Prince William has a stark warning about the stigma surrounding mental health

Prince William has spoken out about his desire to “normalise” the “great taboo” of mental health in a powerful speech.

He said that until recently, people with anxiety were considered to be “weak,” and those who were struggling to cope were deemed to be “failing.”:

“Successful, strong people don’t suffer like that, do they.  But of course – we all do. It’s just that few of us speak about it”

He said that his interest in mental health began with his work as an Air Ambulance pilot.

“It was suicide, a subject that is so often hidden. The suicide rate among young men in this country is an appalling stain on our society.  Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 40 in this country. Not cancer, not knife crime, not road deaths – suicide.”

The prince said if any one of the aforementioned issues caused so many deaths, there would be a “national outcry.”

“But there has only ever been silence. And this has to stop. This silence is killing good people,” the prince said.

The prince said that in his work as in Search and Rescue and as an Air Ambulance pilot, he has been encouraged — along with his colleagues — to admit when they feel “overwhelmed or unable to cope”.

“This should be the norm,” he said.

Girl Guides are getting a new badge for talking about mental health

Girlguiding has a long track record in the UK when it comes to teaching girls and young women useful skills ranging from camping and personal safety to science, first aid, cookery and crafts. Once Girl Guides have a new skill under their belt, they earn badges which can be sewn onto clothing or a camp blanket

Now, Girl Guides will have a new badge to earn. Girlguiding has launched a new badge programme to give girls an opportunity to talk about their mental wellbeing and resilience

 

The new programme, called Think Resilient, was created following requests from Girl Guides with the aim of breaking down the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health and wellbeing and to encourage more open and supportive conversations.

Young women in guiding aged between 14 and 25 who are trained to talk to their peers and younger girls about things like body confidence and healthy relationships — called ‘peer educators’ — will manage the programme.

Girl Guides will take part in sessions designed to teach girls about resilience and techniques for positive thinking, as well as helping them identify their support networks. Peer educators will also use interactive activities to help girls find positive ways of dealing with pressures and challenges in their lives.

Activities include learning self-calming techniques and responding to “agony aunt” letters (notes modeled after advice columnists) by breaking problems down into small, solvable steps.

The move comes after Girlguiding research in 2015 found that 82% of girls aged 11 to 21 feel that adults don’t recognise the pressure that young people are under, and 66% of girls aged 17 to 21 feel that mental health is awkward to talk about. The research was based on a survey of 1,574 respondents.

According to mental health charity Young Minds, one in 10 children and young people aged between 5 and 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.

Girlguiding’s chief guide, Gill Slocombe, said in a statement:

“Girlguiding listens to girls and we’ve created this inspiring new resource as a direct response to what girls told us they need.  I’m very proud of the young women in guiding involved in developing this programme that will have such a hugely positive impact on thousands of their peers across the UK.”

Primary school pupils driven to suicide, survey reveals

Primary school children are attempting suicide because of exam pressures, too much homework and  cyber bulling, teachers have revealed as a new survey warned suicidal thoughts among pupils are ‘out of control’.

One in five teaching staff say pupils have attempted suicide while nearly half of those surveyed said students in their school have self-harmed due to stress, a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found.

Teachers blamed growing pressures from testing, homework, family issues, cyber bullying and a growing need to appear popular.

Future in Mind – Children’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health priorities for Hampshire

 

Future in mind

Future in Mind, was published in March 2015 by the government to establish priorities for Children and Young People’s Mental Health. In addition the government committed to spend an additional £1.25bn over five years on Children and Young People’s Mental Health. CCGs have had to submit transformation plans to NHS England, and North East Hampshire & Farnham CCG has led on the development of plans on behalf of the five Hampshire CCGs.

Priority areas for investment:

  • commission earlier intervention services through evidenced based counselling / psychological support
  • increased access to earlier intervention services through evidenced based parenting programmes
  • improve access and support for young people who have been sexually abused and/or exploited
  • develop Eating Disorder Service to ensure compliance with new standards
  • reduce waiting times for young people waiting for an intervention from CAMHS
  • improved access to technological solutions that support young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.

