Centre for Youth Mental Health - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 605
Risk factors associated with suicide clusters in Australian youth: Identifying who is at risk and the mechanisms associated with cluster membership.
(Elsevier BV, 2020-12)
Background: It is unclear who is at risk of being involved in a suicide cluster and whether suicide clusters are influenced by the social transmission of suicidal behaviour, assortative relating, or a combination of both. Methods: Suicide clusters involving two or more young people were identified from the free text of electronic police and coroners reports in Australia's National Coronial Information System in a nationwide cross-sectional study. The duration of survival among exposed cases were estimated using time-to-event methods. The casewise concordance of demographic, social and clinical characteristics and circumstances of death were examined among index and exposed cases. Findings: We identified links between 117 young people (51 suicide clusters). 50% of young people died within 90 days of the index suicide. Individuals exposed to railway suicide had an 80% probability of dying by the same method. Those exposed to the suicide of a person aged 10-18 years had an 86% probability of being from the same age group. Young people had a 67% and 60% probability of sharing the same characteristics as the index suicide when the index suicide resided in a remote community or was of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. Interpretation: Suicide clusters may be associated with both the social transmission of suicidal behaviour and assortative relating. Individuals who were close to the deceased should be provided with access to postvention support, particularly within the first 90 days of exposure to an index suicide. Funding: Australian Rotary Health, National Health and Medical Research Council.
Development of a Self-Harm Monitoring System for Victoria
The prevention of suicide and suicide-related behaviour are key policy priorities in Australia and internationally. The World Health Organization has recommended that member states develop self-harm surveillance systems as part of their suicide prevention efforts. This is also a priority under Australia's Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. The aim of this paper is to describe the development of a state-based self-harm monitoring system in Victoria, Australia. In this system, data on all self-harm presentations are collected from eight hospital emergency departments in Victoria. A natural language processing classifier that uses machine learning to identify episodes of self-harm is currently being developed. This uses the free-text triage case notes, together with certain structured data fields, contained within the metadata of the incoming records. Post-processing is undertaken to identify primary mechanism of injury, substances consumed (including alcohol, illicit drugs and pharmaceutical preparations) and presence of psychiatric disorders. This system will ultimately leverage routinely collected data in combination with advanced artificial intelligence methods to support robust community-wide monitoring of self-harm. Once fully operational, this system will provide accurate and timely information on all presentations to participating emergency departments for self-harm, thereby providing a useful indicator for Australia's suicide prevention efforts.
Individual deviations from normative models of brain structure in a large cross-sectional schizophrenia cohort
The heterogeneity of schizophrenia has defied efforts to derive reproducible and definitive anatomical maps of structural brain changes associated with the disorder. We aimed to map deviations from normative ranges of brain structure for individual patients and evaluate whether the loci of individual deviations recapitulated group-average brain maps of schizophrenia pathology. For each of 48 white matter tracts and 68 cortical regions, normative percentiles of variation in fractional anisotropy (FA) and cortical thickness (CT) were established using diffusion-weighted and structural MRI from healthy adults (n = 195). Individuals with schizophrenia (n = 322) were classified as either within the normative range for healthy individuals of the same age and sex (5-95% percentiles), infra-normal (<5% percentile) or supra-normal (>95% percentile). Repeating this classification for each tract and region yielded a deviation map for each individual. Compared to the healthy comparison group, the schizophrenia group showed widespread reductions in FA and CT, involving virtually all white matter tracts and cortical regions. Paradoxically, however, no more than 15-20% of patients deviated from the normative range for any single tract or region. Furthermore, 79% of patients showed infra-normal deviations for at least one locus (healthy individuals: 59 ± 2%, p < 0.001). Thus, while infra-normal deviations were common among patients, their anatomical loci were highly inconsistent between individuals. Higher polygenic risk for schizophrenia associated with a greater number of regions with infra-normal deviations in CT (r = -0.17, p = 0.006). We conclude that anatomical loci of schizophrenia-related changes are highly heterogeneous across individuals to the extent that group-consensus pathological maps are not representative of most individual patients. Normative modeling can aid in parsing schizophrenia heterogeneity and guiding personalized interventions.
