Mental health in schools

NHS England and the Department of Education have joined forces to launch a multimillion pound joint mental health pilot scheme for schools.  The Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilots will test a named single point of contact in 255 schools and in 22 pilot areas, meaning more joined up working between schools and health services.

The single point of contact in the schools will be responsible for developing closer relationships with a counterpart in local NHS children and adult mental health services to improve knowledge and understanding of mental health issues, and to help ensure any referrals are timely and appropriate.

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The pilot is part of the vision set out in the Future in Mind report, which made a number of proposals on how mental health services for children and young people could be improved.

 

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Comparative efficacy and acceptability of psychotherapies for depression in children and adolescents: A systematic review and network meta-analysis

Zhou, X. et al. World Psychiatry. 2015 Jun; 14(2): 207–222.

Previous meta-analyses of psychotherapies for child and adolescent depression were limited because of the small number of trials with direct comparisons between two treatments. A network meta-analysis, a novel approach that integrates direct and indirect evidence from randomized controlled studies, was undertaken to investigate the comparative efficacy and acceptability of psychotherapies for depression in children and adolescents.

Systematic searches resulted in 52 studies (total N=3805) of nine psychotherapies and four control conditions. We assessed the efficacy at post-treatment and at follow-up, as well as the acceptability (all-cause discontinuation) of psychotherapies and control conditions.

At post-treatment, only interpersonal therapy (IPT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) were significantly more effective than most control conditions (standardized mean differences, SMDs ranged from −0.47 to −0.96). Also, IPT and CBT were more beneficial than play therapy. Only psychodynamic therapy and play therapy were not significantly superior to waitlist.

At follow-up, IPT and CBT were significantly more effective than most control conditions (SMDs ranged from −0.26 to −1.05), although only IPT retained this superiority at both short-term and long-term follow-up. In addition, IPT and CBT were more beneficial than problem-solving therapy. Waitlist was significantly inferior to other control conditions.

With regard to acceptability, IPT and problem-solving therapy had significantly fewer all-cause discontinuations than cognitive therapy and CBT (ORs ranged from 0.06 to 0.33).

These data suggest that IPT and CBT should be considered as the best available psychotherapies for depression in children and adolescents. However, several alternative psychotherapies are understudied in this age group. Waitlist may inflate the effect of psychotherapies, so that psychological placebo or treatment-as-usual may be preferable as a control condition in psychotherapy trials.

Read analysis of the article via the Mental Elf Blog

View the full article here