New collaborative to support the physical health of people with a mental illness

Equally Well: A new collaborative to support the physical health of people with a mental illness | via Centre for Mental Health

In October 2016, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges published the report ‘Improving the physical health of adults with severe mental illness: essential actions’  The report outlined the changes that were needed to make a sustained impact on the physical health of people living with a mental illness. It highlighted that coordinated national effort would be needed to bring good practice to scale and support further innovation and improvement across the country.

Equally Well  is an initiative from New Zealand which seeks to promote and support such collaborative action to improve physical health among people with a mental illness.

Now in the UK, the Centre for Mental Health, Kaleidoscope and Rethink Mental Illness are working together with support from the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to create an Equally Well collaborative in this country.

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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

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.

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

Commissioning mental health services in primary care

Of primary importance: commissioning mental health services in primary care  | NHS Clinical Commissioners

This report highlights projects where CCGs and their partners are delivering better care for patients, working across the boundaries between physical and mental health, as well as health and social care, while at the same time reducing pressure on GPs and hospitals.

Developed by NHS Clinical Commissioner’s Mental Health Commissioners Network, the report aims to share learning and good practice from these projects to help support others looking to implement projects across primary care.

Case studies in the report include:

  • Community Living Well in West London which helps those with long-term mental health conditions and covers a full range of psychological therapies from guided self-help, through to sessions of short-term psychodynamic or CBT, carers therapy and a wellbeing service.
  • Work in Sheffield where IAPT workers are attached to each of the CCG’s individual 85 practices, and are incorporated as part of the practice multidisciplinary team.
  • The Well Centre, a primary care health centre in Lambeth for young people aged 13 to 20 offering support with all areas of health including mental wellbeing.

Full report 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

Adult and older adult mental health services 2012-2016

Adult and older adult mental health services 2012-2016: An analysis of Mental Health NHS Benchmarking Network data for England and Wales | Centre for Mental Health

The number of acute inpatient beds for adults with mental health problems in England and Wales fell by 15% between 2012/13 and 2015/16 while specialist community mental health services also reduced by about 6%, according to a new briefing published today by Centre for Mental Health.

The briefing, Adult and older adult mental health services 2012-2016, analyses data collected by the NHS Benchmarking Network since 2012/13 up to the publication of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

The briefing finds that while psychiatric acute inpatient beds for adults fell by 15% between 2012 and 2016, and staffing levels fell by 20%, the number of people admitted and the time they stayed in hospital did not change. This means that bed occupancy levels have risen to an average of 94%.

During the same time, community mental health service provision fell slightly: the number of people on community team caseloads reduced by 6%, staffing levels fell by 4% and contacts reduced by 7%. By contrast access to psychological therapies rose rapidly, reaching some 900,000 people a year by 2015/16.

Full report:  Adult and older adult mental health services 2012-2016