November 23, 2007

Mental Health

Growing number of babies display emotional problems
Irish Examiner (Tues, 20 Nov 2007)
A growing number of babies and toddlers are presenting with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties according to psychologists operating a unique service for infant mental health. Problems include aggression in toddlers or babies who appear withdrawn and lifeless and who are not meeting their social and emotional development milestones. Catherine Maguire, a senior clinical psychologist and infant mental health specialist, said there are "constant" referrals to the service that operates in north Cork, involving the Health Service Executive Child, Adolescent and Family Psychology Service and an early intervention team.

Women’s Health Council applauds NESF report 
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 20 Nov 2007)
The Women’s Health Council (WHC) of Ireland has applauded the recognition that gender can play a role in how people experience mental health difficulties. Ms Geraldine Luddy, Director of the WHC, welcomed the publication of the National Economic and Social Forum’s Expert Group’s report on Mental Health & Social Inclusion, and called for its recommendations to be “swiftly implemented”.

'Basket case' jibes at mentally ill earns rap from watchdog for RTE
Irish Daily Mail (Fri, 23 Nov 2007)
RTE has come under fire for referring to people with mental illnesses as 'basket cases' on Prime Time and for offending sufferers of epilepsy on Fair City. The Broadcasting Complaints Commission upheld complaints against both programmes. The August 30 edition of Prime Time, debated the link between cannabis use and mental illness. Two guests on the programme, Fr Sean Cassin, a drug worker, and Grainne Kenny, president of Europe Against Drugs, used the term 'basket case" in reference to mental illness.

Losing faith in our mental health policy
Whatever happened to the Government's ambitious policy for reforming mental healthcare? asks Carl O'Brien.


Suicide Prevention

Shock findings on suicide
Irish Health (Mon, 19 Nov 2007)
A new study has revealed that 65% of young suicide cases in counties Sligo and Leitrim over a 13-year period had no previous psychiatric history. The study of 108 cases of suicide in the two counties between 1993 and 2006 also found that 71% of the suicides occurred in those under 45 years of age.

Mentally ill 'attempting car crash suicides'
Irish Examiner (Thu, 22 Nov 2007)
People with mental health issues have attempted suicide by crashing their cars, and in some cases have had to be admitted to hospital to prevent fresh attempts, one of the country's top psychiatrists has claimed. Dr Moosajee Bhamjee, clinical psychiatrist at Ennis General Hospital and a former TD, said some patients who didn't die in a deliberate car crash had told him they would try again.

Drug linked to suicide
Irish Daily Mail (Sat, 17 Nov 2007)
Serious side effects, such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, have been linked to a weight loss pill popular in Ireland. A scientific review yesterday showed that those taking the drug Acompli had a 40 per cent higher chance of being harmed by 'adverse events or serious adverse events'. The study, which is featured in The Lancet medical journal, examined more than 4,000 patients and found that users were three times more likely to stop treatment because of anxiety than patients given a dummy drug. Those taking the drug were two and a half times more likely to stop specifically because of depression.

Cliffs staff intervene in suicide attempts
Clare Champion (Fri, 16 Nov 2007)
Staff at the Cliffs of Moher successfully intervened in at least three cases of attempted suicide, project director Ger Dollard revealed this week. Mr Dollard told The Clare Champion that following a meeting with senior representatives of the Samaritans, signage with contact details for the organisation had been erected at various locations along the cliff. He said management arrangements put in place by Clare County Council have proven to be very effective in preventing people from taking their own lives at the Cliffs.



Schizophrenia medical services not proactive
Irish Medical Times (Fri, 16 Nov 2007)
Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia are not getting any care because neither primary nor secondary care services want to take responsibility, a clinical Fellow has told the Winter Meeting of the All Ireland Institute of Psychiatry. Dr Caragh Behan, who is based in south Dublin and works with the DETECT service there, said large numbers of people with schizophrenia are potentially being lost in the gap between primary and secondary care. She told Irish Medical Times that a registry of all people with schizophrenia is needed in Ireland.


Stress Related Illness

Burnout — extinguishing the flame of caring
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 20 Nov 2007)
Burnout is a psychological term that describes the experience of long-term emotional and physical exhaustion and diminished interest, usually in the work context. It particularly affects individuals who spend most of their working time interfacing with other people. It is caused by excessive and prolonged stress that leads one to feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands.