Doing aerobic exercise can reduce the level of depressive symptoms experienced by women who have had a baby in the past year | British Journal of General Practice |via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
This review of 13 studies showed that involving new mothers in group exercise programmes, or advising them on an exercise of their choice, reduced depressive symptoms compared with usual care. The effect was moderate but significant. Examples of exercise were pram walks, with dietary advice from peers in some studies. The benefits were shown whether or not the mothers had postnatal depression.
The NIHR reports that the evidence does have some limitations regarding its quality but is the best research currently available. This review should give additional confidence to health visitors and GPs to advise women that keeping active after birth can benefit their mental and physical health.
Body dissatisfaction can start as young as six and lead to depression, anxiety and eating issues | Youth Select Committee
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.
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.
It is well-established that women in low-income households have an increased risk of developing mental health problems, in particular depression | The Mental Elf
Studies have found that these women are around twice as likely to develop the disorder compared with those from higher-income households (Hobfoll et al, 1995). Low-income women are also less likely to seek and receive appropriate treatment, in part because of the associated costs (Lennon et al, 2001).
For women who are mothers, this is especially consequential: parental depression has been linked with developmental, emotional and mental health problems in children (McDaniel et al., 2013). In the United States this has been highlighted as a public health concern, and it is increasingly being recognised that community-based services offer valuable opportunities to reach those for whom help is less accessible.
Head Start is a US government-funded service aimed at families at or below the federal poverty level with young children under five. They use a case-management structure to establish a healthy family environment in order to look after the child’s development and wellbeing. Depression affects almost half of the mothers at Head Start. A recent study by Silverstein et al. (2017) examines the efficacy of embedding a depression prevention strategy in the Head Start program.
Postnatal depression affects around 1 in 10 women and not only impacts on the wellbeing of the mother, but can also have long term impacts on the mental and physical health of the infant.
The authors of this Lancet paper are from the Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment (PACT) consortium. This is an international group who aim to gather information about PND to explore a number of questions, including whether there are distinguishable subtypes of PND which might be relevant for treatment and prognosis, in particular taking into account comorbid anxiety.
In this post via The Mental Elf, Jill Domoney looks at the methods and results of this paper, the authors of which believe has created “an important hypothesis-generating foundation for future work”.
This year’s World Health Day (7 April 2017) focuses on the World Health Organisation’s one-year global campaign on depression.
Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.
Despite being very common, depression is still under-recognized and undertreated and there is a need to open up dialogue and tackle the stigma associated with it. The campaign provides information regarding the consequences and management of depression, and how to provide support to people living with depression. Resources include videos, handouts and posters.
Depression in older people is common, under-diagnosed, under-treated and attracts “therapeutic nihilism”, according to Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia | OnMedica
Prof Burns say while one in five older people have clinical depression, “contrary to some popular and professional opinion, it is eminently treatable”. He wants clinicians to offer a wider range of treatments and therapies to target depression and anxiety which are both associated with increased risk of more serious physical and mental health problems.
“Treatments for depression in older people are largely the same as in younger people and there is high quality and convincing evidence that older people respond very well to interventions,”
While exercise is a “very effective” treatment for depression, Prof Burns cites the Health Survey for England which showed that only 18% of men and 19% of women aged 55-64 undertake the recommended amount of regular exercise, a figure falling to 10% and 2% for people aged 75-85.