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Let children cry

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To the Editor: We believe that Jureidini1 challenges one of the fundamental ethical principles of medicine; namely, a doctor’s duty to relieve suffering whenever possible. While we willingly accept this principle when dealing with physical pain, why should it be called into question when dealing with mental suffering? For young people and families directly affected by suicidal behaviour, social isolation, exclusion from education and employment, and worsening mental and physical health, a staged approach to intervention is entirely appropriate.2

We now have extensive evidence from epidemiological and clinical studies that mental disorders affect more than 50% of young people during their transition to adulthood.3,4 When clinically significant, these disorders result directly in premature death, widespread disability, failure to reach potential, and huge economic costs.2

In Australia, headspace services2 and other online psychological and social support options (eg, http://www.eheadspace.org.au; http://www.youthbeyondblue.com;