In the past, the greatest health challenge for young people was to survive childhood. Thankfully, in most of the world this is no longer the case. However, the big health issue now for young people is mental health. Consulting with experts and stakeholders around the world, the Global Youth Mental Health Framework project will provide guidance for funders about the costs of investing, and the costs of not investing, in youth mental health. It also aims to produce a youth mental health care framework that is responsive to local needs, and a toolkit to help communities all over the world advocate for youth mental health services. On International Youth Day, Eóin Killackey outlined a new undertaking to make youth mental health a global priority.Read More
The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System provides an opportunity to consider the social and economic factors that contribute to poor mental health using a gender lens. Today’s analysis, by Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) and Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (@GoodAdvocacy), provides an overview of how rigid gender stereotyping creates a cascade effect of experiences that compromise women’s and girls’ mental health. This is the fourth in a 4-part series based on Good Shepherd’s submission; Part 1 provides an overview of the gendered nature of mental health, Part 2 discusses the related issue of economic inequality, and Part 3 examines the influence of financial hardship.Read More
The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System provides an opportunity to consider the social and economic factors that contribute to poor mental health using a gender lens. This piece by Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) and Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (@GoodAdvocacy) explores how financial hardship and stress contribute to poor mental health, drawing on case studies and reflections from practitioners in Good Shepherd services. This is the third in a 4-part series based on Good Shepherd’s submission; Part 1 provides an overview of the gendered nature of mental health, while Part 2 discusses the related issue of economic inequality.Read More
The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System - the first of its kind in Australia - is looking into ‘[accelerating] improvements in access to mental health services, service navigation and models of care.’ One element of the mental health care system, which is often overlooked, is help for informal carers that support those who have mental illness.
In this article originally published in The Conversation, the University of Newcastle’s Jaelea Skehan and Sally Fitzpatrick explain the emotional labour involved in caring, the case for preventing their psychological distress, and the policy setting that government needs to enhance carers’ wellbeing and prevent the onset of mental health issues of their own.Read More
This blog is the second in a four-part series on women’s mental health. As the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System continues its public hearings there is an opportunity to consider the social and economic factors that contribute to poor mental health using a gender lens. This piece by Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) and Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) of @GoodAdvocacy explores how economic inequality contributes to poor mental health among women, drawing on reflections from practitioners in Good Shepherd services. You can read the first in this series here.Read More
Last week the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System held its first public hearings. The Royal Commission is an opportunity to consider the social and economic factors that contribute to poor mental health using a gender lens. With significant investment in men’s mental health in recent years, it is timely to switch focus and consider women’s experiences and how the mental health service system and other institutions are responding to their needs. Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) and Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) of @GoodAdvocacy summarise some of the gender differences in prevalence, diagnosis and treatment in the first of a four part series.Read More
The role of animals in supporting mental health and emotional wellbeing is probably not a modern phenomenon. Myers (1998) draws our attention to the book ‘De Canibus Britannicus’, written in the sixteenth century by Dr Cairs in which he advocated the therapeutic use of dogs and recommended that a person afflicted by illness should carry a small dog on their bosom to soak up the disease. In 1699 John Locke prescribed giving children small animals, including dogs, birds or even squirrels, to look after, in order to foster the development of ‘tender feelings and responsibility for others’ (Garforth, 1964, p.154). The assumption was that this would help children to control their innately ‘beast like’ characteristics (Myers, 1998). In the first of her two guest posts this week on Power to Persuade, Dr Alison Broad the Director of Primary Initial Teacher Education examines the question – can animal assisted therapies help to tackle the issues of wellbeing and mental health?Read More
Building knowledge and capacity for policy change is the vision of Power to Persuade. But policy work is difficult, time consuming, on-going, hidden and often with limited success. Burn out in this space is quite common and therefore it is necessary to remind ourselves that self-care and mental wellbeing can also be considered par for course of policy change! This week’s blog posts will begin with reflections from a social policy researcher, Isabella Saunders, based at the Centre for Social Impact, UNSW. Using her experience of an extended road trip around Australia, she provides life hacks to ‘break free from the metaphorical prison that is “routine”.’ Isabella’s has expertise in qualitative and mixed-methods research experience in the fields of employment, young people and disability, both in Australia and overseas. This piece was originally published on the Croakey website on 30th April 2019.Read More
Despite high associated costs, Australia’s Better Access Program is unable to provide adequate support to those struggling with mental health issues, especially in the long-run, Sebastian Rosenberg writes.Read More
