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Globally, stigma associated with mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders is rampant and a barrier to good health and overall well-being of people with these conditions. Person-centred digital approaches such as participatory video may reduce stigma, but evidence on their effectiveness in Africa is absent.
To evaluate the effectiveness of participatory video in reducing mental health-related stigma in a resource-limited setting.
We evaluated the effectiveness of using participatory video and face-to-face interaction between people with MNS disorders and a target audience in lowering stigma among 420 people living in Kilifi, Kenya. Changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviour (KAB) were measured by comparing baseline scores with scores immediately after watching the participatory videos and 4 months after the intervention. Sociodemographic correlates of stigma scores were examined using multivariable linear regression models.
Compared with baseline, KAB scores significantly improved at both time points, suggesting reduced stigma levels. At 4 months, the changes in scores were: knowledge (β = 0.20, 95% CI 0.16–0.25; P < 0.01), liberal attitude (β = 1.08, 95% CI 0.98–1.17; P < 0.01), sympathetic attitude (β = 0.52, 95% CI 0.42–0.62; P < 0.01), tolerant attitude (β = 0.72, 95% CI 0.61–0.83; P < 0.01) and behaviour (β = 0.37, 95% CI 0.31–0.43; P < 0.01). Sociodemographic variables were significantly correlated with KAB scores; the correlations were not consistent across the domains.
Participatory video is a feasible and effective strategy in improving knowledge, attitudes and intended behaviour in a resource-limited setting. Further studies are required to understand the mechanisms through which it lowers stigma and to examine long-term sustainability and the effectiveness of multicomponent interventions.
An Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) service offers treatment in the community to people with a first episode of psychosis. EIP is meant to be given for three years; after this time, those who are well are discharged to their GP, while those with ongoing symptoms and care needs are transferred to a general community mental health team. People can become unwell at this time of change and might benefit from longer treatment with EIP. We also know that some people who are well could possibly have been discharged back to their GP earlier. The EXTEND programme aims to develop a more tailored approach to EIP services based on the needs of each individual and understand the health, social, and cost-benefits of this approach.
This qualitative study sits within a larger programme of work. Ethics and HRA approvals gained. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with health care professionals from primary and specialist care, managers and commissioners, to understand why and how decisions about duration of EIP care are made. Interviews have been transcribed and thematic analysis using principles of constant comparison is being conducted. Patient and public involvement is key to all stages of the study.
Five interviews with General Practitioners and twelve interviews with EIP healthcare professionals, managers and commissioners have been conducted. Initial analysis suggests that access to EIP services can be challenging. Initial engagement is needed before therapy can begin. Decisions about duration of care can depend upon availability of access to Community Mental Health teams. Discharge planning rarely involves communication between primary and specialist care, and this can be a difficult transition, particularly when discharge is back to primary care. The pathway back into mental health care following discharge can be difficult. Trusting relationships between service users and EIP professionals are key to the success of EIP care. Healthcare professionals would value - and in some cases are given - flexibility to extend EIP care beyond 3 years.
We have developed a model to illustrate the patient journey through the EIP service which will be presented for the first time at the conference.
This research provides a framework to understand decision-making around duration of care, discharge planning and practices, and post-discharge support for EIP service users. The next phase of the study will be interviews with service users and carers to explore their experiences of EIP services, duration of care and discharge planning.
Valproate is widely used in psychiatry and neurology, including off-label use. Here we consider its potential benefits and risks, particularly for women of childbearing potential, and the evidence that clinical guidelines are adhered to. Finally, we consider the implications for clinical practice and research into its efficacy in off-label indications.
Stigma against persons with mental illness is a universal phenomenon, but culture influences the understanding of etiology of mental illness and utilization of health services.
We validated Kiswahili versions of three measures of stigma which were originally developed in the United Kingdom: Community Attitudes Toward the Mentally Ill Scale (CAMI), Reported and Intended Behaviors Scale (RIBS) and Mental Health Awareness Knowledge Schedule (MAKS) and evaluated their psychometric properties using a community sample (N = 616) in Kilifi, Kenya.
Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the one-factor solution for RIBS [root mean-squared error of approximation (RMSEA) < 0.01, comparative fit index (CFI) = 1.00, Tucker–Lewis index (TLI) = 1.01] and two-factor solution for MAKS (RMSEA = 0.04, CFI = 0.96, TLI = 0.95). A 23-item, three-factor model provided the best indices of goodness of fit for CAMI (RMSEA = 0.04, CFI = 0.90, TLI = 0.89). MAKS converged with both CAMI and RIBS. Internal consistency was good for the RIBS and acceptable for CAMI and MAKS. Test–retest reliabilities were excellent for RIBS and poor for CAMI and MAKS, but kappa scores for inter-rater agreement were relatively low for these scales. Results support validity of the original MAKS and RIBS scale and a modified CAMI scale and suggest that stigma is not an enduring trait in this population. The low kappa scores are consistent with first kappa paradox which is due to adjustment for agreements by chance in case of marginal prevalence values.
Kiswahili versions of the MAKS, RIBS and a modified version of the CAMI are valid for use in the study population. Stigma against people with mental illness may not be an enduring trait in this population.
Deterioration in general population mental health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has been reported, but the impact of the pandemic on people with severe mental illness (SMI) has received less attention.
To understand the impact of the early stages of the pandemic on the patients with SMI, in terms of provision of mental health care and patient outcomes.
We examined records of 34,446 patients with SMI in Oxford Health Foundation Trust between March 2016 and July 2020. We used interrupted time-series analysis to estimate the immediate and subsequent changes in weekly rates of the use of community mental health services, hospitalization, and patient outcomes (as measured by Health of the Nation Outcome Scales, or HoNOS, scores) during the weeks of lockdown between March 23, 2020 and July 3, 2020.
Mean total HoNOS scores for all patients deteriorated in the weeks subsequent to lockdown (0.060 per week; 95%CI: 0.033, 0.087). Scores for patients with a history of psychosis deteriorated immediately (0.63; 95% CI: 0.26, 1.0). There was an immediate decrease in weekly referrals to community and outpatient services (−196; 95%CI: −300, −91) and no immediate change in weekly inpatient admissions (−4.2; 95%CI: −9.9, 1.5) or weekly total contacts (−26; 95%CI: −475, 423).
Patients with SMI were negatively impacted during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients with a history of psychosis experienced distinct and immediate impacts. During the same period, referrals to community and outpatient services fell with no consequent impact on inpatient admissions.
Physical health outcomes in severe mental illness are worse than in the general population. Routine physical health check completion in this group is poor.
To quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the impact of point of care (POC) blood testing on physical health check completion in community mental health services.
In a prospective cohort design, we equipped an early intervention service (EIS) and a community mental health team (CMHT) with a POC blood testing device for 6 months. We compared rates of blood test and full physical health check completion in the intervention teams with a matched EIS and CMHT, historically and during the intervention. We explored attitudes to POC testing using thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with patients and clinicians.
Although the CMHT scarcely used the POC device and saw no change in outcomes, direct comparison of testing rates in the intervention period showed increased physical health check completion in the EIS with the device (rate ratio RR = 5.18; 95% CI 2.54–12.44; P < 0.001) compared with usual care. The rate was consistent with the EIS's increasing rate of testing over time (RR = 0.45; 95% 0.09–2.08; P = 0.32). Similar trends were seen in blood test completion. POC testing was acceptable to patients but clinicians reported usability, provision and impact on the therapeutic relationship as barriers to uptake.
POC testing was beneficial and acceptable to patients and may increase physical health check uptake. Further research, accounting for clinician barriers, is needed to evaluate its clinical and cost-effectiveness.
Autoimmune encephalitis (AE) is an important consideration during the diagnostic work-up of secondary mental disorders. Indeed, isolated psychiatric syndromes have been described in case reports of patients with underlying AE. Therefore, the authors performed a systematic literature review of published cases with AE that have predominant psychiatric/neurocognitive manifestations. The aim of this paper is to present the clinical characteristics of these patients.
The authors conducted a systematic Medline search via Ovid, looking for case reports/series of AEs with antineuronal autoantibodies (Abs) against cell surface/intracellular antigens combined with predominant psychiatric/neurocognitive syndromes. The same was done for patients with Hashimoto encephalopathy/SREAT. Only patients with signs of immunological brain involvement or tumors in their diagnostic investigations or improvement under immunomodulatory drugs were included.
