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

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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

Mental health at work

This report finds that mental health problems in the UK workforce cost employers almost £35 billion last year. The largest part of this business cost is in the form of reduced productivity among people who are at work but unwell: or ‘presenteeism’.

This costs businesses twice as much as sickness absence relating to poor mental health.

The updated figures highlight that the overall costs are broken down into:

  • £10.6 billion in sickness absence;
  • £21.2 billion in reduced productivity at work, or ‘presenteeism’
  • £3.1 billion in replacing staff who leave their jobs because of their mental health.

Getting serious about public mental health

It struck me then, as it does now, that many of the big issues in public health can be seen to some extent as visible symptoms of deeper causes related to psychological wellbeing | by Chris Naylor for The King’s Fund Blog

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So it’s gratifying to see Public Health England (PHE) publish a new suite of resources intended to help local authorities and others make the most of opportunities to prevent mental health problems and to promote good mental health in their local population. This is far from the first time national policy on mental health has tried to direct attention to prevention and promotion (it was at the heart of the national service framework back in 1999), but it’s an area where good intentions have often led to limited action. So, in a world of thinly stretched public health budgets, how highly is work on public mental health currently being prioritised?

Read the full post here

Mental health services: cost-effective commissioning

Return on investment resources to support local commissioners in designing and implementing mental health and wellbeing support services. | Public Health England

Public Health England has produced a series of resources around mental health services.

The commissioning report summarizes the evidence on promoting good mental health and reducing the impact of poor mental health, generated through a rapid evidence review.

The return on investment (ROI) tool and user guide:

  • builds on the evidence in the commissioning report
  • can be adapted to local conditions
  • presents results showing the economic benefits of each intervention
  • show you how to use the ROI tool

The barriers and facilitator report identifies issues that can make the commissioning of mental health and wellbeing interventions easier or more difficult in a local area.

Local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, Health and Wellbeing Boards and their local partners (for example schools, employers, police) can use these set of resources to improve the provision of mental health services.

The documnets can be accessedd via Public Health England

Better mental health: JSNA toolkit

This toolkit links mental health data, policy and knowledge to help planners understand needs within the local population and assess local services.

The guide accompanies the Mental Health and Wellbeing JSNA fingertips profile.

It includes short, bite-sized sections which help people to develop a picture of mental health needs in a local area. The guide begins with sections on understanding place and understanding people. These focus on understanding risk, wellbeing, prevention and community resilience in the local population.

Later sections cover the mental health care pathway, following a life course approach. These include the perinatal period, children and young people, working age adults and older people.

Each section follows a similar structure:

  • introduction to the topic
  • list of potential questions a JSNA may attempt to answer
  • overview of some relevant policy and guidance
  • list of available national data sources
  • ideas for sources of local data
  • links to relevant evidence and further information

Documents can be accessed via Public Health England

Improving the public’s mental health

Public Health England has published two resources looking at mental health promotion and prevention of mental ill-health

Stocktake of local mental health prevention planning arrangements is a high level summary of how local areas are currently incorporating mental health prevention in their planning processes.

The stocktake was undertaken by the Kings Fund on commission from Public Health England. The findings are based on analysis of key planning documents in 35 local areas. This included a random sample of 16 areas across England and 19 areas selected as possible examples of transferable effective practice.

Prevention concordat for better mental health: planning resource

This resource has been developed to help local areas put in place effective arrangements to promote good mental health and prevent mental health problems. It does so by offering a 5-part framework of focus for effective planning for better mental health.

It also highlights a range of actions and interventions that local areas can take to improve mental health and tailor their approach. This includes illustration through practice examples and links to further supporting resources. There is also a resource infographic available to download.