Social media pressure is linked to cosmetic procedure boom

Young people are turning to cosmetic procedures such as botox and dermal fillers as a result of social media pressure, according to a report | BBC News

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Image source: Nuffield Bioethics

A study by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics says government must protect people from an unregulated industry. The report also condemns makeover apps and online plastic surgery games aimed at children as young as nine. The authors fear such apps are contributing to growing anxieties around body image. Much of the cosmetic procedures industry is unregulated so reliable data on its size is hard to come by. In 2015 one market research company estimated the UK market could be worth as much as £3.6bn. But there is little doubt it has grown significantly over the past decade.

The report identifies several factors that are encouraging young people in particular to focus on body image. These include increasing levels of anxiety around appearance, the rise of social media where photos can receive positive or negative ratings and the popularity of celebrity culture, complete with airbrushed images and apparently perfect lifestyles.

A healthy State of mind: Improving young people’s mental fitness

This report argues for reform of the mental health system to provide greater support for the majority of young people who will not receive treatment from specialist CAMHS whilst ensuring that those in desperate need of clinical intervention receive immediate help | Localis

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The current mental health system is failing children and young people. Whilst in almost all areas of health and care reform the dominant trend is to encourage people to be more independent and resilient, in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), something has gone badly wrong.

There is a current tendency for many young people to not register on the radar when they try to deal with their problems. Instead of receiving sustained support for their mental health, they bounce around different tiers of services without sustained support. Even after being treated for severe mental health difficulties they often again fall off the radar until they reach another crisis. There needs to be a better focus on addressing the challenges that young people face in their mental wellbeing or, as we prefer, mental fitness, rather than solely concentrating on the presence of clinically diagnosable mental health disorders. Such a focus would provide agency for young people to – with the support of the wider community – better develop resilience before the involvement of specialist services whilst ensuring that those with severe mental health needs are provided with immediate specialist support.

Last summer, Rethink Mental Illness, along with members of the Mental Health Alliance, conducted the largest survey into the 34 year old Act. The message from the research was clear: the Act is no longer fit for purpose and there is a growing need for it to be reformed.

The research, the first of its kind, includes the views of over 8000 people who use mental health services, carers, and professionals working in the field. Half of those who responded did not think that people are treated with dignity and respect under the Mental Health Act.

Key findings from the survey, which was developed, disseminated and analysed by Rethink Mental Illness on behalf of the Mental Health Alliance, showed that:

  • 49% of respondents felt that people are not treated with dignity under the Mental Health Act
  •  50% said that they would not be confident that their human rights would be protected under the Mental Health Act if they were detained under it
  • 72% disagreed that the rights of people living with mental illness are protected and enforced as effectively as those for people living with a physical illness
  • 86% of respondents felt that it was very important that people be allowed to specify people close to them to be involved in decisions.

Read the full report here

 

Using a humanoid robot to improve the social skills of children with autism spectrum disorder – Protocol

Interventions using robot-assisted therapy may be beneficial for the social skills development of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are lacking | BMJ Open

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Introduction: The present research aims to assess the feasibility of conducting an RCT evaluating the effectiveness of a social skills intervention using Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robotics (Kaspar) with children with ASD.

Methods and analysis: Forty children will be recruited. Inclusion criteria are the following: aged 5–10 years, confirmed ASD diagnosis, IQ over 70, English-language comprehension, a carer who can complete questionnaires in English and no current participation in a private social communication intervention. Children will be randomised to receive an intervention with a therapist and Kaspar, or with the therapist only. They will receive two familiarisation sessions and six treatment sessions for 8 weeks. They will be assessed at baseline, and at 10 and 22 weeks after baseline. The primary outcome of this study is to evaluate whether the predetermined feasibility criteria for a full-scale trial are met. The potential primary outcome measures for a full-scale trial are the Social Communication Questionnaire and the Social Skills Improvement System. We will conduct a preliminary economic analysis. After the study has ended, a sample of 20 participants and their families will be invited to participate in semistructured interviews to explore the feasibility and acceptability of the study’s methods and intervention.

Full reference: Mengoni, S.E. et al. (2017) Feasibility study of a randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of using a humanoid robot to improve the social skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (Kaspar RCT): a study protocol. BMJ Open. 7:e017376.

Out of sight for too long

People with complex mental health problems are one of the most marginalised groups in society and among the least able to advocate for themselves | Helen Killaspy for Centre for Mental Health

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Centre for Mental Health’s briefing report on long stay mental health rehabilitation facilities has identified a number of worrying issues related to the quality of care they offer. Most of these are a direct consequence of years of disinvestment in local rehabilitation services and a historic lack of policy to guide NHS commissioners and trusts in what is required to support successful recovery for this group.

Read the full blog post here

Patients in long-stay hospitals being neglected in policy and practice

People with long-term mental health needs are facing stays of many years in inpatient services because of a lack of community services to help them to recover | Centre for Mental Health

Long-stay rehabilitation services, by Emily Wright, reviews evidence from Care Quality Commission inspection reports of inpatient rehabilitation services in England. It finds that while many people receive high quality care close to home from rehabilitation services, a minority spend periods of many months and sometimes years in hospital. Some are placed far from home in locked wards and become isolated from their families and dislocated from their local health and care services.

Emotional wellbeing of young people

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Public Health England has carried out a thematic analysis of the recent Health Behaviour in School Age Children (HSBC) survey exploring the rising trend in poorer emotional wellbeing of young people.

The reports cover self-harm; cyberbullying and the emotional wellbeing of adolescent girls.  They examine the data and explore what protective factors may exist in a young person’s life which may be linked to their mental health outcomes, ranging from personal attributes, family, school, peer and wider community context.

Public Health England has also produced a summary of data from the most recent HBSC survey.

Te reports can be downloaded below: