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

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Mental ill-health of children and young people

New research shows a quarter of girls (24%) and one in 10 boys (9%) are depressed at age 14. | National Childrens Bureau

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Researchers from the UCL Institute of Education and the University of Liverpool have analysed information on more than 10,000 children born in 2000-01 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study. This briefing provides details of the mental health among this cohort.

The findings show that while the majority of 3-14-year-olds in the UK are not suffering from mental ill-health, a substantial proportion experience significant difficulties. Being from a poorer background or being of mixed or white ethnic background appeared to raise the risk.

Full briefing: Mental ill-health among children of the new century

See also: National Childrens Bureau|  NHS England | BBC News

Access and waiting times in children and young people’s mental health services

New report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) examines new data on access to specialist treatment for children and young people with mental health problems, and the waiting times they face. 

This report shows that over a quarter of young people referred to specialist mental health services are not accepted for treatment. Little progress has been made in reducing the high proportion of young people who are not accepted into specialist services despite having been referred by a concerned GP or teacher. While in some areas good quality early intervention services are in place to help these young people, these are not consistently provided across the country.

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Image source: epi.org.uk

When referrals are accepted, young people in many areas are still waiting an unacceptably long time for treatment. The case for national waiting time standards to be put in place is therefore strong. Some progress is, however, being made in reducing waiting times to treatment, which may be due to the additional funding earmarked for children’s mental health services.

Full report: Access and waiting times in children and young people’s mental health services | Emily Frith | Education Policy Institute

PHE launches Rise Above for Schools programme

New schools programme to equip young people with coping strategies for modern life | PHE

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Image source: VFS Digital Design – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Dynamic new resources for teachers will help build crucial life-skills for young people to boost their resilience and improve their mental health and wellbeing, as part of a new evidence-based programme for schools unveiled by Public Health England (PHE).

With around 1 in 5 young people experiencing cyberbullying and 1 in 3 reporting that their body was “too fat”, pupils aged between 11 and 16 will be taught how to cope with some of modern life’s most challenging issues, equipping young people with resilience skills that will help them throughout adulthood.

PHE has developed a series of new resources for secondary school teachers to use in their lesson plans as part of the Rise Above for Schools programme. The resources will help teachers to engage pupils with coping strategies about ‘traditional’ health issues, like smoking and alcohol, while also addressing some of the most challenging pressures young people face today in an ‘always on’ social media generation.

Read the full press release here

Smoking bans having positive impact on child health

Faber, T. et al. Effect of tobacco control policies on perinatal and child health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health. Volume 2, No. 9, e420–e437, September 2017

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A global study published in The Lancet Public Health journal has concluded that Child health has improved significantly since the introduction of public smoking bans in many countries.  The systematic review and meta-analysis showed that rates of children needing hospital care for severe chest infections have fallen by more than 18% since anti-smoking laws were introduced.

In line with earlier research, the study authors estimated that severe asthma attacks had fallen by almost 10% while the number of babies born prematurely had dropped by around 4% overall.

Raising taxes on tobacco products may also have improved child health, the researchers said, but the findings were less conclusive.

Full article available here

Related: Smoke-free policy and child health

Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children

An increasing body of research is showing associations between green space and overall health. Children are spending more time indoors while pediatric mental and behavioral health problems are increasing | Journal of Pediatric Nursing

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A systematic review of the literature was done to examine the association between access to green space and the mental well-being of children.

Twelve articles relating to green space and the mental well-being of children were reviewed. Three articles outside the date criteria were included as they are cited often in the literature as important early research on this topic.

Access to green space was associated with improved mental well-being, overall health and cognitive development of children. It promotes attention restoration, memory, competence, supportive social groups, self-discipline, moderates stress, improves behaviors and symptoms of ADHD and was even associated with higher standardized test scores.

Full reference: McCormick, R. (2017) Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children: A Systematic Review. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: 4 September 2017

Experimental vaping does not turn into regular use among young people

Surveys across the UK show most e-cigarette experimentation does not turn into regular use | International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health| Story via OnMedica

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A study, which questioned more than 60,000 young people, found that most e-cigarette experimentation among young people does not turn into regular use. The findings also revealed that levels of regular vaping in young people who have never smoked remains very low.

The work which was part-funded by Cancer Research UK is a collaboration between the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), and the DECIPHer Centre at the University of Cardiff.

Full reference: Bauld, L. et al.  Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015–2017. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 973.