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In brief: A&E waiting times for mental health care reaches 624 years

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Alexander Grey | Unsplash

Top story A&E mental health treatment wait times reach a combined 5.4 million hours

New figures obtained by the Labour Party show that people waited a combined 5.4 million hours in English A&E units for mental health treatment from 2021 to 2022 – a number equivalent to 624 years.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust had the highest combined number of hours waiting at just over one million hours, followed by London’s King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Trust.

CEO of mental health charity Sane, Marjorie Wallace, has emphasised the importance of swift support for those suffering a mental health crisis, stating:

“For people in a mental health crisis, who may be in denial or extreme fear, waiting in A&E can increase their despair and they lose faith that they will get help.

“We are aware of cases where, because of long waits, patients leave without being seen or receiving the care they urgently need while still at risk of self-harm or suicide.”

Psilocybin therapy can help treat major depression among cancer patients

New research from has found that the psychotropic drug psilocybin can help significantly improve symptoms of major depression among cancer patients, which around 14.3% of cancer patients experience.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, involved 30 adult cancer patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who were given a single 25mg dose of psilocybin therapy.

The patients were given a single group preparation session and two group integration sessions, with therapeutic care provided throughout the study.

The study observed a robust and significant decrease in MADRS score at Week 8, with a ≥50% decrease in the MADRS score in 24 patients.

Half of the group had complete remission of depression symptoms after 7 days, which persisted at Week 8.

There were no treatment-related adverse effects reported.

Talking therapy for depression may help reduce future risk of heart conditions

New research published by University College London has found that talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults over 45 who have undergone treatment for depression.

The study analysed data from over 636,000 people who accessed treatment via England's Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service between 2012 and 2020.

The research found that those whose depression symptoms improved after psychological treatment were less likely to develop a cardiovascular disease over a three-year period, compared with those who did not.

The association between talking therapies and reduced cardiovascular disease was stronger in those under 60 years old.

Employee mental health impacted by paying for company expenses

According to a new study by PayCaptain, work-related expenses impact employees' mental health and ability to pay essential bills.

On average, workers in the UK cover work expenses up to five times each month, equating to around £237.

The study found that 37% of employees who are paying for company expenses out of their own pocket are negatively affected by this mentally, while 77% worry about money, leading to distractions at work.

In addition, 23% of workers say work expenses put pressure on their ability to pay for essential bills.

“This could force workers to look elsewhere for better paid jobs or for roles that don’t require them to pay and reclaim work-related expenses from their own back pocket," said chief people officer at HR software provider Ciphr, Claire Williams.

“Organisations should review their expense policies regularly to ensure they are fair and do not place an undue burden on employees.”

Five-minute olfaction test may also be able to help screen for depression

A new study from King George's Medical University in India suggests that a five-minute test commonly used to evaluate a person's sense of smell may also be used as a screening tool for depression.

The Brief Smell Identification Test (B-SIT) is a rapid version of the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) that uses 12 smells instead of 40.

Identifying eight or fewer smells on the B-SIT is considered abnormal.

The study found that people diagnosed with depression identified fewer smells than healthy controls, and 27 of the depression group participants scored below the cutoff score of eight.


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