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Found 144 results
  1. News Article
    Self-harm hospital admissions for children aged eight to 17 in the UK jumped 22% in one year. The age group is now the largest for self-harm admissions, with all others seeing a drop, according to NHS data. Charities say early access to support is vital, but high thresholds and long waiting lists mean more young people are ending up in hospital. Emily Nuttal, 29, first struggled with self-harm when she was 12. At 13, she was first admitted to A&E. At that time, she was struggling with changes at school, bullying and troubles at home. Over the years, she said she had had varied experiences in accident and emergency departments. "It's been times where it's been really empathetic and passionate people, understanding, supportive. And there's been times where there's been that stigma and judgement." She said being labelled as "attention-seeking" was really difficult and made it harder to reach out for help again. "I would then only go if I was forced upon by the crisis service, or if somebody else noticed, and they got people involved," she said. Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 March 2023
  2. News Article
    The link between menopause and poor mental health should be reviewed, the health watchdog has said, after an inquiry into a woman’s suicide found staff lack training to spot the risks. Frances Wellburn, 56, took her own life in 2020 after she was incorrectly assessed as being a “medium risk” of suicide by Tees, Esk and Wear NHS Trust (TEWV). A national study by the Health and Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), prompted by her death, warned that this was a national problem, with funding and capacity problems driving staff to use ineffective “checklist” tools when assessing suicidal patients. HSIB also found staff were not trained to spot mental health risks associated with menopause, and menopause is not routinely considered a contributing factor among women with low mood who need help. It said that women are often prescribed antidepressants when hormone replacement therapy (HRT) would be more appropriate. In Ms Wellburn’s case, HSIB found TEWV staff had failed to take into account that she was going through menopause when they assessed her as being at medium risk of self-harm. This went against national guidance, which states scales should not be used to predict future suicide or self-harm. Read full story Source: The Independent, 23 March 2023
  3. Content Article
    Findings While national guidance says that a patient’s risk of harm should not be stratified into categories such as high, medium or low, such stratification remains common in many trusts. This is because other methods of assessing and documenting risk are not available, and because staff fear being blamed if a patient comes to harm without a risk assessment, including risk stratification, having been completed. Current research only demonstrates a link between menopause and low mood, and not between menopause and more severe mental health symptoms. Women are frequently prescribed antidepressant medication when hormone replacement therapy may be a more appropriate treatment for their symptoms. Menopause is not routinely considered as a contributing factor in women with low mood who are assessed by mental health services, and staff do not receive training in this area as standard. While there is a significant amount of national guidance relating to family engagement when treating patients with mental health conditions, mental health practitioners often find it difficult to know how and when to engage with families with complicated relationships or when the patient withdraws their consent for information sharing. There is a lack of training in this area to support staff with decision making. National guidance raised the upper age limit for referral to the Early Intervention in Psychosis pathway in 2016. Some trusts continue to prioritise younger patients for a variety of reasons – including funding, capacity and misconceptions about whether an older person can actually be experiencing a true first episode of psychosis in later life. Safety recommendations HSIB has made four safety recommendations as a result of this investigation. NHS England: HSIB recommends that NHS England works with appropriate stakeholders, including experts with appropriate experience, to create guidance on culture change. A quality improvement programme should also be developed to support practitioners in undertaking psychosocial assessments that are in line with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Person-centred safety planning should be embedded within the process. Care Quality Commission (CQC): HSIB recommends that the Care Quality Commission evaluates the way in which it reviews how community mental health services assess risk of harm, to ensure its inspections are in line with the latest national guidance. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): HSIB recommends that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence evaluates the available research relating to the risks associated with menopause on mental health and if appropriate, updates existing guidance. Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych): HSIB recommends that the Royal College of Psychiatrists forms a working group with relevant stakeholders to identify ways in which menopause can be considered during mental health assessments. Safety observations HSIB has made the following safety observations: It may be beneficial for mental health organisations to have a dedicated liaison officer who acts as a point of contact for both families and clinicians when navigating involvement in a patient’s care and decision making. It may be beneficial for organisations to involve families in care planning and assessments, and that practitioners are appropriately trained in working with families. It may be beneficial for education bodies to develop training programmes in safety planning and psychosocial assessments, once NHS England has provided guidance on how such assessments should be conducted. It may be beneficial for mental health organisations to ensure their Early Intervention in Psychosis referral process is in line with the national guidance, and that staff are clear about the upper age limit of patients accepted onto the pathway. Safety actions HSIB has noted the following safety action: NHS England has written to all mental health trusts in England to highlight the importance of taking a person-centred approach to psychosocial assessments and safety planning. The communication asks trusts to move away from risk assessment tools that stratify an individual’s risk of suicide or self-harm.
