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Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Royal Society for Public Health | May 2018| #StatusOfMind  Social media and Young people’s mental health and wellbeing

This report from Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) explores the positive and negative impact of social media on young people aged between 16-24, and their mental health and wellbeing. It also includes a league table of five social media platforms which have been ranked in order of their net impact on young people’s health and wellbeing by young people.

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Image source: .rsph.org.u

The RSPH calls for

  1. The introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media
  2. Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated
  3. NHS England to apply the Information Standard Principles to health information published via social media
  4. Safe social media use to be taught during PSHE education in school
  5.  Social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts and other data, and discreetly signpost to support
  6. Youth-workers and other professionals who engage with young people to have a digital (including social) media component in their training
  7. More research to be carried out into the effects of social media on young people’s mental health

The report can be downloaded here 

Health, ageing and support survey: 2017

Results of Ipsos MORI research into the views of people aged 50 or over on health, ageing and support for 2017 | Department of Health and Social Care

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This report provides the results from an Ipsos MORI survey of the views of people aged 50 or over on health, ageing and support. The survey was conducted on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, and fieldwork took place between 3 January and 19 February 2017.

Key findings:

  • People aged 50 and over are slightly less positive about their health than a year ago, but still take their physical and mental health seriously. Eating healthily is seen as important for both physical and mental health, though nearly half do not think a healthy lifestyle can prevent dementia.
  • Fewer people than last year say they would take to their GP if they were worried about their memory.
  • Loneliness continues to be seen as a big problem for older people and most think society is not doing enough to prevent it.
  • Views are less positive than a year ago about whether the government has the right policies about care and support services, and about whether care and support services work well with the NHS to provide co-ordinated care.
  • People continue to be more confident about the safety of older people in hospitals than in nursing or residential homes.
  • Concern about meeting the cost of care and support services has increased since last year. However, this has not translated into greater action and people are still not preparing substantially for the financial cost of care and support they might need.

This report is the second of 2 surveys. The first survey took place in 2016.

Full document: Health, ageing and support: survey of views of people aged 50 and over

Obesity services

The current landscape of obesity services |  The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity 

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Image source: http://www.obesityappg.com

This report presents the findings of an inquiry which sought to gather a body of evidence highlighting the current provision of obesity services, identify the barriers to better provision and sought to establish a consensus around potential solutions.  The report makes a number of recommendations which includes the development of a national obesity strategy.

Key findings of the report: 

  • 88% of people with obesity who took part in the survey have been stigmatised, criticised or abused as a result of their obesity.
  • 94% of all respondents believe that there is not enough understanding about the causes of obesity amongst the public, politicians and other stakeholders.
  • 42% of people with obesity did not feel comfortable talking to their GP about their obesity.
  • More than one third of people with obesity who completed the survey stated that they have not accessed any lifestyle or prevention services.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including:  

  1. A national obesity strategy for both adult and childhood obesity should be developed and implemented by the Government, with input from key stakeholders. This should look to strengthen existing services and replicate best practice across the country.
  2. Obesity/weight management training should be introduced into medical school syllabuses to ensure GPs and other healthcare practitioners feel able and comfortable to raise and discuss a person’s weight, without any stigma or discrimination.
  3. The Government should implement a 9pm watershed on advertising of food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt to protect children during family viewing time.
  4. The Government should lead or support efforts by the clinical community to investigate whether obesity should be classified as a disease in the UK, and what this would mean for the NHS and other services.
  5. The Government should commission or support the development of a thorough, peer-reviewed cost benefit analysis of earlier intervention and treatment of people with obesity.

Full report: The current landscape of obesity services

The economic and wellbeing value of parks and green spaces

Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces | Fields in Trust

autumn-1877749_1920.jpgThis new report highlights that everyone, irrespective of who they are and where they live should have the right to enjoy and benefit from local parks and green spaces. Parks and green spaces are proven to help people stay physically and mentally well; places where we can all move, breathe, run and play. They are an important tool to drive social
cohesion, combat loneliness and build community spirit.

The report presents data on the economic value of parks and green spaces, enabling local authorities for the first time to make a robust, evidence-led business case for the economic and wellbeing value of parks and green spaces to local communities.

This research will enable a strategic approach to the provision of parks and green spaces by identifying areas where investment will have the most significant impact on individuals.  It presents a new and compelling argument that, in a difficult economic climate, the provision of parks and green spaces should be prioritised in areas with lower socio-economic groups and a higher representation of BAME communities given the disproportionately high level of benefits that these groups derive from parks and
green spaces.

