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Found 69 results
  1. Content Article
    Nicholas Gerasimidis had a history of mental illness manifesting as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety. In 2022, his condition deteriorated. His GP referred him twice to the Community Mental Health Team but the referrals were rejected with medication being prescribed instead, together with advice to contact Talking Therapies.   He was taken on to CMHT workload after being assessed by the Psychiatric Liaison Team in Royal Cornwall Hospital in November 2022. The preferred course of treatment was psychological treatment in the form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Exposure Response Prevention. There was a waiting list of a year. In May 2023, Mr Gerasimidis became worse. It was felt an informal admission to hospital was required but a bed was not available. He was found hanged at his home address on 3 June 2023.
  2. Content Article
    The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the third edition of the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) guideline which includes important new, and updated, recommendations for the treatment and care of mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders. MNS disorders are major contributors to morbidity and premature mortality in all regions of the world. Yet it is estimated that over 75% of people with MNS disorders are unable to access the treatment or care they need. The mhGAP guideline supports countries to strengthen capacity to deal with the growing burden of these conditions. It is intended for use by doctors, nurses, other health workers working in non-specialist settings at primary health care level, as well as health planners and managers.
  3. News Article
    Women affected by a review of cervical smears in the Southern Health Trust have said they are "angry, frustrated and scared" for their future. About 17,500 patients in the trust are to have their previous smears re-checked as part of a major review of cervical screening dating back to 2008. Some of these women will be recalled to have new smear tests carried out. But the process has not started yet and will take at least six months to complete. Letters were sent out by the trust earlier this month to those affected. The Southern Trust says it expects to recall around 4,000 women for a new smear test after it reviews 17,368 historic slides. The Trust's medical director, Dr Steve Austin, told its board meeting that the review of slides was expected to start next week. It also emerged that the number of calls from concerned women has increased with many asking for more "specialist" answers. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 October 2023
  4. News Article
    A trust chief executive has warned of a ‘really significant increase’ in patient anxiety and frustration created by the ongoing doctors’ strikes. Lance McCarthy, the chief executive officer of Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust, made the comments during the most recent four-day junior doctors’ strike, which also coincided with two days of consultant strike action. The trust leader told Hertfordshire and West Essex integrated care board on Friday: “We shouldn’t underestimate the impact industrial action is having.” Mr McCarthy said this impact was not just confined to strike days but also affected the run-up and aftermath of each bout of industrial action. He said every series of strike days caused service disruption for at least another 72 hours. He said: “We are seeing increasing frustration [from] our colleagues around it, because we are constantly duplicating work, cancelling patients, rebooking the same patients, etc. “We are [also] quite understandably starting to see in the last two months a really significant increase in anxiety and concern and frustration from our patients, who took it quite well the first couple of rounds but are understandably really frustrated. It is having a really significant impact.” In a further statement to HSJ, Mr McCarthy reiterated comments that trust staff had noticed an increase in anxiety, concern and frustration among both patients and colleagues in recent months. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 25 September 2023
  5. Content Article
    During pregnancy, and up to one year after birth, one in five women will experience mental health issues, ranging from anxiety and depression to more severe illness. For those women experiencing mental ill-health, barriers often exist preventing them from accessing care, including variation in availability of service, care, and treatment. These are often worsened by cultural stigma, previous trauma, deprivation, and discrimination. This document by the Royal College of Midwives outlines recommendations to ensure that women are offered, and can access, the right support at the right time during their perinatal journey.
  6. Content Article
    This briefing was commissioned by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance who are dedicated to ensuring all women, babies and their families across the UK have access to compassionate care and high-quality support for their mental health during pregnancy and after birth. One woman in five experiences a mental health problem during pregnancy or after they have given birth. Maternal mental health problems can have a devastating impact on the women affected and their families. NICE guidance states that perinatal mental health problems always require a speedy and effective response, including rapid access to psychological therapies when they are needed. Integrated care systems (ICSs) have a unique opportunity to ensure that all women who need support for their mental health during the perinatal period get the right level of help at the right time, close to home.
