Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Royal Society for Public Health | May 2018| #StatusOfMind  Social media and Young people’s mental health and wellbeing

This report from Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) explores the positive and negative impact of social media on young people aged between 16-24, and their mental health and wellbeing. It also includes a league table of five social media platforms which have been ranked in order of their net impact on young people’s health and wellbeing by young people.

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The RSPH calls for

  1. The introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media
  2. Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated
  3. NHS England to apply the Information Standard Principles to health information published via social media
  4. Safe social media use to be taught during PSHE education in school
  5.  Social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts and other data, and discreetly signpost to support
  6. Youth-workers and other professionals who engage with young people to have a digital (including social) media component in their training
  7. More research to be carried out into the effects of social media on young people’s mental health

The report can be downloaded here 

Mental Health Awareness Week: A transformation in mental health care since 1948

NHS England | A transformation in mental health care since 1948 

NHS England have released a presentation  to coincide with Mental Heath Awareness Week this week (14 -20 May). The presentation shows how the NHS has transformed mental health services to ensure that more people are receiving the right care in the community and to minimise the amount of time people need to spend in hospital (Source: NHS England).

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You can view the presentation at Slideshare 

Eat fish twice a week for a healthy heart

Science Daily | May 2018 | Keep saying yes to fish twice a week for heart health

The American Heart Association (AHA) has published new recommendations on the intake of fish in its journal Circulation. AHA advises people to consume two servings of non-fried fish every week. It emphasises that this should be oily fish, which includes salmon, trout, mackerel, herring  and sardines, which are all high in omega-3 fatty acids.
The AHA also examined published studies about mercury levels in fish. They concluded that while mercury contamination may be associated with health problems in newborns, the benefits from eating fish outweigh the risks associated with mercury contamination, particularly if a range of seafood is eaten.

The full news item is at Science Daily

The  article’s abstract  is available to read at Circulation 

Children exposed to general anaesthestic have poorer development, literacy and numeracy scores

Study finds that children exposed to general anesthesia before 4 years have poorer development at school entry and school performance | Pediatric Anesthesia | via Journal of Anaesthesia Practice


The new finding is based on a data-linkage study of over 210,000 children in New South Wales, Australia.

211,978 children included in the study were born in New South Wales at 37-plus weeks’ gestation without major congenital anomalies or neurodevelopmental disability. Of these, researchers had data on their school entry developmental assessment in 2009, 2012, or their Grade-3 school test results in 2008-2014.

The researchers compared the development and school results of children exposed to general anaesthesia during hospital procedures (37,880) up to 48 months of age to same-aged children with no exposure to general anaesthesia or hospitalisation (197,301).

Key findings

Compared to children unexposed to general anaesthesia, those exposed to general anaesthesia had a:

  • 17 per cent increased risk of poor child development
  • 34 per cent increased risk of lower numeracy scores on school tests
  • 23 per cent increased risk of lower reading scores on school tests

When the researchers restricted their analyses to children who’d had only one hospitalisation involving a procedure requiring general anaesthesia, they found no increased risk for poor development or reduced reading scores, however the risk of poor numeracy scores remained.

Full story at Journal of Anaesthesia Practice

Journal reference: Francisco J Schneuer, et al. The impact of general anesthesia on child development and school performance: a population-based study |  Pediatric Anesthesia |  2018; DOI: 10.1111/pan.13390

How social isolation transforms the brain

Science Daily | May 2018 |Brain abnormality indicates general risk for mental illness

A new study published in Biological Psychiatry indicates that a visual abnormality in the brain may be linked to an individual’s risk of mental illness. This abnormality was present in the over 600 participants involved in the study who already had a higher risk of mental illness. The abnormality was characterised by a reduced efficiency between visual areas and brain networks important for integrating sensory information and suppressing distracting information (via Science Daily).




High rates of comorbidity, shared risk, and overlapping therapeutic mechanisms have led psychopathology research toward transdiagnostic dimensional investigations of clustered symptoms. One influential framework accounts for these transdiagnostic phenomena through a single general factor, sometimes referred to as the “p” factor, associated with risk for all common forms of mental illness.


We build on previous research identifying unique structural neural correlates of the p factor by conducting a data-driven analysis of connectome-wide intrinsic functional connectivity (n = 605).


We demonstrate that higher p factor scores and associated risk for common mental illness maps onto hyperconnectivity between visual association cortex and both frontoparietal and default mode networks.


These results provide initial evidence that the transdiagnostic risk for common forms of mental illness is associated with patterns of inefficient connectome-wide intrinsic connectivity between visual association cortex and networks supporting executive control and self-referential processes, networks that are often impaired across categorical disorders.

Full reference: Elliott, M.L., Romer, A., Knodt, A. R., Hariri, A. R., | A Connectome-wide Functional Signature of Transdiagnostic Risk for Mental Illness| Biological Psychiatry |Article in print | DOI:

Making data count

Making data count | NHS Improvement

This guide is designed to encourage analysts and decision-makers to work together to ensure the most relevant data is presented in the most effective way.  The accompanying resources are intended to build knowledge to construct and interpret statistical process control (SPC) charts.

In this short video, NHS Improvement Executive Director, Adam Sewell-Jones, talks about how different presentations of data can lead to different conversations, conclusions and actions:

Additional link: Statistical process control tool

Good Rostering Guide

NHS Employers | May 2018 |Good rostering guide

Aimed at both employers and doctors, the guidance sets out ways in which good rostering practice can be used to develop rotas. It aims to support and create an effective training environment that also meets the needs of the service, while enabling flexibility for doctors and employers, both of whom have a stake in the process.


Good Rostering Guide
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The full guide is available from NHS Employers