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The declaration of a COVID-19 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – CoronaVirus2) pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020 has vastly changed the landscape in which mental health services function. Consideration is required to adapt services during this unusual time, ensuring continued provision of care for current patients, availability of care for patients with new-onset mental health difficulties and delivery of evidence-based support for healthcare professionals working with affected patients. Lessons can be learned from research carried out during the severe acute respiratory syndrome, Middle East respiratory syndrome and Ebola epidemics to ensure the delivery of efficient and effective mental health services both now and into the future.
The treatment of mental illness is undergoing a paradigm shift, moving away from involuntary treatments towards rights-based, patient-centred care. However, rates of seclusion and restraint in Ireland are on the rise. The World Health Organisation’s QualityRights initiative aims to remove coercion from the practice of mental health care, in order to concord with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The QualityRights initiative has recently published a training programme, with eight modules designed to be delivered as workshops. Conducting these workshops may reduce coercive practices, and four of the modules may be of particular relevance for Ireland. The ‘Supported decision-making and advance planning’ and the ‘Legal capacity and the right to decide’ modules highlight the need to implement the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act, 2015, while the ‘Freedom from coercion, violence and abuse’ and ‘Strategies to end seclusion and restraint’ modules describe practical alternatives to some current involuntary treatments.
Subjective cognitive difficulties are common in mental illness and have a negative impact on role functioning. Little is understood about subjective cognition and the longitudinal relationship with depression and anxiety symptoms in young people.
To examine the relationship between changes in levels of depression and anxiety and changes in subjective cognitive functioning over 3 months in help-seeking youth.
This was a cohort study of 656 youth aged 12–25 years attending Australian headspace primary mental health services. Subjective changes in cognitive functioning (rated as better, same, worse) reported after 3 months of treatment was assessed using the Neuropsychological Symptom Self-Report. Multivariate multinomial logistic regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the impact of baseline levels of and changes in depression (nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire; PHQ9) and anxiety symptoms (seven-item Generalised Anxiety Disorder scale; GAD7) on changes in subjective cognitive function at follow-up while controlling for covariates.
With a one-point reduction in PHQ9 at follow-up, there was an estimated 11–18% increase in ratings of better subjective cognitive functioning at follow-up, relative to stable cognitive functioning. A one-point increase in PHQ9 from baseline to follow-up was associated with 7–14% increase in ratings of worse subjective cognitive functioning over 3 months, relative to stable cognitive functioning. A similar attenuated pattern of findings was observed for the GAD7.
A clear association exists between subjective cognitive functioning outcomes and changes in self-reported severity of affective symptoms in young people over the first 3 months of treatment. Understanding the timing and mechanisms of these associations is needed to tailor treatment.
Crises such as the global pandemic of COVID-19 (coronavirus) elicit a range of responses from individuals and societies adversely affecting physical and emotional well-being. This article provides an overview of factors elicited in response to COVID-19 and their impact on immunity, physical health, mental health and well-being. Certain groups, such as individuals with mental illness, are especially vulnerable, so it is important to maximise the supports available to this population and their families during the pandemic. More broadly, the World Health Organization recommends ‘Psychological First Aid’ as a useful technique that can help many people in a time of crisis.
The trajectory of the anthropology of Irish psychiatry, like the trajectory of Irish psychiatry itself, is indelibly shaped by the history of Irelandʼs mental hospitals. This paper focuses on three works concerning the anthropology of psychiatry in Ireland: Nancy Scheper-Hughesʼs book, Saints Scholars and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland, an anthropological study (1977/2001); Eileen Kaneʼs paper, ‘Stereotypes and Irish identity: mental illness as a cultural frame’, from Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review (1986) and Michael D’Arcyʼs conference paper, ‘The hospital and the Holy Spirit: psychotic subjectivity and institutional returns in Dublin, Ireland’ (2015), based on his PhD dissertation. All three publications explore the relationship between institutional and community psychiatric care in Ireland, concluding with the work of D’Arcy which, like much good anthropology, is rooted in the lived experience of mental illness and combines deep awareness of the past with tolerance of multiple, ostensibly contradictory narratives in the present.
This paper seeks to provide a brief overview of epidemics and pandemics in Irish history and to identify any lessons that might be useful in relation to psychiatry in the context of COVID-19.
A review of selected key reports, papers and publications related to epidemics and pandemics in Irish history was conducted.
Viruses, epidemics and pandemics are recurring features of human history. Early Irish sources record a broad array of plagues, pandemics and epidemics including bubonic plague, typhus, cholera, dysentery and smallpox, as well as an alleged epidemic of insanity in the 19th century (that never truly occurred). Like the Spanish flu pandemic (1918–20), COVID-19 (a new coronavirus) presents both the challenge of the illness itself and the problems caused by the anxiety that the virus triggers. Managing this anxiety has always been a challenge, especially with the Spanish flu. People with mental illness had particularly poor outcomes with the Spanish flu, often related to the large, unhygienic mental hospitals in which so many were housed.
