A meta-analysis, pooling the results of 40 previous studies - involving more than 310,000 children and adolescents in total - concludes that treatment rates for mental disorders in these age groups are "generally low, especially for depression and anxiety". The research, published in JAMA Network Open, shows that the treatment rate for any mental disorder is 38%, ranging from 31% for anxiety, 36% for depression, 49% for conduct disorders and 58% for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
On the occasion of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the Science Media Centre Spain organised an information session on the mental health of young people and the threat posed by deepfakes and cyberbullying. At the meeting, experts Esther Calvete and Irene de la Vega explained their risks and possible repercussions, their characteristics and some tools to reduce their frequency and impact.
Training people to get rid of unwanted thoughts can improve their mental health, according to a study from the University of Cambridge (UK). The research team stresses that these results "challenge the century-old wisdom" that trying to get rid of negative thoughts can have harmful effects on mental health. The study, published in Science Advances, involved 120 adults - some with major depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder - from 16 countries, who underwent a three-day online training to suppress certain thoughts. After the training, participants reported feeling less anxiety, negative emotions and symptoms of depression.
Reactions: The five strategies to increase happiness most often reported in the media lack sound scientific basis
A systematic review published in Nature Human Behaviour shows that there is a lack of solid scientific research supporting strategies commonly recommended by the media to increase happiness. The research identifies the five strategies most commonly cited by the press: expressing gratitude, improving sociability, exercising, practising meditation or mindfulness and increasing exposure to nature. According to the study, which analysed the published scientific literature on these practices, their effectiveness in increasing happiness is uncertain, because most of the research lacked sufficient statistical power to detect noticeable benefits or had not been previously recorded - a common practice in psychology today.
Reactions: 30 researchers challenge study questioning the hypothesis that low serotonin levels cause depression, published last year
A commentary published last Friday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, signed by more than 30 researchers, challenges the conclusions of the systematic review published in the same journal in July 2022, in which the authors concluded that there was no evidence that low serotonin levels cause depression. The researchers in the new paper blame the earlier study for flaws in methodology, among other weaknesses.
Reaction: Study says time spent on social media is one of the least influential factors in adolescent mental health
The time adolescents spend on social media is one of the least influential factors for their mental health, according to a study published in Nature Mental Health. The analysis attempts to untangle the complex web of risk factors and protective factors, using data from more than 12,000 young people in the UK. Among the factors studied, it concludes that bullying, lack of family support and school work dissatisfaction are more influential than time spent on social media. According to the study, life dissatisfaction and lack of family support are the most influential factors for girls and boys, respectively.
Reaction: implementing green axes in Barcelona could reduce antidepressant use and visits to mental health professionals
A health impact study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) concludes that implementing green axes throughout the city of Barcelona would lead to a "considerable reduction" in the mental health problems suffered by the adult population and in the direct and indirect costs associated with them. The study is published in the journal Environment International.
22% of children worldwide have signs of disordered eating behaviours, a figure that rises to 30% for girls alone, according to an analysis published in JAMA Pediatrics led by researchers from the University of Castilla-La Mancha. The research brings together 32 previous studies that used the same diagnostic tool (the SCOFF questionnaire). It includes in total more than 60,000 children aged 6 to 18 in 16 countries. The article also states that the risk of disordered eating behaviour increases with age and Body Mass Index (BMI). Disordered eating behaviours include behaviours such as ‘weight loss dieting, binge eating, self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, and the use of laxatives or diuretics (although not to the level to warrant a clinical diagnosis of an eating disorder)’.
People who have a parent, sibling, or step-sibling with major depression have a higher risk of major depression themselves, according to research based on data from 2.9 million people in Denmark. This risk increases with the number of affected relatives and when exposure to depression occurs in childhood and adolescence, but does not vary by sex or kinship, says the study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Beta-blockers (β-blockers) are drugs to treat heart conditions that are also used for anxiety. According to research published in PLOS Medicine, periods of treatment with these drugs are associated with a lower risk of being charged by the police with a violent crime - a 13% lower risk than periods without treatment. The research, which included nearly 1.5 million people in Sweden between 2006 and 2013, does not support the use of these drugs to treat anxiety.