  4. News Article
    Leaders at a mental health trust tolerated high levels of safety incidents and accepted verbal assurance with ‘insufficient professional curiosity’, a critical report has found. An NHS England-commissioned review into governance at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust has been published, reviewing the organisation’s response to serious safety concerns flagged at the former West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough. It follows separate reports identifying “systemic failures” over the deaths of inpatients Christie Harnett, Nadia Sharif and Emily Moore. The new report, conducted by Niche Consulting, criticises board and service leaders’ handling of concerns about the regular occurrence of restraint and self-harm. More than a dozen incidents of inappropriate restraint, some seeing patients dragged along the floor, were identified in November 2018, resulting in multiple staff suspensions and some dismissals. Niche found there was a “lack of accountable leadership at all levels” and lack of evidence for decisions in response to the November 2018 incidents. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 21 March 2023
  5. Content Article
    Summary of recommendations Recommendation 1 (TEWV): It is clear from the research that patients and their families (and some staff) were ignored and that their concerns and complaints are now found to be, on the whole, justified. The Trust must seek assurance that complaints, concerns and feedback are taken seriously and managed in line with The Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009 particularly in relation to recording receipt of a formal complaint. Additionally, feedback and concerns on a service must be comprehensively reported and reviewed on a frequent basis, and importantly, that feedback is acted upon. Recommendation 2 (TEWV): Formal corporate decision-making processes and outcomes were difficult to trace and evidence. The Trust should seek assurance that there is a ratified minute of key organisational decisions. Recommendation 3 (TEWV): Action plans relating to West Lane Hospital were not connected to improvement programmes or risk registers. The Trust should ensure that there is strategic oversight of actions through the Board, Committee or working group where multiple interventions are involved. This will ensure that actions are not duplicated with other activities or overlooked. Using a programme approach around improvement plans and risk registers increases the accountability and enforceability around actions. Recommendation 4 (TEWV): There were issues with the consistent application of Duty of Candour at the Trust. The Trust should seek assurance that there are now mechanisms in place to assess that the Duty of Candour Policy is effectively implemented. Additionally, where there has been a death in a service, whether through self-harm/suicide or homicide, that families are given appropriate, meaningful, timely and compassionate family liaison and support through personal contact with a nominated officer of the Trust. Recommendation 5 (TEWV, CNTW, North East & North Cumbria ICB, Middlesborough Council, NHSE and provider collaborative, and CQC): TEWV, CNTW and System Partners need to seek assurance that they have resolved the problems associated with the clinical transitions phase (between services and child to adult). A compound recommendation is required to address this deficit: a) TEWV must provide assurance that a full gap analysis between the 2018 Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) investigation and its own position has been completed. As the Trust still delivers Tier 3 CAMHS services they should expedite a review of processes and procedures in relation to transitions. b) CNTW need to expedite a review of processes and procedures in relation to transition of CNTW young person inpatient to adult services. c) Patient as well as stakeholder feedback associated with transitions between CAMHS and other services (such as AMHT) should be sought and incorporated into service redesign by all parties. d) Effective governance surrounding transitions was not always in place. The good practice relating to transitions which is described within NICE Guidance should be translated into practice and delivered by all parties. e) Where a young person is in receipt of T4 care and transferring back to T3, there must be a joint response between health and the relevant local authority children’s services (in this case Middlesborough Council) so that the young person is prepared for life in the community and can be properly supported and their risks appropriately managed. f) ICBs, NHSE and provider collaboratives must ensure that providers with a PICU have a written protocol that details the pathway for discharge, including timescales for involving in arrangements, the families and the young person. This will ensure that, wherever possible, a young person is not suddenly transferred without adequate preparation. Recommendation 6 (TEWV): There was a gap between the development and successful implementation of important care initiatives (such as least restrictive practice), plans and evidence-based changes to practice. The Trust must seek assurance that there are implementation plans for new initiatives, policies or procedures and that these are evidence-based, being implemented correctly within services and monitored appropriately. Recommendation 7: There was a lack of systematisation in relation to the identification, mitigation and actioning of known risks at a ward, service and corporate level. A compound recommendation is required to address this deficit: a. TEWV must ensure that risk assessments for young people in CAMHS are based on a psychological formulation and are developed by a multidisciplinary team in conjunction with the young person and their family. b. TEWV must ensure that proper training is provided