Zero suicide

Zero Suicide

BBC News | 17 November

How much could the death toll from suicide be reduced?

Deaths by suicide annually in the UK are the equivalent of the likely number of fatalities if 20 long-haul flights crashed each year, according to campaigners launching the Zero Suicide Alliance.

Figures from the Samaritans show 6,188 suicides were recorded in the UK in 2015, an average of 17 per day.

How preventable are these losses of life with all the tragic consequences for bereaved families? And is zero suicide a realistic direction of travel?

The aim of the new alliance is to get specific commitments to reduce suicide deaths, and for NHS organisations to aim for zero amongst patients in their care.

At the launch there was an impassioned speech from Steve Mallen, whose 18-year-old son Edward took his own life in 2015.

He acknowledged there was greater national awareness of mental health as an issue but said there had been little change in recent years on the NHS frontline.

"Enough is enough", he said, "we can save more lives than at present". He called the current state of the mental health system an "indictment on society" and said frontline services were in a "terrible state".

Mr Mallen's hard-hitting comments and criticism of the state of mental health care were made in the presence of Jeremy Hunt.

The health secretary argued there had been an improvement in crisis care but said there was "lots more to do". Mr Hunt called on mental health trusts in England to commit to zero suicide among their patients.

New research funding opportunity: NIHR i4i Product Development Awards…

New research funding opportunity: NIHR i4i Product Development Awards - Call 15

New research funding opportunity: NIHR i4i Product Development Awards - Call 15

Applications are invited for the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) research proposals for translational R&D projects aimed at cultivating new techniques or technologies into innovative interventions which address existing or emerging healthcare needs. i4i supports projects developing innovative medical technology including medical devices, active implantable devices and in vitro diagnostic devices. i4i also supports projects which utilise and develop techniques or technologies from other industry sectors that could have a potential impact if applied in a healthcare setting.

For more information and to apply visit the NIHR website.

If you need help with your application or would like to discuss whether your idea is in scope email us at [email protected] or call us on 020 8843 8015.

Organisations can apply for contracts of £100,000 to develop…

Organisations can apply for contracts of £100,000 to develop innovative new products and services that improve mental health provision or surgery in the NHS.

NHS England and Academic Health Science Networks are to invest in projects that either develop new products and services to improve mental health provision or create new technologies for use in surgery.

The 2 competitions are being run alongside each other under SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative). They are open to single companies or organisations from the private, public and third sectors, including charities.

Under both competitions, there is a first phase for organisations to carry out studies into the feasibility of their ideas. Up to £100,000 is available per project. The best ideas could go on to win further funding in a second phase for more detailed product development.

Patients are helping this mental health trust transform its services​

Patients are helping this mental health trust transform its services​

1 November 2017 | The Guardian

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust calls on both employees and patients to participate and lead workshops and offer feedback

For new mothers with mental health conditions, being separated from their babies during treatment can have a devastating impact on their recovery. So too can waiting for a place at a specialist mother and baby unit.

In the case of women referred to the Brockington mother and baby unit, part of South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, processes meant that there was a delay of more than a day between referral and admission. The admission criteria also prevented the unit from accepting women with severe personality disorders, meaning they would be placed in other mental health facilities without their children.

Young people 'not receiving mental health care they need'

Young people 'not receiving mental health care they need'

27 October 2017 | BBC News

Young people are facing long waiting times and unequal access to mental health services, a review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said.

The commissioner said this could be "putting young people's lives at risk".

The review found nearly 40% of specialist child and adolescent services in England needed improvement.

Alice Gibbs, who was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 12, said a lack of access to specialised services had had a long-term effect on her recovery.

She waited six months to see a mental health professional. "Knowing that we had to wait for that help and things were only getting worse was scary," she says.

She received treatment in Leicester for several years, but it was later recommended that she get specialist treatment. At the time, the nearest specialist unit for eating disorders was in London.

"It's a complete postcode lottery," she says. "I was 16 years old, and apart from being really physically unwell, I was mentally unwell. I didn't want to be away from my family."

Mental ill-health sees 300,000 people leave their jobs each year

Mental ill-health sees 300,000 people leave their jobs each year

26 October 2017 | BBC News

Up to 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems have to leave their jobs each year, a report says.

It also claims poor mental health costs the UK economy up to £99bn each year.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who commissioned the report, said it showed "we need to take action". She is asking NHS England and the civil service to accept the report's recommendations.

Paul Farmer, co-author of the Thriving At Work report, said mental health was a taboo subject in many workplaces.

Smartphone apps may improve symptoms in patients with depression

Smartphone apps may improve symptoms in patients with depression

4 October 2017 | Clinical Advisor

Smartphone interventions have a positive effect on depressive symptoms and may be a promising self-management tool for patients with depression, according to a study published in World Psychiatry.

New advancements in smartphone technology may present an opportunity to deliver mental health interventions on a population scale. Joseph Firth, from the School of Science and Health at Western Sydney University in Campbelltown, Australia, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 18 randomized controlled trials that evaluated 22 smartphone apps and included 3,414 participants.

New autism study a "shocking wake-up call" for society, say…

New autism study a "shocking wake-up call" for society, say academics

23 October 2017 | Medical Express

People who show characteristics of autism are more at risk of attempting suicide, according to a Coventry University study whose results are being presented to a United States federal advisory committee tomorrow.

Researchers found that people who exhibited higher levels of autistic traitswere more likely to try to end their lives than people without the traits because they felt they were excluded from society, were a burden on friends and family, and because they experienced depression.

Previous research has already suggested a link between autistic people and an increased risk of suicide.

However, this is the first study to suggest those who have not been diagnosed with autism but had certain traits typical of autistic people were also more at risk of attempting suicide.

Academics say understanding how these factors are linked is vital in helping to reduce deaths by suicide – and that more research is needed in this area.

The findings coincide with the launch of an urgent appeal by UK charity Autistica calling on the autistic community to get directly involved in further research by signing up to its new autism research network, Discover – – which will link the local autistic community with the Coventry investigators as well as other top UK research centres.

Continuing Research, Emerging Treatments Hold Promise for Treating…

Continuing Research, Emerging Treatments Hold Promise for Treating Anorexia Nervosa

Psychiatry Advisory | 18 October 2017

With the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and one of the lowest recovery rates, anorexia nervosa presents substantial challenges to the clinician. That is one reason treatment of the disease requires an interdisciplinary team of providers, including a medical doctor, a mental health specialist, and a dietitian, all with experience in treating eating disorders. This team must deliver integrated, coordinated care to patients, explained Kathryn Pieper, PhD, a child psychologist and director of the Eating Disorders Center at Children's Mercy and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine in Kansas City.

Pieper said there has also been a movement away from blaming families and toward empowering them to help adolescents with anorexia.

One in three sick notes are for mental health problems, '…

One in three sick notes are for mental health problems, 'alarming' report shows

ne in three “sick notes” handed out by GPs are now for mental health problems, amid soaring levels of anxiety across Britain, official figures show.

The new data - from the first such investigation across the NHS - reveals that in total, more than 5 million people are being signed off work every year.

Mental health and behavioural conditions were the most common reason by far, making up 31 per cent of cases, with a 14 per cent rise in notes relating to anxiety and stress in one year.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists said the figures were “alarming,” urging employers to do more to help support staff struggling with common mental health problems such as depression.