  7. Content Article
    Mandy Anderton is a Clinical Nurse specialising in learning disability and a hub Topic Leader. In this new blog, Mandy explains how they are using shared decision making and reasonable adjustments to implement a new care pathway, where patients with a learning disability needing to undergo a medical investigation can receive deep sedation within their own home.  Working with patients, carers, relatives, anaesthetists and others, the aim is to improve access to important medical investigations with minimal distress, where other avenues have been exhausted. 
  8. News Article
    Millions of patients in England face dangerously long waits for mental health care unless ministers urgently draw up a recovery plan to tackle a “second pandemic” of depression, anxiety, psychosis and eating disorders, NHS leaders and doctors have warned. The Covid crisis has sparked a dramatic rise in the numbers of people experiencing mental health problems, with 1.6 million waiting for specialised treatment and another 8 million who cannot get on the waiting list but would benefit from support, the heads of the NHS Confederation and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have told the Guardian. In some parts of the country, specialist mental health services are so overwhelmed they are “bouncing back” even the most serious cases of patients at risk of suicide, self-harm and starvation to the GPs that referred them, prompting warnings from doctors that some patients will likely die as a result. “We are moving towards a new phase of needing to ‘live with’ coronavirus but for a worrying number of people, the virus is leaving a growing legacy of poor mental health that services are not equipped to deal with adequately at present,” said Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents the whole of the healthcare system in England. “With projections showing that 10 million people in England, including 1.5 million children and teenagers, will need new or additional support for their mental health over the next three to five years it is no wonder that health leaders have dubbed this the second pandemic. A national crisis of this scale deserves targeted and sustained attention from the government in the same way we have seen with the elective care backlog.” One family doctor in Hertfordshire, Dr David Turner, said he was so concerned about the situation that he had chosen to speak out publicly for the first time in his 25-year career. “I and many other GPs feel the issue has become critical and it is only a matter of time before a child dies,” he told the Guardian. Turner said access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) was “never great pre-Covid” but was now “appalling”. The double whammy of a spike in demand and underinvestment in CAMHS was putting patients at risk, he added. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 21 February 2022
  9. News Article
    There has been a rise in the number of young adults in England who report feelings of severe distress, according to a new survey. The study found one in five 18 to 24-year-olds said they experienced severe distress at the end of 2022, compared to around one in seven in 2021. The research suggested reports of severe distress rose across all age groups, except for those over 65. Experts have pointed to the pandemic, cost of living and healthcare crisis. Researchers used a point-based score during telephone interviews to assess severe distress for the survey. People had not necessarily sought clinical help or a diagnosis at this point. The research team, including academics from King's College London and University College London (UCL), say the rise in reports needs to be urgently addressed. Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 July 2023
  10. News Article
    GPs whose patients want to stop taking antidepressants should reduce the dose of their medication in stages to lower the risk and severity of withdrawal symptoms, the medicines watchdog has said. About one in six (16%) adult Britons experience moderate to severe depression, according to the Office for National Statistics. In England alone, 21.4m antidepressant drugs were prescribed between July and September 2022, according to the NHS Business Services Authority. A new draft quality standard for the care of adults with depression from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – the first update in 11 years – includes specific guidance to help adults come off antidepressant medication permanently. NICE’s independent advisory committee, which includes experts in treating adults with depression, recommends the staged withdrawal of antidepressants in patients who want to stop taking the drugs. A staggered reduction of medicine, known as tapering, helps to reduce withdrawal effects and long-term dependence on the medication, according to Nice. The committee said primary care and mental health professionals should follow the NICE guideline recommendations on stopping antidepressant medication, including agreeing with their patient whether it is right for them to stop taking the medication and, if so, the speed and duration of withdrawal from it. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 January 2023
