October Mental Health News Round Up

MPs must change the laws on restraint

Face-down restraint was used more than 2,500 times on people under 18 in mental health units in 2014/15 – the last year from which records are available. Meanwhile, three separate United Nations reports have criticized the way that restraint is used on children and young people with mental health conditions in the UK.

On Friday 3rd November, Steve Reed MP is taking a Private Members Bill to the House of Commons, which would make the use of restrictive practices - including face-down restraint, chemical restraint and long-term seclusion - far more accountable.

The Bill is known as Seni's Law, named after 23-year-old Seni Lewis, who died after being restrained face-down by 11 police officers in a mental health unit. If it goes through, Seni's Law will ensure that every use of force in a mental health unit is systematically recorded, and that every unit has a policy in place on force and a named individual responsible for implementing it.

Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, says:

It's truly inspiring to meet young people who have been in inpatient units for months, or even years, and who are now studying at university or starting their first jobs, with hope for the future - and shows how vital the support given in mental health units is. But we must make sure that the rights of young people in inpatient care are always respected. That's why this is such a crucial moment. The Bill has widespread support from charities and mental health professionals, but it will only go through if enough MPs turn up to vote for it.

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Thousands of schools say #HelloYellow for World Mental Health Day

On Tuesday 10 October, schools up and down the country took part in the YoungMinds #HelloYellow campaign, wearing yellow and writing positive mental health messages to show children and young people they’re not alone when it comes to their mental health.

Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive at YoungMinds says:

Having a mental health problem can be an incredibly isolating experience, and we want you to help us spread the message that, if you’re struggling to cope, you’re not alone… we want as many people as possible to wear something yellow, and to share a message of support for children and young people who are struggling with their mental health.

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Research shows a rise in number of girls self-harming

A report published by the University of Manchester in the British Medical Journal has revealed that the number of girls self-harming between the ages of 13-17 has risen by 70% in 3 years. The data was gathered by looking at records from 674 general practices, which showed that of all those who had self-harmed, almost three quarters (73%) were girls.

Tom Madders, Director of Communications and Campaigns at YoungMinds, said school stress, body image issues, the pressure created by social media and difficult experiences in childhood could all have an impact on the mental health of teenage girls.

As a society, we also need to do more to prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place. To start with, we need to rebalance the education system, so that schools can prioritise wellbeing and not just academic performance.
Tom Madders, Director of Communications and Campaigns at YoungMinds

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Mental health experts urge young people to have a phone-free 15 minutes a day

A survey carried out by the government’s Cyber Aware campaign, and YoungMinds, has shown that 26% of people surveyed spent more than 3 hours a day on their smartphones. However, over 52% agreed that they would benefit from taking a short break from their smartphones.

Marc Bush, Chief Policy Adviser at YoungMinds says:

Access to smartphones can bring huge benefits for young people, but it does come with pressure to be constantly available and to compare their own lives to the ‘perfect’ lives of others.

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Young people are facing long waiting times, CQC review reveals

A review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that young people are facing long waiting times to access mental health services. The review also found that 39% of the child and adolescence mental health services (CAMHS) in the UK require improvement.
The lead for mental health at the CQC, Paul Lelliott, praised the dedication of NHS mental health care staff but added:

We must also address those times when a child or young person feels let down or not listened to and make sure the same level of support is available to each and every one of them.
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