Mental Health News2
Welcome to the Mental Health online newsfeed. Here you’ll find all the latest research, news stories, policy updates and guidelines. View our other newsfeeds for more subject-specific news.



Smoking Cessation and Changes in Anxiety and Depression in Adults With and Without Psychiatric Disorders

Jama – 31st May 2023

Key Points

Question  Is smoking cessation associated with changes in anxiety and depression for adults living with and without psychiatric disorders?

Findings  In this cohort study of 4260 adults, smoking cessation was associated with significant improvements in anxiety and depression among people with and without psychiatric disorders.

Meaning  These findings suggest that smoking cessation does not appear to worsen and may improve mental health outcomes.

Further information – Smoking Cessation and Changes in Anxiety and Depression in Adults With and Without Psychiatric Disorders

How can mental healthcare services meet the needs of people from ethnically diverse groups?

NIHR – 1st June 2023

In the UK, people from diverse ethnic minority groups have poorer access to, experiences with, and outcomes from mental healthcare services, compared to White British people. A large review of the evidence explored how these ethnic inequalities are created and sustained in mental healthcare.

The authors call for culturally informed approaches to mental health assessment and treatment. Approaches need to recognise and respond to the everyday realities of people from diverse ethnic minority groups, including racism.

The review included 66 studies on ethnic minority groups’ and mental health professionals’ perceptions and experiences of mental health services. The studies explored barriers to accessing services, as well as experiences and outcomes. The researchers assessed how ethnic inequalities in mental healthcare are created and sustained, and how they could be overcome.

The review found that mental healthcare services often did not consider how racism, migration stress, and complex trauma affect mental health. Mental health professionals described barriers to providing person-centred care such as a lack of time, discomfort when talking about race and spirituality, and fear of calling out racist practice when it was witnessed. The researchers call for more personalised care, and consideration of the complex interplay between social and economic circumstances, and systemic racism.

More than half of the studies analysed were published before 2013. Mental healthcare services may have become more aware of these issues since then. However, existing research indicates that there has been little progress in tackling ethnic inequalities over the past 50 years. This may be because of systemic racism and an overly ‘medical’ culture that prioritises diagnosis and drug treatments.  

Responding to a suicide: advice for universities

Universities UK in partnership with PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide and Samaritans – 2023

Published today by Universities UK in partnership with PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide and Samaritans, funded by the Office for Students, the guidance Responding to a suicide: advice for universities is written by the sector for the sector with advice from practitioners, experts and bereaved families.

It provides practical advice for student support teams, including a checklist to guide staff after a student death.

Recommendations to universities include:

  • Establishing a dedicated ‘postvention’ team to deal with any student death
  • Developing a death response plan for student services and other first responders.
  • Ensuring all staff receive training in what to do if they learn of a student death
  • Providing kind and timely support to family and friends and handling matters such as belongings, accommodation and student finance.
  • Recording and carrying out critical incident reviews of all student deaths. This should be led by a senior member of staff and should identify specific actions to prevent future suicides

The guidance is the first of its kind to set out the challenges that need careful and compassionate management following any student death but especially a suspected death by suicide.

The guidance emphasises the impact on families, friends and wider communities of staff and students and the importance of providing practical and emotional support, including psychological support.

Responding to a suicide: advice for universities

Putting a stop to the endless scroll – How the Online Safety Bill can protect young people’s mental health

Young Minds 2023

This report sheds a light on what young people really think about the online world. With parliamentary
business resuming, the media spotlight is back on the Online Safety Bill: this report aims to provide information that will cut through the now-tired political rhetoric, and remind decision-makers what it means to safeguard a young person’s mental health online. Our findings show that what young people really need to see change is the assumption that harm begins and ends with content alone. The reality is far from it.
Our research found that the aspects of the online world that caused the most concern among young people were:

  • The design of social media sites and platforms, including the existence and capabilities of image editing tools and algorithms
  • The insufficient education they receive to get the skills to navigate a world in which they feel responsible
    for their own safety
  • A lack of consultation regarding the changes being made to the online world, of which they make up a
    considerable user base

2023 National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH)

NCISH is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National
Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) 2023

The 2023 National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) annual report provides findings relating to people aged 10 and above who died by suicide between 2010 and 2020 across all UK countries.