to staff around clinical risk management and how to ensure that action is taken consistently. c. TEWV must provide assurance that it meets the requirements of the new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework by 2023. d. The North East & North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), NHSE, and provider collaborative must seek assurance that TEWV has a robust environmental and ligature risk assessment process and the ability to respond effectively and urgently to mitigate risks identified through this process (including risks identified on Tunstall Ward). e. North East & North Cumbria Integrated Care Board must assure themselves that CNTW are following the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Tier 4 (CAMHS T4): General Adolescent Services including specialist eating disorder service specification and the QNIC standards for use of mobile phones and social media access in inpatient environments. f. The application of robust risk assessment forms part of the CQC regulatory framework. The CQC should routinely examine the quality and consistent application of TEWV’s clinical risk assessment, clinical risk training and the relationships to local and corporate risk registers. Recommendation 8 (TEWV): The function of Executive team meetings in terms of operational involvement lacked clarity. The Executive team meetings must clearly define and record actions which they are directly responsible for, or, where actions have been delegated. The ET should recognise that it has the mandate to form task and finish groups. Recommendation 9: Safeguarding between mental health providers and system partnerships was insufficient to protect young people in West Lane Hospital. Despite the availability of Working Together Guidance, responsibilities and obligations internally and externally between agencies (providers and system colleagues) were confused, interpreted differently by individuals and consequently gaps developed. A compound recommendation is required to address this deficit: a. NHS England Specialised Commissioning, the North East & North Cumbria ICB and provider collaborative and the South Tees Safeguarding Children Partnership Board and LADO should now all reflect upon matters raised within this report and determine whether further internal review is required to ensure proper learning occurs within each respective agency. All relevant Safeguarding Children’s partnerships need to ensure that there are sufficient mechanisms in place to prevent a recurrence of the same. b. The North East & North Cumbria ICB and provider collaboratives should obtain assurance that provider organisations have sound systems and processes to safeguard young people in mental health facilities, and these provide regular robust assurance to NHS England Specialised Commissioning of effective working. c. Middlesbrough Council and Health providers/ key partners must ensure that there is clarity about the roles and responsibilities of each agency in the planning and delivery of care to young people in Tier 4 CAMHS provision to ensure that support is holistic and meets the educational; social; physical health and emotional needs of children and young people as well as their mental health needs. d. Local Authorities and Health providers must provide appropriate challenge where there are concerns about unsafe discharge arrangements from Tier 4 inpatient care, including appropriate escalation up to chief officers where concerns for children’s safety are high. e. Durham County Council must ensure that responses to referrals are completed within expected time frames, and subsequent assessments always incorporate the views of the family and young person. f. North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board and the Provider Collaborative must consider the impact and risks on Tier 4 CAMHS if a local Safeguarding Board is found to be weak or inadequate, or a local provider is found to have a major staffing issue. g. Where Safeguarding concerns are raised about a child, these must include a formal consideration of other vulnerable family members for the lifespan of care. h. Middlesbrough Council must respond formally to serious concerns raised about the care and treatment of a young person under their care and explore concerns with the family and the young person. Recommendation 10 (TEWV): Reporting structures were disconnected between various tiers of governance, and this prevented the ‘drill-down’ required for effective oversight and effective learning. The Trust must ensure rounded reporting arrangements to support proper Board assurance consisting of both hard evidence and soft intelligence. This should include a ‘trigger tool’ when a ward or department is experiencing ‘stress’, such as failing to complete training, debriefs, high sickness absence, low staff morale and this should be viewed alongside patterns of incidents, harms and complaints. Recommendation 11: There were gaps in relation to both the commissioning of effective services and in relation to the regulatory oversight in relation to West Lane Hospital. Assurance seeking activity was weak with a lack of sufficient scrutiny of both hard and soft intelligence. A compound recommendation is required to address this deficit: a. NHS England Specialised Commissioning and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) must ensure that when there is enhanced surveillance of services following quality concerns, the themes and patterns of all incidents are rigorously scrutinised and analysed. b. NHS England Specialised Commissioning, the provider collaborative and the North East & North Cumbria ICB, should work together with the Directors of Children's Services in the North East region. This is to ensure that services are commissioned which will meet the needs of the growing number of young people with complex needs and challenging behaviours that require integrated health