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People with severe mental illness and intellectual disabilities are overrepresented in the criminal justice system worldwide and this is also the case in Ireland. Following Ireland’s ratification of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2018, there has been an increasing emphasis on ensuring access to justice for people with disabilities as in Article 13. For people with mental health and intellectual disabilities, this requires a multi-agency approach and a useful point of intervention may be at the police custody stage. Medicine has a key role to play both in advocacy and in practice. We suggest a functional approach to assessment, in practice, and list key considerations for doctors attending police custody suites. Improved training opportunities and greater resources are needed for general practitioners and psychiatrists who attend police custody suites to help fulfill this role.
To assess the relationship between food insecurity, sleep quality, and days with mental and physical health issues among college students.
An online survey was administered. Food insecurity was assessed using the ten-item Adult Food Security Survey Module. Sleep was measured using the nineteen-item Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Mental health and physical health were measured using three items from the Healthy Days Core Module. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to assess the relationship between food insecurity, sleep quality, and days with poor mental and physical health.
Twenty-two higher education institutions.
College students (n 17 686) enrolled at one of twenty-two participating universities.
Compared with food-secure students, those classified as food insecure (43·4 %) had higher PSQI scores indicating poorer sleep quality (P < 0·0001) and reported more days with poor mental (P < 0·0001) and physical (P < 0·0001) health as well as days when mental and physical health prevented them from completing daily activities (P < 0·0001). Food-insecure students had higher adjusted odds of having poor sleep quality (adjusted OR (AOR): 1·13; 95 % CI 1·12, 1·14), days with poor physical health (AOR: 1·01; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·02), days with poor mental health (AOR: 1·03; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·03) and days when poor mental or physical health prevented them from completing daily activities (AOR: 1·03; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·04).
College students report high food insecurity which is associated with poor mental and physical health, and sleep quality. Multi-level policy changes and campus wellness programmes are needed to prevent food insecurity and improve student health-related outcomes.
Vocally disruptive behaviour (VDB) is relatively common in nursing home residents but difficult to treat. There is limited study on prevalence and treatment of VDB. We hypothesise that VDB is a result of complex interaction between patient factors and environmental contributors.
Residents of nursing homes in south Dublin were the target population for this study. Inclusion criteria were that the residents were 65 years or over and exhibited VDB significant enough for consideration in the resident’s care plan. Information on typology and frequency of VDB, Interventions employed and their efficacy, diagnoses, Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory scores, Mini-Mental State Examination scores, and Barthel Index scores were obtained.
Eight percent of nursing home residents were reported to display VDB, most commonly screaming (in 39.4% of vocally disruptive residents). VDB was associated with physical agitation and dementia; together, these two factors accounted for almost two-thirds of the variation in VDB between residents. One-to-one attention, engaging in conversation, redirecting behaviour, and use of psychotropic medication were reported by nurses as the most useful interventions. Analgesics were the medications most commonly used (65.7%) followed by quetiapine (62.9%), and these were reportedly effective in 82.6% and 77.2% of residents respectively.
VDB is common, challenging, and difficult to manage. The study of VDB is limited by a variety of factors that both contribute to this behaviour and make its treatment challenging. Issues relating to capacity and ethics make it difficult to conduct randomised controlled trials of treatments for VDB in the population affected.
Schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia are common presentations to psychiatry services. Research to date has focussed on hypothesised biological differences between these two disorders. Little is known about possible variations in admission patterns. Our study compared demographic and clinical features of patients admitted voluntarily and involuntarily with diagnoses of schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia to three psychiatry admission units in Ireland.
We studied all admissions to three acute psychiatry units in Ireland for periods between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2018. We recorded demographic and clinical variables for all admissions. Voluntary and involuntary admissions of patients with schizoaffective disorder were compared to those with schizophrenia.
We studied 5581 admissions to the study units for varying periods between January 2008 and December 2018, covering a total of 1 976 154 person-years across the 3 catchment areas. The 3 study areas had 218.8, 145.5 and 411.2 admissions per 100 000 person-years, respectively. Of the 5581 admissions over the study periods, schizoaffective disorder accounted for 5% (n = 260) and schizophrenia for 17% (n = 949). Admissions with schizoaffective disorder were significantly more likely to be female and older, and less likely to have involuntary admission status, compared to those with schizophrenia. As first admissions were not distinguished from re-admissions in this dataset, these findings merit further study.
Admissions with a schizoaffective disorder differ significantly from those with schizophrenia, being, in particular, less likely to be involuntary admissions. This suggests that psychotic symptoms might be a stronger driver of involuntary psychiatry admission than affective symptoms.
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.