Mental Health Week 2022

The 10th–15th of May is Mental Health Awareness Week, an event which focuses on improving people’s mental wellbeing across the UK. This year’s theme is ‘loneliness’, something that has affected many of us at some point during our lives, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mental Health Foundation have found that an increasing number of people are experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can lead to harmful consequences. We can all help fight loneliness by getting back in touch with a long-lost friend, or by visiting a neighbour you haven’t spoken to in a while. Below, we have collated a series of articles which explore the topic of mental health and highlight its impact in our society.

Who works side by side with neurons to make the brain work?
The Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience is devoted to investigating the role of glial cells in healthy brain functioning and in disease. An international team of neuroscientists investigate how glial cells work together with neurons in the brain, the most complex structure in the universe. Learning how glial cells work will help us understand brain activity and fight against brain damage, mental disorders and degenerative diseases.

Bullying and mental health: What can schools do?
Learning Together is the largest school intervention targeting bullying and aggression delivered in the UK. It involved 40 secondary schools with over 6,500 students over 3 years. The intervention involved restorative practice, action groups and a student curriculum on relationships and emotions. The results were extremely promising, with pupils in the intervention schools reporting significantly lower levels of bullying, better health and mental health at the end of the trial.

Primary care quality for people with severe mental ill health
Severe mental ill health, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families. If people with severe mental ill health receive high quality primary care from their doctors, they may live longer and be in better health. The present study found that patients who received a care plan, an annual physical review and continuity of care, had fewer unplanned hospital admissions, A&E attendances, and lower healthcare costs to the NHS.

Can I overcome stress, anxiety and depression with daily supportive messages?
Daily supportive text messages through the ResilienceNHope programmes have been found to address symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. The research involved randomized controlled trials and surveys from population level programs in Ireland and Canada. For example participants had significantly lower rates of depression, anxiety, stress, suicidal ideation, or thoughts of self – harm and disturbed sleep after accessing daily supportive text messages for six weeks from Text4hope, compared to a control population.