and social care responses. c. A demand and capacity review (under the provider collaboratives programme and in association with each local authority) should be undertaken to ensure services have the appropriate capacity locally to minimise placing children out of area and to ensure the availability of suitable specialist care. d. TEWV/NHS England, the provider collaborative and Middlesbrough Council must provide assurance that all looked after children specifically with a diagnosis of autism have care provided that is in line with the NICE guidance on autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: support and management, recognising the challenges in the system. Recommendation 12: (NHS England) A full assurance review of progress against the recommendations contained within this report must be completed in 6-12 TEWS response to the report TEWV-assurance-statement-20-March-2023.pdf
  6. Content Article
    In the letter. Professor Tim Kendall, National Clinical Director for Mental Health outlines NHS England's position that SIM or similar models must no longer be used in NHS mental health services. More specifically, the following three elements, which were all included within SIM but were not exclusive to it, must be eradicated from mental health services: Police involvement in the delivery of therapeutic interventions in planned, non-emergency, community mental health care (this is not the same as saying all joint work with the police must stop). The use of sanctions (criminal or otherwise), withholding care and otherwise punitive approaches, as clarified in National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance. Discriminatory practices and attitudes towards patients who express self-harm behaviours, suicidality and/or those who are deemed ‘high intensity users’.
  7. News Article
    A mental health trust is to be prosecuted after three patients died in its care. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is bringing charges against the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Trust. It is thought they relate to the deaths of Christie Harnett, 17, Emily Moore, 18, and a third person. The trust is said to have failed "to provide safe care and treatment" which exposed patients to "significant risk of avoidable harm". Both Christie Harnett and Emily Moore had complex mental health issues and took their own lives. The CQC said the trust "breached" the Health and Social Care Act, which relates to healthcare providers' responsibility to "ensure people receive safe care and treatment". In response, a spokesperson for the trust said: "We have fully cooperated with the Care Quality Commission's investigation and continue to work closely with them. "We remain focused on delivering safe and kind care to our patients and have made significant progress in the last couple of years." Read full story Source: BBC News, 25 February 2023
  8. News Article
    Suicidal NHS staff will be left in “dangerous” situations without support when national funding for mental health hubs ends next month, health leaders have warned. The hubs, set up with £15 million of government funding for NHS workers following Covid, are being forced to close or reduce services as neither the Department for Health and Social Care nor the NHS has confirmed ongoing funding for 2023-24. This will leave thousands of NHS staff, some of whom are described as “suicidal” in “complete limbo”, The Independent has been told. The British Psychological Society (BPS) and the Association of Clinical Psychologists (ACP) said the failure to continue the funding was an “irresponsible” way to treat vulnerable health and care workers. Professor Mike Wang, chair of ACP, said: “There is a clinical responsibility, not to remove a service from individuals who are vulnerable, and in difficulty … the problem with that is that the funding ceases at the end of March and that’s absolutely no time at all to make any [future] provision. So, it’s clinically irresponsible to simply halt a service. Some of these individuals are, you know, carrying suicide risk.” He said it was “dangerous” and “astonishing” that funding for the hubs was ending “given the present circumstances of continuing effects of the pandemic, clear evidence of underfunding of health care in this country”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 22 February 2023
  9. News Article
    A high court judge has expressed her “deep frustration” at NHS delays and bureaucracy that mean a suicidal 12-year-old girl has been held on her own, in a locked, windowless room with no access to the outdoors for three weeks. In a hearing on Thursday, Mrs Justice Lieven told North Staffordshire combined healthcare NHS trust “you are testing my patience”, after she heard that a proposal to move Becky (not her real name), could not progress until a planning meeting that would not be held until next week, and that a move was not anticipated until 2 March. Three sets of doctors at the hospital trust have disagreed as to Becky’s diagnosis; at her most recent assessment doctors said she was not eligible to be sectioned, which would trigger the protections provided by the Mental Health Act, because her mental disorder was not of the “nature and degree” as to warrant her detention. In a robust exchange, the judge demanded: “Where’s the urgency in this … I cannot believe that the life and health of a 12-year-old girl is hanging on an issue of NHS procurement, when you cannot tell me what it is you’re trying to procure. “If the delay is procurement, I’m not having it,” Lieven continued. “I will use the inherent jurisdiction to make an order. We have a 12-year-old child in a completely inappropriate NHS unit for about three weeks, and it’s suddenly dawned on your client that ‘actually we’ll put her in a Tier 4 unit and we might have to do some [building] work.’” Sometimes, the judge said, “public bodies have to move faster”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 17 February 2023
