October 19, 2007

Mental Health

Kick the sugar habit
Irish Examiner Feelgood (Fri, 12 Oct 2007)
Sugar dependence is a common problem in people who are depressed, says Dr Mark Atkinson, due in Ireland next week for a series of lectures titled Positive Mental Wellbeing.  A medical doctor who worked in the British national health system, Dr Atkinson became attracted to complimentary medicine through patients talking about their success with various therapies.  Now he practices integrated medicine, using appropriate traditional therapies with other techniques to reduce depression, anxiety, and low levels of energy. 

New study on death row prisoners by Irish doctors
Irish Medical News (Fri, 12 Oct 2007)
The study into the psychological concomitants of capital punishment on death-row prisoners about to be executed is likely to have implications for the delivery of mental healthcare at the end of life, according to its Irish authors.  Dr Brendan Kelly, Department of Adult Psychiatry, UCD and Mater Hospital, Dublin, and Dr Sharon Foley, DETECT early psychosis service, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, conducted the study, published in the American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry.

Height affects thoughts on quality of life
Irish Health (Wed, 17 Oct 2007
Height significantly affects a person’s perceived quality of life, physical and mental health – and short people are getting the wrong end of the stick according to research. The study, published in the Clinical Endocrinology journal, found that height was linked to thoughts on health, and shorter people believed that their health was worse than their taller peers, even though this wasn’t the case.

Eating Disorders

Walking a thin line
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 16 Oct 2007)
Mental health professionals all agree that eating disorders are on the rise but could it be that what we define as an eating disorder has become broader?, asks Sylvia Thompson.
The number of people with eating disorders is much greater than the estimated 200,000 individuals, participants at a conference on young people at risk heard last week.
And, could it also be that as our culture becomes more fast-paced and more obsessed with food and nutrition that we are, in some ways, creating new categories of illness such as those defined as night-eating syndrome and orthorexia nervosa (an obsession with eating healthily which leads to very restricted diets/

How to identify children prone to eating disorders
Irish Independent Health & Living (Mon, 15 oct2007)
The lack of facilities to treat victims of anorexia are well documented, but we are less clear about how to prevent the eating disorder.  A new study has given some insights into how children who could be prone to anorexia may be identified.  The study, led by the School of Public Health in University College Dublin, looked at the type of Irish children who are potentially at risk of developing an eating disorder.  The researchers went back to look at data from the 2002 Health Behaviour in School- Aged Children study involving 2,649 children.

Mental Health Service

 ‘A Vision for Change’ behind schedule
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 16 Oct 2007)
The implementation of the blueprint for the future of Ireland’s mental health service is significantly behind schedule just over a year after it was introduced, with almost all of the financial promises to date already broken by the Government, the IHCA has heard.  Putting forward a motion condemning “the failure of the Department of Health and HSE to fund and implement the changes envisaged in ‘A Vision for Change’”, Dr Margo Wrigley, joint Vice-President of the IHCA and Consultant Psychiatrist at the Mater, launched a scathing criticism of the official plans for reform, stating that despite “the huge fanfare” it was greeted with, the document has only resulted in “sleight of hand” financial measures.

New research has revealed that the GP is the most important point of contact for people experiencing mental health difficulties
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 16 Oct 2007)
New research has revealed that the GP is the most important point of contact for people experiencing mental health difficulties, with 79 per cent seeing their family doctor as “their first point of professional contact”.  According to ‘Mental Health in Ireland: Awareness and Attitudes’, a national survey of attitudes to mental health and well-being in Ireland, the GP is also the first person people experiencing mental health difficulties would turn to for help even before family or friends.



"No matter how far depression is gone there is always hope"
Mayo Advertiser (Fri, 12 Oct 2007)
Speaking at the official launch of the Choose Life, Reach Out Campaign Ian Howley, a mental health advocate, urged "everyone to talk about depression in their communities and also talk about your everyday problems instead of letting them consume you up inside".  Sergeant Mandy Gaynor, an active member of the Choose Life, Reach Out Campaign, who introduced the seminar, concurred saying "the prevention of suicide does not rest solely on the health service but also on the community".