'Not a day goes by': Mental health is the number one reason people are going to the GP

GPs are treating mental health issues more than any other condition, according to a new report released this week. A survey of 1,500 frontline GPs by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners found that two in three were reporting psychological problems as one of the most common ailments they now treated.
 
As a result, GPs are struggling to keep up — many forced to cram often complex cases into six-minute consultations, charge their patients for more time, or wear the out-of-pocket cost.
With aged care now in the spotlight, GPs are also signalling that providing adequate care in nursing homes is becoming a major problem.

Read more at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-19/number-one-reason-why-people-see-their-gps-mental-health/10281134

Plan to improve mental health support for Australian university students

Many students struggle with stress and other issues of mental health and are unsure how to access help. AMSA and Orygen have designed a framework to address the problem on a national level.

AMSA President Alex Farrell believes student mental health has been ‘underfunded and under-talked-about for a long time’. I don’t know where to go, and I’m ashamed to be struggling at uni.’

These are the words of a student from a recent report produced by Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, to investigate the mental health of Australian university students.

Read more at: https://www.racgp.org.au/newsGP/Professional/Plan-to-improve-mental-health-support-for-Australi

New knowledge exchange products on alcohol use among Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people

The Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre have added a suite of online resources which are now available on the website. Based on the Review of harmful alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, there are 3 new resources available

  • an animated infographic
  • a HealthInfoByte
  • an eBook

    The animated infographic provides an audio visual snapshot of key information found in the review, in an engaging format, while the eBook is an interactive, online version of the review with additional, enhanced features such as embedded videos and illustrations. The HealthInfoByte is part of a series which promotes HealthInfoNet reviews and provides short, 'byte' sized information.

  • Mental Health Nursing Practice and Indigenous Australians: A Multi-Sited Ethnography

    Camping under the stars might just be the way to helping to rebuild happiness

    Camping is being lauded as way to help you feel better about yourself, get closer to your loved ones and create a sense of reconnection to the world.
     
    In a world where the fear of missing out (FOMO) is contributing to anxiety, camping may have a special place in improving mental health by its ability to cut people off from technology.
    Alistair Mitchell is one person who says drawing on his early childhood experiences of camping and getting back to nature helped his long road to recovery from mental illness.

    For more details see: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-16/camping-for-mental-health/10238198

    Latest review shows many cancers are preventable among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet at Edith Cowan University has published a new Review of cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew, said 'The review shows that cultural safety in service provision, increased participation in breast, bowel and cervical screening and reduction in risk factors will improve outcomes for cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, followed by breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer. Tobacco smoking is still seen as the greatest risk factor for cancer.'

     

    Links page

    Health Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis In Australia 2017

    New findings from a landmark research report show that while the number of Australians living with multiple sclerosis (MS) continues to rise – now at 25,600 – the course of the disease is shifting with more people able to stay in work and needing less care and support as a result of changes in treatment strategies.

    On the other hand, costs for people living with more advanced MS are incredibly high, more than triple per person compared to those with milder disease (from $30,561 for people with no disability to $114,813 for people with severe disability). The quality of life impact for people living with severe disability is comparable to, or even lower than that reported for terminal metastatic cancer, chronic kidney disease and severe heart disease.

    The Health Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis in Australia 2017 report, commissioned by MS Research Australia and prepared by the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, is the first in nearly eight years to provide a comprehensive landscape analysis of MS in Australia. It shows how many Australians are now living with MS, the costs of the disease from an individual and societal perspective, and the quality of life indices for individuals living with MS.

    Health Economic Impact of MS in Australia in 2017 Report

    Health Economic Impact of MS in Australia in 2017 Report Executive Summary

    Media Release

    Lack of planning for mental health patients leaving hospital is putting lives at risk, experts warn

    Experts are concerned many mental health patients are leaving hospitals without support and it is putting them at greater risk of suicide. Shortly after Craig Dixon was discharged from a Darwin mental health ward in 2016 he attempted to end his life.
     
    Mr Dixon felt that his depression was exacerbated by having no support to help him adjust to life at home, and that his time in hospital did not help him address his underlying problems.

