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 

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:

Mental health “game-changer” care leads to 75 per cent reduction in hospital admissions

NHS England | May 2018 | Mental health “game-changer” care leads to 75 per cent reduction in hospital admissions

The Improving Access to Talking Therapies programme, services which integrate mental and physical treatments has generated savings of up to £200 000 of NHS funding at one site.  These results from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, one of the earliest to participate in 2016, show that timely and effective mental health care for people with diabetes, cardiovascular or respiratory illnesses have resulted in a three-quarters reduction in inpatient hospital attendance and a two-thirds drop in A&E admission. 

The services which integrate mental and physical treatments, as part of its Improving Access to Talking Therapies programme. People with long-term health issues like diabetes, heart problems or respiratory illness are now routinely given a ‘whole-person assessment’, focusing on what additional mental health care they may need to manage their condition. Helping people cope with the pain and stress of physical health symptoms makes them better able to manage their condition longer-term, resulting in improved health and reduced demand for health and care services (NHS England).
Full details including the case study from Cammbridgeshire and Peterborough are available from NHS England 

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 will take place from 14-20 May on the theme of stress. 

Mental Health Awareness Week is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems and inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for all.

Run by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) since 2001, this years Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on stress. “Research has shown that 16 million people experience a mental health problem each year,” explains the MHF, “and stress is a key factor in this.”

Spotting the signs of stress early is crucial to enabling us to manage it and ensuring it isn’t allowed to develop into a more serious problem. The MHF have designed a stress test, using the evidence-based perceived stress scale. Click on the image below to take the stress test and see how you’re doing:

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As part of its attempts to further open dialogue about mental health, the foundation has organised a so-called “Curry and Chaat” initiative – where people get together with friends and enjoy their company over a curry, raising money for good causes.

More detail at Mental Health Foundation