Two big announcements this week: the Deputy Prime Minister calls for zero suicides, and the leader of the opposition pledges to put an end to “child mental health neglect.” Politicians of different stripes speaking with one voice! Cross-party consensus! Is mental health finally becoming a political priority? Or are these more empty promises, more pie-in-the-sky targets, more examples of cynical electioneering rhetoric? Time will tell.
• Nick Clegg calls for zero suicides across the NHS
On Monday 19 January the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg hosted a Mental Health Conference, bringing together leading clinicians, policy makers and campaign groups to discuss the future of mental health services in England.
At the conference, co-hosted by the Minister of State for Care and Support Norman Lamb, the Deputy Prime Minister called on all NHS trusts to commit to a new ambition for ‘zero suicides’ in order to dramatically reduce suicides in our health service. This ambition has already been adopted in some areas with Mersey Care in Liverpool, South West England and East of England all making the commitment. (Gov.uk)
• Miliband pledge to end child mental health 'neglect'
Labour says it will “end the scandal of neglect” of child mental health issues if it wins May's general election. Leader Ed Miliband will use a visit to a mental health group to say greater emphasis is needed on prevention, early intervention and better support. It forms part of his plans to improve mental health provision in England. Mr Miliband will say the proposals would save NHS money and improve care. Ministers have said they are working to improve mental health care. (BBC News)
• The promise and limits of 'mental health first aid'
In just the last few years, experts have begun arguing that we need a program like this for mental health emergencies, too. Last year, a program called Mental Health First Aid received federal funding for the first time. In Australia, where the program originated, 1 percent of the adult population is said to have attended a course; there and in the United States and Europe, experts are beginning to test how well it works. In the United States, more than 300,000 people have been trained, including more than 2,000 in Massachusetts. The idea is to be able to respond to mental health emergencies calmly and proactively, and to be able to promptly steer those in need toward the right resources. (Boston Globe)
• Online mindfulness training
Online mindfulness training can improve mental health. An online platform is a viable medium to implement and disseminate evidence-based interventions and is a highly scalable approach to reach the general public. (Journal of Medical Internet Research)
• Ditch the Prozac, take up crafting?
As the popularity of crafting grows, researchers studying brain-craft links are increasingly finding mental health benefits. Let’s be honest — there aren’t a lot of studies that focus on the mental impact of one craft vs. another. But increasingly, research shows that picking up needles, of any kind, isn’t just about feeling more satisfied or happier, though those are oft-mentioned benefits. We’re talking help with depression, ADHD, anxiety and a host of other mental health issues. (Yahoo)
• Every two seconds somebody in th UK Googles ‘depression’
Using the latest results for Google’s Keyword Tools (a resource for advertisers to monitor search volumes for terms such as ‘depression’), we have found that people in the UK are making 27 searches a minute for depression, 22 a minute for stress and 21 a minute for anxiety.
These findings offer a real insight into the mental health of the nation, and reflect Office for National Statistics’ figures which show that more than 15 million working days per year are lost to sickness absence for stress, depression and anxiety. (The Priory Group)