Does more mental health treatment and less stigma produce better mental health?

Two articles published this week shine a revealing light on how the general public views mental health care and its practitioners | The Conversation

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Mental health problems continue to carry a heavy stigma. People who experience them are often feared, excluded, shamed and discriminated against. Overcoming that stigma is a high priority, not least because it’s a barrier to engaging people in treatments that might help them.

People suffering from mental health problems are not the only ones to experience the stigma of mental illness, however. Those who treat them sometimes share the burden. Just as the shadow of death falls on workers in the funeral industry, psychiatric stigma casts a shadow on the public image of mental health professionals.

Psychiatrists in particular have been concerned they are held in low esteem by the public and within the medical profession. This negative view of the field has significant consequences, such as making it difficult to recruit students into psychiatric training. The chronic under-funding of mental health research and treatment arguably reflects the same devaluation.

Read the full blog post here

Mindfulness-based stress reduction for young adults with social anxiety disorder

Hjeltnes, A. et al. (2017) Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. 58(1) pp. 80–90

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The present study investigated mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for young adults with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) in an open trial.

Participants reported significant reductions in SAD symptoms and global psychological distress, as well as increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, and self-esteem.

MBSR may be a beneficial intervention for young adults in higher education with SAD, and there is a need for more research on mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions for SAD.

Read the full article here

Using patient-reported outcome measures to improve service effectiveness for supervisors

Fullerton, M. et al. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Published online:
24 January 2017

Background: Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are recommended by healthcare systems internationally, but there are a number of barriers to implementation. The aim of this research was to examine the impact of training supervisors in using PROMs on clinical practice, given the importance of leadership when changing behaviour.
Method

Conclusions: Findings are in line with the growing body of evidence that training child mental health staff to use PROMs may be associated with changes in attitudes, self-efficacy and use of PROMs.

Read the full abstract here

Young women are now a ‘high-risk group’ for mental illness

Rates of mental health problems and self-harming are rising in young women, but why? | The Guardian

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Psychological distress in women aged 16-24 is at an all-time high, with record numbers admitting to harming themselves to relieve their distress, according to an alarming study.

Experts say young women are now a “high-risk group” and point to links between mental illness and violence or sexual abuse, and possible pressures from the rise of social media. This has prompted calls from researchers for more funding to protect the nation’s mental health.

Read the full news story here

Editorial: CAMHS goes mainstream

Fonagy, P. & Pugh, K. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. First published: 19 January 2017

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Over the last 2 years the world has woken up to something that we in the world of children and young people’s mental health have known for a very long time – the best correlate of adult life satisfaction is not income but physical and mental health, and we can predict adult life satisfaction best, not from academic qualifications but from the emotional health of 16-year olds (Clark, Fleche, Layard, Powdthavee, & Ward, 2016).

The overwhelming burden of disease associated with mental ill health suggests that early intervention focused on child mental health is probably the most effective social investment any government could make both from economic and ethical perspectives. We are now at the moment of national insight – so how will we translate this into real goals and action, and drive our own effective strategies?

Read the abstract here

Reduction in adolescent depression after contact with mental health services

Neufeld, S. et al. The Lancet Psychiatry. Published online: 10 January 2017

Background: Evidence regarding the association between service contact and subsequent mental health in adolescents is scarce, and previous findings are mixed. We aimed to longitudinally assess the extent to which depressive symptoms in adolescents change after contact with mental health services.

Interpretation: Our findings show that contact with mental health services at age 14 years by adolescents with a mental disorder reduced the likelihood of depression by age 17 years. This finding supports the improvement of access to adolescent mental health services.

Read the full abstract here

Initial severity of depression and efficacy of cognitive–behavioural therapy

Furukawa, T. A. et al. The British Journal of Psychiatry. Published online: 19 January 2017

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Image source: Jasmine Parker – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Background: The influence of baseline severity has been examined for antidepressant medications but has not been studied properly for cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) in comparison with pill placebo.

 

Conclusions: Patients suffering from major depression can expect as much benefit from CBT across the wide range of baseline severity. This finding can help inform individualised treatment decisions by patients and their clinicians.

Read the full abstract here