Thursday, April 21, 2011

What can health professionals do about social determinants of mental health?

Dr Matthew Fisher
Public health research in developed countries consistently demonstrates that rates of the more common forms of mental health disorder increase as one moves down the scale of socioeconomic status, and are significantly higher among socially disadvantaged groups.

This general pattern of outcomes is also present in Australia. In recent decades research has also shown higher rates of mental health problems to be positively associated with social or economic factors such as: low income, insecure housing, unemployment or insecure employment, high-demand or low-control workplace conditions, child abuse or neglect, and low social support.

These and other factors are widely recognised in public health literature and in public policy as ‘social determinants’ having a significant effect on mental health outcomes for individuals and in populations. However, from the perspective of people working within mental health systems and services, these ‘upstream’ determinants have often already ‘done their work’ by the time people come to the health system with a problem; and the capacity to take preventative action on these factors often lies outside the health sector. Although mental health policies now recognise social determinants, the bulk of resource and effort still goes into treating ‘downstream’ effects.

This paper will argue that, despite these obstacles, there are a number of ways in which health professionals can take account of social determinants of mental health, and act to promote more effective policy measures and preventative action on ‘upstream’ social factors.

Dr Matthew Fisher, Flinders University

The 12th International Mental Health Conference 2011
Personality Disorders: Out of the Darkness
Radisson Resort, Gold Coast - Wednesday 24th August – Friday 26th August 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

3rd Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium - Impacts & Outcomes

You are invited to join us in November 2011 when we will examine the impacts & outcomes of social, financial and environmental issues on Mental Health Clients and their Service Providers in Rural & Remote communities in Australia.

“In 1991 a national study of 2000 GP’s concluded the rates of depression in Urban and Regional areas were similar. The same study conducted in 2001 saw a marked increase in depression in rural and regional populations. A key factor for the increase was the rural economy and rapid rate of change in regional Australia. The rapid changes continue in 2010, with loss of services and employment opportunities. As an example the introduction of water management schemes and FIFO work forces have ensured Rural and Remote communities are continually under pressure to adapt”.

About 35 per cent of Australians named mental health as one of their country's two or three greatest challenges, in contrast to the international average of just 10 per cent, with the second-most worried country on that issue being China on 15 per cent

Social changes: the “slow death” of some remote towns has led to an increase in isolation of individuals and communities, and the exclusion of others from reasonable access to the services, education and technology, most communities take for granted.

Financial factors: the increased cost of living, crop failures, unemployment and lack of local services, are among the financial adversities negatively impacting on the mental health of our rural and remote communities.

Environmental adversities: evidenced by recent incidents of natural disaster in the form of bushfires, floods, cyclones and oil spills, the trail of death and destruction, shattered communities, and displaced people has increased exponentially.

These factors and others can severely impact on the mental health of individuals and upon community functioning, cohesion, and resource availability.

Dr Norm Barling
Symposium Chair

3rd Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium - Impacts & Outcomes

Mercure, Ballarat 14th – 16th November 2011

Types of Bipolar | Hypomania and Depression | Healthline

Bipolar disorder (also called bipolar disease or manic depression) is a serious mental illness that is marked by extreme—and in some cases, rapid or abrupt—shifts in mood, from mania to depression.

Read more:  Information on Bipolar Types of Bipolar Hypomania and Depression Healthline

Friday, April 8, 2011

MYTHS EXPOSED: Stopping smoking does not make your mental illness worse!

Dr Mark Ragg
Smoking is more common among people with mental illness than among the general population (32% versus under 20%). However, that broad statement is too simple for a complex situation. There are significant differences in smoking rates between people with different mental illnesses. Lack of knowledge and ambivalence about addressing smoking in people with mental illness has contributed to this higher rate of smoking which in turn contributes to poorer physical health, premature death and social disadvantage among this already vulnerable group.

Recent research on the impact of quitting smoking on people with schizophrenia and depression has shown that it does not worsen their symptoms and that people with mental illness can successfully quit. There is little data on smoking rates in people with personality disorders. People with personality disorders are at high risk of substance abuse disorders and are therefore at higher risk of being nicotine dependent.

There is strong evidence that advice from clinicians is important in helping people to quit smoking. In mental health this support has been lacking. However, it seems attitudes are changing and it is now clear that ensuring clinicians have the skills and support to address smoking in their mental health clients is an important goal of both individual clinicians and health systems and policies.

Dr Mark Ragg MBBS BA and Dr Tanya Ahmed MBBS Grad Dip Hlth Serv Man

The 12th International Mental Health Conference 2011 Radisson Resort, Gold Coast
Wednesday 24th August – Friday 26th August 2011.