Screen Time and Mental Health

Posted on 5th July 2022 by Dan Price

Screen time refers to the time a person spends looking at a screen on a device such as a television, smartphone, computer, or game console. There has been plentiful research done on screen time and mental health, including longitudinal studies. There has been much focus, especially on how children and adolescents are affected. The outcomes are conflicting, with many studies finding negative mental health effects of using screens such as depression, anxiety, and brain fog. Some more positive outcomes include creativity, increased wellbeing, and elevated psychosocial effects of using social media in adults.

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Mental health reform: government sets out draft bill and funding

Posted on 28th June 2022 by Dan Price

Mental Health Depression

The government has announced a draft bill on reforming mental health legislation, alongside a £150m package to help implement changes and ensure NHS patients receive “tailored services and support”.

However, while NHS and nursing leaders have welcomed the update from ministers, they repeated warnings that shortfalls in care would not be improved without action on staff shortages. The draft bill, due to be published later today, sets out wide-ranging changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA), which aims to give patients more control over their care and treatment. As part of the reforms, the government said it intended to tackle racial disparities in mental health services, including the disproportionate number of people from minority ethnic backgrounds detained under the act.

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WHO highlights urgent need to transform mental health and mental health care

Posted on 21st June 2022 by Dan Price

The World Health Organization today released its largest review of world mental health since the turn of the century. The detailed work provides a blueprint for governments, academics, health professionals, civil society and others with an ambition to support the world in transforming mental health.

In 2019, nearly a billion people – including 14% of the world’s adolescents – were living with a mental disorder. Suicide accounted for more than 1 in 100 deaths and 58% of suicides occurred before age 50. Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability, causing 1 in 6 years lived with disability. People with severe mental health conditions die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population, mostly due to preventable physical diseases. Childhood sexual abuse and bullying victimization are major causes of depression. Social and economic inequalities, public health emergencies, war, and the climate crisis are among the global, structural threats to mental health. Depression and anxiety went up by more than 25% in the first year of the pandemic alone.

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The cost of living crisis is harming mental health, partly because of previous cuts to social security

Posted on 6th June 2022 by Dan Price

As the government announces measures to help the cost of living crisis, Kate Andersen and Aaron Reeves discuss the impact of financial insecurity on people’s mental health

The surge in prices over recent months has created a cost of living crisis that is exacerbating insecurity and harming people’s mental health. The Food Foundation warned recently that more than two million adults in the UK have gone without food for a day because of the rising cost of living. This is not inevitable. Yes, when prices rise faster than earnings, this puts additional financial and emotional strain on households. But in contexts where social security is more generous, this strain is minimised. Indeed, in some places, this strain has been entirely removed.1

The problem in the UK is that a decade of austerity means this particular cost of living crisis will be especially acute for families in receipt of social security. Reforms to Universal Credit over the past few years have entailed direct cuts to the generosity of social security payments and the failure to uprate the value of those payments in line with inflation. Social security benefits have therefore fallen considerably behind the rising cost of living. Out-of-work benefit rates are, adjusting for inflation, currently at their lowest for 30 years.2

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Record 420,000 children a month in England treated for mental health problems

Posted on 24th May 2022 by Dan Price

More than 400,000 children and young people a month are being treated for mental health problems – the highest number on record – prompting warnings of an unprecedented crisis in the wellbeing of under-18s.

Experts say Covid-19 has seriously exacerbated problems such as anxiety, depression and self-harm among school-age children and that the “relentless and unsustainable” ongoing rise in their need for help could overwhelm already stretched NHS services.

The latest NHS figures show “open referrals” – troubled children and young people in England undergoing treatment or waiting to start care – reached 420,314 in February, the highest number since records began in 2016.

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Mental health: 4 easy ways to practise ‘everyday mental maintenance’

Posted on 17th May 2022 by Dan Price

From taking a trip to the gym to eating nutritious food, taking conscious steps to maintain your physical health is something you probably do on a daily basis. However, when it comes to your mental health, chances are your routine looks a little more lacklustre.

We’ve all got self-care routines we turn to when we’re feeling rubbish – but what about when you’re feeling OK? While the importance of taking care of our mind may not be as ingrained as the physical side of things, making space for regular care is essential to maintaining good mental wellbeing.

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