£2.36m has been allocated across the five Hampshire CCGs. A board paper for West Hampshire CCG gives a breakdown of how this is being split between the CCGs.  Access the board paper here.

West Hampshire CCG secures funding for mental health training in schools

West Hampshire CCG

West Hampshire CCG’s application to be part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Schools Link Pilot Scheme has been successful. This pilot aims to raise awareness and knowledge of mental health issues with staff at schools, as well as improve the NHS’s understanding of specific mental health issues within local schools. Schools taking part in the pilot will receive two days of training by March 2016. It is hoped the training will also help support effective working between local schools and Hampshire’s CAMHS. The training will support schools to identify and intervene with mental health problems experienced by children and young people.

CAMHS will receive £50,000 to support the pilot and the learning will be shared across Hampshire. Although the details are being finalised, it is anticipated this pilot will launch with ten schools in the New Forest. The programme is jointly supported between NHS England and Department for Education.

Nationally over 80 CCGs applied to secure funding, with 15 CCGs being successful, including West Hampshire CCG.

Kay Warren on Grief and Facing Mental Illness

Kay Warren & Matthew WarrenKay and Rick Warren lead the most recognizable church in the world—Saddleback Community Church in Southern California. And that made the 2013 death, by suicide, of their youngest son Matthew all the more painful. In the aftermath of the tragedy, they were targets for malicious criticism and brutal cynicism. But out of the darkness of their personal journey through grief, they emerged to help focus the church’s attention on the stigmas surrounding mental illness.

Rick Lawrence has a fascinating interview with Kay for Group Magazine, you can find at youthministry.com.

Archbishop of Canterbury signs letter seeking equality for mental health

Justin WelbyA campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues was launched today, backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, former Olympians, military officers and senior business figures.  More than two fifths of adult men under the age of 45 have considered taking their own lives, a YouGov poll has revealed.

Two hundred celebrities, politicians, business leaders and more have signed a letter calling for equality between physical and mental health in advance of the government spending round.

The new campaign is being led by Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat former health minister; Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street director of communications; and Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory Cabinet minister. Each has faced mental health problems himself or in his family.

It calls on the government to address the historic inequality between mental and physical health, highlighting lack of access to treatment, lengthy waiting times, inadequate crisis care, use of police cells and the 20 year gap in life expectancy between those with mental health problems and the rest of the population.

The signatories say:

“We ask for the same right to timely access to evidence-based treatment as is enjoyed by those with physical health problems. We accept, and urge ministers to accept, that this will require additional investment in mental health services.  Ministers have accepted that whatever improvements in attitude may have been made in British society, those who experience mental ill-health still do not get a fair deal from our health services. In effect they suffer discrimination in our publicly-funded NHS. This must be addressed.”

 

Support for children’s mental health must move into the 21st century

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The Children’s Commissioner for England says most children are looking to the internet for information about mental health issues. She has called for young people’s mental health websites to carry a ‘health warning’ with some sort of kite mark system to guarantee the quality of the information given, but she says more help and counselling should be provided in schools and youth clubs.

Young people want trustworthy information about mental health issues and also more accessible drop-in mental health support. Research found that young people are more likely to seek help about mental health issues from a friend (50%) than a parent (43%), mental health professional (40%) or doctor (40%). Only 18% would turn to their school nurse.

A new animated guide to mental health care care in England was launched ahead of World Mental Health Day by the Kings Fund; exploring the mental health services and how they work alongside other health and public services.

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Attending church is the key to good mental health among older Europeans – study finds

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A press release from the LSE reports new research showing that attending church is the key to good mental health among older Europeans

A study of depression among older Europeans has found that joining a religious organisation is more beneficial than charity work, sport or education in improving their mental health.

The surprising findings from a study by the Erasmus MC and the London School of Economics and Political Science also reveal that political and community organisations actually have a detrimental impact on the mental health of older Europeans on a long term basis.

In a study of 9000 Europeans aged 50+ over a four-year period, researchers at Erasmus MC and LSE looked at different levels of social activity and how they influenced people’s moods.