Key findings:

  • The Total Economic Value to an individual is £30.24 per year (£2.52 per month), and includes benefits gained from using their local park or green space.
  • The Wellbeing Value associated with the frequent use of local parks and green spaces is worth £34.2 billion per year to the entire UK adult population.
  • Parks and green spaces are estimated to save the NHS around £111 million per year based solely on a reduction in GP visits and excluding any additional savings from prescribing or referrals.

Full report: Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces | Fields in Trust

Tooth decay in five-year-olds continues to decline

Figures reveal 23% of five year olds in England had decayed, missing or filled teeth in 2017, down from 30.9% in 2008.

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Levels of tooth decay in 5-year-old children are continuing on a steady decline, according to data recently published by Public Health England. However, clear inequalities in oral health remain, with children in deprived areas more likely to be affected. The risk of tooth decay is increased by consuming sugary foods and drinks and not brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

Public Health England has published two reports presenting information on the oral health of children at local authority level:

 

‘Exergaming’ may help those at risk of Alzheimer’s or related dementias

Older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) showed significant improvement with certain complex thinking and memory skills after exergaming (video games that also require physical exercise) | Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience | via ScienceDaily

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The results of a new study could encourage health care providers to pursue or prescribe exergames (video games that also require physical exercise) in hopes of slowing the debilitating effects of those with MCI, sometimes a stage between normal brain aging and dementia.

Previously published research had found that seniors who exercise using the features of interactive video games experienced greater cognitive health benefits than those who rely on traditional exercise alone.

For the latest study, researchers wanted to target older adults diagnosed with or at risk for MCI.  Researchers initially enrolled more than 100 seniors for the study. Over six months, 14 (evenly split between men and women) persisted with regular exergaming. The average age was 78.

The first group of seven was assigned to pedal along a scenic virtual reality bike path several times a week. The second group was given a more challenging task for the brain: pedal while playing a video game that included chasing dragons and collecting coins.

The results were compared against data collected from a separate group of eight seniors who played video games on a laptop but did not pedal, and also a group from the previous research who only rode a traditional stationary bike with no gaming component.

At the end of the randomized clinical trial, participants in both the group that pedaled along a virtual bike path and those that chased dragons and collected coins experienced significantly better executive function, which controls, in part, multi-tasking and decision making.

Benefits for both groups were also seen for verbal memory and physical function, suggesting it may be worth the effort for seniors to incorporate exergaming into a daily exercise regime.

The authors acknowledged that further research with a larger sample size is needed to confirm the team’s findings.  In the meantime, the research suggests benefits of exercising while also stimulating the brain with some mental challenge, such as navigating a scenic bike path or interactively playing a video game.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Anderson-Hanley, C . et al. The Aerobic and Cognitive Exercise Study (ACES) for Community-Dwelling Older Adults With or At-Risk for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): Neuropsychological, Neurobiological and Neuroimaging Outcomes of a Randomized Clinical TrialFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 2018; 10

 

New funding for suicide prevention

Funding given to local communities in England that are worst affected by suicide to develop suicide prevention and reduction schemes | Public Health England

The Department for Health and Social Care, Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England have announced new funding for suicide prevention. The investment marks the start of a 3-year programme worth £25 million that will reach the whole country by 2021.

It forms part of the government’s commitment to reduce suicides in England by 10% by 2021 and will support the zero suicide ambition for mental health inpatients announced by Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt in January of this year.

Currently one person every 90 minutes dies by suicide in the UK and approximately two thirds of these are not in contact with mental health services.

The funding, which has been allocated to 8 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) with a high level of need, will help to ensure people know high-quality confidential help is available within their community. It will include targeted prevention campaigns for men; psychological support for people with financial difficulties; better care after discharge; and improved self-harm services for all ages.

The funds are set to improve suicide prevention strategies, signposting and raising awareness through to improving quality for safer services and will help drive better surveillance and collection of data on suicide, attempted suicide and self-harm.

It builds upon major work from all local authorities to put multi-agency suicide plans in place, and work for a close join up between health services, public health teams and the voluntary sector.

The areas set to receive funding are:

  • Kent and Medway
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria
  • Norfolk and Waveney
  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  • Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
  • Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
  • Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Durham, Darlington, Teesside, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby

Full press release here