December being a difficult month for many people who feel under pressure to socialise and be merry whilst feeling lonely, was an apt time to launch UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) cross-disciplinary Loneliness and Social Isolation Mental Health Network, of which the University of Birmingham is a part. Dr Sarah Carr explores the theme of loneliness and living with mental health problems in a re-posted blog originally hosted on the Institute for Mental Health website.Read More
Instagram is to ban graphic self-harm images following the suicide of UK teen Molly Russell. In this piece re-published from the Conversation, and picked up by UK news company The Sun, Dr Anna Lavis and Dr Rachel Winter discuss the complex relationship between self-harm and social media, and how a knee-jerk ban on content could actually harm young people.Read More
Imagine getting turned away for not having a broken-enough leg. There would be complete outrage, but yet for people with eating disorders this is happening on a day to day basis. People are turned away for not being “sick” enough. We know a healthy BMI is 18.5 or above but yet some places in the UK are turning people away if their BMI is about 14! In this post, Hope Virgo (the Author of Stand Tall Little Girl and Mental Health Campaigner) shares her experience and talks about her #DumpTheScales campaign.Read More
There has been a growing focus on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace in the UK. The role of employers in relation to mental health and wellbeing is becoming increasingly pronounced and the business sector is responding to shifts in both policy and public opinion. As 2019 gets underway, employers may be deciding to scale up their business model, or be making plans to remain agile in difficult and unpredictable markets. In this re-post from employee benefits, Dr Sarah-Jane Fenton and Professor Fiona Carmichael suggest that central to those strategic objectives, and not as an afterthought, needs to be a serious consideration about how to support employees’ mental health and social wellbeing.Read More
With the recent release of the jobactive inquiry report and the current inquiry into ParentsNext, today’s policy analysis could not be more timely. Natalie Jovanovski provides a summary[i] of research she conducted with Policy Whisperer Kay Cook into how current Welfare to Work policies inform single mothers’ food provisioning practices, and the consequent impacts on mental and physical health for both the mothers and their children.Read More
If you can’t quite get a grip on co-production, you’re not alone. Much of the literature dating back as far as 1984 suggests that it’s something of a greased pig and that efforts to define it end up like a policy pig scramble. Is it democratic citizen involvement public services? Is it individual, ‘responsibilised’ health and social care consumerism? Is it power shifting to communities through participatory governance? Some authors have said that ‘neither on the level of interactions between organisations nor on the level of servicing users, has co-production a fixed meaning’ and others have noted its ‘excessive elasticity.’ Perhaps it’s the ultimate post-modern policy concept. Dr Sarah Carr of the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham asks can it work for mental health?Read More
The ACT specialist homelessness sector has been exploring how it can respond to the research that suggests that 100% of people engaging with services have been impacted by trauma. In this post, Rebecca Vassarotti explores what some of the research suggests and how human services sub-sectors can engage with practice approaches such as trauma-informed practice.Read More
The University of Birmingham (UK) has launched a Policy Commission report calling for increased investment in the prevention of poor mental health. The report comes at a time when half of life-long mental health problems show their first signs by the age of 15, and three quarters by the age of 25, and evidence that the rates of mental health problems amongst young people are increasing. The Commission Report, therefore, identifies childhood and adolescence as a critical opportunity to prevent and promote better mental health. In this post, Karen Newbigging discusses the report and implications from this work.Read More
Mental health problems in young people are increasing. Suicide remains a leading cause of death in those aged 15-24 worldwide. The majority of mental health problems develop before the age of 25 but have their roots usually in childhood and teenage years. If left untreated, mental health problems can persist into adulthood with poorer prognosis and greater disability over the life course. In this blog post, Maria Michail, Jo Robinson, Tina Yutong Li, Sadhbh Byrne explore how primary care services can become more accessible and acceptable to vulnerable young people. This post has been co-produced with young people with lived experience of mental-ill health and highlights the importance of making primary care health services more accessible, acceptable and equitable for vulnerable young people.Read More
The Education Equity Coalition, under the auspices of VCOSS, has recently launched the Stronger Schools campaign. This coalition comprises a range of social service, youth, and education agencies, and has collaborated to create an action plan for inclusive education. The eight components that make up the platform are designed to address holistic, comprehensive support that will support all children and young people to stay engaged in education.
For girls and young women, there are often unique challenges to school engagement. While they tend to overall be more engaged and receive better grades than boys and young men, research indicates that their wellbeing is plummeting – including reductions in physical, emotional and mental health outcomes. Recent research into supporting the ‘middle years’ finds that key components to supporting girls and young women in this age group is to increase their agency, and to treat them with respect. This includes providing accessible and reliable information on a range of tricky topics, some of which (such as sexting) were not issues for previous generations.
Today’s blog, written by Maddy Crehan (@Maddy_Crehan) at the Victorian Women’s Trust (@VicWomensTrust), highlights an innovative program that seeks to address this challenging terrain by providing teachers with lesson plans for tackling such issues as healthy relationships, creating and sustaining positive friendships, looking after mental health, and ethical consumerism. Known as Rosie in the Classroom (@RosieRespect), this educational resource kit supports best practice in the classroom, stemming from a foundation of equality and empowerment.Read More