The impact of research
How does social media and other new technologies influence mental health in young people and how can we use these mediums effectively to promote good mental health in young people?
What Research Matters for Mental Health Policy in Scotland
Research can produce Miricyls
There have been 225,000 research papers published on children’s cancer since 1970 and child mortality in children with cancer has decreased c65% since the 1970s. In contrast there have only been 45,000 research papers published on children’s mental health. The Nuffield Foundation in a 2012 report found that the incidence of “15 and 16 year olds reporting that they frequently feel anxious or depressed has doubled in the last 30 years.” Today we are still diagnosing children based on how they behave and how they feel. Is this really going to be acceptable in 100 years’ time?
We have a dream
We know that only 5-10% of cancers result from genetics. We know so much about that 5-10% that women like Angelina Jolie take the radical decision to have a double mastectomy when they are told that they have a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. In 95% of mental illnesses we do not know if there is a genetic cause.
What if in 20 years’ time we can tell a 16 year old girl whose heart is set on science A levels, a degree in medicine and a high pressure career as a trauma surgeon that she has bi-polar disorder? She could start on appropriate treatment, learn about early warning signs of her illness, choose a less stressful career path, avoid episodes of illness, stays in hospital and attempts at suicide, where she is 17x more at risk of death than the general population. It’s not an impossible dream. Let’s create a miracle for mental health.
Miricyls are close at hand
Andrew Macintosh, Professor of Biological Psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh uses genomics and neuroimaging to better understand depression and common mental disorders At the moment psychiatric illnesses are diagnosed by looking at which symptoms people have, and how long they have had them. But many psychiatric illnesses have similar symptoms, and these observations alone reveal little about the biology underlying the condition.