Contribution of Brain Size to IQ and Educational Underperformance in Extremely Preterm Adolescents
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-09)
OBJECTIVES: Extremely preterm (EP) survivors have smaller brains, lower IQ, and worse educational achievement than their term-born peers. The contribution of smaller brain size to the IQ and educational disadvantages of EP is unknown. This study aimed (i) to compare brain volumes from multiple brain tissues and structures between EP-born (< 28 weeks) and term-born (≥ 37 weeks) control adolescents, (ii) to explore the relationships of brain tissue volumes with IQ and basic educational skills and whether this differed by group, and (iii) to explore how much total brain tissue volume explains the underperformance of EP adolescents compared with controls. METHODS: Longitudinal cohort study of 148 EP and 132 term controls born in Victoria, Australia in 1991-92. At age 18, magnetic resonance imaging-determined brain volumes of multiple tissues and structures were calculated. IQ and educational skills were measured using the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) and the Wide Range Achievement Test(WRAT-4), respectively. RESULTS: Brain volumes were smaller in EP adolescents compared with controls (mean difference [95% confidence interval] of -5.9% [-8.0, -3.7%] for total brain tissue volume). The largest relative differences were noted in the thalamus and hippocampus. The EP group had lower IQs(-11.9 [-15.4, -8.5]), spelling(-8.0 [-11.5, -4.6]), math computation(-10.3 [-13.7, -6.9]) and word reading(-5.6 [-8.8, -2.4]) scores than controls; all p-values<0.001. Volumes of total brain tissue and other brain tissues and structures correlated positively with IQ and educational skills, a relationship that was similar for both the EP and controls. Total brain tissue volume explained between 20-40% of the IQ and educational outcome differences between EP and controls. CONCLUSIONS: EP adolescents had smaller brain volumes, lower IQs and poorer educational performance than controls. Brain volumes of multiple tissues and structures are related to IQ and educational outcomes. Smaller total brain tissue volume is an important contributor to the cognitive and educational underperformance of adolescents born EP.
A Review of Programs That Targeted Environmental Determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
(MDPI AG, 2013-08-01)
OBJECTIVE: Effective interventions to improve population and individual health require environmental change as well as strategies that target individual behaviours and clinical factors. This is the basis of implementing an ecological approach to health programs and health promotion. For Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders, colonisation has made the physical and social environment particularly detrimental for health. METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a literature review to identify Aboriginal health interventions that targeted environmental determinants of health, identifying 21 different health programs. Program activities that targeted environmental determinants of health included: Caring for Country; changes to food supply and/or policy; infrastructure for physical activity; housing construction and maintenance; anti-smoking policies; increased workforce capacity; continuous quality improvement of clinical systems; petrol substitution; and income management. Targets were categorised according to Miller's Living Systems Theory. Researchers using an Indigenous community based perspective more often identified interpersonal and community-level targets than were identified using a Western academic perspective. CONCLUSIONS: Although there are relatively few papers describing interventions that target environmental determinants of health, many of these addressed such determinants at multiple levels, consistent to some degree with an ecological approach. Interpretation of program targets sometimes differed between academic and community-based perspectives, and was limited by the type of data reported in the journal articles, highlighting the need for local Indigenous knowledge for accurate program evaluation. IMPLICATIONS: While an ecological approach to Indigenous health is increasingly evident in the health research literature, the design and evaluation of such programs requires a wide breadth of expertise, including local Indigenous knowledge.
Primary care and youth mental health in Ireland: qualitative study in deprived urban areas
BACKGROUND: Mental disorders account for six of the 20 leading causes of disability worldwide with a very high prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in youth aged 15-24 years. However, healthcare professionals are faced with many challenges in the identification and treatment of mental and substance use disorders in young people (e.g. young people's unwillingness to seek help from healthcare professionals, lack of training, limited resources etc.) The challenge of youth mental health for primary care is especially evident in urban deprived areas, where rates of and risk factors for mental health problems are especially common. There is an emerging consensus that primary care is well placed to address mental and substance use disorders in young people especially in deprived urban areas. This study aims to describe healthcare professionals' experience and attitudes towards screening and early intervention for mental and substance use disorders among young people (16-25 years) in primary care in deprived urban settings in Ireland. METHODS: The chosen method for this qualitative study was inductive thematic analysis which involved semi-structured interviews with 37 healthcare professionals from primary care, secondary care and community agencies at two deprived urban centres. RESULTS: We identified three themes in respect of interventions to increase screening and treatment: (1) Identification is optimised by a range of strategies, including raising awareness, training, more systematic and formalised assessment, and youth-friendly practices (e.g. communication skills, ensuring confidentiality); (2) Treatment is enhanced by closer inter-agency collaboration and training for all healthcare professionals working in primary care; (3) Ongoing engagement is enhanced by motivational work with young people, setting achievable treatment goals, supporting transition between child and adult mental health services and recognising primary care's longitudinal nature as a key asset in promoting treatment engagement. CONCLUSIONS: Especially in deprived areas, primary care is central to early intervention for youth mental health. Identification, treatment and continuing engagement are likely to be enhanced by a range of strategies with young people, healthcare professionals and systems. Further research on youth mental health and primary care, including qualitative accounts of young people's experience and developing complex interventions that promote early intervention are priorities.
A randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of PCSO-524 (R), a patented oil extract of the New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), on the behaviour, mood, cognition and neurophysiology of children and adolescents (aged 6-14 years) experiencing clinical and subclinical levels of hyperactivity and inattention: study protocol ACTRN12610000978066
BACKGROUND: The prevalence rate of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) within Western cultures is between 5% and 12%, and is the most common psychiatric illness among school-aged children, with an estimated 50% of these children retaining ADHD symptoms for the rest of their lives. Children with ADHD have lower blood levels of long-chain Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (LC PUFAs) compared with children without ADHD, and following PUFA supplementation, have shown improvements in ADHD-related symptoms. One highly promising marine based LC PUFA preparation is the Omega-3-rich Lyprinol/Omega XL which is a natural formulation containing standardised lipid extract of the New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) known as PCSO-524® which contains a unique combination of free fatty acids, sterol esters, polar lipids and carotenoids. It is this unique combination of marine lipids that may assist in correcting the decreased levels of LC PUFA levels in children with symptoms of ADHD. The compound is a mixture belonging to a lipid group called sterol esters (SE). The fatty acids in the SE fraction are mainly myristic acid, palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Lyprinol/Omega XL has previously been shown to contain a potent group of Omega-3 lipids that block the 5 - lipoxygenase metabolic pathway responsible for inflammation in the body. METHODS: A randomized double blind placebo controlled trial will be utilized to assess the effects of 14 weeks administration of Lyprinol/Omega XL versus placebo in 150 children aged 6 to 14 years with high levels of hyperactivity and inattention. Additionally, a range of cognitive, mood and central electrophysiological measures will be undertaken during the 14 week supplementation trial. The primary outcome measure, the Conners' Parent Rating Scales will be completed initially at baseline, then in weeks 4, 8, 10, 14 and then again at 4 weeks post-administration (week 18). The results will contribute to our understanding of the efficacy of marine based Omega-3 s with high anti-inflammatory actions on inattention and hyperactivity in children aged 6 to 14 years.
Effects of NRG1 and DAOA genetic variation on transition to psychosis in individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2013-04-01)
Prospective studies have suggested genetic variation in the neuregulin 1 (NRG1) and D-amino-acid oxidase activator (DAOA) genes may assist in differentiating high-risk individuals who will or will not transition to psychosis. In a prospective cohort (follow-up=2.4-14.9 years) of 225 individuals at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis, we assessed haplotype-tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (htSNPs) spanning NRG1 and DAOA for their association with transition to psychosis, using Cox regression analysis. Two NRG1 htSNPs (rs12155594 and rs4281084) predicted transition to psychosis. Carriers of the rs12155594 T/T or T/C genotype had a 2.34 (95% confidence interval (CI)=1.37-4.00) times greater risk of transition compared with C/C carriers. For every rs4281084 A-allele the risk of transition increased by 1.55 (95% CI=1.05-2.27). For every additional rs4281084-A and/or rs12155594-T allele carried the risk increased ∼1.5-fold, with 71.4% of those carrying a combination of 3 of these alleles transitioning to psychosis. None of the assessed DAOA htSNPs were associated with transition. Our findings suggest NRG1 genetic variation may improve our ability to identify UHR individuals at risk for transition to psychosis.
A central storage facility to reduce pesticide suicides - a feasibility study from India
BACKGROUND: Pesticide suicides are considered the single most important means of suicide worldwide. Centralized pesticide storage facilities have the possible advantage of delaying access to pesticides thereby reducing suicides. We undertook this study to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a centralized pesticide storage facility as a preventive intervention strategy in reducing pesticide suicides. METHODS: A community randomized controlled feasibility study using a mixed methods approach involving a household survey; focus group discussions (FGDs) and surveillance were undertaken. The study was carried out in a district in southern India. Eight villages that engaged in floriculture were identified. Using the lottery method two were randomized to be the intervention sites and two villages constituted the control site. Two centralized storage facilities were constructed with local involvement and lockable storage boxes were constructed. The household survey conducted at baseline and one and a half years later documented information on sociodemographic data, pesticide usage, storage and suicides. RESULTS: At baseline 4446 individuals (1097 households) in the intervention and 3307 individuals (782 households) in the control sites were recruited while at follow up there were 4308 individuals (1063 households) in the intervention and 2673 individuals (632 households) in the control sites. There were differences in baseline characteristics and imbalances in the prevalence of suicides between intervention and control sites as this was a small feasibility study.The results from the FGDs revealed that most participants found the storage facility to be both useful and acceptable. In addition to protecting against wastage, they felt that it had also helped prevent pesticide suicides as the pesticides stored here were not as easily and readily accessible. The primary analyses were done on an Intention to Treat basis. Following the intervention, the differences between sites in changes in combined, completed and attempted suicide rates per 100,000 person-years were 295 (95% CI: 154.7, 434.8; p < 0.001) for pesticide suicide and 339 (95% CI: 165.3, 513.2, p < 0.001) for suicide of all methods. CONCLUSIONS: Suicide by pesticides poisoning is a major public health problem and needs innovative interventions to address it. This study, the first of its kind in the world, examined the feasibility of a central storage facility as a means of limiting access to pesticides and, has provided preliminary results on its usefulness. These results need to be interpreted with caution in view of the imbalances between sites. The facility was found to be acceptable, thereby underscoring the need for larger studies for a longer duration. TRIAL REGISTRATION ISRCTN: ISRCTN04912407.