We identified 145 patients with AE mimicking predominant psychiatric/neurocognitive syndromes. Of these cases, 64% were female, and the mean age among all patients was 43.9 (±22.1) years. Most of the patients had Abs against neuronal cell surface antigens (55%), most frequently against the NMDA-receptor (N = 46). Amnestic/dementia-like (39%) and schizophreniform (34%) syndromes were the most frequently reported. Cerebrospinal fluid changes were found in 78%, electroencephalography abnormalities in 61%, and magnetic resonance imaging pathologies in 51% of the patients. Immunomodulatory treatment was performed in 87% of the cases, and 94% of the patients responded to treatment.
Our findings indicate that AEs can mimic predominant psychiatric and neurocognitive disorders, such as schizophreniform psychoses or neurodegenerative dementia, and that affected patients can be treated successfully with immunomodulatory drugs.
The Norfolk Youth Service was created in 2012 in response to calls to redesign mental health services to better meet the needs of young people. The new service model transcends traditional boundaries by creating a single, ‘youth friendly’ service for young people aged 14–25 years. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the transition to this new model on patterns of referral, acceptance and service use. We analysed routinely collected data on young people aged 14–25 years referred for secondary mental healthcare in Norfolk before and after implementation of the youth mental health service. The number of referrals, their age and gender, proportion of referrals accepted and average number of service contacts per referral by age pre- and post-implementation were compared.
Referrals increased by 68% following implementation of the new service model, but the proportion of referrals accepted fell by 27 percentage points. Before implementation of the youth service, there was a clear discrepancy between the peak age of referral and the age of those seen by services. Following implementation, service contacts were more equitable across ages, with no marked discontinuity at age 18 years.
Our findings suggest that the transformation of services may have succeeded in reducing the ‘cliff edge’ in access to mental health services at the transition to adulthood. However, the sharp rise in referrals and reduction in the proportion of referrals accepted highlights the importance of considering possible unintended consequences of new service models.
Early intervention in psychosis (EIP) services are the dominant service model in the treatment of first-episode psychosis. They are a time-limited intervention and little is known about discharge destinations and outcomes once EIP treatment has concluded.
To understand discharge pathways and predictors of relapse in an EIP service.
We collected data on all patients with an electronic health record treated by EIP services in Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust in the UK between 12 January 2006 and 7 March 2017 (n = 701). Our primary outcomes were discharge destination at end of treatment and relapse.
Most patients (83.5%) were discharged to primary care. Transfer to secondary care was associated with previous in-patient admissions (odds ratio (OR) = 1.92, 95% CI 1.54–2.39) and longer EIP treatment (OR = 1.04, 95% CI 1.03–1.06). Relapse rate was highest shortly after leaving EIP services. Relapse was associated with transfer to secondary care (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.75, 95% CI 1.75–4.31), higher deprivation (HR = 1.03, 95% CI, 1.01–1.05), a substance misuse disorder (HR = 1.81, 95% CI 1.01–3.26) and a comorbid diagnosis of a personality disorder (HR = 2.96, 95% CI 1.39–6.29).
Most patients treated by the EIP service in Oxfordshire did not receive ongoing mental healthcare from secondary mental health services. We identified high deprivation and those with substance misuse problems or personality disorders as EIP populations with a high risk of relapse.
It is time that all patients with acute-onset psychosis are screened for autoimmune encephalitis, that lumbar puncture becomes a routine psychiatric investigation and that immunotherapy is available in indicated cases. We call for a culture change in the management of psychosis by psychiatry.
A number of studies have noted an association between being the victim of bullying and psychotic symptoms. We offer an overview of the topic, focusing especially on a developmental perspective. We highlight the results of the latest studies on psychosis across the continuum and its relationship with bullying. Then we summarise the three main explanatory models investigated: developmental, biological and cognitive. We recommend that bullying in psychosis requires careful study of the developmental trajectories involved, and that research should now focus on how personal, social and biological factors interact.