Even today, a full century after the Spanish flu pandemic, people with mental illness remain at increased risk of poor physical health, so it is imperative that multi-disciplinary care continues during the current outbreak of COVID-19, despite the manifest difficulties involved. The histories of previous epidemics and pandemics clearly demonstrate that good communication and solidarity matter, now more than ever, especially for people with mental illness.
Many institutions are attempting to implement patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures. Because PROs often change clinical workflows significantly for patients and providers, implementation choices can have major impact. While various implementation guides exist, a stepwise list of decision points covering the full implementation process and drawing explicitly on a sociotechnical conceptual framework does not exist.
To facilitate real-world implementation of PROs in electronic health records (EHRs) for use in clinical practice, members of the EHR Access to Seamless Integration of Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Consortium developed structured PRO implementation planning tools. Each institution pilot tested the tools. Joint meetings led to the identification of critical sociotechnical success factors.
Three tools were developed and tested: (1) a PRO Planning Guide summarizes the empirical knowledge and guidance about PRO implementation in routine clinical care; (2) a Decision Log allows decision tracking; and (3) an Implementation Plan Template simplifies creation of a sharable implementation plan. Seven lessons learned during implementation underscore the iterative nature of planning and the importance of the clinician champion, as well as the need to understand aims, manage implementation barriers, minimize disruption, provide ample discussion time, and continuously engage key stakeholders.
Highly structured planning tools, informed by a sociotechnical perspective, enabled the construction of clear, clinic-specific plans. By developing and testing three reusable tools (freely available for immediate use), our project addressed the need for consolidated guidance and created new materials for PRO implementation planning. We identified seven important lessons that, while common to technology implementation, are especially critical in PRO implementation.
Dr Séamus Mac Suibhne (Sweeney), consultant psychiatrist and writer, who died on 8 September 2019, was a unique, much admired figure in Irish psychiatry. His interests ranged from clinical care to philosophy, from medical education to history, from innovative technology to the natural world. He was a dedicated family man as well as a doctor, scholar and writer who moved between academic fields with ease and erudition. As a clinician, he consistently placed compassion at the centre of care. Séamus’s work appeared in the Lancet, BMJ, British Journal of Psychiatry, International Journal of Social Psychiatry and Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, among other publications. He also wrote for the Guardian, Spectator, Scotsman and Times Literary Supplement. Séamus had a particular passion for better acknowledgement and treatment of mental illness among psychiatrists, and his compelling advocacy on this theme is one of his lasting legacies.
Background: Although previous research has suggested that patients with incidentally discovered low-grade gliomas (iLGG) who undergo surgery prior to the appearance of symptoms have improved outcomes compared to those who are symptomatic, an ideal approach to managing iLGG is not well-established. The purpose of this systematic review is to identify all cases of iLGG in the literature and characterize the effect of the timing of surgery on survival. Methods: We searched EMBASE, MEDLINE, and PubMed for articles related to iLGG. After duplicates were removed, the articles were then screened based on strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. Results: We retrieved 24/1377 unique articles with a total of 175 patients who underwent surgery for iLGG prior to symptoms appearing. The average age was 29.1yrs (range 1-62) and the mean follow-up period was 56 months (range 1-234months). Unfortunately, only 6/24 articles reported progression-free survival (average 32.4months) and only 1/24 reported 10-year survival. Conclusions: The articles we identified favored an early intervention for iLGG, however, there was a considerable lack of long-term follow-up and survival data to justify such a claim. Further studies need to be performed with adequate follow-up data in order to determine the optimal timing of surgical intervention for these patients.
Lithium-treated patients with polyuria are at increased risk of lithium toxicity. We aimed to describe the clinical benefits and risks of different management strategies for polyuria in community lithium-treated patients.
This is a naturalistic, observational, prospective 12-month cohort study of lithium-treated patients with polyuria attending a community mental health service in Dublin, Ireland. When polyuria was detected, management changed in one of four ways: (a) no pharmacological change; (b) lithium dose decrease; (c) lithium substitution; or (d) addition of amiloride.
Thirty-four participants were diagnosed with polyuria and completed prospective data over 12 months. Mean 24-hour urine volume decreased from 4852 to 4344 ml (p = 0.038). Mean early morning urine osmolality decreased from 343 to 338 mOsm/kg (p = 0.823). Mean 24-hour urine volume decreased with each type of intervention but did not attain statistical significance for any individual intervention group. Mean early morning urine osmolality decreased in participants with no pharmacological change and increased in participants who received a change in medication but these changes did not attain statistical significance. Only participants who discontinued lithium demonstrated potentially clinically significant changes in urine volume (mean decrease 747 ml in 24 hours) and early morning urine osmolality (mean increase 31 mOsm/kg) although this was not definitively proven, possibly owing to power issues.
