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In brief: Mortgage rates, cannabis use, archaeology, and more


An image of a model house with a key
Tierra Mallorca | Unsplash

News round-up by Conor D'Andrade

Mental health of 14 million people impacted by rising mortgage rates


New research from the mental health charity Mind has highlighted the adverse effects of rising mortgage costs on people's mental health and financial well-being.


The study found that nearly one-third (29%) of individuals in England and Wales, equivalent to almost 14 million people, have been affected by increasing mortgage costs in the past year. Of these, 10% stated that the impact on their mental health was substantial.


The study also revealed that individuals with pre-existing mental health issues were even more negatively impacted by rising mortgage costs, with almost four in ten (36%) reporting worsened mental health.


These financial challenges significantly affected younger individuals, particularly those aged between 16 and 24.


Mind has noted a 55% increase in the number of people contacting its Infoline over the past year and a half regarding financial difficulties, including unemployment and personal debt.



Well-being hubs provided crucial psychological support during the pandemic for health and social care staff


Research has revealed that mental health well-being hubs were crucial in supporting health and social care staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The study, which was sponsored by the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) and funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), assessed the effectiveness of staff well-being hubs, which were established to address the mental health challenges faced by healthcare workers due to the pandemic.


The study focused on four well-being hubs in the North of England, evaluating their impact through in-depth interviews with a diverse group of participants, including health and social care staff who used or didn't use the well-being hubs, staff working at the hubs, and stakeholders involved in staff support within their organisations.


The well-being hubs, based on the model of the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub, provided accessible and confidential mental health support for health and social care staff.


The support included proactive outreach, rapid clinical assessment, access to evidence-based psychological care, and assistance for staff teams.


The study highlighted the importance of preserving these hubs as ongoing sources of support for healthcare workers' mental well-being.




Cannabis self-medication more likely among pregnant and postpartum women with mental health disorders


A recent study has highlighted a potential link between mental health disorders among pregnant and postpartum women with varying levels of cannabis use and addiction.


The research examined the relationship between mental health disorders, cannabis use, and cannabis use disorder (CUD) in a nationally representative survey.


The study analysed responses from 1,316 women, including 414 pregnant women and 902 postpartum women who had been pregnant within the past year.


The findings revealed a connection between general categories of mental health disorders (such as mood, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorders) and both cannabis use and CUD.


However, when mental health disorders were examined individually, some specific disorders were associated only with cannabis use or CUD.


For example, while persistent and major depressive disorders were linked to both past-year cannabis use and CUD, bipolar disorder was only associated with cannabis use, not CUD.


Additionally, different anxiety disorders showed varying correlations between cannabis use and CUD, such as social anxiety and panic disorders which were connected to increased cannabis use, while specific phobia was associated with higher odds of CUD.



Nurses and charities warn that mental health care for MS patients is lacking


A group of multiple sclerosis (MS) charities are calling on the government for enhanced support for nurses to address mental health issues among individuals with MS and other neurological disorders.


A survey conducted by the MS Trust and featured in the report Life changing: mental health and MS revealed significant unmet demands for mental health care in the MS community. The study, which included 2,068 UK-based individuals with MS, disclosed that over half of the participants experienced moderate to severe mental health impacts due to MS and 17% expressed distressing thoughts of suicide.


Alarmingly, less than 9% of respondents had communicated about their mental health with their MS care team and 38% expressed the need for more support to manage and enhance their emotional wellbeing.


Representatives of six prominent MS charities presented the report with a collection of recommendations to Tom Pursglove, the minister for disabled people, such as the establishment of a neurological conditions talking therapies pathway, and a training programme for the neurological workforce to raise mental health awareness.




MOD archaeology partnership offers mental health support to veterans


The University of Winchester and the Ministry of Defence's Personnel Recovery Centre have formed a partnership to extend free therapeutic archaeology courses to wounded, injured, or sick veterans.


Since 2016, the university has been providing fee-waived undergraduate studentships in archaeology for veterans.


The initiative, initially supported by Help for Heroes, offers opportunities to those who have developed an interest in archaeology through projects like Operation Nightingale, Breaking Ground Heritage, and Waterloo Uncovered.


This initiative has now expanded to include the MOD's Personnel Recovery Centre at Tedworth House, aiming to help veterans recover from injuries and illnesses while gaining new skills for their transition to civilian careers.


University of Winchester Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sarah Greer, said: "We are delighted to work with the MOD on such a worthwhile project which demonstrates the restorative powers of education.


"The university has already helped several recovering ex-service personnel to improve their wellbeing and find new careers through this initiative and we hope many more veterans will benefit from this partnership in the future."


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