• Consider a spectrum of psychosis rather than a dichotomous concept of the disease (present/absent)
• Understand that, by preventing bullying, it may also be possible to prevent the development of psychotic symptoms
• Reflect that psychotherapy helps to integrate past stressful experiences with current symptoms, providing an alternative interpretation of them
Background: Our view is that sleep disturbance may be a contributory causal factor in the development and maintenance of psychotic experiences. A recent series of randomized controlled intervention studies has shown that cognitive-behavioural approaches can improve sleep in people with psychotic experiences. However, the effects of psychological intervention for improving sleep have not been evaluated in young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis. Improving sleep might prevent later transition to a mental health disorder. Aims: To assess the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention targeting sleep disturbance in young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis. Method: Patients were sought from NHS mental health services. Twelve young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis with sleep problems were offered an eight-session adapted CBT intervention for sleep problems. The core treatment techniques were stimulus control, circadian realignment, and regulating day-time activity. Participants were assessed before and after treatment and at a one month follow-up. Results: All eligible patients referred to the study agreed to take part. Eleven patients completed the intervention, and one patient withdrew after two sessions. Of those who completed treatment, the attendance rate was 89% and an average of 7.6 sessions (SD = 0.5) were attended. There were large effect size improvements in sleep. Post-treatment, six patients fell below the recommended cut-off for clinical insomnia. There were also improvements in negative affect and psychotic experiences. Conclusion: This uncontrolled feasibility study indicates that treating sleep problems in young people at ultra-high of psychosis is feasible, acceptable, and may be associated with clinical benefits.
Autoimmune encephalitides can present with altered mental states, particularly psychosis and delirium. Psychiatrists need to be particularly vigilant in cases of first-episode psychosis and to look out for other, sometimes subtle, features of encephalitis. Encephalitis related to N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor autoantibodies is the most common autoimmune cause of isolated psychosis, the second being related to voltage-gated potassium channel (VGKC)-complex antibodies. Psychiatrists should note ‘red flag’ signs of seizures, autonomic instability, movement disorders and sensitivity to antipsychotic medication (including neuroleptic malignant syndrome). They should also be aware that, in some cases, encephalitis is a non-metastatic manifestation of malignancy. Treatment primarily involves suppression of immunity and is often successful if delivered early. There is accumulating evidence that isolated psychiatric syndromes can be caused by autoimmunity and this could potentially signal a significant change in the approach to disorders such as schizophrenia. Psychiatrists and neurologists need to work together to diagnose, manage and understand this group of conditions.
• Consider ‘red flags' for the diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis presenting to general psychiatric practice.
• Understand the investigations required to diagnose autoimmune encephalitis.
• Become familiar with the basics of treatment of autoimmune encephalitis.
Symptoms of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) have been described in
neuropsychiatric syndromes associated with streptococcal infections. It
is proposed that antibodies raised against streptococcal proteins
cross-react with neuronal proteins (antigens) in the brain, particularly
in the basal ganglia, which is a brain region implicated in OCD
To test the hypothesis that post-streptococcal autoimmunity, directed
against neuronal antigens, may contribute to the pathogenesis of OCD in
Ninety-six participants with OCD were tested for the presence of
anti-streptolysin-O titres (ASOT) and the presence of anti-basal ganglia
antibodies (ABGA) in a cross-sectional study. The ABGA were tested for
with western blots using three recombinant antigens; aldolase C, enolase
and pyruvate kinase. The findings were compared with those in a control
group of individuals with depression (n = 33) and
schizophrenia (n = 17).
Positivity for ABGA was observed in 19/96 (19.8%) participants with OCD
compared with 2/50 (4%) of controls (Fisher's exact test
P = 0.012). The majority of positive OCD sera (13/19)
had antibodies against the enolase antigen. No clinical variables were
associated with ABGA positivity. Positivity for ASOT was not associated
with ABGA positivity nor found at an increased incidence in participants
with OCD compared with controls.
These findings support the hypothesis that central nervous system
autoimmunity may have an aetiological role in some adults with OCD.
Further study is required to examine whether the antibodies concerned are
pathogenic and whether exposure to streptococcal infection in vulnerable
individuals is a risk factor for the development of OCD.
Psychiatrists need to be vigilant for the newly recognised and treatable disorder of antibody-mediated encephalitis. Psychiatric symptoms are common, and individuals with the disorder often present initially to psychiatric services. We describe the clinical features of the disorder and make recommendations for further investigations.
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