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In brief: National emergency mental health line launched across Wales


A photo of a woman on the phone
Taylor Grote | Unsplash

News round-up by Conor D'Andrade

Wales launches national emergency mental health line


A new phone service is expanding nationally in Wales to provide immediate support for urgent mental health concerns.


The service is accessible to individuals who require assistance for themselves or someone they know.


By dialling NHS 111 and selecting option 2, callers can connect with a dedicated mental health team member in their local health board area.


Available round the clock, seven days a week, the service offers assessment and telephonic interventions to alleviate distress.


Where appropriate, callers will receive referrals to mental health services, self-care advice or be directed to other forms of support.


Lynne Neagle, Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, said:


"The implementation of the ‘111 press 2’ service across Wales will transform the way the NHS responds to urgent mental health issues – and it can be accessed by anyone, at any time and from any part of Wales.


"We know that sometimes people need to speak to a mental health professional so they can talk through their issues and get the right support whether this be NHS Mental health services, primary care, local voluntary services or self-care advice.”




Researchers identify a new category of depression


A study conducted by scientists at Stanford Medicine has identified a new category of depression known as the ‘cognitive biotype.‘


According to the research, this category accounts for 27% of depressed patients and is characterised by difficulties in cognitive functions, such as planning ahead, self-control, sustaining focus, and suppressing inappropriate behaviour.


Brain imaging revealed reduced activity in specific brain regions associated with all of these tasks.


The commonly prescribed antidepressants that target serotonin, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are less effective in treating patients with cognitive dysfunction as it is not caused by a lack of serotonin.


The researchers suggest that alternative antidepressants or other treatments that specifically target these cognitive dysfunctions may be more effective in alleviating symptoms and improving social and occupational abilities.


Senior Author, Dr Leanne Williams, said:


"One of the big challenges is to find a new way to address what is currently a trial-and-error process so that more people can get better sooner.


"Bringing in these objective cognitive measures like imaging will make sure we're not using the same treatment on every patient."




Over a quarter of Scottish and Northern Irish adults feel lonely and ashamed


According to a new research report released by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) for Mental Health Awareness Week, high rates of loneliness are affecting the mental health of individuals in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


The Scottish survey, which involved 1,000 adults, revealed that 25% of people experienced feelings of loneliness at some point during the previous month.


Additionally, 31% stated that loneliness had a negative impact on their mental health and 14% reported suicidal thoughts and feelings due to it, yet 51% admitted to hiding their loneliness from others.


The findings indicate that a significant number of people's mental health in Scotland is being affected by loneliness, but perceived stigma is preventing many from seeking support, with 27% reporting feeling shame about being lonely.


The Northern Irish survey also involved 1,000 adults and revealed similar rates of loneliness and shame, with 28% reporting feelings of loneliness in the last month.


Similar to Scotland, 37% felt that loneliness had negatively affected their mental health, yet again 45% said they would never admit to feeling lonely, and 33% reported feeling ashamed of their loneliness.



Documents reveal hundreds of chronic and mentally ill Windrush people unlawfully deported


An investigation by the BBC has uncovered a historical injustice involving the Windrush generation, revealing that hundreds of long-term sick and mentally ill individuals were forcibly sent back to the Caribbean between the 1950s and early 1970s.


Previously classified documents now indicate that at least 411 chronically and mentally ill people were deported under a scheme that was purportedly voluntary between 1958 and 1970.


These documents, found in the National Archives, suggest that the policy may have been unlawful, as not all patients possessed the mental capacity to provide consent for their removal.


Many families were ripped apart by the policy, such as Marcia Fenton, who was adopted after her mother was sectioned in the UK and then deported to Jamaica leaving her father unable to cope on his own.




Figures show a worrying rise in the number of teenage girls with eating disorders during the pandemic


A recent study by the University of Manchester, Keele University, and the University of Exeter, has revealed a significant increase in the number of teenage girls in the UK developing eating disorders and engaging in self-harming behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The researchers analysed nine million patient records from approximately 2,000 GP practices across the UK, focusing on individuals aged 10 to 24.


The findings indicate a substantial increase in eating disorders and self-harm cases among 13 to 19-year-olds compared to previous years.


The rise was particularly pronounced among girls in wealthier areas, potentially due to better access to GP services.


Factors such as prolonged exposure to social media, heightened emphasis on body image, and reduced face-to-face interactions during the pandemic may have contributed to feelings of low self-esteem and psychological distress, particularly among adolescent girls.


The research also suggests that young people may turn to self-harm as a coping mechanism during times of uncertainty.


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