Storm And Stress - New Ways Of Looking At Adolescent Mental Health

Series exploring mental illness in young people.

Episodes

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What's The Fix?20180703

What does the new funding announced for the NHS mean for adolescent mental health?

What does the new funding announced for the NHS mean for Adolescent Mental Health?

In this programme Sally Marlow addresses some of the issues we have come across throughout the series.
Rates of mental illness amongst adolescents have risen, and yet action is severely lacking, we ask who is accountable and what are they doing?

We look to the future, how can change realistically be achieved in both the short and medium term?
It is clear the current system is broken - but how can and should adolescent health services be reorganised? Many young people in need reported the damaging effect of the chasm between adolescent and adult services, can this be done away with?

And how can the more imaginative approaches of the voluntary sector, often involving arts, music and community based support, be incorporated into mainstream NHS mental health services for young people?

We examine emerging government policy on this issue, where do our current politicians think the emphasis should go, are they really across the issues?
And what about the mental health research community, often working in both academia and treatment, how can their insight be harnessed to inform public policy? ,
As many in the series have noted, young peoples' mental health is gaining in profile, stigma is reducing, in many situations it okay for young people to admit they might have problems. And yet this still contrasts sharply with the lack of action.

01What's The Problem?2018061220180618 (R4)

There is obviously a profound difference between the lives of 'Millennials' and those of a 1950s teenager.

In the first of this three part series mental health researcher Sally Marlow, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London,
asks is there an actual difference for mental health, or is it simply awareness - that mental health issues are now talked about far more openly than they were when the term 'teenager' was first coined?

She explores the extent of the problem. Is there a parental equivalent of "the worried well" when it comes to mental health? Has the increased awareness of mental health problems contributed to medicalising feelings and behaviours that in the past were thought of as part and parcel of adolescence, and if so, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Some of the reasons for mental health issues are not surprising- such as trauma and social isolation, but there are other reasons too - factors such as microaggressions on the part of society, and systemic problems like austerity and ethnocentricity.

Life online clearly is now a big factor, especially social media, and there certainly is impact. The negatives hit the headlines, from body shaming to bullying and even suicide - but how much of this is really new and how much of it is an online expression of pre-existing issues?

There is good data on the prevalence of young people's mental health problems over the years. Sally Marlow uses this to compare the mental health of 16 - 25 year olds today to previous generations.

Producer: Julian Siddle.

Are rates of mental illness in our young people really escalating?

There is obviously a profound difference between the lives of 'Millennials' and those of a 1950s teenager.

In the first of this three part series mental health researcher Sally Marlow, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London,
asks is there an actual difference for mental health, or is it simply awareness - that mental health issues are now talked about far more openly than they were when the term 'teenager' was first coined?

She explores the extent of the problem. Is there a parental equivalent of "the worried well" when it comes to mental health? Has the increased awareness of mental health problems contributed to medicalising feelings and behaviours that in the past were thought of as part and parcel of adolescence, and if so, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Some of the reasons for mental health issues are not surprising- such as trauma and social isolation, but there are other reasons too - factors such as microaggressions on the part of society, and systemic problems like austerity and ethnocentricity.

Life online clearly is now a big factor, especially social media, and there certainly is impact. The negatives hit the headlines, from body shaming to bullying and even suicide - but how much of this is really new and how much of it is an online expression of pre-existing issues?

There is good data on the prevalence of young people's mental health problems over the years. Sally Marlow uses this to compare the mental health of 16 - 25 year olds today to previous generations.

Are rates of mental illness in young people really escalating?

There is obviously a profound difference between the lives of 'Millennials' and those of a 1950s teenager.

In the first of this three part series mental health researcher Sally Marlow, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London,
asks is there an actual difference for mental health, or is it simply awareness - that mental health issues are now talked about far more openly than they were when the term 'teenager' was first coined?

She explores the extent of the problem. Is there a parental equivalent of "the worried well" when it comes to mental health? Has the increased awareness of mental health problems contributed to medicalising feelings and behaviours that in the past were thought of as part and parcel of adolescence, and if so, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Some of the reasons for mental health issues are not surprising- such as trauma and social isolation, but there are other reasons too - factors such as microaggressions on the part of society, and systemic problems like austerity and ethnocentricity.

Life online clearly is now a big factor, especially social media, and there certainly is impact. The negatives hit the headlines, from body shaming to bullying and even suicide - but how much of this is really new and how much of it is an online expression of pre-existing issues?

There is good data on the prevalence of young people's mental health problems over the years. Sally Marlow uses this to compare the mental health of 16 - 25 year olds today to previous generations.

Producer: Julian Siddle.

02Blame The Brain?2018061920180625 (R4)

Why is the age range 16-25 such a crucial time for mental health?

