• Subject Name : Nursing

Mental Health and Wellbeing

  1. A study was conducted to understand the predictors of mental health and wellbeing from childhood to adolescence. The objective of this study was to explore the differences with respect to sex, along with any longitudinal changes in mental health and wellbeing between the ages of 11-14, as well as look into the determining factors affecting changes in mental health and other differences arising due to reporting of these predictors. The data was collected from 9553 participants from the Millennium Cohort Study, which is said to be a nationally represented sample. Information related to the mental ill-health and wellbeing of participants aged 11-14 were collected. The method of collection was either self-report or reported by parents. Various factors such as risk factors, protective factors, family and childhood socio-demographics were examined. The results of this study revealed that weak stability was observed in wellbeing and moderate levels of stability was observed in mental ill-health between the ages of 11-14. There were also sex differences in every predictor, with the girls experiencing more symptoms of poor mental health and lower levels of wellbeing at the age of 14. Discrepancies were observed between the self-reported symptoms versus those reported by the parents. The perspective of the parents towards the mental issues of their children is a weak determinant of their future mental health outcomes, meaning that parent-reported factors are not adequate to predict future outcomes accurately. Sex differences pertaining to risk and protective factors such as family, income, cognitive ability and school was more notable in females, while those concerning bullying as well as peer relationships were equally applicable for the development of mentally healthy males and females. A low to moderate level of stability in mental health results signifies how valuable this transition phase between childhood and adolescence is, and highlights that intervention during these ages for prevention would be ideal. The connection between socioeconomic status and mental health is more prominent in females than males which is indicative of the fact that a vulnerability of deprivation, specific to one sex, in relation to substandard levels of mental health exists in adolescent females. The study was carried out following ethical guidelines and standards. The researchers stated that they did not have any conflicts of interest. (Patalay & Fitzsimons, 2018)
  1. The second study on the Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing was conducted to estimate the prevalence, impact and severity of mental health disorders among Australian children and adolescents. Parents and caregivers of 6310 children and adolescents between the ages of 4-17 participated in a survey where they had to answer questions in a face-to-face interview. For children aged 11 and above, they were given a self-report questionnaire. Seven disorder models were selected based on their presence and effect. These were as follows - social phobia, separation anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), major depressive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder. Various sociodemographic factors such as type of family, country of birth, household income, socioeconomic status, parental education and languages spoken were taken into account. Fluency in English was mandatory. If someone did not know English, their participation in the study was discontinued. Results of this study showed that the 12-month presence of mental disorders was 13.9%. The impact of the disorders was divided into 3 categories – mild, moderate and severe. Children and adolescents having mild disorders were 8.3%, moderate disorders were 3.5% and the ones with severe mental disorders were 2.1%. The parent-reported answers were taken as the primary source of data. ADHD and anxiety disorders were the most common disorders found in the present sample. The prevalence of mental disorders was higher in families with a step-parent or single parent, families living in rented spaces and in families where either one or both parents/caregivers were unemployed. Absenteeism from school was associated with mental disorders in adolescents. The presence of ADHD was more in males compared to females, the presence of separation anxiety disorder was more in younger children and major depressive disorder and social phobia was found more among females and older children. In terms of severity, major depressive disorder had the maximum number of severe cases whereas ADHD had the least. (Lawrence et al., 2016)

Given the extensive nature of the study, there were some limitations which were present. Parents and carers do not necessarily know what their children or ward are experiencing. Hence, using their answers as the primary source of data may not be advisable. Also, the interviewers who were interviewing the parents were not trained. There are several disorders which the adolescent population experiences, such as eating disorders and PTSD, which have not been covered in this study. Hence, keeping all of these limitations in mind, there is scope for improvement in this present study. The researchers have declared that there was no conflict of interests from their end concerning the conducting and publishing of this research.

  1. Minimal knowledge exists regarding the aftermath of a wide-reaching pandemic on mental health and wellbeing. A study was conducted to understand the same and fill the gaps in knowledge. The participants, part of a representative sample, were all above 18 years of age and the study was conducted during the initial acute phase of the pandemic. The mental disorders which were measured during the early stages of the pandemic were depression, anxiety and psychological wellbeing. The scales used to measure were the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), General Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) and the World Health Organisation Wellbeing Index (WHO-5). The tests were conducted in the form of an online survey. Results were indicative of how the social, job-related and financial disturbances caused by the critical phase of COVID-19 was responsible for the impairment in community mental health among the adult population in Australia. Symptoms related to depression and anxiety were elevated, with a decrease in psychological wellbeing. The study helps understand the impact of a serious pandemic and its related factors on one’s psychological wellbeing. It is not merely the existence of the pandemic but the effect it has on the various aspects of one’s life which has a negative impact on psychological wellbeing and is causing an increase in depression and anxiety-related symptoms (Dawel et al., 2020). The research was conducted ethically and the participants were made to submit in writing that they agree to participate in this study.

References for The Effect of Covid-19 on Mental Health

Dawel, A., Shou, Y., Smithson, M., Cherbuin, N., Banfield, M., Calear, A. L., Farrer, L. M., Gray, D., Gulliver, A., Housen, T., McCallum, S. M., Morse, A. R., Murray, K., Newman, E., Rodney Harris, R. M., & Batterham, P. J. (2020). The Effect of COVID-19 on Mental Health and Wellbeing in a Representative Sample of Australian Adults. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, 1026. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.579985

Lawrence, D., Hafekost, J., Johnson, S. E., Saw, S., Buckingham, W. J., Sawyer, M. G., Ainley, J., & Zubrick, S. R. (2016). Key findings from the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 50(9), 876–886. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867415617836

Patalay, P., & Fitzsimons, E. (2018). Development and predictors of mental ill-health and wellbeing from childhood to adolescence. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 53(12), 1311–1323. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-018-1604-0

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