Using cognitive science research to redesign policy decision making systems

Climate change is back on the political agenda and public support for action on climate change is at its highest level since 2007. But can we expect our political institutions to be able to respond in the time and scale needed given their past failures? Rather than merely policy reform do we need to reform the system of government itself? In today’s post Celia Green and Andrew Joyce discuss how cognitive science research could be used in the redesign of our political institutions to enable better decision making processes.

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You don’t have to be stick thin to have an eating disorder

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.

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Whatever happened to a Law and Order State election?

Sensationalising youth crimes for political gain has been a mantra for politicians. Case in point, the recently conducted elections in Victoria where politicians of all stripes ensured gang violence was an election issue. But given that it is an election year for New South Wales, the lack of political and media voice surrounding law and order is deafening. Today’s blog contributor Dr. Elaine Fishwick (@elbowlass) tackles this issue (or lack thereof) locating it in larger worldwide trends and unravelling the present ‘policy moment’ we find ourselves in. Elaine is an academic scholar researching issues relating to human rights, social justice, access to justice, criminology, youth justice and public policy. 

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The UK government’s terror strategy 'compromises the Mental Health Act and must be challenged'

Post 9/11 Islamophobia and the pathologisation of black people in the UK mental health context should be tackled as part of the ongoing Mental Health Act review, argue former psychiatrist Suman Fernando and researcher Tarek Younis in this post for re-published from Mental Health Today.

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Investing in a resilient generation

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.

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How could primary care services become more accessible and acceptable to vulnerable young people?

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.

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The un-intended consequences of the bizarre incentives catalysing the referral of mental health patients as radicalisation threats

One has to stretch the imagination to conceive that a new policy might result in health professionals in Britain considering whether to refer patients with mental health needs as radicalisation threats in order to gain quicker access to necessary support and services. In this post, Dr Chris Allen examines the un-intended consequences of the bizarre incentives catalysing the referral of mental health patients as radicalisation threats.

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