  10. News Article
    One in three prisoners in Europe suffer from mental health disorders, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said in a new report. While European prisons managed adequate COVID-19 pandemic responses for inmates, concerns remain about poor mental health services, overcrowding and suicide rates, the report stated. “Prisons are embedded in communities and investments made in the health of people in prison becomes a community dividend,” said Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, regional director of the WHO regional office for Europe. “Incarceration should never become a sentence to poorer health. All citizens are entitled to good-quality health care regardless of their legal status.” The second status report on prison health in the WHO European region provides an overview of the performance of prisons in the region based on survey data from 36 countries, where more than 600,000 people are incarcerated. Findings showed that the most prevalent condition among people in prison was mental health disorders, affecting 32.8% of the prison population. The report drew attention to several areas of concern, including overcrowding and a lack of services for mental health, which represents the greatest health need among people in prison across the region. The most common cause of death in prisons was suicide, with a much higher rate than in the wider community, the report found. Read full story Source: United Nations, 14 February 2023
  11. News Article
    Children suffering mental health crises spent more than 900,000 hours in A&E in England last year seeking urgent and potentially life-saving help, NHS figures reveal. Experts said the huge amount of time under-18s with mental health issues were spending in A&E was “simply astounding” and showed that NHS services for that vulnerable age group were inadequate. Children as young as three and four years old are among those ending up in emergency departments because of mental health problems, according to data obtained by Labour. Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, the shadow mental health minister, who is also an A&E doctor, said: “With nowhere to turn, children with a mental illness are left to deteriorate and reach crisis point – at which time A&E is the only place left for them to go. Emergency departments are incredibly unsuitable settings for children in crisis, yet we’re witnessing increasingly younger children having to present to A&E in desperation.” Young people who endured long A&E waits included those with depression, psychosis and eating disorders as well as some who had self-harmed or tried to kill themselves, doctors said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 9 February 2023
  12. News Article
    A mother who has seen her suicidal 12-year-old daughter shuttled between placements and then held in a locked and windowless hospital room says she is frightened for her child’s life. Since going into care in Staffordshire nine months ago, Becky (not her real name) has attempted to take her own life on several occasions. Her case throws fresh light on the chronic nationwide shortage of secure accommodation for vulnerable children. “I am constantly told there is nowhere for her,” said her mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons. “I fear I’ll soon be arranging her funeral due to the systemic failings in health and social care.” Becky has been alone in a locked hospital room since 27 January. The room has no window or access to the outdoors, no furniture except for a bed, and she is permitted no belongings. All human contact is conducted through a hatch. The child’s court-appointed guardian told the high court at a hearing to discuss Becky’s case that she considered “the risk to Becky’s life to be catastrophic”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 February 2023
  13. News Article
    Manchester city council is setting up two special children’s homes to house the increasing number of vulnerable young people who end up stuck in hospital because no residential providers will take them. The homes, believed to be the first of their kind, aim to undercut private operators which sometimes demand tens of thousands of pounds each week to look after children with the most complex needs. Five Manchester children with complex emotional needs spent many weeks in hospital in 2022 because no children’s homes would take them because of their challenging behaviour, according to the city council’s director of children’s services. Manchester council has developed what it calls the Take a Breath model. Two houses are being renovated to house up to four children in total, with the first hopefully moving in by March. The idea is that when children first turn up at hospital – often at accident and emergency after a suicide attempt or self-harming incidents – once their injuries have been treated they can be discharged straight into the new homes rather than occupying a paediatric bed they do not need. Jointly commissioned by the council and the NHS, the two homes will cost £1.4m a year. Of that, MCC expects to spend £5,500 a week for each child. It represents a huge cost saving compared with some external placements. Last year the council was charged £16,550 a week by one private provider to look after a young profoundly autistic person with learning difficulties deemed a danger to themselves and to others. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 January 2023
  14. News Article
