November 30, 2007

Mental Illness

Mental illness — a socially unacceptable condition
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 27 Nov 2007)
Due to the inherent stigma attached to mental illness, a quarter of the Irish population is at risk of being excluded from society, work, communities and, therefore, from life.  Mental Health and Social Inclusion’ is a groundbreaking report, in that it goes way beyond the medical model of mental illness.  It does not deal with mental ill-health as simply an isolating and debilitating medical condition, but rather as an illness, from which, with effective social and workplace supports, it is possible to recover.

Chaplains make scathing attack on prison system (Fri, 30 Nov 2007)
Catholic prison chaplains have voiced scathing criticism of the "dysfunctional" prison system in their annual report just submitted to Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan.  The report said chaplains "remain deeply concerned that the core issue of a system that is failing miserably remains unchanged”.  Issues highlighted included the imprisonment of juveniles and people with mental illness, the lack of services for people likely to commit a sexual offence, and the shortage of drug addiction courses.

Suicide Prevention

Alcohol is major factor in young suicides – study
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 27 Nov 2007)
Alcohol is a major factor in young people who take their own lives, a study of suicide in the northwest has found. And just one-third of the young suicides studied had a history of psychiatric illness, supporting the theory that many of these deaths are spontaneous in nature. Dr Patrick McSharry of Enniscrone, Co Sligo and Dr Kim Wilson of Sligo General Hospital looked at 108 cases of suicide as determined by the Sligo County Coroner.

Child sex survivors show high suicide risk
Irish Examiner (Mon, 26 Nov 2007)
Survivors of institutional child sexual abuse show high levels of suicidal behaviour and mental health problems, research has found.  In the first Irish study of its kind, experts interviewed former residents of the state's industrial school system and reformatories and found that abuse of alcohol and drugs, along with social isolation, were also common.

Suicidal thoughts link to smokers' pill
Evening Herald (Wed, 28 Nov 2007)
Reports of suicidal feelings among patients taking a stop- smoking drug are being "monitored closely", the medicines watchdog has said.  The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is looking at evidence after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an evaluation of Champix.  The drug, also known as varenicline, is a prescription- only medicine launched in the UK last December.

Mental Health Service

More psychiatric staff means shorter stay — report
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 27 Nov 2007)
Length of stay and re-admission rates are lower in psychiatric hospitals that have more doctors, according to a new study from the Health Research Board (HRB).  The study found that, in general, there is no association between the number of re-admissions and level of service provision, such as the number of community residences, the number of places in these residences or their staffing levels.  “However, we did find one slight, but noteworthy correlation,” said Ms Antoinette Daly, Researcher at the HRB. “In facilities with more medical staff, patients had a shorter length of stay in the first instance and fewer patients were re-admitted or became frequent users.”

Hundreds of addicts left without help in Carlow
Carlow Nationalist (Wed, 28 Nov 2007)
Hundreds of Carlow drug addicts with mental illnesses have been left without much-needed counselling.  A vacant position for a counsellor within Carlow Mental Health Services since June 2005 has resulted in schizophrenic and bi-polar addicts going without specialist medical attention.  Over 170 mentally ill drug addicts have lost out on vital care.

SVP seeks commitments in pre-Budget submission
Irish Medical News (Fri, 23 Nov 2007)
In the submission, SVP said that it finds “unacceptable” the lack of access to appropriate clinicians and services for children and young people with mental health difficulties in Ireland.

Funding for prisoners' mental health (Fri, 23 Nov 2007)
Over stg£200,000 is to be taken from the healthcare budget to support prisoners' mental wellbeing,
Northern Ireland's Health Minister said today.  Extra money to boost inadequate provision for inmates has been allocated despite warnings that there are not enough psychiatric health nurses in the general NHS. 

Eating Disorders

Girls think slim is key to success
Metro (Fri, 23 Nov 2007)
Girls as young as seven think being slim and pretty also makes you clever, happy and popular, a study has revealed.  Researchers who questioned seven to 10-year-old members of the Brownies found happiness and confidence depended on having strong, supportive friend- ship groups, being well liked, and feeling included.  And their greatest fear was being bullied, singled out, or excluded, according to the Under Ten And Under Pressure report, published by Girlguiding UK and eating disorders charity Beat.