The Mental health of young women and girls

The Mental health of young women and girls: how to prevent a growing crisis | Mental Health Foundation

This policy paper from the Mental Health Foundation reports that the mental health of young women and girls is deteriorating, with the gap between men and women widening  over recent years.  The evidence section in this paper shows that the last 15 years have seen an unprecedented rise in reported mental health problems amongst young women and girls, with their needs reaching crisis levels.

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Image source: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

The paper makes a series of recommendations including:

  • identify pressure points and social determinants of mental health and wellbeing in young women and girls, to support the development of tailored mental health guidance aimed at preventing mental health problems for those at highest risk
  • improve the understanding of how to prevent mental health problems in young women by decision makers.

Full document: While your back was turned: How mental health policymakers stopped paying attention to the specific needs of women and girls

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How NHS eating disorder services are failing patients

The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman has published Ignoring the alarms: how NHS eating disorder services are failing patients.

This is the report from an investigation that found Averil Hart’s death from anorexia would have been avoided if the NHS had cared for her appropriately. It highlights five areas of focus to improve eating disorder services:

  • The General Medical Council should conduct a review of training for all junior doctors on eating disorders, informed by research being conducted by the Faculty of Eating Disorders at the Royal College of Psychiatrists;
  • The Department of Health and NHS  England (NHSE) should review the existing quality and availability of adult eating disorder services to achieve parity with child and adolescent services;
  • The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) should consider including coordination as an element of their new Quality Standard for eating disorders;
  • Health Education England should review how its current education and training can address the gaps in provision of eating disorder specialists we have identified. If necessary it should consider how the existing workforce can be further trained and used more innovatively to improve capacity. Health Education England should also look at how future workforce planning might support the increased provision of specialists in this field;
  • Both NHS Improvement (NHSI) and NHS England (NHSE) have a leadership role to play in supporting local NHS providers and CCGs to conduct and learn from serious incident investigations, including those that are complex and cross organisational boundaries. NHSE and NHSI should use the forthcoming Serious Incident Framework review to clarify their respective oversight roles in relation to serious incident investigations. They should also set out what their role would be in circumstances like the Hart’s, where local bodies are failing to work together to establish what has happened and why, so that lessons can be learnt.

Full report: Ignoring the alarms: How NHS eating disorder services are failing patients

Transforming children and young people’s mental health

Ways for schools and colleges to support pupils’ mental health are set out in a green paper, as well as plans for new mental health support teams.

The government has published proposals to improve mental health support for children and young people in England. Over £300 million has been made available to fund them.

The government is asking people for their views on the planned measures, which are set out in a green paper. The measures include:

  • encouraging every school and college to have a ‘designated senior mental health lead’
  • setting up mental health support teams working with schools, to give children and young people earlier access to services
  • piloting a 4-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services

Other proposals in the green paper include:

  • a new working group to look at mental health support for 16 to 25-year-olds
  • a report by the Chief Medical Officer on the impact that technology has on children and young people’s mental health, to be produced in 2018

The consultation on the green paper will run for 13 weeks until 2 March 2018.

Full document: Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper

This short video describes the main proposals in the green paper.

Online Mental Health Support For Young People

This report from the Education Policy Institute aims to provide insight into the efficacy of online counselling for children and young people. 

The report reviews the current literature on online counselling for children and young people. Through an analysis of local data it also assesses how young people respond to the Kooth model, an online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform, before setting out recommendations for further research.

The report  finds Kooth online counselling to be popular and effective in increasing access to care and providing choice. The anonymous nature of the service was found to be a big benefit for children and young people.

Full report: Online Mental Health Support for Young People