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Issue 209 - 16 Dec 2011


Thumbnail for version as of 14:09, 16 September 2006 
Staying healthy this Christmas season

Jolly holidays can quickly turn into a miserable malaise of bloated tummies, sluggish limbs and dehydrated heads. Follow our guide to Christmassy ailments and stay healthy throughout the festivities.

Source: Academic OneFile database

1. On self-injury.(Editorial)
By Graham Martin. Advances in Mental Health, 9.2 (Oct 2010): p106(6). (3453 words) 
Three more stories have recently been contributed to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) '6 million stories and counting'. These reflect on three quite different young women who self-injure, and are included as part of a new documentary in the SBS Science series to be launched in Adelaide at a public forum on 23rd November, and then publicly aired on SBS on the 12th December. As they note on their site: The Silent Epidemic: the Science of Self Harm 'lifts the veil on the widespread heath problem of the secret world of self-injury among young people in Australia and the emerging science behind the identification and treatment of these adolescents' (SBS, 2010a).

2. Building a 'user driven' mental health system.(Report)
By Lei Ning. Advances in Mental Health, 9.2 (Oct 2010): p112(4). (1562 words) 
: Australian mental health system reform continues to be guided by an outdated vision to design a 'perfect' mental health system. It is then expected that consumers and carers will fit in to it. From the experiences of the past 15 years it is clear that this approach is ineffective. The new vision of mental health system reform should embrace recovery and well being principles to encourage consumer self-directedness and self-determination, and to support the individual consumer to build their own unique support system which wraps around their personal goals, needs and priorities. In order to advance mental health system reform, it must be responsive to, and driven by, consumer and carer needs.

3. The physical health of people with mental illness and 'the right to health'.(Report)
By Samantha Battams & Julie Henderson. Advances in Mental Health, 9.2 (Oct 2010): p116(14). (8079 words) 
An overview of literature was conducted on the 'right to health' for people with a mental illness, with a main focus on physical health. This included a review of key online databases for articles on the 'right to health', conducted for 2000--2010. This paper provides evidence on the poor health status of people with mental illness. It then considers international human rights legislation and their context, including tensions presented by mental health legislation in terms of human rights. Dimensions of the 'right to health', issues and obstacles to fulfilment of the 'right to health', and opportunities and obstacles in the Australian context are explored. There are many barriers to the recognition of right to health for the mentally ill. However, the new UN Convention on Persons with Disability offers some hope for the 'right to health' to be considered through legislative review and national policy.

4. The Queensland homeless health outreach teams: do they use the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model?
By Chris Lloyd, Hazel Bassett and Robert King.(Report). Advances in Mental Health, 9.2 (Oct 2010): p130(8). (3686 words) 
As a response to homelessness and its relationship with mental health problems, Queensland established homeless health outreach teams. These teams were designed to provide assertive outreach to homeless people by specialist mental health practitioners. The aim of this research was to determine to what extent these teams operate within an established framework for effective assertive outreach. A secondary aim was to determine the validity of an existing fidelity measure in evaluation of homeless outreach services. The Dartmouth Assertive Community Treatment Scale (DACTS) was administered to the five Queensland Homeless Health Outreach Teams (HHOT). It was found that the teams operated in the middle range on the fidelity measure with higher fidelity in human services and services than in organizational boundaries. Overall, the larger, more metropolitan teams appeared to achieve higher fidelity than the smaller more rural teams. Low fidelity scores can, in part, be attributed to weak validity of some DACTS items in relation to homeless outreach services as provided by Queensland HHOT services and recommendations are made for revision of the instrument to make it more suitable for use with these teams.

