Mental health and nutrition

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This briefing focuses on how nutrition can be effectively integrated into public health strategies to protect and improve mental health and emotional wellbeing. It discusses what we know about the relationship between nutrition and mental health, the risk and positive factors within our diets and proposes an agenda for action.

Food for thought: Mental health and nutrition briefing  is available to download at the Mental Health Foundation

Tackling culture change to transform mental health services

Mandip Kaur for the King’s Fund Blog | 16th March 2017

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Traditionally, mental health services are delivered by Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) up until the age of 16 or 18 – or when a young person leaves school or college – at which point they’re expected to transition to adult mental health services. It’s long been recognised that this is a poor boundary for service transition, often having a further detrimental effect on mental health.

Forward Thinking Birmingham delivers mental health services for children and young people aged up to 25, combining the expertise of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Worcester Health and Care Trust, Beacon UK, The Children’s Society and The Priory Group. The partnership’s vision is that Birmingham should be the first city where mental health problems are not a barrier to young people achieving their dreams. The transformational changes to the service were driven by the need to address disjointed and fragmented care provision, complicated service models, long waiting lists and rising demand. The service operates a ‘no wrong door’ policy and aims to provide joined-up care, focusing on individual needs, with improved access and choice for young people.

Read the full blog post here

Frequent interactions with grandparents lowers the age of autism diagnosis

Children who have older siblings or frequent interaction with grandparents are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) earlier than those who do not, according to new research | ScienceDaily

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Study results show that approximately 50 percent of friends and family members reported that they had suspected a child to have a serious condition before they were aware that either parent was concerned. Maternal grandmothers and teachers were the two most common relationship categories to first raise concerns

While interactions with grandparents and friends played an important role, family structure also impacted the age of diagnosis. Children with no siblings were diagnosed 6 to 8 months earlier than children with siblings. Among children with siblings, children with older siblings were diagnosed approximately 10 months earlier than those without older siblings, suggesting that older siblings may serve as a reference point, helping parents calibrate whether younger siblings are on target developmentally.

Read the commentary here

Read the original research article here

A curriculum for wellbeing

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The Department for Education has announced that schools will be trialling several mental health promotion programmes in schools, including mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and programmes teaching children about how to maintain good mental health. 

The announcement follows the Prime Minister’s pledge to prioritise mental health. And it recognises the evidence of the critical role of schools and the high proportion of mental health problems that begin in childhood.

Read more at Centre for Mental Health

Full paper:
Children and young people’s mental health research and evaluation programme

 

Transition from children’s to adult community services

New online learning resource for Community Nurses | The Queens Nursing Institute

The Queen’s Nursing Institute has launched Transition from Children’s to Adult Community Services Learning Resource.

The resource is designed to improve the experience of young people transitioning from children’s services to adult community services.  It contains modules for district nurses, general practice nurses and healthcare educators. To produce the resource, the QNI held ten focus groups in different parts of the country and conducted three online surveys, as well as undertaking wider stakeholder involvement. In all, the views of around 900 people were used to inform the resource.

The QNI also carried out a review of academic literature in this area, which can be downloaded:  Young people’s transition from children’s to adult services in primary and community care settings.

New ways to treat depression in teenagers

By Ian Michael Goodyer (University of Cambridge) for The Conversation | Published online: 6 March 2017

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Image source: Mary Lock – Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Around one in 20 teenagers suffers from depression. Episodes can last for several months. Unfortunately, about 50% of teenagers who have a depressive episode are at risk of falling ill again, increasing the likelihood of relationship difficulties, educational failure and poor employment prospects. It’s important that treatments have a lasting effect to reduce the risk of becoming ill a second time.

My research investigates the causes of and treatments for adolescent mental illnesses, with a particular focus on depression. One of our key projects is evaluating the importance of various psychological treatments that are effective in helping young people with depression.

Only one treatment – cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – is approved by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for treating depression in teenagers. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of CBT therapists in the UK. This means that many young people with depression are placed on a waiting list, increasing their risk of worsening mental health.

Read the full blog post here

Friends’ pictures on social media have biggest impact on body image

Young women are more likely to compare themselves with their peers than with celebrities | The Guardian

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Seeing friends’ carefully curated selfies on Facebook is more likely to induce feelings of guilt or shame among young women, and lead to unnecessary dieting, than images of models or celebrities they see in magazines.

Academics found that young women are more likely to compare their appearance with that of their peers’ images on social media than they were with celebrities on TV, adverts or other forms of traditional media. When they then make an unfavourable comparison with the other woman they are looking at, the impact is more pronounced when the image is on social media.

Women are also more likely to diet and do exercise when negative comparisons take place on sites such as Facebook or Instagram, the research found. The vast majority of study participants were not overweight and did not need to diet.

Read the full news story here

Read the original research abstract here