One-third of students report elevated psychological distress, survey shows

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Canada). Published online: 21 July 2016

More than one in three – an estimated 328,000 — Ontario students in grades seven to 12 report moderate-to-serious psychological distress, according to new survey results from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Girls are twice as likely as boys to experience psychological distress.

OSDUHS 2015 Infographic - Psychological distress
Image source: CAHM

Screen time, social media use, and problem gaming on the rise

Survey results also showed that in 2015, almost two thirds (63 per cent) of students spent three hours or more per day of their free time in front of a TV or tablet/computer. The percentage of students who are screen-time sedentary has increased from 57 per cent since 2009, the first year of monitoring this behaviour.

At the same time, while the majority of students rate their health as excellent or very good (66 per cent), only 22 per cent of students met the recommended daily physical activity guideline, defined as a total of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day, during the past seven days.

OSDUHS 2015 Infographic - Screentime
Image source: CAMH

Read the full news release here


Monitoring requirements for young people with eating disorders

Commissioners have been asked to make specific arrangements to monitor waiting times from referral to treatment for children and young people with an eating disorder.

NHS England has requested that baseline data be submitted via Unify from August 2016. Compliance to the standard will be monitored from April 2017. Commissioners will need to assure themselves that provider organisations can submit the required information, and will need to sign off provider submissions. The first collection will be for the first quarter of 2016, with a requirement for CCGs to sign off provider submissions on Unify by 9 September 2016. Guidance and a full timetable will be available on Unify from August 2016

Mental health services transformation

Thousands to benefit from kick-start of mental health services transformation

image source:

NHS England has published Implementing the five year forward view for mental health.  This report details how new funding, pledged in response to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, rising to £1bn a year by 2020/21 in addition to the cumulative £1.4bn already committed for children, young people and perinatal care, will be made available for CCGs year on year.

It also shows how the workforce requirements will be delivered in each priority area and outlines how data, payment and other system levers will support transparency.

Additional link: RCGP press release

Best start in life: Promoting good emotional wellbeing and mental health for children and young people

LGA. Published online July 2016

Best start in life Promoting good emotional wellbeing and mental health for children and young people
Image source: LGA

Summary of the key messages: Mental health and wellbeing in childhood – why it matters

Pregnancy and early years: critical to a child’s long-term development. Early interactions directly affect the way the brain develops and so the relationship between baby and parents is vital.

Five to 10: once a child has fallen behind in the early years they are more likely to fall further behind than catch up.

11 to 25: those with mental health and conduct disorders are twice as likely to leave school without qualifications.

Key stats

  • One in four babies live in households affected by domestic violence, mental illness or drug and alcohol problems.
  • One in five mothers suffer from depression, anxiety or in some cases psychosis during pregnancy or the first year after birth. Teenage mothers are three times more likely to suffer from post-natal depression.
  • The cost to the economy is estimated at £8.1 billion for each annual birth cohort – that’s almost £10,000 per baby. Nearly three quarters of that is linked to the impact on the child.
  • Three quarters of mental health problems develop before the ages of 18.

Read the full report here

Improving teen mental health outside of traditional settings

Fenton, K. PHE Public Health Matters Blog. Published online: 4 July 2016
Image source: Plum leaves – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Childhood and teenage years are a time of rapid change and development and coping with the pressures of growing up can be tough.

Young people can experience a range of mental health problems, and as part of our work to improve the public’s mental health we can help by identifying and encouraging approaches that adapt to and meet the changing needs of young people.

We have a key role in helping to make this vision a reality, and we have an important opportunity to drive action to improve children and young people’s mental health beyond health and social care services.

Reading for good mental health 

The Reading Well for Young People scheme was launched in April by The Reading Agency, Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL), with funding from the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.

With the tagline ’Find shelf help in your local library’, the scheme has been co-produced with young people alongside leading health organisations including PHE.

The importance of a good night’s sleep

MindEd at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the University of Northumbria have published a new ‘sleep in adolescence’ resource, supported by PHE.

This follows a recent report from the Royal Society for Public Health and the University of Oxford stated that poor sleep is linked to a wide range of physical, mental, behavioural and performance issues. It warned that four in ten people aren’t getting enough sleep, while one in five sleep poorly most nights, and called for sleep to become a key priority for the public’s health.

Read the full blog here

An art therapy intervention for symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety among Syrian refugee children

Ugurlu, N. et al. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies.Volume 11, Issue 2, 2016


This study first examined the prevalence of psychological symptoms among Syrian refugee children (N = 64) and assessed the effect of an art therapy intervention on post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety symptoms.

The Stressful Life Events (SLE) Questionnaire was used to measure stressful and traumatic experiences. The main outcome measures were UCLA Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Parent version, Child Depression Inventory and State-Trait Anxiety Scale. After the baseline assessment, a five-day art therapy intervention, which is based on Skills for Psychological Recovery, was implemented.

Findings of the study indicated that 60.3% (N = 35) of Syrian children who participated had high risk to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) according to the SLE scale. The 23.4% of the children had PTSD symptoms while the 17.6% showed severe depression symptoms. Moreover, the 14.4% of the children showed severe levels of state anxiety symptoms and the 31.1% showed severe levels of trait anxiety symptoms.

Findings of the study indicated that trauma, depression and trait anxiety symptoms of children were significantly reduced at the post-assessment. However, for state anxiety scores, significant differences between pre- and post-assessments did not appear. Therefore, it could be said that art therapy may be an effective method to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and trait anxiety symptoms among refugee children.

Read the abstract here

Using the Mental Capacity Act

  • SCIE – Mental Capacity Act (MCA) Resource

    • The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 applies to everyone involved in the care, treatment and support of people aged 16 and over living in England and Wales who are unable to make all or some decisions for themselves.
    • The MCA is designed to protect and restore power to those vulnerable people who lack capacity.
    • The MCA also supports those who have capacity and choose to plan for their future – this is everyone in the general population who is over the age of 18.
    • All professionals have a duty to comply with the Code of Practice. It also provides support and guidance for less formal carers.
    • The Act’s five statutory principles are the benchmark and must underpin all acts carried out and decisions taken in relation to the Act.
    • Anyone caring for or supporting a person who may lack capacity could be involved in assessing capacity – follow the two-stage test.
    • The MCA is designed to empower those in health and social care to assess capacity themselves, rather than rely on expert testing – good professional training is key
    • If capacity is lacking, follow the checklist described in the Code to work out the best interests of the individual concerned
    • Understanding and using the MCA supports practice – for example, application of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

    This video explains the MCA and how it can protect the right to make choices. For people who need the MCA, their carers, and others.

    View the full resource here