Interview with CBT Therapist and nurse, Will Mertens: Supporting Teenagers’ Mental Health and Ensuring Safety in Therapy Sessions
Little Green Button customer and CBT therapist Will Mertens provides insight into working with teenagers and their mental health challenges. In this interview we discover the common issues he supports through his evidence-based treatment approach and we learn how he keeps himself and his service users safe, using Little Green Button’s panic alarm software.
He talks to Jade, Head of Marketing at Little Green Button…
Jade (LGB): Hi Will, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. I’m interested in learning more about your work as a CBT therapist and how you support teenagers with mental health assessments and treatment.
Will Mertens: It’s my pleasure. I’ve been working in mental health with children and young people for over 10 years, as a CBT therapist for the past 7 and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a wide range of teenagers struggling with a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, OCD, specific phobias, and PTSD. I’m passionate about helping young people overcome their challenges, improve their relationships and live happy, fulfilling lives.
Jade (LGB): Can you tell us a little bit about CBT?
Will Mertens: CBT stands for cognitive behavioural therapy. It’s a type of therapy that has a strong evidence base for being effective for anxiety and depression. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are all connected. When we have negative thoughts, it can lead to negative feelings and behaviours. By changing the way we think, we can change the way we feel and behave. Thoughts, feelings and behaviours all influence each other so making changes in one can lead to improvements in the others.
Jade (LGB): What are some of the most common mental health issues that you see in teenagers?
Will Mertens: The most common mental health issues that I see in teenagers are anxiety, depression, and OCD. Anxiety is a feeling of worry or nervousness that is often excessive or unreasonable and can often lead to avoidance of situations and reassurance seeking. Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness or hopelessness that can interfere with daily life. OCD is a condition characterised by unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours (compulsions).
Jade (LGB): How do you assess and diagnose mental health issues in teenagers?
Will Mertens: I typically start by conducting an interview with the teenager and their parents or guardians. During the interview, I will ask about the teenager’s difficulties and symptoms, their history, risks, relationships and their family history. I may also ask them to complete some questionnaires. I can’t offer a formal diagnosis as I am not a psychiatrist but I can recognise symptoms that indicate that a young person is presenting with mental health difficulties and create a plan to help them and their families.
Jade (LGB): What are some of the treatments that can be used to help teenagers with mental health issues?
Will Mertens: I use a variety of evidence-based treatments to help teenagers with mental health issues. Some of the most common treatments that I use include CBT, and acceptance and commitment therapy which is a variation on CBT. CBT can be helpful for a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, PTSD and OCD. Exposure therapy is a type of therapy that helps people overcome their fears by gradually exposing them to the things that they fear. Medication can be helpful for children and young people that have been unable to engage with talking therapy or where talking therapy has not been successful.
Jade (LGB): You mentioned that you often have therapy sessions in multiple locations, including the child’s home. How do you keep yourself and your service users safe in these situations?
Will Mertens: I use Little Green Button’s panic alarm software via a mobile app to keep myself and my service users safe. As a lone worker and a solo practitioner, I had to find a way to keep myself safe when in homes or schools, especially as my work can be dealing with high running emotions. The mobile alert system tracks my location and sends an alert to my family members if I am in a challenging situation. My family member will then call me and, if there is no response, they will inform the police.
Jade (LGB): Thank you for sharing your insights with us today, Will. I appreciate your time.
Will Mertens: You’re welcome. I’m glad I could be of help.
Little Green Button’s software proves to be an invaluable asset in ensuring the safety of mental health and healthcare professionals. With its user-friendly interface and universal accessibility, it becomes an ideal solution for professionals operating in remote or isolated environments.
Moreover, its affordability and scalability make it a cost-effective choice for businesses of all sizes
Our thanks to Will Mertens at www.childadolescenttherapyservices.com
I am very happy with Little Green Button’s panic alarm software. It has given me peace of mind knowing that I have a way to call for help if I ever feel unsafe. I would highly recommend the software to other therapists and professionals who work in the community or off site locations.