|Author(s)||Michelle O’Reilly, Nikki Kiyimba, Ian Hutchby|
|Title||Testing children’s degrees and domains of social competence in child mental health assessments|
|Editor(s)||Joyce Lamerichs, Susan Danby, Amanda Bateman, Stuart Ekberg|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Children, Mental health, Competence, Epistemic rights|
|Book title||Children and Mental Health Talk: Perspectives on Social Competence|
In the UK, when there are concerns about a child’s mental health, General Practitioners make referrals to community mental health teams for specialist psychiatric assessments. Data drawn upon are 28 video-recorded clinical conversations between mental health professionals, children/young people and their families. This chapter draws upon conversation analysis to interrogate sequences of talk and investigate displays of category-bound developmental expectations. Analysis demonstrates professionals orienting to children’s epistemic rights to knowing about their own mental state and motives for their concerning behaviour. However, professionals treat them as having levels or degrees of competence in relation to understanding their mental state. When children and young people present candidate diagnoses, professionals do not overtly challenge their competence to understand these medical concepts but do ask for further elaboration.