Find out how cats, dogs, birds and other pets can help with our mental wellbeing.
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The Mental Elf

New evidence this month on the role of pets in supporting our mental health, early life deprivation and resilience, violence and women's mental health, and trauma-informed approaches to care.
Digital Mental Health: public discussion
Join us in London or online for the next Mental Health Question Time event at 6.30pm on Wednesday 15th March. Get your FREE tickets now!
Most popular blog in this issue

The role of pets in supporting people living with mental distress

Alison Faulkner (and her cats) delight in a recent qualitative study looking at the impact pets can have on the everyday lives of people diagnosed with a long-term mental health condition.
Other top blogs
Early life deprivation, neurodevelopment, mental health and resilience: ERA study

André Tomlin summarises the latest instalment of the ERA (English and Romanian Adoptees) study, which explores the neurodevelopmental and mental health trajectories of Romanian orphans who experienced severe levels of early life deprivation.
Violence and women’s mental health: new review summarises the evidence

Nicky Lambert writes her debut Mental Elf blog on a recent review of violence and the impact that it has on women's mental health
What happened to you? Trauma informed approaches to mental health care

Sarah Carr explores a narrative review of trauma informed approaches to mental health care, which aims to provide a definition and plan for future development.
Don't miss these other posts
CBT and severity of depression

Joe Hayes summarises a new meta-analysis in the British Journal of Psychiatry that shows how the initial severity of depression does not alter the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy. This...
Bridging the gap between mental and physical healthcare in general hospitals #TreatAsOne

Kirsten Lawson presents the findings and recommendations of the recent National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death #TreatAsOne report.
Collaborative care may help older adults with subthreshold depression: CASPER trial

Ben Hannigan summarises the new CASPER trial of collaborative care versus usual care for older adults with subthreshold depression.
Self-guided iCBT for depression: effective but still not sticky enough

Stefan Rennick-Egglestone highlights a brand new IPD meta-analysis of self-guided Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy for the treatment of depression.
Psychotherapies for depression in children and adolescents: all of equal IMPACT?

Jasmin Wertz summarises the recently published IMPACT trial, which found that CBT, short-term psychoanalytical psychotherapy and brief psychosocial interventions (psychoeducation) were all equally effective in treating depression in children and...
Cochrane find insufficient evidence to support the implementation of depression prevention programmes

Ioana Cristea summarises the latest Cochrane review on CBT, third-wave CBT and IPT based interventions for preventing depression in children and adolescents
Can network meta-analysis decide the best psychosocial intervention for bipolar disorder?

Guy Goodwin and Andrea Cipriani highlight a number of methodological concerns in a new network meta-analysis of psychosocial therapies for the adjunctive treatment of bipolar disorder.
A crisis map: charting the topography of home treatment

Derek Tracy and Lisa Lloyd look back over the last 17 years of mental health crisis care and consider the findings of a new survey of Crisis Resolution Teams in...
Omega-3 fatty acids to prevent psychosis: the importance of replication (NEURAPRO trial)

Raphael Underwood summarises the NEURAPRO trial, which concludes that Omega-3 fatty acids are no better than placebo at preventing transition to psychosis in young people at ultrahigh risk for psychotic...
Mental health in the age of mass migration

Mina Fazel considers a recent systematic review of mood disorders in first-and second-generation immigrants.
Peer support for physical health improvement: recovering ‘stolen years’?

Lucy Simons discusses whether peer support interventions can help to provide physical health improvements for people living with severe mental illness.
#MQScienceMeeting: transforming lives with better mental health research

André Tomlin looks back at the #MQScienceMeeting Mental Health Science Meeting that took place in London on 2-3 Feb 2017.
EBMH call for papers! New technologies and digital innovation in mental health: special issue

Announcing an exciting new digital partnership between the Evidence Based Mental Health journal, the NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative and The Mental Elf.
Anti-stigma programmes should target personal attitudes towards mental health #TimeToTalk

Today is #TimeToTalk Day, so we've asked Kirsten Lawson to consider a brand new systematic review out today, which explores the association between mental health-related stigma and active help-seeking.
#MQScienceMeeting The Mental Health Science Meeting 2017 is going #BeyondTheRoom!

André Tomlin is live tweeting and live podcasting from the third annual MQ Mental Health Science Meeting in London, 2-3 Feb 2017.
“Queer in the head”? Do LGB people in the UK have poorer mental health? #LGBTHM17

At the start of LGBT History Month, Sarah Carr presents some recent research into sexual orientation and symptoms of common mental disorder or low wellbeing.
How do young adults with diabetes or mental health problems engage with online health information?

