Health and the environment: a compilation of evidence (AIHW)

There is increasing awareness that our health and the environment in which we live are closely linked. Health and the environment: a compilation of evidence compiles evidence on the relationship between health and a selected list of environmental factors including `natural' features (such as temperature and ultraviolet radiation) and aspects of our surroundings which have been created by humans (such as housing and transport). The results of this compilation highlight that:

* our surroundings can influence our physical health and mental wellbeing through a variety of channels
* health and wellbeing may be affected in both positive and negative ways
* humans, through their intervention in the environment, can play a vital role in exacerbating or reducing health risks.

As the pathways involved can be indirect and complex, this report also examines some of the difficulties involved in assessing the broader relationship between health and the environment.

Media release

Safety and Quality Framework for Health Care

The Australian Safety and Quality Framework for Health Care has been developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and specifies three core principles : that care is consumer centred, driven by information, and organised for safety. The Framework provides 21 areas for action that all people in the health system can take to improve the safety and quality of care provided in all healthcare settings over the next decade. Endorsed by Health Ministers, it should :

* be used as the basis of strategic and operational safety and quality plans

* provide a mechanism for refocusing current safety and quality improvement activities and designing goals for health service improvement

* be used as a guide for reviewing investments and research in safety and quality

* promote discussion with consumers, clinicians, managers, researchers and policy makers about how they might best form partnerships to improve safety and quality.

Clinical Practice Guidelines: Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults

Depression and anxiety, together with substance use disorders, are the most common mental illnesses in young people. Despite improvements in the understanding of mental health of young people, conditions such as depression are often undiagnosed and untreated in this age group.

These Clinical Practice Guidelines were developed by an Expert Advisory Group, led by adolescent psychiatrist Associate Professor Brett McDermott. The experts have brought together the best available evidence in the diagnosis, treatment and management of depression and anxiety in adolescents and young people aged 13-24.

Press release

Clinical Practice guidelines for depression and related disorders - anxiety, bipolar disorder and puerperal psychosis - in the perinatal period

Research undertaken by beyondblue has shown that up to 10% of pregnant women develop antenatal depression and this increases to about 16%following the birth (postnatal depression). Anxiety is also common in the ante- and post-natal periods.

These comprehensive guidelines were developed for all health professionals working with women in the perinatal period (pregnancy and the first year after birth) to assist them to care for women experiencing these problems.

Press release

Youth mental health first aid workshop for Wauchope

A two day youth mental health first aid training course will be held in Wauchope later this month. The workshop is being offered by the NSW Health Rural Adversity Program specifically for Youth Support Workers who are often the first point of contact and help for young people in distress.

Current and Proposed Seminar: Mental Health and Physical Co-morbidity by Kerry Inder (Uni of Newcastle)

The relationship between mental health and physical co-morbidity is an increasing focus of attention. This presentation will overview work currently being undertaken using data from the Australian Rural Mental Health Study to examine mental health, injury and chronic disease.

Conference addresses fly-in-fly-out mental health

This week the 11th National Rural Health Conference has taken a major focus on the issues surrounding mental health in WA, including problems associated with working in the mining and recourses industry in the North West.

Swap it Don't Stop it

The Australian Government has launched its "Swap it don't stop it" campaign - a call to make easy, small, healthier lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of illness and disease. "Swap it don't stop it" features Eric, an animated blue balloon character, likeable but overweight. On television, in print and on the radio, Eric will urge Australians to make some simple lifestyle changes to become healthier - for example, to swap big for small (portion control); swap often for sometimes (occasional treats); swap fried for fresh (nutritional quality); swap sitting for moving (physical activity); and swap watching for playing (physical activity). The campaign has a practical focus and encourages people to make practical choices in their everyday lives to improve their health. The cost of obesity is a huge drain on the nation's economy - in 2008 alone, it cost Australia a massive $58.2 billion.

The website features swap tips, fact sheets, planners and many other resources

Cardiovascular disease: Australian facts 2011 (AIHW)

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a very common and serious disease in Australia with about 3.5 million people reporting having the condition in 2007-08. Despite significant advances in the treatment of CVD and for some of its risk factors, it remains the cause of more deaths than any other disease - about 50,000 in 2008 - and the most expensive, costing about $5.9 billion in 2004-05.

Not all sectors of Australian society are affected equally by CVD with people in lower socioeconomic groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those living in the remote areas of Australia often more likely to be hospitalised with, or to die from CVD than other members of the population.

Media release

Report .

Improving Primary Health Care for All Australians

This booklet explains why primary health care is important, why it needs to be improved and what the changes will mean. It also provides further details on Medicare Locals, and their central role in improving the primary health care system.

CIAP releases new online education sessions

CIAP (the Clinical Information Access Program) is now offering free online training via Webex. These 1 hour sessions provide information on using CIAP and its subscribed resources along with tips for finding specific information on the CIAP website. Courses available include CIAP overview, Medline, Nursing resources, Proquest, Embase and Best Practice.To register for one of these sessions visit the CIAP Education Schedule located on the right hand side of the CIAP website.

Face-to-face training can also be arranged through your local medical library.

Calls for schools to address suicide prevention

There are fresh calls for a suicide prevention program to be included as part of the new national curriculum in schools.

Dr Martin Harris, who is on the board of Suicide Prevention Australia, says a suicide prevention program should be considered as part of the new national curriculum. "I think it ought not to be the prevail of a particular teacher, but it ought to be a program which is embraced in a robust way by a school when they think they're ready to do it," he said. Mr Harris says mental health experts could prepare teachers on how to broach the subject in schools.