Managing polyuria by decreasing lithium dose does not appear to substantially improve objective measures of renal tubular dysfunction, whereas substituting lithium may do so. Studies with larger numbers and longer follow-up would clarify these relationships.
OBJECTIVES/SPECIFIC AIMS: To evaluate the ability of various techniques to track changes in body fluid volumes before and after a rapid infusion of saline. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: Eight healthy participants (5M; 3F) completed baseline measurements of 1) total body water using ethanol dilution and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and 2) blood volume, plasma volume and red blood cell (RBC) volume using carbon monoxide rebreathe technique and I-131 albumin dilution. Subsequently, 30mL saline/kg body weight was administered intravenously over 20 minutes after which BIA and ethanol dilution were repeated. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: On average, 2.29±0.35 L saline was infused with an average increase in net fluid input-output (I/O) of 1.56±0.29 L. BIA underestimated measured I/O by −3.4±7.9%, while ethanol dilution did not demonstrate a measurable change in total body water. Carbon monoxide rebreathe differed from I-131 albumin dilution measurements of blood, plasma and RBC volumes by +0.6±2.8%, −5.4±3.6%, and +11.0±4.7%, respectively. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF IMPACT: BIA is capable of tracking modest changes in total body water. Carbon monoxide rebreathe appears to be a viable alternative for the I-131 albumin dilution technique to determine blood volume. Together, these two techniques may be useful in monitoring fluid status in patients with impaired fluid regulation.
To assess community mental health in suburban Dublin in 2018, 5 years after Ireland’s economic recession ended.
A cross-sectional, face-to-face, household survey was conducted in a random cluster sample of 351 households in Tallaght, a deprived suburb of Dublin.
A majority of respondents (61.3%) reported stress over the previous 12 months, with a higher rate in areas of high (66.9%) compared to lower deprivation (55.5%). Deprivation was not related to rates of loneliness (20.2%), feeling depressed (20.2%), loss of interest (19.7%) or anxiety (22.5%). Mean score for positive mental health (59.3/100, with a higher score indicating better mental health) was lower than that reported in a national sample in 2007 (68/100); positive mental health was associated with not living with a person with chronic illness, self-identifying as ‘non-Irish’ and greater age. Mean score for psychological distress (76.7/100, with a higher score indicating less distress) was also lower than that in 2007 (82/100); less psychological distress was associated with not living with a person with chronic illness or disability, greater age and identifying as non-Irish. The rate of ‘probable mental illness’ over the previous 4 weeks (13.1%) was higher than in 2007 (7%).
Our findings emphasise the high prevalence of stress, especially in deprived suburban areas; the centrality of carer burden in determining mental wellbeing; and associations between positive mental health on the one hand and greater age and identifying as non-Irish on the other.
There is renewed interest in the inverse association between psychiatric hospital and prison places, with reciprocal time trends shown in more than one country. We hypothesised that the numbers of admissions to psychiatric hospitals and committals to prisons in Ireland would also correlate inversely over time (i.e. dynamic measures of admission and committal rather than static, cross-sectional numbers of places).
Publicly available activity statistics for psychiatric hospitals and prisons in Ireland were collated from 1986 to 2010.
There was a reciprocal association between psychiatric admissions and prison committals (Pearson r=−0.788, p<0.001), an increase of 91 prison committals for every 100 psychiatric hospital admissions foregone.
Penrose’s hypothesis applies to admissions to psychiatric hospitals and prisons in Ireland over time (dynamic measures), just as it does to the numbers of places in psychiatric hospitals and prisons in Ireland and elsewhere (static, cross-sectional measures). Although no causal connection can be definitively established yet, mentally disordered prisoners are usually known to community mental health services. Psychiatric services for prisons and the community should be linked to ensure that the needs of those currently accessing care through prisons can also be met in the community.
The history of psychiatry is the history of therapeutic enthusiasm with all of the triumph and tragedy, hubris and humility that this brings. As a result, the emergence of any new diagnosis, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), needs to be greeted with caution, rigour and scientific objectivity, as well as compassion, therapeutic engagement and optimism. Although there is now little doubt that ADHD is a valid, useful diagnostic concept, and progress has been made, there is still considerable work to be done to establish its incidence, prevalence and biological underpinnings, as well as optimal therapeutic strategies. As with all mental illnesses, it is likely that knowledge will develop over many decades and diagnostic criteria will be refined in parallel. In the absence of definitive biological understanding, there should be particular caution about over-exuberant diagnostic expansionism unless it is accompanied by compelling evidence of therapeutic benefit for those diagnosed.