Parents fear mental health ‘life sentence’

Story via OnMedica

A new survey reveals that many parents fear a diagnosis of mental illness will amount to a “life sentence” for their child. The research commissioned for MQ Mental Health, a new charity which supports and funds research into mental health, reveals that 67% of parents who took part in the survey said they would worry that their son or daughter might never recover from a mental illness. And 74% were concerned that mental health issues might get worse over time.

The survey also indicates support for greater investment. More than four in five adults agree that “more should be done to tackle mental illness for the future”, rising to 97% among those with lived experience of mental illness. Some 68% of adults surveyed believe that the current proportion of funding for mental health research is too low and, on average, respondents think 20% of the total UK medical research budget should be spent on mental illness.


Children and young people’s mental health – policy, CAMHS services, funding and education

House of Commons Library. Published online: 22 June 2016

Image source: HoC Library

House of Commons Library briefing on children and young people’s mental health policy and services.

One in four people on average experience a mental health problem, with the majority of these beginning in childhood. A report by the Chief Medical Officer in 2014 found that 50 per cent of adult mental health problems start before the age of 15 and 75 per cent before the age of 18.

The Coalition Government committed to improving mental health for children and young people, as part of their commitment to achieving “parity of esteem” between physical and mental health, and to improving the lives of children and young people. The Government’s 2011 mental health strategy, No Health without Mental Health, pledged to provide early support for mental health problems, and the Deputy Prime Minister’s 2014 strategy, Closing the Gap: priorities for essential change in mental health, included actions such as improving access to psychological therapies for children and young people. The Department of Health and NHS England established a Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforcewhich reported in March 2015 and set out ambitions for improving care over the next five years. The Coalition Government also pledged funding for children and adolescent mental health, detailed in the briefing.

Read the full introduction here

Read the full report here

How to teach … body image

Niemtus, Z. The Guardian. Published online: 20 June 2016

Image source: Señor Codo // CC BY-SA 2.0

What do Sadiq Khan and Barbie have in common? They’re both waging war on unrealistic body image pressures. The London mayor recently announced that he will ban adverts on London transport that “demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies”. The move comes a year after the infamous “beach-body ready” campaign, which, in trying to sell protein powder, sparked a nationwide discussion about the stress and anxiety advertising can cause.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, one of the most famous bodies in the world has undergone a transformation, as Barbie’s 36in bust and 18in waist (which, according to scientists, would leave her with too little body fat to menstruate) has evolved into a variety of body shapes and skin colours. Both are steps in the right direction, but there’s no denying that your students will still have to navigate a world full of unhealthy images and pressure. So how can you help them manage it?

Read the full article here

YoungMinds ‘Online Pressures’ Campaign

1. Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is an issue which is becoming far too common these days. I suffered from bullying my entire life although specifically cyberbullying when I started to use social media platforms such as MSN, Bebo, MySpace from as young as 12yrs old. As a result I suffered from severe anxiety and severe depression. According to a joint study done by professors of the University of Oxford, University of Bristol, University of Warwick and UCL, young people who are bullied are twice as likely to experience a mental health problem in later life as a result

Read the full blog post here

2. Reaching Out

As part of the YoungMinds Vs Online pressures campaign, they are sharing a film made by BA students of the Met Film School for YoungMinds, which highlights the effects of cyberbullying but also a positive way to help your friends by reaching out to them online.

This short film depicts a young person struggling with the pressures of being connected to the online world through personified notifications.

Read the full blog post here

3. #LifeOnTheWeb Cartoon Competition 

Image source: Fiona Glazebrook – YoungMinds.

View all the winners and other competitions here

Child protection: a universal concern

Child protection: a universal concern and a permanent challenge in the field of child and adolescent mental health. Joerg M. Fegert and Manuela Stötzel

This  editorial in the journal, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health argues that ongoing efforts are needed, supported by adequate funding, to conduct fundamental research into the prevention and the consequences of traumatization in childhood. These
efforts need to include the implementation of monitoring systems and epidemiology studies, so that data can be monitored and assessed in a comparable way across different
countries. Prevention and intervention strategies need to be developed, and approaches that are found to be successful need to be implemented on a larger scale.

Read the full document here

Building digital resilience

YoungMinds is calling for a new approach to ensure that the online world does not damage young people’s mental health.

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Resilience for the Digital World’ is the report produced by YoungMinds and research and consultation company Ecorys calling for more focus to given to building young people’s digital resilience.

Digital resilience is defined as  the ability for young people to respond positively and deal with risks they encounter online – rather than focusing solely on protecting them from risky content.

The report, which consists of an Evidence Review and a Positioning Paper, recommends:

  • Every school should think through and take action on how they help children develop digital resilience and embed this in their Ofsted-inspected E-safety curriculum.
  • Young people should have engaging, accessible and age-appropriate information about mental health on the sites and apps that they use, so they can help themselves and each other if they are struggling.
  • Industry needs to take on their responsibilities to support young people who may be struggling with the effects of social media addiction – for example, by providing pop-ups signposting to resources and support.
  • Teachers, social workers and professionals working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services should be skilled up to understand young people’s experience of the online world and how to help them to build their digital resilience.