Children on puberty blockers saw mental health deteriorate, new research finds

According to new research, more than a third of youngsters prescribed puberty blockers by Britain’s renowned Tavistock child gender clinic experienced mental health difficulties after using the hormone-altering drugs.

A new look at a 2011 study conducted by the University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and the Tavistock Centre’s Gender Identity Development Service — the UK’s only child gender transition clinic that is set to close due to safeguarding failures — has found that the mental health of 34% of children placed on puberty-blocking drugs “reliably deteriorated,” while 37% saw no difference, and 29% “reliably improved.”

The latest findings contradict a 2011 study of 44 children aged 12 to 15 years old, which stated that there were “no changes in psychological function” after the children were given puberty blockers.

The previous analysis was based on averages of groups based on questionnaires given to children and their parents, while the latest conclusions were based on individual responses, according to The Telegraph.

Professor of psychology and sociology in the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Essex, Susan McPherson and retired social scientist David Freedman — who led the new inquiry — said that their methodology provides a “greater indication as to variation across participants”

“This complementary analytic approach allows us to look at how a treatment is performing in terms of the percentage of patients improving, deteriorating and showing clinically significant change,” the researchers said.

“It is possible, using this approach, to look at patterns, such as who is benefitting and who is not,” they continued. “We recommend that these approaches be incorporated into new GD [gender dysphoria] services being established in the UK as well as new research studies being designed.”

The gender clinic has faced criticism from whistleblowers, including from the former governor of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Dr David Bell, who revealed last year that clinicians would make determinations on whether to put children on hormone-altering drugs under dubious pretences, such as if young girls failed to show interest in “pink ribbons and dollies“.

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