January 7, 2011

Eating Disorders

Online trial to help teens combat body image fears

Evening Herald (Wednesday, 29 December 2010)

Young people with eating disorders can sign up to a unique online programme to boost their body image. The programme has been designed by Bodywhys in conjunction with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service at Dublin's Mater Hospital and Trinity College Dublin. A pilot study will begin next month and, if successful, the model will also be used to help other mental health issues, such as depression.


Mental Illness

Gene 'increases risk of depression'

Irish Independent (Tuesday, 4 January 2011)

Whether people become depressed after stressful or traumatic experiences is influenced by their genes, psychiatrists have discovered. The findings of the study, published in the journal 'Archives of General Psychiatry' could partly explain why some people cope well with experiences such as divorce or unemployment and others do not.


Early puberty increases risk of depression

Evening Herald (Tuesday, 4 January 2011)

Girls who mature earlier may need extra help to avoid depression as they go through their teen years. New research from the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol suggests that girls who start having their periods before the age of 12 and a half years are at increased risk of suffering depression in adolescence.



Mental Health Service


Inspectors seek review of high use of sedatives in mental units
Irish Times (Tuesday, 4 January 2011)

Mental health inspectors have expressed concern over the high use of sedatives in psychiatric hospitals and have called for an “urgent review” of drug use in some facilities. The inspector of Mental Health Services has found in some hospitals that as many as 80 per cent of long-term patients were being prescribed sedatives, also known as benzodiazepines.


Network of therapists to improve mental health care outcomes

Irish Examiner (Saturday, 1 January 2011)

Mental health practitioners are setting up a "database of safe psychiatrists" for people seeking therapeutic care rather than the main- stream model of medication and hospitalisation. Basil Miller of the Wellbeing Foundation, a campaigning organisation founded by the late Dr Michael Corry, said it was imperative to set up a network of doctors and therapists people can trust, "When people are depressed they don't want to be just put on anti- depressants.”


Legal delays over discharge of patients criticised
Irish Times (Friday, 31 December 2010)

The Government has been criticised for failing to legislate for the discharge of patients sent by the courts to the Central Mental Hospital. The chairman of the Mental Health Review Board, Mr Justice Brian McCracken, makes the complaint in the foreword of the board’s 2009 report, published by the Department of Justice and Law Reform yesterday.


Mental health plans outlined for south east
Wexford Echo (Thursday, 30 December 2010)

The HSE has outlined its plans for the provision of mental health services in Counties Wexford and Waterford. The new plan is based on the national mental health strategy, Vision for Change. Under the strategy Wexford and Waterford form part of an extended catchment area. Perhaps, one of the most significant aspects to the plan is the proposed provision of €18.68m to develop community and acute facilities across both counties.


256 teens report suicidal thoughts in just one month

Irish Examiner (Monday, 27 December 2010)

Hundreds of young people who accessed community or hospital services over a specific one-month period were thinking about taking their own lives or had self-harmed, official figures have revealed, HSE audit documents from child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) show suicidal thoughts or deliberate self- harm were named as reasons for presentation in 256 new or re-referred cases in a one month snapshot of all child and adolescent services.


Hundreds call Childline over Christmas
Irish Times (Sunday, 26 December 2010)

Childline received 1,005 calls, texts and emails from children and young people on Christmas Day. The support body said the figure marks an 11 per cent increase on last year. It said 2010 had been a year of extreme financial pressure and hardship for families.


Child mental health services creaking

Irish Examiner (Tuesday, 21 December 2010)

According to a new report commissioned by the Mental Health Commission, the impact of the current financial crisis; gaps in services; a lack of cooperation between agencies; and a lack of crisis solutions —are the challenges facing our child and adolescent mental health services. Although carried out to look at the specific issue of why young people are admitted to adult units, its author, Dr Sally Bonnar, a Scottish consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, provides a unique insight to the provision and running of the services.



Irish Examiner (Monday, 20 December 2010)

Teenagers in great mental distress are still being admitted to adult psychiatric units despite commitments that the practice, described by professionals as "inex-cusable, counter-therapeutic and a
lmost purely custodial", is being phased out. Dr Patrick Devitt, Inspector of Mental Health Services, has called the practice counter-therapeutic as clinical supervision is provided by teams unqualified in child and adolescent psychiatry.





Suicide toll far higher than official 1,409 figure

Irish Independent (Tuesday, 4 January 2011)

Suicide figures would be even higher if many deaths that have been classed as being of "undetermined intent" were included. Latest figures show that 1,409 people took their lives in the 2007-2009 period. But this does not take account of the 495 people whose deaths were recorded as being of "undetermined intent". It is believed that many of these were suicides.



Suicide Prevention


Call for suicide-prevention funding
Irish Times (Tuesday, 4 January 2011)

Suicide and suicidal behaviour is now “a serious social health issue” that the Government must respond to, Fine Gael said today. The party’s spokesman on mental health, Dan Neville, who is also president of the Irish Association of Suicidology said the necessary services must be put in place to deal with the problem.


Minister moves to regulate suicide-prevention groups
Irish Times (Thursday, 30 December 2010)

Moves to regulate suicide prevention groups around the country will begin in the new year, the Minister of State for Mental Health has said.

All organisations involved in suicide prevention are to be invited to a meeting with the Minister, John Moloney, in January to discuss plans to improve standards in the area. The move comes after concerns about governance issues at suicide prevention helpline Teenline Ireland were raised with the Health Service Executive and the Minister.