December 7, 2007

Mental Health

If you're happy and you know it, raise your hand
Irish Independent Health & Living (Mon, 3 Dec 2007)
There is little information available on the level of persistent distress among the population of Ireland.  Such knowledge is of more than passing interest since it may be an indicator of definite psychiatric illness.  Dr Donna Doherty, a psychologist working with The Health Research Board and her co-authors, has just published the results of the first such study undertaken in Ireland and the findings are of significant interest.

Suicide Prevention

€10m needed for suicide prevention, says Government Watchdog (Fri, 30 Nov 2007)
Minister for Finance Brian Cowen must provide a minimum of €10m to fund suicide prevention initiatives in the next Budget, a Government Watchdog has claimed.  Action On Suicide Alliance made the call today for the Government to provide adequate resourcing for national, regional and local suicide prevention projects around Ireland.  This follows the recent announcement that the Government is pursuing closer co-operation with the Northern Assembly on a range of health issues, including a 32-county approach to the issue of suicide prevention.

Separated people at higher risk of suicide
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 4 Dec 2007)
Separated men and women have high suicide rates, far higher than married people, according to new figures published last night. The figures also show that unemployed men are four times more likely to take their own lives than men in employment.  The suicide rate of women who were unemployed was five times higher than that of women in employment. Women who were "engaged in home duties" had a similar suicide rate to the employed.

Suicide experts urged to collaborate
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 4 Dec 2007)
Suicide prevention experts throughout the UK and Ireland have been urged to work together and learn from each other in order to overcome a mental health issue that “respects no borders” after it was confirmed that Northern Ireland’s suicide rate for 2006 was almost double that of the period 2000-2004.  Speaking at the third meeting of the Five Nations Suicide Prevention Working Group at Stormont, Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Mr Michael McGimpsey called for specialists across Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to actively engage with each other due to the increasing levels of suicide across all jurisdictions.

Mental Health Service

‘Right to treatment should not be forgotten in psychiatry’
Irish Medical News (Mon, 3 Dec 2007)
A leading psychiatrist has expressed concern that new mental health legislation may be leading to a reduction in patient care due to the time commitment involved in carrying out mandatory involuntary detention reviews.  However, Dr Brendan Kelly of the Department of Adult Psychiatry, UCD, agreed with comments made by junior health minister Dr Jimmy Devins, that it is too early to draw meaningful conclusions on trends in such admissions.


One in four workers 'depressed'
Irish Health (Mon, 3 Dec 2007)
More than one worker in four has personal experience of depression, a national survey has found.  Depression has affected 28% of the Irish workforce, the Lundbeck Mental Health Barometer revealed.  Half of the respondents believed employers would not be tolerant of an employee suffering from depression.  Only one in 10 expected employers to be understanding and supportive.

Coping with stigma
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 4 Dec 2007)
Medical Matters: "At the centre of the human heart is a longing for the absolute good" – Simone Weil, Swiss philosopher.  We all want to be well.  If we have a problem, we want to overcome it.  So why, if we are depressed or have a psychological difficulty, are we so reluctant to go to the doctor about it?  A new study, carried out by Khan and colleagues and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, has looked at the reasons people give for avoiding going to their GP for help when they become depressed.  The study was qualitative, that is, it focused on the person's own story or personal experience of feeling depressed and trying to deal with it. The results of the review are surprising.

Exercise 'high' could become anti-depressant
Irish Health (Tue, 4 Dec 2007)
A ‘natural high’ from exercise could be formulated and used in medication to help sufferers from depression.  Researchers at Yale in the US, using mice, have studied the effect of exercise on the brain. 

Eating Disorders

Education key to fighting eating disorders
Irish Health (Sun, 2 Dec 2007)
Accurate information and improving knowledge is the most effective strategy against eating disorders, according to research.  A study, published in the Early Intervention in Psychiatry journal, found that when women with eating disorders were given treatment information and reputable self-help books they had a successful recovery.