    He is now recovering, but strongly believes his journey could have been different had there been post-discharge support available to him.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-03/mental-health-patients-missing-out-on-discharge-plans/10167924

    Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer

    Cancer is the third leading cause of fatal burden of disease for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are, on average, 40% more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians. Healthcare that is patient-focused and that is respectful of, and responsive to, the preferences, needs and values of patients, is critical to good health care outcomes.

    The Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer provides health services and health professionals across all sectors in Australia with principles and guidance to ensure that care is responsive to the needs of Indigenous people.

    Cancer Australia is calling on health professionals and health services involved in the delivery of cancer care at every level to read, use, adopt and embed the Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer into their practice.

    The Optimal Care Pathway is accompanied by consumer resources, which outline what patients should expect on the cancer pathway, and the care they should be offered, from tests and diagnosis, through to treatment and care after treatment, management of cancer that has spread, and end-of-life care.

     

    Optimal care pathway for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people with cancer

    Media Release.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations and descendants: numbers, demographic characteristics and selected outcomes [AIHW]

    The AIHW has released a new report in collaboration with The Healing Foundation.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations and descendants: numbers, demographic characteristics and selected outcomes provides estimated numbers and demographic characteristics of the Stolen Generations and descendants using a series of ABS surveys.

    It also presents a range of health and socioeconomic outcomes for the Stolen Generations and descendants, and differences with Indigenous and non-Indigenous comparison groups, to examine the effects of removal from families.

    The findings in the report will be useful to assess the needs of the Stolen Generations and their families. 

    'The data shows poorer health and social outcomes among this group of Indigenous Australians compared to those who were not removed from their families,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman.'For example, Indigenous people who were removed from their families are more than 3 times as likely to have been incarcerated in the last 5 years, and 1.8 times as likely to rely on government payments as their main source of income and 1.7 times as likely to experience violence compared to those who were not removed.' They are also more likely to have experienced discrimination, be unemployed or not own a home, and less likely to report good general health.

     

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations and descendants: numbers, demographic characteristics and selected outcomes.

    Media release: New report shows long-term disadvantage for Australia's Stolen Generations

    Clinical guidlines for atrial fibrillation

    Australia's first guidelines for the diagnosis and management of adult patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), released by the Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ), aim to have a major impact on the condition that causes a third of all strokes in Australia.

    AF is linked to 1 in 11 deaths in Australia and is the most common recurrent arrhythmia faced in clinical practice, but its incidence is underestimated because many people do not realise they have it.  A major cause of stroke, AF is projected to double over the next 20 years in Australians aged 55 years and over, while deaths from AF have increased by 82% over the past 10 years.

    Heart Foundation chief medical adviser, cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings, said the guidelines aim to have a significant impact on Australians living with AF through evidence-based recommendations on its screening, diagnosis and treatment. "More than half a million Australians currently live with atrial fibrillation, and the condition has a substantial effect on patients' well-being," Professor Jennings said. "But its incidence is underestimated because many patients don't have clinical symptoms. This means AF is often only discovered once it triggers serious consequences, such as stroke.

    "The guidelines offer advice in a local context and are based on new and emerging evidence on issues such as the complexities of using newer anticoagulants to prevent stroke, and the patients in whom catheter ablation is recommended.

    "The guidelines also advise on the need to prevent, detect and manage several risk factors that can cause AF and increase its complications, including hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, valvular heart disease, and alcohol excess."

    From a public health perspective, AF imposes a growing burden on healthcare resources. AF hospitalisations are increasing at a far greater rate than hospitalisations for other cardiovascular conditions, with 10-30% of AF patients admitted to hospital each year.   

    Stroke Foundation Clinical Council Chair Associate Professor Bruce Campbell said patients with AF were up to five times more likely to have a stroke than the general community. "Patients with AF are not only more likely to have a stroke, but the strokes caused by AF are more commonly severe or fatal than other ischaemic stroke (caused by a clot) subgroups, so detecting and treating this dangerous condition is vital to a person's health," A/Prof Campbell said.

     "This Australian-first guideline supports health professionals to better assess patient needs for stroke prevention strategies to significantly reduce the occurrence of stroke caused by AF."

    Australian Clinical Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Atrial Fibrillation 2018.