20 years ago we didn't have the range of tools we now have to pinpoint physiological differences in brain development at various stages of life. Now it's clear the adolescent brain is still developing, and yet we expect young people to cope with a lot adult situations.

In the second of this 3 part series Mental Health Researcher Sally Marlow, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London, examines adolescent brain development through neuroscience, environmental stressors, and psychological processes.

Looking back at the brain as far as in utero - is there a particular neurological profile which needs to have developed during childhood for "good" adolescent mental health, and do some young people have specific brain-related vulnerabilities?

Can we really pinpoint triggers for mental illness by looking at brain tissue? Is an approach based on genetics and statistics, just a bit too crude? These are very fashionable ideas currently, but there is quite a negative history attached to concepts of this kind. We'll be asking whether and how such ideas can be integrated into effective treatments with positive outcomes for adolescent mental health.

Producer: Julian Siddle.

20 years ago we didn't have the range of tools we now have to pinpoint physiological differences in brain development at various stages of life. Now it's clear the adolescent brain is still developing, and yet we expect young people to cope with a lot adult situations.

In the second of this 3 part series Mental Health Researcher Sally Marlow, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London, examines adolescent brain development through neuroscience, environmental stressors, and psychological processes.

Looking back at the brain as far as in utero - is there a particular neurological profile which needs to have developed during childhood for "good" adolescent mental health, and do some young people have specific brain-related vulnerabilities?

Can we really pinpoint triggers for mental illness by looking at brain tissue? Is an approach based on genetics and statistics, just a bit too crude? These are very fashionable ideas currently, but there is quite a negative history attached to concepts of this kind. We'll be asking whether and how such ideas can be integrated into effective treatments with positive outcomes for adolescent mental health.

03How To Help2018062620180702 (R4)

Are we serving our young people well enough when it comes to mental health?

Nearly all the young people with mental health issues that we've interviewed for this series agree the transition from child to adult mental health services is incredibly traumatic.

In the 3rd part of our series Mental Health Researcher Sally Marlow, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London, looks at new ideas around continuity of care.

We visit an experimental inpatients service for people ranging from early teens to their mid 20s. Its one of a kind and this service is not based in the UK, but in Germany.

December 2017 saw the publication of government plans for adolescent mental health in a green paper, 'Transforming children and young people's mental health provision'. While being welcomed as a step in the right direction, the green paper has also been criticised for not going far enough, only making a tiny increase in access to treatment for young people with mental illness.

Another criticism of the green paper is that too much of the responsibility for adolescent mental health shifts to schools. Teenagers spend much of their time at school, its is a formative environment, but without additional funding and adequate evidence based mental health interventions can schools really be the key? We visit one school at the vanguard and look at how they are bringing together education with awareness and action on mental health.

Producer: Julian Siddle.

Nearly all the young people with mental health issues that we've interviewed for this series agree the transition from child to adult mental health services is incredibly traumatic.

In the last of this 3 part series Mental Health Researcher Sally Marlow, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London, finds the exceptions were on the rare occasions where there was continuity of care. We visit a large scale practical example of this, with both in and outpatients services for people ranging from early teens to their mid 20s - does it have better outcomes than the split services we are used to, does it save money?
This service is not based in the UK, but in Germany.

The government has a plan, December 2017 saw the green paper, "Transforming children and young people's mental health provision", and NHS England's "Five Year Forward View". Do these propose the right approach? Are they deliverable? How much is informed by evidence? Crucially, will these plans work?

A criticism of the governments plans is that too much of the responsibility for adolescent mental health shifts to schools. Teenagers spend much of their time at school, its is a formative environment , but without adequate and evidence based mental health interventions can school really be the key?

We also look at recent research on prevention - the hope that early intervention, based on strong scientific evidence could stop mental illness developing in the first place.

Producer: Julian Siddle.

04Questioning Jeremy Hunt2018070320180709 (R4)

Will new NHS funding improve adolescent mental health? We question Jeremy Hunt.

Sally Marlow puts some of the issues we have come across throughout the series to UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Rates of mental illness amongst adolescents have risen, and yet action is severely lacking, we ask who is accountable and what is goverment doing?

We look to the future, how can change realistically be achieved in both the short and medium term?
What does the new funding announced for the NHS mean for Adolescent Mental Health?
It is clear the current system is broken - but how can and should adolescent health services be reorganised? Many young people in need reported the damaging effect of the chasm between adolescent and adult services, can this be done away with?

One solution is to involve schools more, how can this be achieved ?

And how can the more imaginative approaches of the voluntary sector, often involving arts, music and community based support, be incorporated into mainstream NHS mental health services for young people?

We examine emerging government policy on this issue, where does the Health Secretary think the emphasis should go, and what exactly will be funded?
And what about the mental health research community, often working in both academia and treatment, how can their insight be harnessed to inform public policy?
,
The minster answers points raised by many of the young people we have met in this series who have first hand experience of the current mental health system.