  11. News Article
    An NHS trust declined to provide care for a vulnerable Black man days before he died in police custody while having a psychotic episode, The Independent has learnt. Godrick Osei, 35, died after being restrained by up to seven Devon and Cornwall Police officers in the early hours of 3 July 2022, after fleeing his flat and hiding in the cupboard of a care home in Truro. His family said he had been expressing “paranoid thoughts” and had called the police himself for help. He was arrested and died within an hour. Mr Osei had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, had suspected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was prescribed various medications to treat these conditions. He also intermittently used illicit drugs and had suffered alleged sexual assault in prison around 2013, according to a medical report from North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT). In the days before his death, Mr Osei was in the care of NELFT’s community mental health team, whose caseworkers were concerned that he was exhibiting signs of a further severe illness – emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) – and was a high risk to himself. However, Mr Osei was based outside the team’s catchment area, and NELFT asked the neighbouring Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPT) to assess him instead. CPT refused without explaining why, according to a medical report seen by The Independent. Following Mr Osei’s death, an investigating officer from NELFT made multiple attempts to contact CPT to explore the possibility of a joint investigation into the matter, but didn’t receive a response. Read full story Source: The Independent, 16 January 2023
  12. News Article
    Almost one in three UK doctors investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) think about taking their own life, a survey has found. Many doctors under investigation feel they are treated as “guilty until proven innocent” and face “devastating” consequences, the Medical Protection Society (MPS) said. Its survey of 197 doctors investigated by the GMC over the last five years found: 31% said they had suicidal thoughts. 8% had quit medicine and another 29% had thought about doing so. 78% said the investigation damaged their mental health. 91% said it triggered stress and anxiety. The MPS, which represents doctors accused of wrongdoing, accused the GMC of lacking compassion, being heavy-handed and failing to appreciate its impact on doctors. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 27 April 2023
  13. News Article
    A son has accepted a settlement and an apology from the north Wales health board nearly 10 years after his mother was a patient in a mental health unit. Jean Graves spent nine weeks at the Hergest unit in Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor in 2013 after struggling with anxiety and depression. Her son David said she was left "severely malnourished" and fell. He previously said his mother - who was 78 when she was treated at the unit - collapsed six times and, over the course of six weeks, lost 25% of her body mass. The health board also apologised for the "distress" the family experienced while seeking answers "over many years" and said it hopes to "learn and improve" from Mr Graves's experience. In a letter to him, executives said: "It is very clear to us that we have failed your mother and that she should have had a better care whilst in our services." It said her records were incomplete or were "amended without proper evidence" and she was placed on a ward with a mix of patients with both psychiatric illness and older organic mental illness, which was not "best practice". Read full story Source: BBC News, 26 March 2023
  14. Content Article
    Young people and expert mental healthcare staff say patients are unlikely to receive in-patient mental health care unless they “have attempted suicide multiple times”, according to a new report published by Look Ahead Care and Support. Launched in the House of Lords, the report – funded by Wates Family Enterprise Trust and produced by experts Care Research – argues Accident and Emergency departments have become an ‘accidental hub’ for children and young people experiencing crisis but are ill-equipped to offer the treatment required.   Based on in-depth interviews with service users, parents and carers, and NHS and social care staff from across England, the findings from the Look Ahead Care and Support report draws on experience of treating depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, eating disorders, addiction and psychosis.  
