working Group at the Telethon Kids Institute (TKI), we asked the group to investigate mental health in children and youth with CP.

The first step was to find evidence about the extent of mental health symptoms and disorders in children and youth with CP. So we did a systematic review. A systematic review is a way of collecting all of the published evidence about a question and then analysing it in a systematic way to find the answer to the question. Our question was: What is the prevalence of mental health disorders and symptoms in children and youth with CP?

Our systematic review showed that children with CP have a higher risk of mental health symptoms than children with no disabilities. This highlights the importance of mental health services and mental health assessments for these young people.

The systematic review is entitled “The prevalence of mental health disorders and symptoms in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, and it has been published in the journal Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.


Research team
Jenny Downs, Emma J Glasson, Amy Epstein, Rachel Skoss, Peter Jacoby, Andrew Whitehouse, Helen Leonard (Telethon Kids Institute), Marie Blackmore, Jillian Pearsall-Jones (Ability Centre). Katherine Langdon, Peter Rowe, Peter Clissa (Princess Margaret Hospital for Children), Ravisha Srinivasjois (Ramsay Health). This project was funded by a Telethon Kids Institute Seeding Grant.

For more information contact jenny.downs@telethonkids.org.au.

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