Position Statement On Children And Young Peoples’ Mental Health

The Royal Colleges of GPs (RCGP), Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), and Psychiatrists (RCPsych) have committed to five shared principles that they hope will lead to tangible actions to improve the care and support of children and young people (CYP) with mental health problems.

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The three Colleges say that as well as the commissioning of specialist treatment, an effective CYP mental health system requires:

  • Acknowledgment that CYP mental health is everybody’s business, and should be supported by a shared vision for CYP mental health across all government departments, particularly health, education and justice.
  • A preventative, multi-agency approach to mental health across all ages, incorporating attention to education for young people and families, social determinants, and health promotion. This should focus on public mental health and early intervention in CYP, including minimising the need for admission and effective crisis services to maintain CYP in their homes.
  • A system of national and local accountability for population-level CYP mental health and well-being, delivered via integrated local area systems.
  • Training and education for the whole children’s workforce in their role and responsibilities for CYP mental health.
  • More support, both from specialist services and other sectors, for professionals dealing with CYP who do not meet referral threshold to a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

Following the development of the joint principles, the three Colleges have committed to a number of ongoing actions. These include ensuring the highest quality training and standards in CYP mental health; supporting the development of evidence based models of care that are focused on integration of care; and calling for greater investment and resources to be focused on developing services in CYP friendly settings that promote early intervention and resilience.

Read the full statement here

School exclusion ‘leads to long-term mental health problems’

Children who are excluded from school are more vulnerable to long-term psychiatric problems and psychological distress | OnMedica

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Researchers studied responses from more than 5,000 children, parents and teachers which were taken from child and adolescent mental health surveys collected by the Office for National Statistics on behalf of the Department of Health.

They found a “bi-directional association” between psychological distress and exclusion. Children with psychological distress were more likely to be excluded but the study suggests that their exclusion acted as a predictor of increased psychological distress three years later on.

The team confirmed that more children with conditions such as ADHD, depression, anxiety and those on the autism spectrum were more likely to be excluded.

It also found that there were more children with mental health disorders among those who had been excluded than those who had not.

Mental health literacy in adolescents

Although mental health literacy has been widely studied in adults, there are still relatively few studies on adolescent populations | Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health

In Sri Lanka, adolescents account for about one fifth of the population. Current evidence shows that most mental health problems diagnosed in adulthood begin in adolescence. There is also growing evidence that the trajectories of these disorders can be altered through early recognition and intervention. Although, help-seeking for mental health problems is known to be poor in adolescents, mental health literacy improves help-seeking. It is also known that adolescents may act as agents of change regarding mental health in their wider communities. Thus, mental health literacy in adolescents is an important aspect of community mental health initiatives. The objective of this study was to describe aspects of mental health literacy in terms of ability to recognise problems, helpful interventions, helpful referral options and outcomes in a target adolescent population in Sri Lanka. The association between socio economic variables and recognition of mental health problems was also examined.

The ability to recognise mental health problems, helpful interventions and outcomes in this population was comparable to those of adolescent populations in other countries, with some exceptions. The main differences were in relation to the identification and interventions in response to the psychosis and social phobia vignettes.

Full reference: Attygalle, U.R. et al. (2017) Mental health literacy in adolescents: ability to recognise problems, helpful interventions and outcomes. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. 11:38.

Social media abuse affects almost half of girls in UK

Nearly half (48%) of girls aged 11-18 in the UK and two-fifths of boys have experienced some form of harassment or abuse on social media | OnMedica

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Image source: Plan

The findings, based on a survey commissioned by girls’ rights charity Plan International UK, have prompted fears that young people, and girls in particular, are being forced to withdraw from social media due to fear of criticism, harassment or abuse. The charity today launches the #girlsbelonghere campaign to tackle the problem.

The survey revealed boys are significantly less likely than girls to experience abuse, with 40% reporting a negative experience. They are also less likely (59%) to take evasive actions to avoid being criticised such as refraining from posting on social media or holding back their opinions.

For the survey, research agency Opinium contacted 1,002 young people aged 11-18. Some 235 of the 486 girls and 202 of the 510 boys who responded reported online abuse.

Stepping forward to 2020/21: the mental health workforce plan for England

Health Education England, July 2017

This plan sets out measures to expand the mental health workforce in England and fulfil ambitions to improve mental health services. By 2020 to 2021 local areas will need to create 21,000 new posts in priority growth areas to deliver the improvements in services and support set out in the Five year forward view for mental health.

Reality Check: More mental health staff for the NHS?

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said there will be 21,000 more nurses, therapists and consultants working in mental health services in England by 2021 | BBC News

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But the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has questioned whether there is enough money and how these posts are going to filled. BBC Reality Check looked at who’s likely to be right. We’re talking about England because the running of health services is devolved to the other nations.

The government has pledged to spend an extra £1bn already promised for mental health services in England on the new staff. This is not new money from the Treasury but comes from existing NHS budgets.

Experts from the Nuffield Trust, a think-tank specialising in health policy, say £1bn would be more than enough to fund 21,000 nurses. Although we don’t know how many of the new jobs will be for nurses and how many will be for consultants – and of course their salaries vary widely – it seems the plan is roughly affordable, albeit with money that has to be found from elsewhere in NHS budgets.

But that still leaves the question of whether staff can be recruited to fill the posts in such a short timeframe.

Read the full news story here

Sexual orientation and suicidal behaviour in young people

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) young people have been found to be at greater risk of suicidal behaviour | The British Journal of Psychiatry

National prevention strategies have identified the need to reduce suicide risk in this population. However, research on specific risk factors for LGB young people that might inform suicide prevention programmes are at an early stage of development.

Full reference:  Meader, N. & Chan, M.K.Y. (2017) Sexual orientation and suicidal behaviour in young people. The British Journal of Psychiatry. Vol. 211 (no. 2) pp. 63-64