LSE epidemiologist Dr Mauricio Avendano said the only activity associated with sustained happiness was attending a church, synagogue or mosque.

“The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depression at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness in later life. It is not clear to us how much this is about religion per se, or whether it may be about the sense of belonging and not being socially isolated,” he said.

The study showed that joining political and community organisations only provides short-term benefits in terms of mental health and seems, in fact, to lead to an increase in depressive symptoms longer term.

“Participants receive a higher sense of reward when they first join an organisation but if it involves a lot of effort and they don’t get much in return, the benefits may wear off after some time,” he said.

Similarly, the study did not find any short-term benefits from sports and participation in other social activities.

According to the recent Global Burden of Disease study, the incidence of depression among older Europeans ranges from 18 per cent in Denmark to 37 per cent in Spain.

While the sample sizes were small, the study by Dr Simone Croezen from Erasmus MC, Dr Avendano and colleagues also threw up some unusual findings:

  • Southern Europeans (Italy and Spain) have higher rates of depression than older people who live in the Scandinavian countries (Sweden and Denmark) or western Europe (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands);
  • Depression may have less to do with the weather and more with other determinants, such as economic wellbeing or social relationships;
  • Northern Europeans are more likely to play sport than their southern counterparts;
  • Southern Europeans do not tend to socialise beyond their family networks and less than 10 per cent take part in either voluntary work or educational/training courses.

Previous studies have found that people who are involved in the church, clubs, sport, political groups and voluntary activities enjoy better mental health than the rest of the population. However, little research has been done on whether any of these activities in themselves actually cause happiness or whether people who are happy to begin with are more likely to engage in these activities.

“Our findings suggest that different types of social activities have an impact on mental health among older people, but the strength and direction of this effect varies according to the activity,” Dr Avendano said.

“One of the most puzzling findings is that although healthier people are more likely to volunteer, we found no evidence that volunteering actually leads to better mental health. It may be that any benefits are outweighed by other negative impacts of volunteering, such as stress.”

Social participation and depression in old age is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. It is authored by Dr Simone Croezen (University Medical Centre Rotterdam), Dr Mauricio Avendano (LSE Health and Social Care), and Dr Alex Burdorf and Dr Frank van Lenthe (Erasmus MC).

The paper will be available here.

Getting stuck between social care and CAMHS

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The UK has a world-class public sector, education is good, and the NHS is outstanding. But one area that consistently seems to let young people down is those who get stuck in-between social care and Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

 

In our austerity climate there have been cuts to both children’s social and the CAMHS service. In addition both services are locally using more agency staff to cover the current gaps they have within their teams. This certainly provides a lack of consistency for young people and their families, but I believe that the problem is not solved by more money, and capacity staffing. Simply pouring additional resource into a dysfunctional system would not automatically produce the best results for our vulnerable children and young people. Instead it is time to consider a radical overhaul of how, when and by whom child protection and statutory mental health services are provided.

 

Too often when a child is suspected of having mental health concerns such as depression, suicide, ADHD, on the ASD spectrum then social care, often believe it is the responsibility of CAMHS to take the lead with the family. Yet CAMHS, often rightly, will point out that whilst the mental health concerns has a significant impact there are other major factors at play in the life of the young person. Instead of two agencies working together to support a young person and their family they spend their time blaming cuts on the lack of staff and resources and spend meetings with other professionals passing the buck as to why they can not help the young person.

 

All this does is lead to a situation where a young person who is on the border of a Tier 2 to 3 threshold is propelled to the top end of Tier 3 if not into Tier 4 as no agency takes responsibility to support and invest in the young person and their family.

 

I can think of several families that I’ve worked with for whom this tension between social care and CAMHS has actually worsened the situation, and certainly not helped the young person.

 

I sit in meetings where I want to stop and shout: “Enough is enough!” Surely we can find a way to do something between us to support this young person and their family.

 

As is often the case though in a large organisation the staff at the meetings don’t have the power to be able to change the situation – what we need is county managers and health commissioners working together for the benefit of young people and their families and enabling their staff to do the same.