Development of guidelines for tertiary education institutions to assist them in supporting students with a mental illness: a Delphi consensus study with Australian professionals and consumers
(PEERJ INC, 2013-02-26)
Background. The age at which most young people are in tertiary education is also the age of peak onset for mental illness. Because mental health problems can have adverse effects on students' academic performance and welfare, institutions require guidance how they can best provide support. However, the scientific evidence for how best to do this is relatively limited. Therefore a Delphi expert consensus study was carried out with professional and consumer experts. Methods. A systematic review of websites, books and journal articles was conducted to develop a 172 item survey containing strategies that institutions might use to support students with a mental illness. Two panels of Australian experts (74 professionals and 35 consumers) were recruited and independently rated the items over three rounds, with strategies reaching consensus on importance written into the guidelines. Results. The overall response rate across three rounds was 83% (80% consumers, 85% professionals). 155 strategies were endorsed as essential or important by at least 80% of panel members. The endorsed strategies provided information on policy, measures to promote support services, service provision, accessibility of support services, relationships between services, other types of support and issues associated with reasonable adjustments. They also provided guidance on the procedures the institutions should have for making staff aware of issues associated with mental illness, mental illness training, support for staff and communicating with a student with a mental illness. They also covered student rights and responsibilities, the procedures the institutions should have for making students aware of issues associated with mental illness, dealing with mental health crises, funding and research and evaluation. Conclusions. The guidelines provide guidance for tertiary institutions to assist them in supporting students with a mental illness. It is hoped that they may be used to inform policy and practice in tertiary institutions.
Development of guidelines to assist organisations to support employees returning to work after an episode of anxiety, depression or a related disorder: a Delphi consensus study with Australian professionals and consumers
BACKGROUND: Mental disorders are a significant cause of disability and loss of workplace productivity. The scientific evidence for how organisations should best support those returning to work after common mental disorders is relatively limited. Therefore a Delphi expert consensus study was carried out with professional and consumer experts. METHODS: A systematic review of websites, books and journal articles was conducted to develop a 387 item survey containing strategies that organisations might use to support those returning to work after common mental disorders. Three panels of Australian experts (66 health professionals, 30 employers and 80 consumers) were recruited and independently rated the items over three rounds, with strategies reaching consensus on importance written into the guidelines. RESULTS: The participation rate across all three rounds was 60.2% (57.6% health professionals, 76.7% employers, 56.3% consumers). 308 strategies were endorsed as essential or important by at least 80% of all three panels. The endorsed strategies provided information on policy and procedures, the roles of supervisors, employees and colleagues in managing absence and return to work, and provision of mental health information and training. CONCLUSIONS: The guidelines outline strategies for organisations supporting those returning to work after common mental disorders. It is hoped that they may be used to inform policy and practice in a variety of workplaces.
Gender differences in first episode psychotic mania
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-03-13)
BACKGROUND: The aim of this paper was to delineate the impact of gender on premorbid history, onset, and 18 month outcomes of first episode psychotic mania (FEPM) patients. METHODS: Medical file audit assessment of 118 (male = 71; female = 47) patients with FEPM aged 15 to 29 years was undertaken on clinical and functional measures. RESULTS: Males with FEPM had increased likelihood of substance use (OR = 13.41, p <.001) and forensic issues (OR = 4.71, p = .008), whereas females were more likely to have history of sexual abuse trauma (OR = 7.12, p = .001). At service entry, males were more likely to be using substances, especially cannabis (OR = 2.15, p = .047), had more severe illness (OR = 1.72, p = .037), and poorer functioning (OR = 0.96, p = .045). During treatment males were more likely to decrease substance use (OR = 5.34, p = .008) and were more likely to be living with family (OR = 4.30, p = .009). There were no gender differences in age of onset, psychopathology or functioning at discharge. CONCLUSIONS: Clinically meaningful gender differences in FEPM were driven by risk factors possibly associated with poor outcome. For males, substance use might be associated with poorer clinical presentation and functioning. In females with FEPM, the impact of sexual trauma on illness course warrants further consideration.