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


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.

[read the full story...]

Lifestyle changes for cognition and dementia: better than a new drug?


Should all molecular research institutes looking at neurodegenerative diseases be replaced by parks, playgrounds and cycle paths? Mark Horowitz highlights a recent systematic review of modifiable risk factors associated with cognition and dementia, which suggests that from a public health perspective, there may be some sense in this idea.

[read the full story...]

Cannabis use in young people linked with lower high school completion and degree attainment


André Tomlin and Douglas Badenoch voice a note of caution about the Lancet Psychiatry meta-analysis of cannabis use in young people. The study links cannabis use in children with low educational attainment, cannabis dependence, illicit drug use and suicide attempts in later life.

[read the full story...]

Targeted mental health support can improve borderline-clinical behavioural problems in children


The statistic that one in four adults in Britain will experience a mental health problem in any given year is well known (if still debated), but a recent report by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition revealed a lack of such statistics for children. The report also highlighted that Office for National Statistics [read the full story…]

The cost of living? Early childhood interventions could reduce the impact of socio-economic inequalities on the mental health of children and young people

This review

In the current economic climate in many countries across the world, the impact of socio-economic inequalities on mental health has become an important topic, not only in terms of supporting people, but in terms of planning a public health response to a rising concern. Poverty and low economic status is known to affect various aspects [read the full story…]

The difference of a few weeks in the womb: do early-term infants have poorer developmental outcomes?

New born baby

Human pregnancy is considered to be full-term when it lasts between 37-42 weeks. Anything shorter is considered to be a pre-term birth and anything longer is considered post-term. Longer pregnancies can be a risk to both the mother and infant and so labour tends to be induced if a pregnancy goes on past 42 weeks. [read the full story…]

NICE publish first guideline for conduct disorders and antisocial behaviour in children and young people

Angry young boy

Conduct disorders are the most common reason why children are referred to mental health services and it’s estimated that around 5% of all UK children aged 5-16 have a diagnosis of the condition. Around half of the young people affected by conduct disorders go on to have a serious mental health problem as an adult. [read the full story…]

Fighting mental illness stigma in the classroom

Classroom chairs stacked on tables

Stigma can be described as a sign of disgrace setting a person apart from others. Erving Goffman, defined stigma as “the process by which the actions of others spoils normal identity.” For those with mental illness the stigma experienced can result in a lack of funding for services, difficulty gaining employment, a mortgage or holiday [read the full story…]

Non-drug treatments delivered by family carers can improve neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with dementia

Holding hands

About three-quarters of people with dementia are affected by neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS). This is a broad group of symptoms including depression, sleep problems, apathy, psychosis and aggression. Of course, many people with dementia still live at home and are cared for by their spouse or other primary carer. These neuropsychiatric symptoms can have a major impact [read the full story…]

Are you making the most of your National Elf Service?

The Lifestyle Elf

It’s not all about the Mental Elf you know. There are lots of other elves who spend every waking hour scurrying around to find reliable evidence to help you. There are now seven magnificent elf websites and one more due to launch very soon.  Here’s a quick run down of my brothers and sisters in [read the full story…]