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Mental disorders in children are a significant and growing cause of morbidity worldwide. Although interventions to help overcome barriers along the pathway to accessing health care for children with mental disorders exist, there is no overview of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on these interventions as yet. This study aimed to systematically identify RCTs of interventions to improve access to mental health care for children and synthesise them using a conceptual framework of access to health care.
This systematic review was performed following a predefined protocol registered with PROSPERO (ID: CRD42018081714). We searched the databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and CENTRAL for RCTs up to 15 May 2019 using terms related to the concepts ‘young people,’ ‘mental disorders’ and ‘help-seeking interventions’ and scanned reference lists from relevant studies. Two reviewers independently screened all identified articles in a two-stage process, extracted results on outcomes of interest (knowledge, attitudes, intentions, help-seeking, accessing care, mental health outcomes and satisfaction), assessed the risk of bias and conducted meta-analyses where deemed appropriate.
After screening 5641 identified articles, 34 RCTs were eligible for inclusion. Eighty per cent of universal school-based interventions measuring knowledge (n = 5) and 67% measuring attitudes (n = 6) reported significantly better results compared with controls on those outcomes, whereas 20% measuring access to care (n = 5) and none measuring mental health outcomes (n = 7) did. In contrast, 71% of interventions targeting at-risk individuals (n = 21) reported better access to care compared with controls, while just 33% (n = 6) did for mental health outcomes. For satisfaction with care, this proportion was 80% (n = 5). Meta-analyses of interventions measuring initial appointment attendance yielded combined odds ratios of 3.11 (2.07–4.67) for appointment reminder interventions and 3.51 (2.02–6.11) for treatment engagement interventions. The outcomes for universal school-based interventions were heterogeneous and could not be summarised quantitatively through meta-analysis.
To have a population-level effect on improving children's access to mental health care, two-stage interventions that identify those in need and then engage them in the health-care system may be necessary. We need more evidence on interventions to target contextual factors such as affordability and infrastructural barriers.
Previous research failed to uncover a replicable dimensional structure underlying the symptoms of depression. We aimed to examine two neglected methodological issues in this research: (a) adjusting symptom correlations for overall depression severity; and (b) analysing general population samples v. subsamples of currently depressed individuals.
Using population-based cross-sectional and longitudinal data from two nations (Switzerland, 5883 young men; USA, 2174 young men and 2244 young women) we assessed the dimensions of the nine DSM-IV depression symptoms in young adults. In each general-population sample and each subsample of currently depressed participants, we conducted a standardised process of three analytical steps, based on exploratory and confirmatory factor and bifactor analysis, to reveal any replicable dimensional structure underlying symptom correlations while controlling for overall depression severity.
We found no evidence of a replicable dimensional structure across samples when adjusting symptom correlations for overall depression severity. In the general-population samples, symptoms correlated strongly and a single dimension of depression severity was revealed. Among depressed participants, symptom correlations were surprisingly weak and no replicable dimensions were identified, regardless of severity-adjustment.
First, caution is warranted when considering studies assessing dimensions of depression because general population-based studies and studies of depressed individuals generate different data that can lead to different conclusions. This problem likely generalises to other models based on the symptoms’ inter-relationships such as network models. Second, whereas the overall severity aligns individuals on a continuum of disorder intensity that allows non-affected individuals to be distinguished from affected individuals, the clinical evaluation and treatment of depressed individuals should focus directly on each individual's symptom profile.
Eating disorders (EDs) have long-term physical and mental impacts on those affected. However, few population-based studies have estimated the prevalence of EDs. We aimed to estimate the lifetime and 12-month prevalence rates of EDs using DSM-IV criteria, and to examine differences against the DSM-5 criteria for anorexia.
A nationally representative sample of 10 038 residents in Switzerland was interviewed, and prevalence rates for anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge eating disorder (BED) were assessed using WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interviews (WHO-CIDI).
The lifetime prevalence rate for any ED was found to be 3.5%. Lifetime prevalence estimates for AN, BN, and/or BED were 1.2%, 2.4%, and 2.4%, respectively, among women and 0.2%, 0.9%, and 0.7%, respectively, among men. Utilizing the DSM-5 criteria, the prevalence of AN in women increased by more than 50%, from 1.2% to 1.9%. Among those meeting the criteria for any ED, only 49.4% of men and 67.9% of women had ever sought professional help about their problems with eating or weight.
The higher prevalence of BN we detected relative to other studies should prompt further monitoring for a possible increasing trend. The female v. male ratios, especially for bulimia and BED, are decreasing. Given that more than half of those affected have never consulted any professional about their problems with eating or weight, routine inquiries about eating and weight by clinicians, school teachers/psychologists, and family members may help those who are at risk, especially among men.
Functional and mental health impairments that adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience may be exacerbated by regular substance use and co-morbidity with substance use disorders (SUD). This may be especially true during young adulthood, which represents a critical stage of life associated with increased substance use and associated problems. However, previous studies investigating the association between ADHD and substance use and SUD have demonstrated inconsistent results, probably due to methodological limitations (e.g., small and non-representative samples). Thus, the relationship of ADHD with substance use and related disorders remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between ADHD and both the use of licit and illicit substances and the presence of SUD in a large, representative sample of young men.
The sample included 5677 Swiss men (mean age 20 ± 1.23 years) who participated in the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF). ADHD was assessed using the adult ADHD Self Report Screener (ASRS). The association between ADHD and substance use and SUD was assessed for alcohol, nicotine, cannabis and other illicit drugs, while controlling for socio-demographic variables and co-morbid psychiatric disorders (i.e., major depression (MD) and anti-social personality disorder (ASPD)).
Men with ADHD were more likely to report having used nicotine, cannabis and other illicit drugs at some time in their life, but not alcohol. ADHD was positively associated with early initiation of alcohol, nicotine and cannabis use, the risky use of these substances, and the presence of alcohol use disorders, and nicotine and cannabis dependence. Additionally, our analyses revealed that these patterns are also highly associated with ASPD. After adjusting for this disorder, the association between ADHD and licit and illicit substance use and the presence of SUDs was reduced, but remained significant.
Our findings suggest that adult ADHD is significantly associated with a propensity to experiment with licit and illicit substances, especially at earlier ages, to exhibit risky substance use patterns, and to subsequently develop SUDs. Preventive strategies that include early intervention and addressing co-morbidity with ASPD may be crucial to reducing substance use and the development of pathological substance use patterns in young men affected by ADHD and, thus, helping to prevent further illness burden later in life.
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