October 26, 2007

Mental Health

Why the tough get going
Irish Health (Sun, 21 Oct 2007)
Scientists say they have pinpointed a chemical reason why some people, when faced with adversity, succumb to debilitating depression while others remain remarkably optimistic. The study, published in the journal Cell, found that the difference may depend on the brain’s reward circuits. The findings could lead to new treatments for people with post-traumatic stress disorder and people in high-stress circumstances, including soldiers in combat, disaster relief workers, and disaster victims, according to the researchers. Around a third of people suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after an exceptionally traumatic event, such as a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.

Is psychotherapy losing touch with real life?
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 23 Oct 2007)
Mental health professionals are calling for further resources to enable the development of a broad range of psychological services. 'Psychotherapy keeps people out of hospital." So said Prof Alan Carr, director of the doctoral training programme in clinical psychology at University College Dublin (UCD) recently. Presenting a review of the effectiveness of psychotherapy, Prof Carr also called for a fully funded national psychotherapy service. "Psychotherapy is an effective treatment for an extensive range of psychological problems associated with physical illness and major life stresses in both adults and children," he said.

The National Economic and Social Forum (NESF)’s Project Team on Mental Health and Social Inclusion report due next month
Medicine Weekly (Wed, 24 Oct 2007)
The National Economic and Social Forum (NESF)’s Project Team on Mental Health and Social Inclusion is to publish its report on 14 November next, Medicine Weekly has learned. Established in September 2006, the team has been charged with identifying and tackling barriers to positive mental health focusing on equality, disadvantage and the urban and rural aspects to social inclusion for those with mental health difficulties.

Lack of sleep linked to mental problems
Irish Health (Wed, 24 Oct 2007) Lack of sleep could lead to psychiatric disorders, according to new research. US researchers  from the Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Berkeley kept volunteers awake for 35 hours and found major increases in brain activity on scans  when shown images designed to make them angry or sad. The researchers say their study points to links between mental illness and sleep problems.

Suicide Prevention

23 schoolgoing children died by suicide last year
Irish Times Subscription (Fri, 19 Oct 2007)
Twenty-three suicides by children were reported to the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) in the last school year, according to figures presented at a meeting of the service last week. The meeting was told that its psychologists were needed in more than 100 critical incidents during the last school year 2006/2007. These included the 23 suicides of schoolgoing children, 24 incidents involving car accidents and nine murders that had an impact on local schools.

A new initiative in north Mayo aims to raise suicide awareness in schools
Mayo News (Fri, 19 Oct 2007)
Amid a rise in the number of suicides in north Mayo in recent months and years, a new ‘Reach Out-Choose Life’ community programme was launched in Ballina last week. The programme consists of awareness, education and training initiatives and is operated and funded by the HSE West in conjunction with the Gardaí, the GAA, Mayo County Council and several voluntary groups.

Suicide awareness drive wins award
Irish Examiner (Wed, 24 Oct 2007)
The National Suicide Research (NSRF) is celebrating the part it has played in securing the first European Health Forum Award for an initiative creating awareness around suicide and depression. The European Alliance Against Depression is an innovative suicide awareness programme that is unique in its approach to tackling mental health issues and is employed in 19 different regions across Europe.  Cork and Kerry is one such region which is being coordinated by the NSRF  based in University College Cork. The programme takes a multi-pronged approach to increasing awareness surrounding depression and suicidal behaviour.

Mental Health Service

GPs in revolt over psychiatric admissions
Irish Medical News (Mon, 22 Oct 2007)
A number of GPs have said they will not deal with involuntary psychiatric admission cases unless they get more support and clarification on their duties, it has emerged.
These admissions are causing “unsustainable
difficulties” for GPs around the country, according to the IMO, which met with the Mental Health Commission (MHC) last week to outline serious concerns it has about the provisions of the Mental Health Act.

Call for law to help voluntary patients
Irish Times Subscription (Fri, 26 Oct 2007)
The urgent need to introduce legislation to provide protection for "voluntary" patients in Irish psychiatric institutions has been highlighted at a seminar in Cork. Dr Mary Donnelly of the faculty of law at University College Cork said yesterday that while the protections afforded to patients in the context of treatment for mental disorders had undoubtedly increased, there was still some distance to travel.

Eating Disorders

The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland, Bodywhys, is calling for immediate funding to be provided to resource eating disorder services
Medicine Weekly (Wed, 24 Oct 2007)
The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland, Bodywhys, is calling for immediate funding to be provided for dedicated eating disorder services for young people and adults.
The Association has given this service top priority in its pre-Budget 2008 submission, in which it also highlighted the urgent need for dedicated bed capacity with multidisciplinary teams in each HSE area.

Self Harm

Cross-border initiative on reducing self-harm
Medicine Weekly (Wed, 24 Oct 2007)
A new initiative tasked with significantly reducing the risk of self-harm either side of the Irish border has been launched in a joint bid by Ministers from Stormont and Hawkins House to identify growing concerns over an apparent rise in cases. The Deliberate Self-Harm Registry Pilot Scheme — launched in the Western Health and Social Services Board Area at the start of the month by the Northern Ireland Health Minister Mr. Michael McGimpsey, Minister for Health Ms Mary Harney and Minister of State with responsibility for mental health Mr. Jimmy Devins.