Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)

7 February 2018: Mental Health: Understanding and Supporting People

Prof Sarah Edge (Ulster), Dr Helen Jackson (Ulster) & Dr Caroline O’Sullivan (DKIT) – Young People, Mental Health and Modern Media

This presentation is based on research that used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to identify the rise in bullying, anxiety, body image and mental health issues for young people within the UK and Ireland, and uses evidence from the findings of #StatusOfMind, May 2017 report commissioned by The Royal Society for Public Health; the Irish Charity Reachout April 2017 report; and the IPPR thinktank findings on the significant increase in suicide rates in UK students. Such research raised significant concerns about the behaviours of young people using social network sites (e.g. Facebook, SnapChat) and the inter-related emotional affects. In particular, it presents research on the sexualisation of young women in popular film in the 1990s, examining how these representations have impacted on how young women see themselves and how they are treated by others. It also introduces the recent initiative BSBH – a programme designed to increase positive representations of

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Dr Gavin Davidson, Dr Berni Kelly and Dr Lorna Montgomery (QUB) – Supported decision making – experiences, approaches and preferences

Making decisions about your own life is a key aspect of independence, freedom and human rights. Mental health law has previously allowed compulsory intervention even when a person has the decision making ability to decline intervention. This discriminates against those with mental health problems and intellectual disabilities. In May 2016 the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) became statutory law, although may not be implemented until 2020. In contrast to other countries this law will replace rather than be in parallel to a mental health law. This is a unique and progressive development which seeks to address the discrimination of separate mental health law. A core principle of the new Act is that people are “not to be treated as unable to make a decision…unless all practicable help and support to enable the person to make a decision about the matter have been given without success” (Article 1(4)). There are people

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Prof Siobhan O’Neill, Ms Margaret McLafferty, Ms Coral Lapsley and Dr Elaine Murray (Ulster) – Mental health, self-harm and suicide in university students in Northern Ireland

Suicidal behaviour and mental health problems are increasingly common among college students and the rates appear to be increasing globally.  The Ulster University Student Wellbeing Study, was conducted as part of the WHO World Mental Health Surveys International College Student Project initiative. The study assessed psychopathology and associated risk and protective factors in 739 first year students and the findings revealed high prevalence rates of mental health and substance disorders, ADHD and suicidal behaviour, with more than half of new undergraduate students reporting any lifetime disorder. Co-morbidity was common with almost a fifth of students reporting 3 or more disorders. Females, students over 21, LGBT students, and those from a lower socioeconomic background were more likely to have a range of mental health and behavioural problems. Self-harm and suicidal behaviour was evident in 31% of students, and being LGBT was associated with the highest risk of suicidal behaviour. The results

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