Education & young people’s mental health

The House of Commons Education and Health Committees have published Children and young  people’s mental health—the role of education: Government Response to the First Joint Report of the Education and Health Committees of Session 2016–17.  This document sets out the Government’s response to the inquiry on the role of education in children and young people’s mental health.

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Key Data on Young People

Key Data on Young People 2017 | The Association for Young People’s Health (AYHP) | via OnMedica

This report looks at the living circumstances, education and employment, health behaviours and lifestyle, sexual health, mental health, physical health and long-term conditions, and use of health care services of children and young people.

The report  found evidence of a number of positive trends, with rates of drinking, smoking and teenage pregnancy all continuing to fall. However, authors explained the teens and early 20s remain a ‘risky period’ in health terms, for a range of issues that will have lifetime implications. These include: diet, activity and obesity; sexually transmitted infections; the peak age for diagnosis of a number of chronic conditions such as asthma and type 1 diabetes; the peak age for hospitalisation for challenging conditions such as eating disorders and self-harm; the most common age for concerns around child sexual exploitation.

The report also highlighted the impact of health inequalities, with young people living in the most deprived areas are more likely to be killed or seriously injured on roads, more likely to be obese, and more likely to have worse physical, mental and sexual health outcomes.

Full report: Key Data on Young  People 2017:  Latest information and statistics 

OnMedica News story: We are ‘sitting on a young people’s health time bomb’

Children’s mental health care in England

Children’s voices: a review of evidence on the subjective wellbeing of children with mental health needs in England | The Children’s Commissioner for England

This report summarises the published qualitative evidence on the subjective wellbeing of children with mental health needs and draws out key findings from the evidence, identifying important gaps.

The Commissioner has also published Briefing: children’s mental healthcare in England.  This briefing, sent to all MPs, sets out the Commissioner’s concerns around the lack of access to mental health support services for children.

Full report available here

New £15 million grant scheme to improve mental healthcare

The Beyond Places of Safety fund will focus on improving urgent mental healthcare in local areas | Department of Health 

The Department of Health has launched a £15 million fund to better support people at risk of experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Beyond Places of Safety scheme aims to improve support services for those needing urgent and emergency mental healthcare. This includes conditions such as psychosis, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders that could cause people to be a risk to themselves or others.

The Beyond Places of Safety scheme will focus on:

  • preventing people from reaching crisis point in the first place
  • helping to develop new approaches to support people who experience a mental health crisis

Full story at Department of Health

Mental health staff and services under pressure

Cuts to mental health leave staff facing violence and aggression, says UNISON

A recent UNISON survey of staff working in mental health service has revealed that
mental health services have been hit hard by cuts to NHS funding, which has a damaging effect on service users and staff. The new publication reports that Service users have been struggling to access the help they need, while mental health staff working in under-resourced areas are left vulnerable to violence and aggression, and unable to provide the level of care needed.

The report, Struggling to Cope, is based on a survey of over 1,000 mental health employees across the UK, who work in a range of roles – with children and adults in hospitals, in secure units and out in the community.

More than two in five (42%) said they had been on the receiving end of violent attacks in the last year. Over a third (36%) said they had witnessed violent incidents involving patients attacking their colleagues.

While the majority (86%) felt they had the knowledge and training to carry out their work safely, more than a third (36%) said they had seen an increase in violent incidents in the past year.

Mental health workers blamed staff shortages (87%) and the overuse of agency staff (49%) as the main reasons behind the rise in violent attacks.

Full report: Struggling to Cope: Mental health staff and services under pressure

Mental Health Service Models for Young People

In 2015, the government committed five years of extra funding for children and young people’s mental health services (CYPMHS). All areas of England were required to submit plans outlining how they will improve their services by 2020.

This POSTnote describes some of the new models of CYPMHS and examines the challenges to their effective implementation.

Overview

  • The Office for National Statistics estimates that nearly one in four Children and Young People (CYP) show some evidence of mental ill health.
  • It is estimated that between £70-100 billion is lost each year in the UK due to poor
    mental health.
  • New models of CYP mental health services are currently being developed across the
    country to suit the unique needs of local areas. They include whole-system, schoolsbased, community-based and other models, and involve integrating services from across the statutory and voluntary sectors.
  • Issues with implementing new service models include data monitoring, recruiting
    and retaining staff and funding.

Full document available here

Earlier school start times may increase risk of adolescent depression and anxiety

Teenagers with school starting times before 8:30 a.m. may be at particular risk of experiencing depression and anxiety due to compromised sleep quality, according to a recent study. | Sleep Health 2017 | story via ScienceDaily

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The findings of this study provide additional evidence in the debate over how school start times impact adolescent health.  The study,  published in the journal Sleep Health found that Teenagers who start school before 8:30 a.m. are at higher risk of depression and anxiety, even if they’re doing everything else right to get a good night’s sleep.

The authors used an online tool to collect data from 197 students across the USA between the ages of 14 and 17. All children and parents completed a baseline survey that included questions about the child’s level of sleep hygiene, family socioeconomic status,  and their school start times. They were separated into two groups: those who started school before 8:30 a.m. and those who started after 8:30 a.m.

Over a period of seven days, the students were instructed to keep a sleep diary, in which they reported specifically on their daily sleep hygiene, levels of sleep quality and duration, and their depressive/anxiety symptoms.

The results showed that good baseline sleep hygiene was directly associated with lower average daily depressive/anxiety symptoms across all students, and the levels were even lower in students with school start times after 8:30. However, students with good baseline sleep hygiene and earlier school start times had higher average daily depressive/anxiety symptoms.

Link to the research:  Peltz, J. S. et al. A process-oriented model linking adolescents’ sleep hygiene and psychological functioning: the moderating role of school start times  Sleep Health

Full story at ScienceDaily