    The All.Can Cancer initiative patient survey launches in Australia

    Australians who have been diagnosed and treated for cancer have the opportunity to share their experiences with the world as part of a global research project spearheaded by All.Can, an initiative committed to improving cancer care. The global patient survey has been launched in 10 countries to identify common issues cancer patients experience with the aim of discovering what is preventing patients from getting optimal cancer care.

    The survey is open to all current or former cancer patients.

     

    Survey link: http://www.myonlinesurvey.co.uk/allcan_ENAU/

    Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities: guidelines for researchers and stakeholders

    This guide from the National Health and Medical Research Council provides a set of principles to ensure research is safe, respectful, responsible, high quality and of benefit to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

    The health, wellbeing and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples continue to be the focus of much research to promote positive outcomes. Over the years, research has contributed to positive outcomes and benefits in, for example, health, medicine and education, and in preserving the languages, stories and songs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities in culturally appropriate ways.



    However, not all research has been of benefit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities. This absence of benefit can often be understood in the context of ethical considerations related to human research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.



    Ethical research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities should:

    • improve the way all researchers work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities
    • develop and/or strengthen research capabilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities
    • enhance the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as researchers, research partners, collaborators and participants in research

    Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities: guidelines for researchers and stakeholders

    National Action Plan for Endometriosis

    Health Minister Greg Hunt has launched the National Action Plan for Endometriosis — the first ever blueprint seeking to improve the treatment, understanding and awareness of an often misunderstood and crippling condition.

    Endometriosis affects 1 in every 10 Australian women, with the average diagnosis taking between 7 to 10 years. The plan was developed with medical specialists, endometriosis advocacy groups, women with endometriosis and their families, clinicians, researchers and parliamentarians.

    In launching the action plan, Minister Hunt noted that while we were at the beginning of this journey, the plan — which outlines a comprehensive 5 year strategy — was a significant step forward for sufferers.

    National Action Plan for Endometriosis

    Finding real mental health solutions for rural Australia

    AUSTRALIA’S mental health support services cannot use a one size fits all approach to lowering rates of mental illness and suicide in rural parts of the nation.
     
    This is the opinion of Lifeline Research Foundation executive director Alan Woodward, who said there were a number of unique facets to rural living that led to different challenges than those faced in the city.
     
    “The statistics are not great, it shows the further away from a capital city you live the higher the suicide rate is,” Mr Woodward told last week’s Innovation Generation conference in Wagga Wagga.

    He said researchers were discovering a range of factors for the poor mental health ratings in rural areas.
     
    Read more at: https://www.theland.com.au/story/5532370/finding-real-mental-health-solutions-for-rural-australia/?cs=4932

    Aboriginal kids: a healthy start to life

    This report was developed in collaboration with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and focuses on key improvements in the health of Aboriginal children in New South Wales in the first 5 years of life.

    The report emphasises the importance of services and programs being carried out in partnership with Aboriginal people, their communities, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector and across government. Services and programs that have helped to achieve improvements in Aboriginal child health are highlighted throughout the report.

    The report is divided into 3 life stages: before birth, infant health and early childhood.

    Aboriginal kids: a healthy start to life (Report of the NSW Chief Health Officer 2018).

    Assuring equity of access and quality outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: what needs to be done?

    This report outlines the proceedings and outcomes of the 5th National Workshop of the Australian Association of Gerontology Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ageing Advisory Group held in Perth in November 2017.

    The workshop aimed to address the inequities of access and outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples under the current aged care reform program, and suggest directions for the future.

    Key issues identified at the workshop were:

    • current barriers to equity of access and quality outcomes
    • specialist targeted services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders
    • delivery of appropriate care by mainstream aged care service providers
    • an aged care workforce that improves access and quality care
    • advocacy services
    • appropriate aged care needs assessment
    • an evidence-based approach.

    Assuring equity of access and quality outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: what needs to be done?

    Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (AIHW)

    This is the 3rd national report on the 21 Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with updated data available to report on 14 measures. It shows that while the mortality rate from cardiac conditions is falling among Indigenous Australians, it is still much higher than among non-Indigenous Australians. While access to cardiac-related health services is improving the incidence and recurrent rates of acute rheumatic fever among Indigenous Australians continue to be much higher than in non-Indigenous Australians.

    Press release (AHHA): Come a long way, long way to go—cardiac care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people