New research shows the benefit of bullying interventions in schools

Study explores the long-term social and economic impact of effective bullying interventions implemented in primary schools.

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MQ: Transforming Mental Health have published a report which finds that the implementation of evidence-based school bullying interventions could prevent over 24,000 cases of bullying each year.  This would significantly improve the mental health of thousands of young people, and save the UK economy £348 million per year group. This represents a  return on investment for £146 for every £1 invested in implementing a proven model.

The economic model uses data from the 1958 Birth Cohort on outcomes associated with childhood bullying to estimate the potential short- and long-term benefits of effective anti-bullying interventions in schools.

The report highlights that with such clear evidence pointing to the link between bullying and mental illness, it’s vital that schools receive support from both the government and public funding to rollout evidence-based schemes to tackle it.

Full report: The Economic Case for Prevention in Young People’s Mental Health: Bullying Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) | London School of Economics and Political Science | MQ: Transforming Mental Health

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Spending constraints associated with a higher than expected number of deaths

Study published in the British Medical Journal suggests cuts to public funding of health and social care since 2010 could be linked to almost 120,000 excess deaths in England | BMJ | OnMedica

The study reports that between 2010 and 2014, the NHS in England had a real-term annual increase in funding of 1.3%, despite rising patient demand and healthcare costs. Real-term spend on social care has fallen by 1.19% every year during the same period.

Researchers compared actual death rates for 2011 to 2014 with those that would be expected, based on trends before spending cuts came into play, and taking account of national and economic factors, such as unemployment rates and pensions.

The researchers’ analysis of the data showed that between 2001 and 2010, deaths in England fell by an average of 0.77% every year, but rose by an average of 0.87% every year between 2011 and 2014.

The spending restraints were associated with 45,368 higher than expected numbers of deaths between 2010 and 2014 compared with equivalent trends before 2010.

Full reference: Watkins J. et al. |  Effects of health and social care spending constraints on mortality in England: a time trend analysis | BMJ Open 2017

Related: Excess deaths could be linked to health spending cuts

Body dissatisfaction causing long lasting consequences for young people

Body dissatisfaction can start as young as six and lead to depression, anxiety and eating issues | Youth Select Committee

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The Youth Select Committee, a British Youth Council initiative, is supported by the House of Commons and has 11 members aged from 13 to 18. This week, the committee is launching its report, A Body Confident Future which looks at the issue of body image, an issue highlighted as an area of concern in a recent poll of thousands of young people.

The Committee’s key recommendations include:

  • Government sponsorship of an annual ‘National Body Confidence Week’ which would be supported by all relevant departments.
  • Introduction of minimum standards for social media companies in relation to content moderation, to be enforced in the forthcoming digital charter.
  • Measures to improve the diversity of advertising campaigns.
  • Adequate funding for schools so that pupils are supported in their wider wellbeing, including on issues related to body dissatisfaction.
  • Greater focus on body image in online resources aimed at young people, teachers and parents.

Full detail at British Youth Council

See also: BBC News: Young people out of love with their own bodies, says report

Healthy people, healthy planet

Healthy people, healthy planet: The role of health systems in promoting healthier lifestyles and a greener future | Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development 

This report was produced to inform the 2017 meeting of the G7 ministers of health. It provides a broad overview of the main policy actions that G7 countries can take to improve population health and to decrease the human footprint on the environment.

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Image source: http://www.oecd.org

The report makes the following policy recommendations:

  • Support the development and implementation of nutritional guidelines promoting healthier food consumption – as this can lead to less stress on the environmental resources used in food production – as well as reduce the environmental footprint in hospitals and in nursing homes by encouraging healthier food consumption, waste reduction and cleaner energy generation;
  • Create partnerships with various national and local stakeholders, including local city authorities and ministries of industry, environment, transport, and agriculture, in order to incorporate health and environmental considerations into urban planning schemes;
  • Implement public health actions encouraging more physical activity and greater reliance on active modes of transportation, such as through physical activity-promoting mass media campaigns, bike sharing schemes and creating low-emission zones.

Full report: Healthy people, healthy planet

Academic performance predicts risk of suicide attempt in adults

A. Sörberg Wallin et al. |Suicide attempt predicted by academic performance and childhood IQ: a cohort study of 26 000 children | Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica | 2017 | via ScienceDaily

In this study, poor academic performance, measured as grade point average (GPA) at age 16, was a robust and strong predictor of suicide attempt up to middle age.

After controlling for potential confounding factors including childhood IQ, those in the lowest GPA quartile had a near five-fold higher risk of suicide attempt than those in the highest quartile:

Objective

Academic performance in youth, measured by grade point average (GPA), predicts suicide attempt, but the mechanisms are not known. It has been suggested that general intelligence might underlie the association.

Methods

We followed 26 315 Swedish girls and boys in population-representative cohorts, up to maximum 46 years of age, for the first suicide attempt in hospital records. Associations between GPA at age 16, IQ measured in school at age 13 and suicide attempt were investigated in Cox regressions and mediation analyses.

Results

There was a clear graded association between lower GPA and subsequent suicide attempt. With control for potential confounders, those in the lowest GPA quartile had a near five-fold risk (HR 4.9, 95% CI 3.7–6.7) compared to those in the highest quartile. In a mediation analysis, the association between GPA and suicide attempt was robust, while the association between IQ and suicide attempt was fully mediated by GPA.

Conclusions

Poor academic performance in compulsory school, at age 16, was a robust predictor of suicide attempt past young adulthood and seemed to account for the association between lower childhood IQ and suicide attempt.

Full abstract at Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica

Online social networks help smokers quit

Study finds that online social networks designed to help smokers kick the tobacco habit are effective | PLOS ONE | story via ScienceDaily

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Researchers examined the tobacco use of more than 2,600 smokers who participated in an online smoking cessation community. The study found that 21 percent of those classified as active users after their first week in the community reported that they quit smoking three months later. Those who were less active in the community were less likely to quit.

This is the first study to look at smokers’ behaviors in an online community over time and to report a prospective relationship between social network involvement and quitting smoking.  After three months, 21 percent of  those who actively contributed content in the community had quit smoking; 11 percent of passive users (those who only read others’ posts) had quit smoking; and only 8 percent of study participants that never visited quit smoking.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Amanda L. Graham et al. | A prospective examination of online social network dynamics and smoking cessation. | PLOS ONE| 2017; 12 (8)

Cervical screening coverage rates in England fall

This report presents information about the NHS Cervical Screening Programme in England in 2016-17. It includes data on the call and recall system, on screening samples examined by pathology laboratories and on referrals to colposcopy clinics | NHS Digital

Key Facts:

• At 31 March 2017, the percentage of eligible women (aged 25 to 64) who were recorded as screened adequately within the specified period was 72.0 per cent. This compares with 72.7 per cent at 31 March 2016 and 75.4 per cent at 31 March 2012.

• A total of 4.45 million women aged 25 to 64 were invited for screening in 2016-17, representing an increase of 5.6 per cent from 2015-16 when 4.21 million women were invited.

• In total, 3.18 million women aged 25 to 64 years were tested in 2016-17, an increase of 2.9 per cent from 2015-16 when 3.09 million women were tested.

• Of samples submitted by GPs and NHS Community Clinics, 94.8 per cent of test results were returned Negative.

• 8.8 per cent of patients did not attend colposcopy appointments and gave no prior warning.

Full detail at NHS Digital: Cervical Screening Programme, England – 2016-17