Sarah Knowles explores a qualitative study of young adults' perspectives on producing and consuming user-generated content about diabetes and mental health.
Digital health for young people with mental health problems: silver bullet or red herring?

Victoria Betton on a recent meta review of digital health interventions for children and young people with mental health problems. The question is, does the evidence square with her experience...
Antidepressants for bipolar depression: weighing up the benefits and harms

Murtada Alsaif considers a recent systematic review on the safety and efficacy of adjunctive second-generation antidepressant therapy with a mood stabiliser or an atypical antipsychotic in acute bipolar depression.
In search of the sweet spot: the links between dysglycaemia and first episode psychosis

Ben Perry publishes his debut blog on a recent systematic review of impaired glucose homeostasis in first-episode schizophrenia.
Virtual Reality for Social Anxiety Disorder: can we get fully immersed in this treatment just yet?

Joe Barnby publishes his debut elf blog on a recent randomised controlled trial of virtual reality compared with in vivo exposure in the treatment of social anxiety disorder.
Street triage: all it’s cooked up to be?

Vishal Bhavsar appraises a descriptive study of Street Triage and detentions under Section 136 Mental Health Act in the North-East of England.
Parent training works for child and adolescent mental health

Tony McGinn presents a high-level overview of the state of parent training evidence. His blog draws on over 30 systematic reviews with meta-analyses, to bring you a handy summary of...
Gamification for health and wellbeing

Sasha Danilina publishes her debut blog about a recent literature review on the effectiveness of gamification applied to health and wellbeing.
Finding the right care in a crisis

Derek Tracy writes his debut Mental Elf blog on a recent study that explored the clinical factors that impacted on outcomes in crisis resolution services across two large mental health...
Antipsychotics for delirium in palliative care: new RCT suggests non-drug alternatives are needed

Samei Huda highlights a recent RCT of antipsychotics (risperidone and haloperidol) versus placebo for symptoms of delirium in palliative care, which suggests we need non-drug alternatives for this group of...
Risperidone versus placebo for people with schizophrenia

Joanne Wallace summarises the recent Cochrane systematic review on risperidone versus placebo for schizophrenia, which concludes that the best available evidence does not show that the benefits of risperidone outweigh...
Behaviour change techniques in smartphone health apps

Lucas Shelemy presents a recent systematic review on gamification for health promotion, which explores behaviour change techniques in smartphone apps.
Shared treatment decision-making: does it help people with psychosis?

Matthew Broome on a systematic review and meta-analysis of shared treatment decision-making and empowerment-related outcomes in psychosis.
New NICE guidance on dual diagnosis: sterile or infectious?

Ian Hamilton and Mark Holland appraise new NICE guidance on dual diagnosis. Their blog highlights the ongoing inequity in service provision for people with serious mental illness and comorbid substance...
Driving and dementia: when’s the best time to hang up those driving gloves?

Akshay Nair summarises a recent clinical update for mental health professionals on driving and dementia, published in Evidence Based Mental Health.
Feeling the burn: do interventions to prevent burnout in doctors work?

Chris Pell summarises a recent systematic review and meta-analysis about interventions to prevent and reduce physician burnout.
The most talked about mental health blogs in 2016

André Tomlin presents the top 10 mental health blogs of the year and highlights our mental health podcast, our new #BeyondTheRoom digital conference service, and the institutional subscriptions to the...
Changing dementia prevalence in the United States

Andrew Sommerlad writes his debut blog on a comparison of the prevalence of dementia in the United States in 2000 and 2012.
Early intervention in psychosis services: better outcomes, improved costs

Gemma Shields reports on a recent longitudinal retrospective controlled study of the economic impact of early intervention in psychosis services in England.
Childhood adversity and bipolar disorder

Jasmin Wertz presents the findings of a recent systematic review and meta-analysis that explores the relationship between childhood adversity and bipolar disorder.
Predicting suicide following self-harm: risk analysis provides little help

Camille Hart, Alys Cole-King and Siobhan O'Neill co-author this blog about a recent systematic review of risk factors and risk scales, which explores the feasibility of predicting suicide following self-harm.
Is there still a digital divide in mental health?

