Growing Pains by Mike Shooter

Published by Hodder 18th April 2019 Paperback £7.99

‘A remarkable, powerful, tender and insightful book that will change lives. I cannot doubt that hundreds – I would hope thousands – of families can be helped by Mike Shooter’s profound, careful and utterly convincing insights.’ STEPHEN FRY

This is a book of stories. The stories that children, young people and their carers have brought to Mike Shooter in his role as a consultant psychiatrist over a career spanning nearly forty years. Each chapter is grouped around particular problems and the devastation they have caused in their lives. Mike recounts his unique approach to therapy; of giving patients time and space to explore their problems, avoiding quick diagnoses, working in communities rather than just behind a clinic desk and within a multidisciplinary team to benefit from multiple perspectives. Not all the stories have a happy ending – no one can be promised a world cured of problems. But everyone can be helped to face those problems with greater strength.

This is also Mike’s own story. He recounts his battle with depression, which runs like a thread throughout the book, shaping his attempts to help those in his care. Mike’s personal experiences have prompted him to question received wisdom, shed new light on time-worn problems and re-imagine the way that the health system cares for children and young people in distress.

We live in a world where children and young people are sitting on ever-lengthening waiting lists or being dismissed as social problems for which the service has no treatment. At a time when more and more children are self-harming[1] in their despair, Growing Pains is a crucial insight into those struggles, and a rallying cry to reform the mental health care system to truly bring lasting change to those in need.

‘A unique book . . . The stories [Shooter] tells are poignant and powerful testimonies to the resilience of the human spirit and will fascinate all of us who struggle to make sense of our own and other people’s lives.’

‘Brilliant book. Mike Shooter has . . . given us a truly 3D picture of the struggles of growing up.’
PROFESSOR DAME SUE BAILEY, Former Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges


Dr Mike Shooter CBE is a former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and was the first child psychiatrist to hold that post. He is now an honorary fellow of six Royal Colleges and has spoken from public and professional platforms, written and advised governments in many parts of the world.

An ex-journalist, Mike is a passionate believer in the power of stories and the need to share them – those of his patients and his own. He still lives in the Welsh Valleys, amidst a large family, many animals, and the community with whom he worked for nearly 40 years.


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