    A private psychiatric hospital provided “inadequate care” for a woman who killed herself by swallowing a poisonous substance, a jury has found. Beth Matthews, a mental health blogger, was being treated as an NHS patient for a personality disorder at the Priory hospital Cheadle Royal in Stockport. The 26-year-old, originally from Cornwall, opened the substance, which she had ordered online, in close proximity to two members of staff and told them it was protein powder, BBC News reported. An inquest jury concluded she died from suicide contributed to by neglect, after hearing Matthews was considered a high suicide risk. She had a history of frequent suicide attempts, the inquest heard. A BBC News investigation also found that two other young women died at the Priory in Stockport in the two months before her death. A spokesperson for the Priory Group said: “We fully accept the jury’s findings and acknowledge that far greater attention should have been given to Beth’s care plan. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 19 January 2023
  15. News Article
    Young people in the midst of a mental health crisis need to have attempted suicide several times before they get a bed in an inpatient unit in England, a report has revealed. Admission criteria for beds in child and adolescent mental health units are now so tight that even very vulnerable under-18s who pose a clear risk to themselves cannot get one. The practice – caused by the NHS’s lack of mental health beds – leaves young people at risk of further harm, their parents confused, exhausted and worried, and the police and ambulance services potentially having to step in. The high thresholds for admission to a child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) unit are detailed in a report on NHS mental health care for under-18s in England based on interviews with patients, their parents and specialist staff who look after them. The report says a young person has to “have attempted suicide multiple times to be offered inpatient support”. Olly Parker, the head of external affairs at the charity Young Minds, said: “It is shameful that children and young people are reaching crisis point before they get any support for their mental health. We know from our own research that thousands have waited so long for mental health support or treatment that they have attempted to take their own life. “Those who end up in A&E are often there because they don’t know where else to turn. But A&E can be a crowded and stressful environment, and is usually not the best place to get appropriate help.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 January 2023
  16. Content Article
    Key findings Report commissioned by Look Ahead Care and Support finds increasing demand for children and young people’s crisis mental health services amidst challenges with existing services. Yet researchers heard from professionals, service users and their families and carers found that you “had to have attempted suicide multiple times to be offered inpatient support". Interviewees say A&E departments have become an ‘accidental hub’ for children and young people experiencing crisis but are ill equipped to offer the treatment required. Private sector providers now deliver the majority of support for hospitalised young people with mental health difficulties at “exceptionally high” cost. Report recommends alternative community crisis services, including supported housing away from hospital settings to reduce pressure on A&E and reduce costs by more than 50%
  17. News Article
    The number of children in England needing treatment for serious mental health problems has risen by 39% in a year, official data shows. Experts say the pandemic, social inequality, austerity and online harm are all fuelling a crisis in which NHS mental health treatment referrals for under-18s have increased to more than 1.1m in 2021-22. In 2020-21 – the first year of the pandemic – the figure was 839,570, while in 2019-20 there were 850,741 referrals, according to analysis of official figures by the PA Media. The figures include children who are suicidal, self-harming, suffering serious depression or anxiety, and those with eating disorders. Dr Elaine Lockhart, chair of the child and adolescent psychiatry faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the rise in referrals reflected a “whole range” of illnesses. She said “specialist services are needing to respond to the most urgent and the most unwell”, including young people suffering from psychosis, suicidal thoughts and severe anxiety disorder. Lockhart said targets for seeing children urgently with eating disorders were sliding “completely” and that more staff were needed. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 3 January 2023
  18. 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
  19. News Article
    Women are four times as likely to die after childbirth in Britain as in Scandinavian countries, a study published in the BMJ has found. Researchers analysed data on the number of women who die because of complications during pregnancy in eight high-income European countries. They found that Britain had the second-highest death rate, with one in 10,000 mothers dying within six weeks of giving birth, only slightly less than in Slovakia, the worst performing. The study found that rates of “late” maternal death — when women die between six weeks and a year after giving birth — were nearly twice as high in Britain as in France, the only other country for which data was available. Heart problems and suicide were the main causes of death. Professor Andrew Shennan, an obstetrician at King’s College London, said: “Any death relating to pregnancy is devastating. Equally shocking are the avoidable discrepancies in worldwide maternal mortality. “Causes of [maternal] death are relatively consistent across the world, and largely avoidable. Most deaths are due to haemorrhage, sepsis and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. “In Europe, non-obstetric causes of death have become proportionately more common than obstetric causes, including deaths from cardiovascular disease (23%) and suicide (13%); these should be prioritised.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times. 17 November 2022