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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Woodland walks and your ‘Elf

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Kirsten Lawson dons her walking boots and reports on the national Walks for Health (WfH) programme, which has been investigated in an observational study looking at the mental, emotional and social well-being of people who participate in woodland walks.

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Folic acid for depression: results of the FolATED study

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Susie Johnson reports on the FolATED RCT and economic evaluation of folic acid for depression. The study finds no evidence that folic acid is clinically effective or cost-effective in augmenting antidepressants and speculates instead that methylfolate may be a better candidate for future research.

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Peer support for perinatal mental illness: what makes a peer?

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Lucy Simons reports on a meta-ethnography that explores what facilitates peer support for perinatal mental illness. Her key finding from appraising the review is that women who experience perinatal mental illness need support from the right sort of peer (i.e. women who have had mental distress in the context of motherhood) to make the relationship beneficial and to aid recovery.

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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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The Internet Therapist: adherence to Internet CBT compared to face to face CBT

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Andrés Fonseca appraises a recent meta-analysis of adherence to Internet CBT and face-to-face cognitive behavioural therapy for depression.

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Folic acid for depression: RCT finds no effect on reducing incidence of depression or bipolar

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Elly O’Brien summarises a recent RCT of folic acid for depression, which explores whether mood disorders can be prevented in young people at familial risk. The trial finds no evidence that folic acid supplementation reduces the incidence of mood disorders compared to those taking placebo.

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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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