5. 'Postcards from the edge': collaborating with young homeless people to develop targeted mental health messages and translate research into practice.(Report)
By Eimear Muir-Cochrane, Candice Oster, Andrew Drummond, Jennifer Fereday and Philip Darbyshire. Advances in Mental Health   9.2 (Oct 2010): p138(10). (4002 words) 
: Mental health problems are a serious issue for homeless youth in Australia, as in many countries. Of further concern, these young people are unlikely to access much needed mental health services. Our previous research identified that homeless young people with mental health problems often felt stigmatised and discriminated against, especially when trying to access and engage with health and social services. A further finding was the difficulties homeless youth encountered when trying to manage regular psychiatric medications, especially when their lives lacked any form of stability and security. This paper discusses the translation of our research findings through the development of targeted health messages 'for homeless youth by homeless youth' using a series of workshops and consultations to facilitate the design of two series of postcards. The first series of postcards delivered powerful messages of the lived experiences of these young people expressed through their own art design and poignant words, and provided practical information to assist others to identify services that could assist them. The second series contained targeted messages for taking medication that were formulated by the study participants and were grounded in their experiences of managing medication and the supports that enabled adherence to medication regimes. The postcards presented here are a real world example of research translation developed by homeless youth with mental health problems to reach out and help others in similar situations.

6. New directions in the treatment of child physical abuse and neglect in Australia: MST-CAN, a case study.
By Helen M. Stallman, Karen E. Walmsley, William Bor, M. Elizabeth Collerson, Cynthia Cupit Swenson and Brett McDermott. Advances in Mental Health. 9.2 (Oct 2010): p148(14). (7045 words) 
: Child abuse and neglect cases present significant complex challenges for service providers. The aim of this study is to present the first implementation of an ecological model of treatment for child abuse and neglect, Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN), in the Australian context. The case presentation features a single parent family with two children aged 7 and 8 referred to the Department of Child Safety due to child neglect. The intervention addressed the multiple mental health and practical needs within the children's social ecology, as well as the precipitating and perpetuating factors for the case of neglect. Interventions targeted maternal depression, alcohol abuse, parenting, financial management, employment, housing, and family communication. Treatment goals of increased functioning across multiple life domains were met, including parent mental health needs, practical needs, and family reunification. MST-CAN provides a therapeutic framework to address the multiple needs of families with child abuse and neglect. Directions for further research and practice are discussed.

7. Postnatal social support group needs and explanatory models of Iraqi Arabic speaking women in the year following the birth of their baby in Perth, Western Australia.(Report)
By Taralisa Di Ciano, Rosanna Rooney, Bernadette Wright, David Hay and Lena Robinson. Advances in Mental Health, 9.2 (Oct 2010): p162(15). (8247 words) 
: The aim of the current research was to explore the nature and type of support required in a postnatal support group intervention for Iraqi women. A further aim was to understand Iraqi Arabic speaking mothers' explanatory models surrounding motherhood, relevant to the appropriate design of a culturally sensitive support group. The qualitative research involved semi structured interviewing from which data was extracted and categorised into relevant themes using an interpretative phenomenological approach (Smith, 1995). In depth interviews were conducted with 7 Iraqi Arabic speaking mothers. A number of major themes emerged, suggesting key aspects to include in a perinatal social support group for Iraqi women based on their explanatory model of their mental health. Themes included: significance of motherhood; physical and emotional difficulties confronted; postnatal health care experiences and negotiating motherhood in a new country; and receptivity to the provision of a support group intervention. Findings will be used to design and evaluate a perinatal social support group for Iraqi women and, potentially, provide a generic family model of intervention for mothers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in the year following the birth of their baby.

8. Cutting on-line: self-injury and the internet.(Report)
By Sarah Swannell, Graham Martin, Karolina Krysinska, Tracey Kay, Katherine Olsson and Aung Win. Advances in Mental Health   9.2 (Oct 2010): p177(13). (6513 words) 
: For people who self-injure, the internet can provide an anonymous environment where users feel safe to divulge feelings and experiences which are not usually socially sanctioned. However, internet users can encourage each other to engage in self-destructive behaviour. This qualitative study aimed to simulate a typical search an adolescent might perform if he/she was looking for support and information about self-injury. The aim was to determine whether the resulting content was helpful or harmful. Seven queries--'cutting, 'self injury', 'self-injury', 'self harm', 'self-harm', 'self-mutilation', and 'self mutilation--were entered into and each link from the first webpage from each search was opened and judged for relevancy. Thirty-nine links were analysed and grouped into five categories: websites (n=5); webpages (n=11); book results (n=8); news results (n=11); and other (n=4). Examination of the quality and content of the links obtained from our search showed mainly recovery oriented, supportive information about self-injury. Despite this positive outcome, more specific searches such as 'pro-self-injury' would likely result in less encouraging results. Mental health professionals should be aware that their self-injuring clients have probably used the internet for support and information, and consider how this use might impact on therapy. Mental health professionals could use the results of this study to recommend quality internet sites to their clients.

