People with co-occurring conditions: commission and provide services

Better care for people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol/drug use conditions: A guide for commissioners and service providers | Public Health England

This Public Health England (PHE) guide, developed with the support of NHS England,  should be used by the commissioners and providers of mental health and alcohol and drug treatment services, to inform the commissioning and provision of effective care for people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol/drug use conditions. It also has relevance for all other services that have contact with people with co-occurring conditions, including people experiencing mental health crisis.

The guidance has been co-produced with members of the expert reference group for co-existing substance misuse with mental health issues, and in consultation with experts through experience, service providers, practitioners, commissioners and policy leads.

It aims to support local areas to commission timely and effective responses for people
with co-occurring conditions. It encourages commissioners and service providers to
work together to improve access to services which can reduce harm, improve health
and enhance recovery, enabling services to respond effectively and flexibly to
presenting needs and prevent exclusion.

Full document available via Public Health England

Buying time promotes happiness

Research suggest that using money to buy time can protect people from the  detrimental effects of time pressure on life satisfaction. | story via OnMedica

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Using money to free-up time rather than spending it on material goods is linked to increased happiness, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In an experiment, psychologists at the University of British Columbia in Canada said that individuals reported greater happiness if they used £30  to save time – such as by paying for household chores to be done – rather than spending the money on books, clothes or wine.

More than 6,000 adults in the US, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands were asked questions about how much money they spent on buying time. The researchers found that fewer than a third of individuals spent money to buy themselves time each month. Those who did reported greater life satisfaction than the others.

Psychologists say stress over lack of time causes lower wellbeing and contributes to anxiety and insomnia.

Full story at OnMedica

Full reference: Whillans, A. V. et al. Buying time promotes happiness| Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences | 2017 published ahead of print July 24, 2017

Male eating disorders rise

There has been an increase across the UK of men and boys suffering from eating disorders, according to research by BBC Panorama | BBC News

There has also been a rise in the number of under-18s seeking help. But less is spent on services to treat people of both genders with eating disorders in Wales than in England, a BBC Wales investigation found.

The UK’s largest eating disorder charity, Beat, said people with eating disorders “deserved better”. Panorama investigated the scale of the problem across the UK by asking every mental health trust and board how many men were referred to eating disorder services for a first assessment. From those that responded, it showed in 2016 there were 871 referrals, an increase from 2014 of 43%.

It also found a 42% rise in under-18s of both genders receiving help in 2016 compared to 2014, as well as a postcode lottery when it came to waiting times with lengths varying from less than a week to almost a year.

Read the full news story here

Feasibility of a UK community-based, eTherapy mental health service in Greater Manchester

There is increasing evidence to support the effectiveness of eTherapies for mental health, although limited data have been reported from community-based services | BMJ Open

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Results: Data indicated baseline differences, with the Breaking Free Online group having higher scores for depression and anxiety than the Living Life to the Full Interactive and Sleepio  groups. Promising improvements in mental health scores were found within all three groups, as were significant reductions in numbers of service users reaching clinical threshold scores for mental health difficulties. Number of days of engagement was not related to change from baseline for the Living Life to the Full or Sleepio programmes but was associated with degree of change for Breaking Free Online.

Conclusion: Data presented provide evidence for feasibility of this eTherapy delivery model in supporting service users with a range of mental health difficulties and suggest that eTherapies may be a useful addition to treatment offering in community-based services.

Full reference: Elison, S. et al. (2017) Feasibility of a UK community-based, eTherapy mental health service in Greater Manchester: repeated-measures and between-groups study of ‘Living Life to the Full Interactive’, ‘Sleepio’ and ‘Breaking Free Online’ at ‘Self Help Services’. BMJ Open. 7:e016392

Programs that teach emotional intelligence in schools have lasting impact

Social and emotional learning programs for youth not only immediately improve mental health, social skills, and learning outcomes but also continue to benefit children years later | ScienceDaily

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Social-emotional learning teaches children to recognize and understand their emotions, feel empathy, make decisions and build and maintain relationships. Previous research has shown that incorporating these programs into the classroom improves learning outcomes and reduces anxiety and behavioural problems among students. Some schools have incorporated social-emotional learning programs — like MindUP and Roots of Empathy — into classrooms while other school systems, including the new B.C. curriculum, embrace it more systemically.

The new study analyzed results from 82 different programs involving more than 97,000 students from kindergarten to middle school in the U.S., Europe and the U.K. where the effects were assessed at least six months after the programs completed. The researchers found that social-emotional learning continued to have positive effects in the classroom but was also connected to longer-term positive outcomes.

Students who participated in programs graduated from college at a rate 11 per cent higher than peers who did not. Their high school graduation rate was six per cent higher. Drug use and behaviour problems were six per cent lower for program participants, arrest rates 19 per cent lower, and diagnoses of mental health disorders 13.5 per cent lower.

NHS bosses warn of mental health crisis with long waits for treatment

 Report finds 80% fear they cannot provide timely, high-quality care to the growing numbers seeking help | The Guardian

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Image source: The guardian

Mental health services are so overwhelmed by soaring demand that patients are facing long delays to access care, a powerful group of NHS mental health trust bosses have warned.

Widespread shortages of specialist nurses and psychiatrists mean Theresa May’s pledge to tackle the “burning injustice of mental illness” is at risk according to chief executives and chairs from 37 of England’s 53 specialist mental health trusts.

Their concerns are contained in a new report by NHS Providers, which represents almost all of England’s 240 NHS hospital, mental health and ambulance trusts. The report concludes that children, older people and people in a mental health crisis too often receive inadequate care for conditions such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

Read the full news story here

New programme will assess how digital therapies can help treat anxiety and depression

NICE is to start assessing new digital therapies that will help treat more people with anxiety and depression.

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Guided self-help, which can track people’s mood or advise on breathing exercises for example, is recommended by NICE guidance to help treat mild to moderate anxiety and depression.

As part of NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, NICE has been asked to assess digital applications or computer programmes, which will sit alongside face-to-face, phone and online therapy.

Developers of therapy applications are being invited to submit their product to NICE to see if it meets the criteria to be entered into the new programme. An eligible product will be assessed by NICE for its content, how effective it is at treating anxiety and depression, how cost effective it is and whether it complies with technical NHS standards. NICE will then produce an IAPT assessment briefing (IAB) on the product which will be looked at by an expert panel, made up of mental health clinicians, statisticians, an economist and a patient representative. They will look at NICE’s briefing and make a decision on whether the product can be recommended for real-life testing in selected IAPT services, where further evidence can be collected on its effectiveness.

Over the next two years, NICE’s expert panel will review data from this evaluation in practice and decide if the digital therapy should be adopted for use across the whole of NHS England’s IAPT service. Funding will also be made available from NHS England for digital therapies that are identified by the expert panel as promising, but need further development.