Children’s mental health care in England

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

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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

Trends in child BMI

This report uses National Child Measurement Programme  data to examine the changes in children’s body mass index (BMI) between 2006 to 2007 and 2015 to 2016

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The report explores trends in obesity, overweight, excess weight and underweight prevalence, as well as changes in mean BMI over time. It is aimed at local authorities and other organisations who want to examine detailed trends in child weight category prevalence over time, and how these vary by health inequality.

Trends within different socioeconomic and ethnic groups are examined to determine whether existing health inequalities are widening or becoming smaller.

The report shows that obesity is stabilising in Reception girls and there is a downward trend in obesity in Reception boys. In Year 6 however, there is a significant upward trend in obesity among both boys and girls, with slightly higher rates of increase than found last year. Inequalities continue to widen between the most deprived and least deprived children across both sexes and year groups. For the first time, the report also maps the trend of childhood obesity across local authority areas.

The report is accompanied by a summary of main findings and a supplementary dataset.

National Child Measurement Programme: changes in children’s body mass index between 2006 to 2007 and 2015 to 2016:

See also: National child measurement programme

Mental ill-health of children and young people

New research shows a quarter of girls (24%) and one in 10 boys (9%) are depressed at age 14. | National Childrens Bureau

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Researchers from the UCL Institute of Education and the University of Liverpool have analysed information on more than 10,000 children born in 2000-01 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study. This briefing provides details of the mental health among this cohort.

The findings show that while the majority of 3-14-year-olds in the UK are not suffering from mental ill-health, a substantial proportion experience significant difficulties. Being from a poorer background or being of mixed or white ethnic background appeared to raise the risk.

Full briefing: Mental ill-health among children of the new century

See also: National Childrens Bureau|  NHS England | BBC News

Experimental vaping does not turn into regular use among young people

Surveys across the UK show most e-cigarette experimentation does not turn into regular use | International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health| Story via OnMedica

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A study, which questioned more than 60,000 young people, found that most e-cigarette experimentation among young people does not turn into regular use. The findings also revealed that levels of regular vaping in young people who have never smoked remains very low.

The work which was part-funded by Cancer Research UK is a collaboration between the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), and the DECIPHer Centre at the University of Cardiff.

Full reference: Bauld, L. et al.  Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015–2017. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 973.

 

Improving care and support for children and young people with mental health problems

Three Royal Colleges have jointly agreed five shared principles designed to improve care and support for children and young people with mental health problems.

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The Royal College of General Practitioners, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and The Royal College of Psychiatrists have issued a position statement saying that as well as the commissioning of specialist treatment, an effective child and young people’s (CYP) mental health system required:

  • acknowledgment that CYP mental health is everybody’s business and should be supported by a shared vision for CYP mental health across all government departments
  • a preventative, multi-agency approach to mental health across all ages, incorporating attention to education for young people and families, social determinants, and health promotion
  • a system of national and local accountability for population-level CYP mental health and well-being, delivered via integrated local area systems
  • training and education for the whole children’s workforce in their role and responsibilities for CYP mental health
  • more support, both from specialist services and other sectors, for professionals dealing with CYP who do not meet referral threshold to CAMHS.

Full document: Position statement on children and young peoples’ mental health