Additional findings are presented on the number of people under mental health care who have been convicted of homicide, and those in the general population.

Read the Report – National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health

Addressing the mental health challenges of life with kidney disease – the case for change

Centre for Mental Health and Kidney Research UK – 2023

Centre for Mental Health worked with Kidney Research UK to explore the psychosocial (psychological
and social) health needs of people living with chronic kidney disease. We reviewed relevant literature
and spoke with people living with kidney disease (between the ages of 12 and 88), family members,
and professionals in renal (kidney) services, about their experiences. This report shares the key
findings from that research and identifies the policy and practice implications for both renal and
mental health services.

Read the Report – Addressing the mental health challenges of life with kidney disease: The case for change

Brighter future ahead? – Comparing three generations of childhood

Action for Children – 2023

Landmark study finds that most parents and grandparents across the UK think childhoods are getting worse – and a third of children agree

Children today are growing up in a very different world to that of their parents and grandparents. This report compares childhoods across these three generations. We shine a light on the progress that we, as a society, are making for our children.

We asked the three generations to share their views on childhood today, the barriers that children and young people face, how children are supported and what they think about local services.

Read the Report – Brighter future ahead?

Children waiting for community health services risk being ‘overshadowed’ as health leaders call for cross-government action

NHS Confederation – 29 May 2023

Health leaders warn that children and young people are being put at risk as vital community services struggle to keep pace with demand.

  • Children at risk of poorer outcomes if development windows are missed
  • Not enough joined-up support for prevention and early intervention
  • A need for more co-ordinated action across government and commissioning for children and young people’s services.

The health and well-being of children and young people is being put at risk as vital community services struggle to keep pace with demand, health leaders have warned.

With some children and young people facing long waits for essential speech and language therapy, autism diagnoses and community paediatric services, community service leaders are calling urgently for more co-ordinated investment in early intervention and support to grow workforce capacity to address waiting times.

Health leaders we surveyed warn that the pressure on these services, made worse by the disruption of the pandemic, is extraordinary.

Further information – Children waiting for community health services risk being ‘overshadowed’ as health leaders call for cross-government action

Does menopause elevate the risk for developing depression and anxiety? Results from a systematic review

Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand
College of Psychiatrists, 31, (2) pp.165-173. , England:

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To determine whether menopause elevates the risk for developing
diagnostic depression and anxiety. Menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms such as
insomnia and hot flushes are well recognized, but no systematic review of the psychological
consequences of menopause has been undertaken. Menopause can be a time of social
change for women, confounding any correlation., METHODS: Using PRISMA methodology,
we conducted a systematic review of all published (in English) original data examining a
relationship between menopause and depression and anxiety. We ranked the quality of all
included studies using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and
Evaluation (GRADE) criteria., RESULTS: Twenty-two selected studies were summarized
and compared, being eight cross-sectional surveys; one retrospective cohort, and 13
prospective cohort studies. Depression and anxiety are common during menopause and the
post-menopause, with vasomotor symptoms and a prior history of major depression
elevating risk of menopausal associated depression. Psychosocial factors also may increase
risk of depression during menopause., CONCLUSIONS: Menopause increases vulnerability
to depression and anxiety, perhaps via estrogen fluctuations affecting serotonin and GABA.
Underlying neuroticism and contemporaneous adverse life events are also risk factors for
menopausal decompensation with depression.

Further information – Does menopause elevate the risk for developing depression and anxiety? Results from a systematic review

Mental health and wellbeing practices in higher education

Department for Education – 25th May 2023

A study of the institutional policies and practices of higher education (HE) providers to support student mental health and wellbeing.

Survey and qualitative interviews which explores how higher education providers:

  • have adopted mental health and wellbeing and suicide prevention at a strategic level in their organisation
  • design, deliver and evaluate services to meet the needs of their students

HE providers’ policies and practices to support student mental health