​Developmental psychiatry focuses on understanding mental health disorders in children and adolescents. It examines the interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors, including genetic predispositions, neurobiological changes, social interactions, and cognitive development, which collectively shape a child's mental health across the developmental stages.

The goal of developmental psychiatry is to promote healthy psychological development and well-being in children and adolescents, while also addressing and managing mental health challenges when they arise.

To achieve this, IMH's multidisciplinary team offers assessment and intervention services, dedicated to addressing the diverse emotional, behavioural, and developmental needs of children and adolescents up to 18 years old. Our treatment programmes are designed to support you and your child on their journey towards better mental well-being.

Common Issues

  • Developmental problems 
    E.g. autism, reading and learning problems related to emotional or psychiatric disorders, socialisation difficulties, etc​
  • Disruptive behavioural problems 
    E.g. antisocial acts and conduct problems, such as lying, stealing, aggressiveness, destructiveness, disobedience, hyperactivity, etc
  • Emotional problems
    ​E.g. feelings of depression, refusal to go to school, fears, suicidal ideas and attempts, anger, hostility, mood swings, adjustment reactions, school-related problems, grief, obsessive compulsive acts; unusually shy, inhibited, withdrawn behaviour, etc
  • Other problems
    Abnormal and odd behaviours, psychotic disorders, sleep-related disorders, eating disorders and behavioural addictions, such as pathological video gaming.

Treatment Methods

Our dedicated multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, medical social workers, specialist teachers, occupational therapists and pharmacists work together to provide appropriate care that meets each child's needs. Treatment methods include: 

​Our Child Guidance Clinics (CGC) support children and youths under 18. Children can find support at either of our clinics at Buangkok Green Medical Park or Health Promotion Board at Outram Road. We strongly encourage parents or guardians to accompany their child for consultation. 

For more info on CGC, click here​.

Neurodevelopmental conditions affect the nervous system development, manifesting in challenges with learning, communication, behaviour, or motor skills, often persisting throughout life. Examples include Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

ASD is characterised by difficulties in social communication and restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviours and interests. Although there is currently no cure for autism, there are interventions that may target areas of needs and weaknesses. These usually involve teaching of skills and providing some form of therapy to the individual. As there is no one-size-fits-all treatment or intervention for individuals on the spectrum, treatment must be individualised, discussed collaboratively with the individual and/or caregivers, and be delivered at an age or developmentally appropriate level.

To learn more about ASD, click here.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is characterised by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, often impacting academic, social, and daily functioning. It usually begins from an early age, usually before seven years old. The main immediate goal is to help manage the condition and prevent the child from missing out on important life aspects such as developing peer relationships or in their academic learning.

To learn more about ADHD, click here.

Learnng Disorders

Learning disorders is a generic term used to describe a group of disorders. Children with ADHD may often present with co-morbid learning disorders. Additionally, they may also have difficulties with organisational skills, planning and prioritising, social perception and social interaction. 

To learn more about learning disorders, click here​.

​Our team provides comprehensive assessment, treatment planning, and intervention for children with mood, anxiety, and other related emotional conditions that may require clinical attention.

Manifestations of a mood condition may include low mood, irritability, poor appetite, prolonged grief, self-harm, and suicidal plans/acts.

Manifestations of an anxiety condition may include school refusal, insomnia, panic attacks, worry and ruminations, obsessive compulsive behaviour, or selective mutism.

After an initial assessment by the child psychiatrist to better understand the nature of the condition and contributing factors, a child may be referred to an allied health professional for individual, group, or family therapy.

The therapist may recommend a range of modalities such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, dialectical-behavioural therapy, child-centred play therapy, solution-focused therapy, or medication.

Forensic Rehabilitation, Intervention, Evaluation & Network Development Services (FRIENDS) provides comprehensive and integrated multi-disciplinary assessment and intervention services targeted at the following groups facing mental health issues:

  • ​Young Offenders 
    When a youth commits an offence, it causes significant problems to the individual and imposes a social, psychological and economic burden on his/her family, community and society at large. Often, youth offenders also have mental health issues that aggravate the problem. It is, hence, important to identify and address the mental health needs of these youth.

  • Youth-at-risk 
    In view of the issues caused by youth committing offences, it is crucial to adopt a preventive and developmental approach in reaching out to youths who exhibit anti-social attitudes or behaviours, as they might be at risk of mental health problems and brushes with the law.

  • Victims of Child Abuse 
    Child abuse is associated with significant psychological problems, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can lead to behavioural problems and is correlated with an increased risk of substance use, repeat victimisation and criminality in adulthood. Such outcomes can be avoided with early detection and intervention.

Our multidisciplinary team comprises psychiatrists, psychologists and medical social workers. This team collaborates with external agencies, including schools, the police, social service organisations, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), and other organisations that provide recreational activities and educational services for youth.

Friends Brochure (PDF, 3659 KB)

​Adolescents (age 13-18) tend to be impulsive and easily influenced by their peers. For these reasons, they are at high risk of substance abuse, including binge drinking, inhalant addiction as well as addiction to gambling and excessive gaming or Internet use problems.

The National Addictions Management Service (NAMS) Adolescent Clinic provides an integrated treatment service for adolescents struggling with substance and or behavioural addiction issues. 

​The Response Early Intervention and Assessment in Community Mental Health (REACH) for students is a mobile multidisciplinary team that works collaboratively with community partners, such as schools, Social Service Agencies (SSAs), and general practitioners (GPs) to help students with emotional, social and/or behavioural issues within the community.