Social determinants of mental health: how our societies are making us mentally unwell and what we can do about it

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Mark Horowitz summarises the new WHO and UCL Institute of Health Equity (Michael Marmot) report and research paper on social determinants of mental health. He concludes that it’s time to focus on the root causes of mental distress, namely poverty, unemployment, poor education and social isolation.

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Psychotherapy for medically unexplained physical symptoms

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Ioana Cristea reviews a recent Cochrane systematic review on non-pharmacological interventions for medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS). The review finds that psychotherapies for MUPS led to reduced symptom severity, but were associated with a higher drop-out rate than usual care.

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Psychotherapy for UK military veterans: demographics and clinical outcomes

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Mark Smith reports on a study of psychotherapy for UK military veterans, using an IAPT service, which focuses on the demographic characteristics and clinical outcomes of early service leavers and veterans.

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Mental health therapy for refugee and asylum seeking children: a small evidence base for a big problem

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Laurence Palfreyman considers the very small and mixed evidence base of mental health interventions for refugee and asylum seeking children presented in a well conducted systematic review from last year.

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CBT for insomnia in psychiatric populations: an effective alternative to hypnotics?

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Amy Green appraises a systematic review of CBT for insomnia (CBTi) in people with comorbid mental illness, which concludes that cognitive behaviour therapy could be an effective alternative to hypnotics. However, concerns about the review methodology cast some doubt on the findings.

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Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy for all common mental health disorders?

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For his ninth Mental Elf blog, Mark Smith reports on a Cochrane systematic review of the effectiveness of short term psychodynamic therapies on common mental health disorders.

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Cyberbullying and mental health in young people

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Elly O’Brien summarises a recent US survey of adolescents, which investigates the relationship between cyberbullying, mental health and substance use problems, and the moderating role of family dinners.

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Lost in anxiety: treatment-resistant anxiety in older people

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Andrés Fonseca appraises a new systematic review of interventions for treatment-resistant anxiety in older people, which finds a disconcerting lack of evidence to help him support the many older patients he sees who are affected by anxiety disorders.

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How do we make a diagnosis? Screening tools for anxiety disorders

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Josephine Neale blogs about a systematic review of screening tools for anxiety disorders, which concludes that the GAD-7 and PHQ instruments are appropriate for use in primary care.

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Face-to-face psychotherapy for chronic pain in children and adolescents: Cochrane review calls for better primary research

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Lisa Burscheidt summarises a recent Cochrane review of psychotherapy for chronic pain in children and adolescents, which concludes that psychological therapies should be considered as a treatment, but better primary studies are needed to help steer pain management decisions.

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