Impairment of Social Function in Young Females With Recent-Onset Anorexia Nervosa and Recovered Individuals

Bentz, M. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online: October 27, 2016
Image source: Jasmine Parker – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Purpose: A subgroup of individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) displays social difficulties; however, it is not clear if individuals with comorbid autism spectrum disorders account for these difficulties.

Methods: We compared social function using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule in 43 young females with first-episode AN who did not have comorbid autism spectrum disorder, 28 individuals recovered from adolescent-onset AN, and 41 healthy comparison individuals (age range 14–22 years). We measured adaptive behavior with the Vineland-II parent questionnaire, and aspects of social cognition with psychological tests, such as the Reading-the-Mind-in-the-Eyes test, Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity short version, The Awareness of Social Inference Test, Animated Triangles, and the CANTAB Affective Go/No-go task.

Results: Participants with first-episode AN and those recovered from AN displayed difficulties in social function, which were not associated with body mass index or other state factors of the disorder in those with first-episode AN. Mood problems and anxiety were not associated with these difficulties. Parents rated participants with first-episode AN lower than recovered and control participants on the Socialization Domain of Vineland-II. Finally, only participants recovered from AN demonstrated deficits in specific domains of social cognition: perceiving nonverbal bodily gesture and vocal prosody.

Conclusions: Young females with first-episode AN and those recovered from AN displayed impairments in social function, which may represent more stable traits of the disorder. Only participants recovered from AN demonstrated deficits in social cognition.

Read the abstract here


Depression in children and young people

Kelvin, R. Paediatrics and Child Health. Published online: October 22 2016
Image source: Stephen Magrath – Wellcome Images // CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Depression is a common and important health problem affecting the lives of many children and young adults. For many sufferers it has its roots in later childhood. The incidence increases sharply from early adolescence onwards. Depression manifests with increasing frequency as early adult life approaches and represents an escalating set of impairments across personal, family, social and educational life of children and young people. Its under-detection and under-treatment in the UK NHS is a major public health and personal safety issue, deserving of attention.

The longer term societal implications are significant in terms of lost education opportunity, decreased earnings, personal distress and risk of subsequent mental ill and indeed physical ill health outcomes. This article seeks to alert the clinician to the symptomatology and thereby assist in righting this major health inequality, so that the future of depression care can be different from the past, and closer to ‘parity of esteem’ with the care deemed routine for major debilitating common physical health conditions in the UK.

Read the abstract here

I am Whole: A report investigating the stigma faced by young people experiencing mental health difficulties

YMCA | Published online: October 2016

Image source: YMCA

The purpose of this research was to examine the stigma faced by young people experiencing mental health difficulties.

Growing up can be a positive time for many. However, there are hundreds of thousands of young people across England and Wales for whom the experience is very different. Mental health difficulties among children and young people are common and can be both persistent and damaging.

However, the challenges that young people face are not limited to the symptoms mental health difficulties; many must also take on the day-to-day stigma that too often goes with this.

By giving young people the platform to share their views and stories, I AM WHOLE seeks to go beyond the headline statistic ‘one in 10 young people experience mental health difficulties’ that so often dominates the discourse.

Instead, this research seeks to get under the surface and understand the real experiences of those with mental health difficulties. This is done by examining the prevalence of this stigma, who is experiencing it and how they are doing so, the impact of this stigma, and the potential solutions that the young people themselves have identified.

Read the summary here

Read the full report here

Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy and Practice

Rivara, F. & Le Menestrel, S (2006) Washington: The National Academies Press.

Image source: NAP

Recognizing that bullying behavior is a major public health problem that demands the concerted and coordinated time and attention of parents, educators and school administrators, health care providers, policy makers, families, and others concerned with the care of children, a group of federal agencies and private foundations asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to undertake a study of what is known and what needs to be known to reduce bullying behavior and its consequences. The Committee on the Biological and Psychosocial Effects of Peer Victimization: Lessons for Bullying Prevention was created to carry out this task under the Academies’ Board on Children, Youth, and Families and the Committee on Law and Justice. The committee was charged with producing a comprehensive report on the state of the science on the biological and psychosocial consequences of peer victimization and the risk and protective factors that either increase or decrease peer victimization behavior and consequences (see Chapter 1 for the committee’s detailed statement of task).

Read the full book here

Mental health toolkit for schools and colleges

With half of all diagnosable mental health disorders established by the age of 14, there is a strong case to promote children and young people’s mental health | Public Health England | Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

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Public Health England and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families are committed to improving health outcomes for children, young people and their families, and collaborated to fund and develop this toolkit.

The toolkit aims to raise awareness amongst school and college staff of the range of validated tools that are available to help measure subjective mental wellbeing amongst the student population. This, in turn, will help school and college leaders make use of school and college level data to identify the mental wellbeing needs of students and determine how best to address these. Efforts taken by schools and colleges to promote the physical and mental health of the student population creates a virtuous circle, reinforcing attainment and achievement that in turn improves student wellbeing, enabling students to thrive and achieve their full potential.

Download the toolkit here

Young people’s mental health care is ‘inadequate’ according to specialist nurses

Seven in 10 nurses say young people’s mental healthcare is inadequate | BBC | The Guardian | Royal College of Nursing



Seven out of 10 specialist nurses caring for the growing number of young people struggling with mental health problems believe that NHS services are insufficient.

Half of all mental health nurses working with troubled young people say child and adolescent mental health services  are inadequate and another 20% say they are highly inadequate, according to a poll undertaken by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) for the Guardian. Only 13% believe they are good or very good, while the rest say they are adequate.

The survey found serious concern among frontline nurses that the rationing of access to care and shortage of beds are so acute that young people risk harming or killing themselves.

Of the 631 mental health nurses working in Camhs, 43% said services were getting worse, despite government promises of extra investment and assurances that more young people would be able to receive care.

Read more on this story via The Guardian

Tele-Mental Health for Children: Using Videoconferencing for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Goldschmidt, K. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: October 7, 2016


Mental health disorders occur in 4% of children and 10 to 20% of adolescents and are linked with “depression, anxiety, risky behaviors, poor physical health, obesity, substance abuse and suicide” (Garber, Frankel, & Herrington, 2016, p. 181). Adolescents diagnosed with a depressive disorder have high rates of recurrence: 25% within one year, 40% within two years, and 70% within five years (Mash & Wolfe, 2012). It is imperative for mental health specialist to reach children with mental health disorders early in their development in an effort to decrease morbidity and mortality; however, access to mental health care, especially for children, is limited (Lauckner & Whitten, 2015).

Read the abstract here