4th Rural Health Research Colloquium - Dubbo 11-13 October 2011

This year Western NSW and Far West Local Health Networks are hosting the 4th Rural Health Research Colloquium in Dubbo on 11-13 October 2011. The theme for this year's Colloquium is 'Sustaining Rural Health through Research' which will provide a forum for discussing research of relevance to improving rural health. The RHRC provides the opportunity for health professionals and their tertiary education sector colleagues to get together to share research and innovation initiatives and forge stronger collaboration in efforts to improve rural health. Areas of Particular Interest include:

* Aboriginal Health

* Preventative Health and Health Promotion

* Community Well-being

* Service Delivery

On-line submission of abstracts are now available on the Rural Health Research Colloquium website .

To download the Call for Abstracts, please click here. Closing Date for the Call for Abstracts is Friday 13th May 2011!

Family approach to remote mental health (CRRMH study)

New research from the Centre for Rural and Remote Health has found that the more remote families live, the closer their mental health is linked to one another. Intern psychologist Denika Novello monitored the distress levels of 129 families in remote communities.

Australian Health Survey : Australia's most comprehensive health survey ever !

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to commence the first Australian Health Survey (AHS), the biggest health survey ever conducted in Australia. The AHS builds on previous health surveys allowing comparisons of health information over time such as obesity, smoking, health conditions and how we manage our health.

The AHS will collect new information about what we eat and drink, how active we are and biomedical measures. The first wave of the survey will be conducted over 2011-12 with results available in late 2012. Further information is available on the ABS website.

Demographic and socioeconomic outcomes across the Indigenous Australian lifecourse : Evidence from the 2006 census

Across almost all standard indicators, the Indigenous population of Australia has worse outcomes than the non-Indigenous population. Despite the abundance of statistics and a plethora of government reports on Indigenous outcomes, there is very little information on how Indigenous disadvantage accumulates or is mitigated through time at the individual level.

This report by Nicholas Biddle & Mandy Yap of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research highlights two key findings. Firstly, that Indigenous disadvantage starts from a very early age and widens over time. Secondly, that the timing of key life events including education attendance, marriage, childbirth and retirement occur on average at different ages for the Indigenous compared to the non-Indigenous population. To target policy interventions that will contribute to meeting the Council of Australian Governments* (COAG) Closing the Gap targets, it is important to understand and acknowledge the differences between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous lifecourse in Australia, as well as the factors that lead to variation within the Indigenous population.

WHO recommendations for the induction of labour

The primary goal of these guidelines produced by the World Health Organization, Dept. of Reproductive Health and Research, is to improve the quality of care and outcomes for pregnant women undergoing induction of labour in under-resourced settings. The target audience of these guidelines includes obstetricians, midwives, general medical practitioners, health-care managers and public health policy-makers.

The guidance provided is evidence-based and covers selected topics related to induction of labour that were regarded as critical priority questions by an international, multidisciplinary group of health-care workers, consumers and other stakeholders.

Drug use soars in aged-care facilities

More elderly people are being dosed up on powerful mood-altering drugs, according to a study that finds use of the drugs in some nursing homes has soared.

The Active and Healthy website

NSW Health has announced a new innovative website that will enable older people and health professionals to access physical activity services that will help prevent injury and chronic disease.

By simply entering a suburb or postcode, the Active and Healthy website easily identifies a list of exercise programs by local providers. These programs focus on improving balance and strength, such as tai chi, yoga, strengthening programs and other specific classes designed for older people. The website is a useful tool for older people and General Practitioners to find activities and programs in their local area.

To complement the website, NSW Health has released "Staying Active and on Your Feet", a new 20 page booklet full of useful information for older people on staying active and healthy to prevent a fall. "Staying Active and on Your Feet" includes everything from tips on ways to fall-proof yourself, advice on healthy eating, health and lifestyle and home safety checklists. Information from the "Staying Active and on Your Feet" booklet is available on the Active and Healthy website

The website is developing rapidly, but rural content is, as yet, scanty. New programs can be added to the site either online or by returning a faxed form.

Supporting Australians to live well at the end of life: National Palliative Care Strategy 2010

The pattern of life, disease, dying and death has changed dramatically in Australia both over the last century and over the last several decades. In 1907 in Australia, 45,305 people died while the mean age of death was 41.1. In 2008, there were 143,932 deaths in Australia and the median age at death was 80.92.

Over the last 20 years in Australia the specialisation of palliativecare has advanced considerably. Palliative care is provided in almost all settings where health care is provided including neonatal units, paediatric services, acute hospitals, general practices, residential and community aged care services, and generalist community services.

Specialist palliative care services have a vital role in providing expert clinical advice particularly for those with complex symptoms requiring palliation, as well as the provision of direct care for a small number of patients and more broadly the provision of capacity building and support services to the broader health and human services sectors. Palliative care is also an intrinsic part of all health and human services in their overall responsibilities in providing comprehensive care to their clients.

The updated National Palliative Care Strategy will help ensure a nationally consistent and coordinated approach to the delivery of palliative care services across Australia. Four goal areas have been identified for the National Palliative Care Strategy 2010 :

* Awareness and Understanding

* Appropriateness and Effectiveness

* Leadership and Governance

* Capacity and Capability.

Asthma snapshot (AIHW new Snapshot series)

From 1 March 2011, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website will showcase topics on the health and welfare of Australians in a new 'snapshot' format. The snapshots will summarise the issues of each topic for web viewing, enabling visitors to easily read and download concise, up to date and relevant information.

The first of these snapshots, an early release, is asthma. The snapshot includes data on epidemiology, mortality, costs of asthma, the hospital role, a brief summary of treatment and quality of life issues.

Media release