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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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

Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England

This report contains results from a survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11. 12,051 pupils in 177 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2016. | NHS Digital

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This survey report presents information on the percentage of pupils who have ever smoked, tried alcohol or taken drugs and their attitudes towards these behaviours.  It also includes breakdowns by age, gender, ethnicity and region.

Other areas covered include the use of new psychoactive substances (also known as legal highs), beliefs about drinking, whether pupils had ever got drunk and consequences of drinking. Questions on the use of nitrous oxide have also been asked for the first time.

Key Facts

In 2016

  • 19 per cent of 11-15 year old pupils had ever smoked, which is similar to 2014
  • 44 per cent of pupils had ever drunk alcohol
  • 24 per cent of pupils reported they had ever taken drugs. This compares to 15 per cent in 2014. Part of the increase since 2014 may be explained by the addition of questions on nitrous oxide and new psychoactive substances. After allowing for this however, it still represents a large increase. Therefore an estimate from the next survey in 2018 is required before we can be confident that these survey results reflect a genuine trend in the wider population. In the meantime the results for drug taking from this survey should be treated with caution.
  • 3 per cent of pupils were regular smokers, 10 per cent had drunk alcohol in the last week and 10 per cent had taken drugs in the last month.

Full report: Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England – 2016: Report

Influenza vaccine uptake in primary school children

Public Health England) has published Seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in children of primary school age: winter season 2016 to 2017 End of season report.

This document reports on the cumulative uptake of influenza vaccine during the 2016 to 2017 season for children of school years 1 and 2 age across England; and children of school years 1 to 6 ages in selected pilot areas.

Key Data on Young People

Key Data on Young People 2017 | The Association for Young People’s Health (AYHP) | via OnMedica

This report looks at the living circumstances, education and employment, health behaviours and lifestyle, sexual health, mental health, physical health and long-term conditions, and use of health care services of children and young people.

The report  found evidence of a number of positive trends, with rates of drinking, smoking and teenage pregnancy all continuing to fall. However, authors explained the teens and early 20s remain a ‘risky period’ in health terms, for a range of issues that will have lifetime implications. These include: diet, activity and obesity; sexually transmitted infections; the peak age for diagnosis of a number of chronic conditions such as asthma and type 1 diabetes; the peak age for hospitalisation for challenging conditions such as eating disorders and self-harm; the most common age for concerns around child sexual exploitation.

The report also highlighted the impact of health inequalities, with young people living in the most deprived areas are more likely to be killed or seriously injured on roads, more likely to be obese, and more likely to have worse physical, mental and sexual health outcomes.

Full report: Key Data on Young  People 2017:  Latest information and statistics 

OnMedica News story: We are ‘sitting on a young people’s health time bomb’

Trends in child BMI

This report uses National Child Measurement Programme  data to examine the changes in children’s body mass index (BMI) between 2006 to 2007 and 2015 to 2016

The report explores trends in obesity, overweight, excess weight and underweight prevalence, as well as changes in mean BMI over time. It is aimed at local authorities and other organisations who want to examine detailed trends in child weight category prevalence over time, and how these vary by health inequality.

Trends within different socioeconomic and ethnic groups are examined to determine whether existing health inequalities are widening or becoming smaller.

The report is accompanied by a summary of main findings and a supplementary dataset.

National Child Measurement Programme: changes in children’s body mass index between 2006 to 2007 and 2015 to 2016:

See also: National child measurement programme

Depression in children and young people

NICE has published a guideline on identifying and managing depression in children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years.

This guideline covers identifying and managing depression in children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years. Based on the stepped care model, it aims to improve recognition and assessment and promote effective treatments for mild, moderate and severe depression.

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Image source: www.nice.org.uk

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Full guideline: Depression in children and young people: identification and management