Children in UK mental health hospitals ‘not improving’

YoungMinds and the National Autistic Society are launching the Always campaign, which calls for the government to protect and enforce the rights of children in mental health hospitals | YoungMinds

The campaign is based around The Always Charter, which sets out ten rights that young people in inpatient units and their families should always have.

The experience of parents:

Parents who responded to the survey told us: 

“My child has had a number of admissions to different units. The communication and support from these services has been very poor. I have felt guilty, judged, not listened to and belittled.”

“I did challenge some decisions but feel my views were still dismissed and I gave up. The majority of the experience in inpatient was a ‘done to’ rather than ‘with’ approach.”

“We were always asked – ‘Here’s what we recommend. Do you agree?’ – as though it was our choice. But when we didn’t agree, we were seen as obstructive. They said we had choice, but we didn’t.”

“We needed a key contact that all questions about our daughter could be voiced through. Although she had a key worker, she was rarely at the unit or contactable.”

Read the full article here


GPs are failing people with eating disorders, says charity

Half of people with experience of condition rate GPs’ care as poor, survey finds | The Guardian


GPs are routinely failing to provide adequate care to patients with eating disorders, with one in three not referred for specialist assistance, a leading charity has warned.

Beat, the UK’s primary eating disorder charity, found that half of people with some experience of the condition rated GP care as “poor” or “very poor” and 30% were not referred to mental health services after their appointment.

The charity polled 1,700 people, the majority of whom had sought medical help for an eating disorder. Of the 1,267 who had gone to a GP for help, only 34% said they felt their doctor knew how to treat them.

Read the full news story here

Read the survey results from Beat here

Improving Early Identification and Intervention for Children at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Rotholz, D. et al. (2017) Pediatrics. 139(2)


Objectives: To provide an example of a successful, novel statewide effort to increase early identification of young children at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using a 2-tiered screening process with enhanced quality assessment, interagency policy collaboration and coordination.

Conclusions: Improvements in early identification and intervention are feasible through collaborative policy change. The South Carolina Act Early Team and its key stakeholders committed to improving outcomes for this population used existing tools and methods in new ways to improve early identification of children with ASD and to make available evidence-based intervention services. This example should be replicable in other states with key stakeholders working collaboratively for the benefit of young children with

Read the full abstract here

Teen bullying and cyberbullying study reveals significant issues impacting youth

The study used a nationally-representative sample to address various forms of bullying and cyberbullying, sexting and dating violence, as well as thoughts of suicide, deviant behavior, and resilience or coping mechanisms | ScienceDaily


This most recent study of middle and high school students found that when it came to school bullying:

  • 73 percent of students reported that they had been bullied at school at some point in their lifetime; 44 percent said that it had happened in the last 30 days.
  • Girls were more likely to have been bullied at school, while boys were more likely to have bullied others.
  • 34 percent of students had experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime; 17 percent said that it had happened in the last 30 days.
  • 4 out of 5 of the students who were cyberbullied said that mean comments were posted about them online.
  • 70 percent of the students said that someone spread rumors about them online.
  • Notably, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the students who experienced cyberbullying said that it really affected their ability to learn and feel safe at school.
  • Girls were most likely to have been bullied online, with the exception of those with recent experiences (30 days); while boys were more likely to have bullied others online.

Read the full overview here

First Local Authority Councillors get training in mental health promotion

Yesterday, for the first time local authority mental health member champions received training in becoming leaders in mental health promotion | Centre for Mental Health


An event organised by Centre for Mental Health with support from Public Health England gave council members evidence and information about activities that can improve wellbeing, reduce inequalities, and help prevent mental health problems in their local communities. The workshop took place in London. A second workshop will be held in Birmingham in March.

The workshops have been organised as part of the Mental Health Challenge for Local Authorities, a scheme led by seven national charities that helps local councils to champion mental health in their communities. Some 89 local councils in England have now signed up to the Challenge, each with its own ‘member champion’ for mental health.

Read the full news story here

Insufficient evidence to support depression prevention programmes

Cristea, I. The Mental Elf Blog. Published online: 21 February 2017


Research on prevention differentiates between universal interventions, which are implemented for a designated population regardless of the risk (e.g., all school-age children) and targeted interventions, which are aimed at a population at high risk for a disorder. Recent large trials in adults covered on the Mental Elf showed prevention of depression is particularly effective when it is targeted.

In a recent Cochrane systematic review, Hetrick and colleagues examined whether three evidence-based psychological interventions (cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) and ‘third wave’ CBT) are effective in preventing the onset of depressive disorder in children and adolescents.

Read the full overview here

Read the original research article here

Substance use, subjective well-being and interpersonal relationships among young people in foster care and private households

Long S.J. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e014198


Objective: To investigate the association of living in foster care (FC) with substance use and subjective well-being in a sample of secondary school students (11–16 years) in Wales in 2015/16, and to examine whether these associations are attenuated by the perceived quality of interpersonal relationships.

Conclusions: Young people living in FC experience significantly worse outcomes than young people not in care, likely due to a range of care and precare factors, which impact adversely on subsequent social relationships. The analyses are consistent with the hypothesis that the associations of FC with substance use and life satisfaction are partially explained by poorer quality social relationships. Large scale, longitudinal studies are required to investigate the relationship between being in care and health, educational and social outcomes. Mental health interventions and interventions to reduce substance use and improve well-being in FC should include a focus on supporting healthy social relationships.

Read the full article here