New £15 million grant scheme to improve mental healthcare

The Beyond Places of Safety fund will focus on improving urgent mental healthcare in local areas | Department of Health 

The Department of Health has launched a £15 million fund to better support people at risk of experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Beyond Places of Safety scheme aims to improve support services for those needing urgent and emergency mental healthcare. This includes conditions such as psychosis, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders that could cause people to be a risk to themselves or others.

The Beyond Places of Safety scheme will focus on:

  • preventing people from reaching crisis point in the first place
  • helping to develop new approaches to support people who experience a mental health crisis

Full story at Department of Health

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Nearly half of young people have experienced cyber bullying

Nearly half of young people aged 11-25 years have experienced threatening, intimidating or nasty messages via social media, email or texts, according to a survey by Young Minds

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Young Minds and The Children’s Society, have carried out a survey of 1,000 children and young people aged 11-25 to hear about their views and experiences of bullying online.

More than a third of young people (37%) said they had experienced online bullying in their lifetime versus 47% of those who had reported offline bullying experiences.

An overwhelming majority of young people surveyed (83%) said that social media companies should do more to tackle cyberbullying on social media.

More than half (59%) of young people had their first social media account at the age of 12, despite guidelines for social media sites stating that you must be 13 years old to have an account.

Nearly half (45%) said they spent more than three hours per day on social media.

The Young Minds inquiry aims to look at what social media companies are doing to tackle such behaviour on their platforms, and whether the industry is going far enough to protect children and young people on their sites.

More detail: An Inquiry into the Impact of Cyberbullying on Social Media on Children and Young People’s Mental Health

Do children with gender dysphoria show symptoms that overlap with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Zucker, K. et al. | Intense/obsessional interests in children with gender dysphoria: a cross-validation study using the Teacher’s Report Form | Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health | Published 25 September 2017

Objective
This study assessed whether children clinically referred for gender dysphoria (GD) show symptoms that overlap with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Circumscribed preoccupations/intense interests and repetitive behaviors were considered as overlapping symptoms expressed in both GD and ASD.

Methods
To assess these constructs, we examined Items 9 and 66 on the Teacher’s Report Form (TRF), which measure obsessions and compulsions, respectively.

Results
For Item 9, gender-referred children (n = 386) were significantly elevated compared to the referred (n = 965) and non-referred children (n = 965) from the TRF standardization sample. For Item 66, gender-referred children were elevated in comparison to the non-referred children, but not the referred children.

Conclusions
These findings provided cross-validation of a previous study in which the same patterns were found using the Child Behavior Checklist (Vanderlaan et al. in J Sex Res 52:213–19, 2015). We discuss possible developmental pathways between GD and ASD, including a consideration of the principle of equifinality.

Full document available via Biomed Central

Depression in children and young people

NICE has published a guideline on identifying and managing depression in children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years.

This guideline covers identifying and managing depression in children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years. Based on the stepped care model, it aims to improve recognition and assessment and promote effective treatments for mild, moderate and severe depression.

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Image source: www.nice.org.uk

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Full guideline: Depression in children and young people: identification and management

Mental ill-health of children and young people

New research shows a quarter of girls (24%) and one in 10 boys (9%) are depressed at age 14. | National Childrens Bureau

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Researchers from the UCL Institute of Education and the University of Liverpool have analysed information on more than 10,000 children born in 2000-01 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study. This briefing provides details of the mental health among this cohort.

The findings show that while the majority of 3-14-year-olds in the UK are not suffering from mental ill-health, a substantial proportion experience significant difficulties. Being from a poorer background or being of mixed or white ethnic background appeared to raise the risk.

Full briefing: Mental ill-health among children of the new century

See also: National Childrens Bureau|  NHS England | BBC News

Access and waiting times in children and young people’s mental health services

New report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) examines new data on access to specialist treatment for children and young people with mental health problems, and the waiting times they face. 

This report shows that over a quarter of young people referred to specialist mental health services are not accepted for treatment. Little progress has been made in reducing the high proportion of young people who are not accepted into specialist services despite having been referred by a concerned GP or teacher. While in some areas good quality early intervention services are in place to help these young people, these are not consistently provided across the country.

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Image source: epi.org.uk

When referrals are accepted, young people in many areas are still waiting an unacceptably long time for treatment. The case for national waiting time standards to be put in place is therefore strong. Some progress is, however, being made in reducing waiting times to treatment, which may be due to the additional funding earmarked for children’s mental health services.

Full report: Access and waiting times in children and young people’s mental health services | Emily Frith | Education Policy Institute

Mental health support for young people leaving care

Neglected Minds: A report on mental health support for younger people leaving care | Barnardo’s   

This report highlights that two thirds of care leavers identified as having mental health needs were not receiving any help from a statutory service. It also found that one in four had faced a mental health crisis since leaving care.

Barnardo’s wants clinical commissioning groups to invest more in services specifically aimed at meeting the needs of young people leaving care, such as embedding a mental health worker within leaving care teams.   

The full report can be downloaded here