Lisa Marzano writes her debut elf blog on a recent cross-sectional survey of Internet use in people with psychosis and depression, which explores the extent of the digital divide in...
Self-guided cCBT for depression: the #MindTech2016 debate

André Tomlin's #MindTech2016 talk about computerised cognitive behavioural therapy and depression.
Social networking sites and mental health: friend or foe?

Una Foye and Josefien Breedvelt from the Mental Health Foundation publish their debut elf blog on a recent systematic narrative review that aimed to identify and summarise research examining depression...
Comparing applets and oranges: barriers to evidence-based practice for app-based psychological interventions

A repost of Simon Leigh's excellent recent article in Evidence-Based Mental Health on the clear need for consensus and guidance for app developers, as to which patient-reported outcome measures should...
The weekend effect in mental health services: new evidence suggests no increased risk of suicide, inpatient mortality or seclusion

Laura Hemming reviews two recent studies that investigate whether patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the weekend had worse clinical outcomes, as well as the specific weekend versus weekday...
Infection with hepatitis, HIV or AIDS may be significant risk factor for suicide

Katrina Witt summarises a recent nationwide cohort study, which suggests that infection, particularly with hepatitis, HIV or AIDS, is a significant risk factor for suicide.
One size does not fit all: divergent outcomes from CBT and antidepressants for depression

Suzanne Dash explores a recent meta-analysis of CBT and antidepressants for depression, which looked at negative and positive responses to treatment and what predicted different outcomes.
#BeyondTheRoom: our new digital conference service will extend the reach of your event

Today we are launching #BeyondTheRoom; an exciting new digital conference service that will create a buzz around your event, extend your reach, facilitate a democratic conversation, create a legacy and...
Recovery review highlights rhetoric-evidence gap: does that CHIME with you?

Simon Bradsheet publishes his debut elf blog on a recent review of mental health recovery, which provides a useful wake-up call to recovery enthusiasts and researchers to more fully take...
NICE one? Is NHS guidance on substance misuse fit for purpose?

Ian Hamilton explains why the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have missed a trick by not updating their 2007 guidance on psychosocial interventions for substance misuse.
Extremism and mental health: is there a link?

Vishal Bhavsar considers the findings of a cross sectional survey of over 3,500 men, which measured the prevalence of extremist attitudes in the general population and any associations with mental...
OCD risk may increase following perinatal complications

Alan Underwood summarises a population based cohort study of 2.4 million Swedish children, which highlights links between perinatal risk factors such as smoking during pregnancy, and later development of obsessive...
iCBT for depression: how does it work?

Mark Smith presents the findings from a qualitative systematic review of iCBT for depression, which tries to unearth the mechanisms of change of internet-based or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy.
Cannabis use during pregnancy: little known about impact on child or maternal health

Ellen Grimas summarises a systematic review on prenatal exposure to cannabis and maternal and child health outcomes, which highlights the lack of high quality research in this area.
Mental health of prisoners: have we reached a state of crisis?

Ian Cummins highlights the increased risk of all-cause mortality, suicide, self-harm, violence and victimisation in prisoners. He welcomes a recent review of reviews which contains clinical, policy and research recommendations.
Antipsychotic efficacy measured by real-world observational study

Tracey Roberts examines whether a retrospective observational study accurately investigates the effectiveness of second and first generation antipsychotics.
Trauma and psychotic symptoms: clear association, but do we really understand why?

#UCLJournalClub students worked collaboratively on this blog, which appraises and summarises a recent cross sectional study looking at the psychological mechanisms that mediate effects between trauma and psychotic symptoms.
Chronic pain and depression: genetic and environmental risks

Marcus Munafo explores a recent study that uses genetic data and family environmental information to quantify the risk of chronic pain and the contribution of risk variants for major depressive...

Podcast: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey
Sara Ketteley, Steven Marwaha and Keith Hawton discuss the findings of the fourth national survey of the mental health of English households. The conversation covers general psychiatric morbidity, bipolar disorder, self-harm, suicide and the impact of austerity on mental illness.

Podcast: Street Triage 

André Tomlin speaks to mental health service users, police inspectors, clinicians and researchers in this 40-minute documentary about mental health crisis care. If you are new to street triage, this is a great introduction to get you up to speed.

Our thanks to everyone who contributed to this podcast and especially to Emma McAllister, Jenny Holmes, Michael Brown, Martin Webber and Bill Scott.

Copyright © 2017 Minervation Ltd, All rights reserved.

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