A free cultural competency guidebook and assessment tool for peer-led mental health programs and self-help groups is now available. The tool is designed to support groups in identifying both the ways in which they are already responding to culturally diverse peers and areas for improvement. The resources also enable groups to create action plans to enhance cultural competency in five areas: administration, policies and guidelines; peer providers and group leaders; services and supports; program and group environment; and communication and language capacity. The guidebook and assessment tool are also designed to apply to traditional mental health and rehabilitation programs.
Physical activity is associated with lower levels of depression when it is perceived as leisure rather than workplace activity, according to a recent study in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The study involved the examination of self-reported physical activity levels and symptoms of depression and anxiety of 40,401 Norwegians. Physical and social data were also collected to relate other factors to the levels of activity and the risk of depression and anxiety.
The Ontario government is expanding the MedsCheck program to increase the number of people who can access consultations with their local pharmacist to ensure they are using their medications safely and effectively.
Eating skills and nutritional status of those with dementia can improve with training, according to a recent study in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has released a new clinical practice guideline that summarizes specific approaches to treatment for people with major depressive disorder. The updated guideline includes new evidence-based recommendations on treatment decisions and addresses other topics, such as alternative and complementary therapies, treating depression during pregnancy and approaches to treating treatment-resistant depression.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom has released new clinical guidelines for pregnancy and complex social factors. In addition to introducing the concept of women-centred care and making general recommendations, the document provides specific guidelines related to pregnant women who: misuse substances; are recent migrants, asylum seekers or refugees, or who have difficulty reading or speaking English; who are under age 20; and who experience domestic abuse. See “Pregnancy and Complex Social Factors: A Model for Service Provision for Pregnant Women with Complex Social Factors,” September 2010, available at www.nice.org.uk.
A new study, based in Australia at the University of Melbourne, is exploring a method of preventing depression through the Internet. Mood Memos is targeted to people experiencing depression symptoms which are not yet too severe, with the aim of averting depression or relapse. The study is looking at the effectiveness of e-mail-based mental health promotion for depression symptoms. The researcher is seeking participants 18 years of age and older from around the world until November 2010. For more information, or to sign up for the study, visit www.moodmemos.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new report by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) was released for World Mental Health Day, October 10, 2010. The theme of this year’s report was an extension of last year’s theme of “integration of care,” focusing on the relationship between mental health disorders and chronic illnesses.
A recently released briefing paper, prepared by the Nuffield Trust for Research and Policy Studies in Health Services, examines how local clinicians and managers are working together to develop closer service integration and less fragmented care for patients in the United Kingdom. The paper focuses on what is facilitating or impeding change, as well as setting out proposals for policy-makers in order to enable more rapid progress towards developing better coordinated services.
A study published in the Lancet concludes that psychological intimate partner violence is strongly associated with postnatal depression, independent of physical or sexual abuse. The finding has significant policy and program implications, given that the focus is often placed on prevention of physical violence, rather than psychological violence.