September 14, 2007

Mental Health

People equate mental health with mental illness, survey reveals
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 11 Sep 2007)
Research carried out by the Health Service Executive (HSE), in advance of the launch of a national mental health campaign, has found that people often equate mental health with its opposite, mental illness.  The Mental Health Awareness and Attitudes in Ireland Survey, commissioned by the HSE's National Office for Suicide Prevention, also found that almost two-thirds of respondents would not want other people to know if they themselves were experiencing a mental health problem.

Solutions do not lie with gurus, says expert
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 11 Sep 2007)
People are looking to a "wild assortment of gurus of fashion, diet, health, and spirituality" for answers to their problems, according to an English professor of mental health nursing.
"People are slavishly following fashion.  They are volunteering to be bullied and humiliated on 'reality television' or craving direction, leadership or 'life-coaching' by a wild assortment of gurus of fashion, diet, health or spirituality," according to Prof Barker, a leading UK academic on mental healthcare.

Research shows 14% suffer mental distress (Tue, 11 Sep 2007)
A major study into the extent of mental health problems in Ireland has found that 14 per cent of people experienced some form of psychological distress over the past year.The research, conducted by the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), also found that significant numbers of people suffering from mental health problems did not seek any form of help from the health service. A total of 9 per cent reported that they had attended a general practitioner in the previous year, specifically for mental health difficulties.

Bullying in the workplace can seriously affect victims’ health
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 11 Sep 2007)
Despite workplace bullying being a non-medical issue, doctors and other health service workers should be aware of its potential impact on the stress, heart and mental health of its victims, delegates at an upcoming RCPI conference are set to be told. Speaking before a public meeting on harassment in the workplace, Dr John McDermott of the RCPI’s Faculty of Occupational Medicine explained that the “genuine” health concerns related to prolonged workplace bullying need to be addressed by the medical profession. The public meeting is part of the RCPI’s ‘Promoting a Healthy Nation’ series.

One in seven has psychological problems
Irish Health (Tue, 11 Sep 2007)
One in seven people in Ireland had significant psychological distress in the past year, a survey has found. A study by the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) found that around 14% of people had mental distress, but only 9% saw their GP for non-physical symptoms. The study surveyed 2,711 adults aged 18 and over in the first half of last year.  A final report will be published in October.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide prevention programmes needed
Irish Health (Mon, 10 Sep 2007)
Three out of four people know someone who has died by suicide, according to the Irish Association of Suicidology. Dan Neville TD, co-president of the IAS, gave the figure in an address to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10.Mr Neville said more work on suicide prevention in Ireland was needed urgently.

Call to train midwives to help prevent suicides
Medicine Weekly (Tue, 11 Sep 2007)
More resources need to be put into mental health services for new mothers and pregnant women, University of Ulster researchers have told an international conference on suicide prevention.  Prof Marlene Sinclair, Professor of Midwifery Research, and Mr Iain McGowan, a Lecturer in Nursing, said suicide is the cause of death among a small but significant number of new mothers.

Vigils mark Suicide Prevention Day
Irish Examiner (Tues, 11 Sep 2007)
A series of candlelit vigils took place around the country to mark World Suicide Prevention Day. The events were organised by Turning The Tide on Suicide (3Ts).  "The vigils are aimed at everybody who has lost family members, friends, or work colleagues through suicide," said a spokesperson for the 3Ts. "We ask people to gather, light a candle and say a prayer.”  About 600 people die by suicide in Ireland each year and it has become the number one killer of young men in the country.

HSE South launches self-harm training package
Irish Times Subscription (Tue, 11 Sep 2007)
The growing problem of self-harm where as many as one in 10 young people in Ireland will self-harm at some point in their life has been highlighted at the launch of a new training programme for those who come in contact with those at risk. Understanding Self-Harm has been developed by Health Service Executive (HSE) South in consultation with leading British mental health charity Mind with a view to assisting people who come in contact with those who self-harm.

Mental Health Service

Council calls on HSE to employ psychotherapists in public sector
Sunday Tribune (Wed, 12 Sep 2007)
The Irish Council for Psychotherapy has called on the Health Service Executive (HSE) to open up the public health sector to psychotherapists, who they say are ideally placed to help people with psychological problems that can lead to suicide. According to Dr Brian Sweeney of the council, there is a complete dearth of psychotherapist p
osts within the HSE, which tends to employ counsellors in their place.

HSE complaints up 7% in 2006, and expected to rise again in 2007
Sunday Tribune (Wed, 12 Sep 2007)
The Health Service Executive (HSE) received almost 4,000 public complaints in 2006, according to figures released to the Sunday Tribune. This is an increase of 7% on 2005 and the HSE expects to see a further increase logged this year as a new national complaints mechanism introduced under the Mental Health Act comes on stream. Some 500 staff within the organisation have been trained as complaints officers and the new mechanism was set up to "avoid another Leas Cross", according to Mary Culliton, HSE consumer affairs officer.

Teens placed in adult psychiatric units
Irish Independent (Mon, 10 Sep 2007)
Up to 140 teenagers – some as young as 13 years old – have had to be treated in adult psychiatric hospitals since the end of last year.  Figures reveal that, despite the roll-out of new mental health legislation in November, the scandal of putting young people suffering psychiatric distress in inappropriate adult units, which may not be able to properly cater for their needs, continues.  It is yet another indictment of the management of the Health Service Executive (HSE), already under fire for inadequate care of breast cancer patients.  The Mental Health Commission, the State body overseeing psychiatric services, has reported that two of the young people were involuntarily detained in the centres against their will

Bipolar Disorder

The complications of comorbidities
Forum Clinical Focus (Tues, 11 Sep 2207)
Bipolar disorder is a condition associated with significant morbidity.  As is the case with many psychiatric disorders, assessment, diagnostic and management approaches can differ depending on the particular clinical situation.  The aim of this article is to provide a review of three important clinical aspects of the condition – bipolar illness where significant anxiety is evident, in the setting of comorbid substance abuse, and in the elderly.

Eating Disorders

Why older women are now suffering eating disorders
Irish Independent Health & Living (Mon, 10 Sep 2007)
In a country with epidemic levels of obesity, it seems remarkable that there is also a growing problem with anorexia nervosa, popularly called the "slimmer's disease" among older women.  We have always thought of anorexia nervosa as occurring almost exclusively in young women and that the psychological underpinnings relate to issues of adolescence and maturation.  In some they lie in a symbolic desire to gain control in a family ridden with hidden conflicts; while in others there is a desire to avoid the prospect of psychosexual maturation, and starvation is the tool to achieve this as it alters body shape.  Throughout its 100-year history, it has also been linked with specific cultural images of the female form as portrayed by fashion magazines and Hollywood.


A 'good news' story
Forum (Tues, 11 Sep 2007)
The first anniversary of the Dublin and East Treatment and Early Care Team (DETECT) was celebrated earlier this year.  The service is a national pilot project set up to measure and reduce the duration of untreated psychosis among affected individuals in Ireland.  Funded by the HSE and the Hospitaller Order of St John of God, DETECT serves a combined population of some 375,000 people in the Wicklow, Cluain Mhuire and Elm Mount mental health services.  The aim of the service is to reduce barriers to effective treatment by providing rapid assessment upon referral by the treating team.