  15. News Article
    Hundreds of thousands more women than men have been prescribed powerful anti-anxiety drugs which experts warn are harder to come off than heroin, The Independent can reveal. New information obtained under freedom of information (FOI) laws shows women in England were 59% more likely to be prescribed benzodiazepines – better known by the brand names of Valium, Xanax and Temazapam – than men between January 2017 and December 2021. Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, with the drug’s withdrawal symptoms including depression, acute anxiety, insomnia, vivid nightmares, headaches, vomiting, shakes, cramps and, in the worst cases, seizures which can cause death. Many countries explicitly state benzodiazepines should not be taken for more than four weeks, while research has found benzodiazepines can cause memory loss and Alzheimer’s. In September 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration announced its “black box warning” must be placed on all benzodiazepines to inform patients withdrawal from the drugs can be life-threatening. Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind, a leading UK mental health charity, told The Independent it was difficult to “know the exact reasons behind why women are more likely to be prescribed benzodiazepines than men” but said the FOI “findings support others which show gender discrepancies in prescribing have been occurring for a long time”. “Previous research in some parts of the world has found that male prescribers were more likely to prescribe benzodiazepines to female patients than male patients. Research into the reasons behind gender differences in prescribing psychiatric medication is important.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 3 October 2022 Related reading: Medicines, research and female hormones: a dangerous knowledge gap Gender bias: A threat to women’s health
  16. News Article
    For the first time, a US government-backed expert panel has recommended that adults under 65 should be screened for anxiety disorders. The influential US Preventive Services Task force also said that all adults should be checked for depression, consistent with past guidance. The change follows widespread warnings from experts on the mental health toll of the Covid-19 pandemic. The task force stopped short of a screening recommendation for suicide. The panel acknowledged that suicide is a leading cause of death among American adults but said there was "not enough evidence on whether screening people without signs or symptoms will ultimately help prevent suicide". The draft guidance is aimed at young and middle-aged adults, including those who are pregnant and post-partum. It envisions the mental health screening as part of routine visits with primary care physicians, said Dr Lori Pbert, a task-force member and professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at UMass Chan Medical School. "When you go to your primary care provider, you get screened for many, many preventive conditions - blood pressure, heart rate, all kinds of things," she said. "Mental health conditions are just important as other physical conditions, and we really need to be treating mental health conditions with the same urgency that we do other conditions." Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 September 2022
  17. Content Article
    If a manager approaches your desk, do you feel a sense of anxiety? If your team wants to challenge an idea or offer a different perspective, do they feel free to speak up? These are both examples of psychological safety - or a potential lack thereof - in the workplace. Organisations have focused heavily on mental health and well-being at work over the last few years, but many still lack an awareness of psychological safety, how it can impact your team and the consequences of an unsafe culture. This article looks at how you can measure and improve psychological safety.
  18. Content Article
    Technologies to assist with diabetes treatment and care have evolved rapidly over the past two decades. With each new innovation coming to the market, there are hopes that technologies will solve the numerous, complex issues related to diabetes. However, although it has been demonstrated that overall, these technologies—when available—bring major benefits to people living with diabetes, they do not make the condition disappear. This article in Diabetes Epidemiology and Management discusses the interconnections between technologies and diabetes distress, an often under-acknowledged consequence of the continuous demands of diabetes.
  19. Content Article
    At least 1 in 5 mothers experience a perinatal mental health (PMH) problem, making mental illness the most common serious health problem that a woman might experience in the perinatal period. This resource was produced by the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) in partnership with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA). It draws together principles collated from a comprehensive desktop evidence review of current policy, research, reports and literature on what good PMH care looks like. It aims to support individuals, services, pathways, multiagency groups and networks across health, public health, social care and non statutory services to consider: Where are we now? Is the care we currently provide good enough? What do families want mental health care in the perinatal period to look like?
