Friday, May 27, 2011

Six Month Follow-Up on Risk Factors for Suicidal Ideation among College Students: A Longitudinal Examination

Study to be discussed at the 12th International Mental Health Conference on the Gold Coast in August 2011


Oren Shtayermman, PhD
 This study was a six month follow-up in a longitudinal study examining the following in adolescents and young adults attending college: 1) the level of suicidal ideation, prevalence of comorbid psychiatric disorders (Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder), degree of peer victimization, and 2) the association of suicidal ideation with: socio demographics, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), level of depressive symptomatology, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, level of anxiety symptomatology, total degree of peer victimization.

Questionnaires were completed by each participant remaining in the follow up group. In wave II, the sample included 95 adolescents and young adults out of the original 493 students who participated in wave I. Thirteen percent (13%) of the sample had clinically significant levels of suicidal ideation, 3.2% met the criteria for dysthmia and 15.8% and 17.9% met the DSM-IV criteria for a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, respectfully. In addition, 9.5% met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence and 16.8% met the diagnostic criteria for drug abuse.

In wave I, overall, 33% of the variance was explained in suicidal ideation, with depression and anxiety factors accounting for 23% of the variance. A final trimmed model of hierarchical linear regression indicated that the presence of social support moderated levels of suicidal ideation with regard to age, marital status, sexual orientation, and anxiety symptoms.

In wave II, overall, 23% of the variance was explained in suicidal ideation with depressive symptoms, presence of anxiety and high relational victimization scores accounting for 15% of the variance.

Oren Shtayermman, PhD, MSW
Chairperson, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
Mental Health Counseling Program Director
School of Health Professions - NEW YORK

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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Membership Survey Results Narcotics Anonymous Australia

Narcotics Anonymous is an international, non–profit community based organization for people recovering from substance abuse. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using drugs. NA is a vital community resource and a free, accessible after-care support opportunity. NA cooperates with professionals by providing NA meetings in treatment centres and institutions, and is complementary to in-patient and out-patient treatment.

Narcotics Anonymous sprang from the Alcoholics Anonymous Program of the late 1940s, with meetings first emerging in California in the early 1950s. The NA program has grown into one of the world's oldest and largest organizations of its type, with 58,000 registered weekly meetings in 131 countries worldwide. Narcotics Anonymous books and information pamphlets are currently available in 34 languages, with translations in process for 16 languages. There are around 400 weekly meetings in Australia, including on the Gold Coast.

In 2009 Narcotics Anonymous conducted an Australia-wide survey of 1,029 of its members. The results provide a demographic profile of survey respondents, their drug use history, their pathway to and engagement with Narcotics Anonymous, and their quality of life improvements. These include significant improvements in the ability to remain drug free, and in employment and educational outcomes and family relationships.

NA has presented the membership survey results to the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD), members of the NSW State Parliament, senior police, and health professionals.

Ms Victoria Stephen is the chairperson of the Australian Regional Service Committee of Narcotics Anonymous

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

Get Better by Surfing the Web?

Prof Helen Christensen

Australians are increasingly turning to the internet for treatment of a wide range of health issues. While there are many websites providing valuable health information and effective interventions, it can often be difficult to determine the quality of any particular site.

The groundbreaking e-health portal Beacon aims to be a guiding light by providing information and expert ratings on a variety of online interventions and mobile apps for mental and physical health disorders.
Developed by the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, Beacon reviews online health applications for people of all ages and is designed to have a wide appeal, providing information for both the general public and for health professionals.

Sites and mobile apps are categorised, reviewed, and their effectiveness is rated by an independent panel of health experts. Ratings are made based on an evaluation of the published scientific research evidence about each intervention. These ratings are presented in the form of smiley faces, serving as a simple and intuitive guide to the effectiveness of each site.

Along with these ratings, Beacon provides a brief site overview, the link to the site, and details of any published research evidence. There are currently around 170 rated sites in 34 categories including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias, smoking, alcohol use, diabetes, stress, tinnitus, physical activity, and many more. New sites, apps and categories are continually being added, so check back regularly for the latest reviews. We encourage you to visit Beacon and submit your own comments about the sites, which may then be included on the portal.

Beacon can be accessed free of charge at

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mental Health Emergency Care – Rural Access Program (MHEC-RAP).

Large distances and staff shortages mean that rural hospitals are unable to provide skilled mental health assessments and management for patients with mental health emergencies. The response is costly and often dangerous transportation to distant inpatient psychiatric units, often with police and ambulance. Frequently, such transfers are later seen as unnecessary.

The Mental Health Emergency Care (MHEC) provides thorough assessment by video-link by 24/7 mental health nursing staff who have been specifically trained and supported by psychiatrists. MHEC-RAP provides high quality, comprehensive assessment and assistance in management for patients presenting with mental health emergencies to ED departments throughout Western NSW on a 24 hour basis.

After 2 years of operation the service has very high stakeholder (patients, nurses, GPs, Police, Ambulance) satisfaction and has increased ED nurses skills and confidence, has dramatically reduced unnecessary transports and associated costs and risks.

This project is recurrently funded, saves money and also saves personnel and financial costs to Ambulance and Police. It has high stakeholder satisfaction. The reputation of this service with Police and Ambulance is very high. It is extremely sustainable.
Dr Russell Roberts, Director, Western NSW Mental Health Network 
3rd Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium - Impacts & Outcomes
Mercure, Ballarat 14th – 16th November 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Madness in Family Law: Competing Discourses on Mothers' Mental Health in the Australian Family Law system

Dr Elspeth McInnes
Mental illness stalks Australia's family law system. Not only do people with mental health problems have higher rates of relationship breakdown, the concept of mental illness plays out in gendered decisions around children's matters, where mothers are much more likely than fathers to be labelled mentally ill and lose care of their children.

Australia's family law system currently applies two primary principles to children's matters in family law - children's right to a meaningful relationship with both parents and children's right to safety from exposure to violence or abuse. When mothers leave abusive fathers, the law ordinarily requires the children to spend time with both parents, with the result that many children are exposed to continuing violence and abuse. This is itself a major risk to children's mental health and development.

When mothers raise allegations of child abuse they risk being labelled mentally ill by family law experts and losing care of the children by order of the court. Consequently the majority of mothers whose children tell them they are being abused during contact with their father, and whose allegations are disbelieved by the court, learn to comply with contact arrangements regardless of their children's disclosures, distress and behaviour, to avoid losing care of the children. This has severe adverse consequences for the mental health of mothers as well as the children.

The resulting paradox is that mothers of abused children who attempt to stop the abuse are labelled 'mad' and lose their children, or are driven into mental illness by being unable to protect their children.

Dr Elspeth McInnes, Senior Lecturer, University of SA

The 12th International Mental Health Conference 2011
Personality Disorders: Out of the Darkness

Radisson Resort, Gold Coast - Wednesday 24th August – Friday 26th August 2011.