Dr Richard Graham
- Adolescent Consultant Psychiatrist
- Technology Addiction Lead
My professional qualifications, accreditations and memberships:
- MB BS
My professional experience:
After training in Adult Psychiatry at the Royal Free Hospital, I undertook a higher training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic. I have been a Consultant Adolescent Psychiatrist for 15 years, and a recent Clinical Director of the Adolescent Department of the Tavistock Clinic. In 2010, I led the launch of the UK’s first Technology Addiction Service specifically for young people, at Nightingale Hospital London. I also became a Consultant Psychiatrist at Big White Wall, an innovative online service, and have worked with industry organisations, such as Vodafone, UKKCIS and the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, to promote Digital Resilience and Wellbeing for young people using new technologies.
My personal statement:
Few could doubt that the world of today is a more complex and confusing one than even that of 10 years ago. Change is rapid, demands are great, and expectations of young people high. When problems occur, terms like ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ often seem too simplistic for the distressing states of mind that a young person or their family are struggling with. Trying to understand all of the different issues that might be part of the picture, at the very beginning, usually helps with any plans for treatment, whatever that might be. Often that will be some type of psychological therapy, but other treatments may be helpful too. What is crucial is that a young person feels they understand why a particular course of treatment is recommended, and that they can feel part of any decision making. Not always easy, as many of us do not choose what is best for us, and exploring that, a part of the work.
Whilst I have a particular interest in the digital lives of young people seeking help, and particularly in relation to over-use of new technologies (also known as Technology or Internet Addiction), my main wish is to be of help to someone whatever their problems or issues. Indeed, it is not always clear at the beginning what will help, and sometimes this may be a once-only discussion about the ordinariness of intrusive thoughts, which may reassure a young person that they are not having a breakdown, or it may be to point out that a young person has struggled far too long, alone, with a terrible depressive illness. The aim is then to think with them, and their families about what could help. In that, I would hope to create a setting in which options can be explored, and my advice is drawn upon when wanted. For many young people it is a huge, and sometimes frightening step to attend a consultation – I would hope they could feel they have some influence on what a happens, and ultimately share the decisions. The goal is not just to reduce symptoms, but to see mental health problems as obstacles to development; getting better may be easier than knowing what to do when you feel better.