9. The evolution of the study of life trajectories in social sciences over the past five years: a state of the art review.(Report)
By Marie Robert, Monique Seguin and Kieron O'Connor. Advances in Mental Health, 9.2 (Oct 2010): p190(16). (10860 words)
More recently, since roughly the end of the 1990s, two main types of statistical analysis created for longitudinal data in social sciences were disseminated throughout and widely used by the research community, namely: Hierarchical Linear Models (HLM) and semiparametric group-based analysis (group-based modeling). These methodological advances are not unrelated to the great increase in the number of longitudinal studies of individual trajectories. However, technical tools alone are not enough to shed light on the inherent complexity of life course analysis. Considering the development of sophisticated techniques and the proliferation of knowledge relating to individuals' trajectories, it is surprising that the concept of trajectory has, in itself, never been systematically examined. This article will review the body of knowledge that pertains to individuals' trajectories in the area of mental health. This involved systematic documentary research of scientific works published in the last five years on the topic of individuals' trajectories. Our research outlines the state of knowledge on the topic and presents a critical reflection on the multiple constructions and uses of the concept of life trajectories in scientific research.

Journals - Table of Contents

10. From Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, Volume 27, No.3, November 2011
The graduate nursing workforce: Does an international perspective have relevance for New Zealand
10B. Shaping student nurses' attitudes towards older people through learning and experience
10C. Preparing undergraduate nurses to provide smoking cessation advice and help
10D. Young tertiary students and help-seeking for health advice


11. New Zealand College of Midwives - 12th Biennial National Conference
24-26 August 2012
Venue: Wellington, New Zealand
More information:,274,html

12. The Science of Nutrition in Medicine and Healthcare
4-6 May 2012
Venue: Grand Hyatt, Melbourne, Australia
More information:

News - National

13. Kiwi health mind willing, but flesh weak
NZ Herald - 16 December 2011

New Zealanders are often thought of as being healthy, active people who live an outdoorsy lifestyle - but the reality is far from that, a survey has found. A third of us exercise less than an hour a week and we are concerned about our snacking, drinking and health. The study of 15 Asia Pacific nations, conducted by life insurance group American International Assurance, asked more than 10,200 people what they thought of their lifestyle and how it could be improved

14. DHB blames staff for failure to meet target
NZ Herald - 16 December 2011

A failure by bosses at Waikato Hospital to cut emergency department waiting times, jeopardising millions of dollars of Government funding, has been blamed on a lack of staff cohesion. Waikato District Health Board chief executive Craig Climo, cited "the way we do things" as part of the problem at the Hamilton hospital.

15. IM revolution breaking email's time-wasting grip
NZ Herald - 8 December 2011

Imagine it: a life freed from the drudgery of deleting an inbox full of "unbeatable offers" and the latest missive on paper clips from head office. Email could follow the telex into the dustbin of communication tools we have loved and discarded, if Thierry Breton, head of Paris-based information technology services company Atos, is a guide to the future

News - International

16. Kids' Leukemia Risk Tied to Dads' Smoking
Fox News - 15 December 2011

Children whose fathers smoked have at least a 15 percent higher risk of developing the most common form of childhood cancer, a new Australian study finds. "Paternal smoking seems to be real" as a risk factor, said Patricia Buffler, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the current analysis.

17. Diet a 'good guide to stroke prevention'
Sky News Australia - 13 December 2011

The quality of a person's diet is a better guide to whether someone will suffer a stroke than individual foods and nutrients, a leading neurologist says. Fish, chocolate, coffee, fruit and vegetables are all linked to lowering a person's chance of having a stroke, while salt, meat and B vitamins have been blamed for raising the risk. However a review of a raft of international studies by Professor Graeme Hankey, head of Royal Perth Hospital's stroke unit, found much of the research was based on unreliable evidence.

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