  20. News Article
    One in four 17- to 19-year-olds in England had a probable mental disorder in 2022 – up from one in six in 2021, according to an NHS Digital report. Based on an online survey, rates among teenage boys and girls were similar – but twice as high in 17- to 24-year-old women compared with men. The charity Mind said the UK government "will be failing an entire generation unless it prioritises investment in young people's mental-health services". Matthew Rimmington, 24, is working full-time after studying acting at university, but aged 18, he felt his life was falling apart. It started with symptoms of anxiety, which deteriorated until his feelings really started scaring him. Despite going to his GP and being referred to NHS mental-health services, Matthew received no early support. "I was put on one waiting list and then another one," he says. "It was a constant back and forth and we never got anywhere." Mind interim chief executive officer Sophie Corlett said funding should be directed towards mental-health hubs for young people in England, where they can go when they first start to struggle with their mental health. "The earlier a young person gets support for their mental health, the more effective that support is likely to be," she said. "Young people and their families cannot be sidelined any longer by the government, who need to prioritise the crisis in youth mental health as a matter of national emergency." Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 November 2022
  21. News Article
    There has been a sharp rise in long waits for cancer therapy in the past four years, BBC analysis shows. The number waiting more than the 62-day target time for therapy in the past year has topped 67,000 across England, Northern Ireland and Scotland - twice as many as the same period in 2017-18. Waits are also getting worse in Wales, but data does not go that far back. The national cancer director for the NHS in England said staff were striving to catch up on the backlog of care, but experts warned the problems could be putting patients at risk. Steven McIntosh, of Macmillan Cancer Support, told the BBC that the delays were "traumatic" and people were living "day-by-day with fear and anxiety". He said the situation was "unacceptable" and could even be having an impact on the chances of survival. Describing the NHS as "chronically short-staffed", he said: "The NHS doesn't have the staff it needs to diagnose cancer, to deliver surgery and treatment, to provide care, support and rehabilitation." Read full story Source: BBC News, 9 November 2022
  22. News Article
    GPs are breaching medical guidelines by prescribing antidepressants for children as young as 11 who cannot get other help for their mental health problems, NHS-funded research reveals. Official guidance says that under-18s should only be given the drugs in conjunction with talking therapies and after being assessed by a psychiatrist. But family doctors in England are “often” writing prescriptions for antidepressants for that age group even though such youngsters have not yet seen a psychiatrist, according to a report by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the NHS research body. The report linked the prescriptions to the long wait many young people, some self-harming or suicidal, face before starting treatment with NHS child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). Under-18s are prescribed the drugs for anxiety, depression, pain and bedwetting. The guidance on antidepressants has been issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which advises the NHS on which treatments are effective. Referencing NICE’s recommendation of a two-step approval process, the NIHR study said “this often” did not happen. “No antidepressants are licensed in the UK for anxiety in children and teenagers under 18 years, except for obsessive compulsive disorder. Yet both specialists [psychiatrists] and GPs prescribe them. Thousands of children and teenagers in the UK are taking antidepressants for depression and anxiety. The numbers continue to rise and many have not seen a specialist.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 4 November 2022
  23. News Article
    People who were seriously ill in hospital with coronavirus need to be urgently screened for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), leading doctors say. The Covid Trauma Response Working Group, led by University College London and involving experts from south-east England, said those who had been in intensive care were most at risk. The experts said regular check ups should last at least a year. More than 100,000 people have been treated in hospital for the virus. The experts say tens of thousands of these would have been seriously ill enough to be at risk of PTSD. The working group highlighted research which showed 30% of patients who had suffered severe illnesses in infectious disease outbreaks in the past had gone on to develop PTSD, while depression and anxiety problems were also common. Tracy is just one of many people who has been left with psychological scars from her coronavirus experience. She was admitted to Whittington Hospital in north London in March and spent more than three weeks there - one of which was in intensive care. "It was like being in hell. I saw people dying, people with the life being sucked from them. The staff all have masks on and all you saw was eyes - it was so lonely and frightening." Since being discharged in April the 59-year-old has been struggling to sleep because of the thought she will die and she has constantly suffered flashbacks. She is now receiving counselling. Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 June 2020
  24. News Article
    Delirium and confusion may be common among some seriously-ill hospital patients with COVID-19, a study in The Lancet suggests. Long stays in intensive care and being ventilated are thought to increase the risk, the researchers say. Doctors should look out for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after recovery, although most patients, particularly those with mild symptoms, will not be affected by mental health problems. The evidence is based on studies of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle-East respiratory syndrome (Mers), as well early data on COVID-19 patients. Read full story Source: BBC News, 19 May 2020
  25. News Article
    Many people in Britain are likely to suffer from physical and mental problems for several years after the COVID-19 epidemic has subsided. That is the grim message from doctors and psychologists who last week warned that even after lockdown measures had been lifted thousands of individuals would still be suffering. Some of these problems will be due directly to the impact that the virus has had on those it has infected, especially those who went through life-saving interventions in intensive care units (ICUs) in hospital. In addition there will be a considerable impact on vulnerable people affected by the lockdown and isolation. Read full Source: The Observer, 2 May 2020
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