Paediatricians warn parents to be alert to signs of eating disorders

Paediatricians have seen a huge rise in cases of anorexia nervosa and other food restriction disorders in this age group, with some reporting a doubling, tripling or even quadrupling of cases compared with the same period last year.

For more information, please go to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) website by clicking here.

Help and support

BEAT eating disorders charity has a lot of useful information on their website and their helpline is open over the festive period.

Attend ACAMH’s 2020 Events Online

Did you know that you can now see a lots of ACAMH events from wherever you might be at the moment?

With the global spread of the coronavirus, many organisations across the world are changing working practices to ensure everyone’s safety. One such organisation is the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH), which will not be staging physical events for the rest of 2020, but instead is bringing events online as live webinars, many of which will be free.

There are also a number of recorded webinars already available for view, including:

More will be added to the ACAMH website’s Freeview section, which contains a whole host of other past lectures.

The RCPCH’s Spring Meeting 2020 has become an Online Conference

The RCPCH’s Spring meeting, scheduled for April 2020, was regretfully cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now the the meeting will go ahead online, with different sessions running between the 25 September and 13 November 2020.


PMHA Joint Workshop: ‘Difference and Self’

The PMHA had planned a joint workshop with the British Association for Paediatricians in Audiology, themed ‘Difference and self’.

This workshop will now be delivered in webinar form. Chaired by Dr Winfred Baddo and Dr Sheila Peters, this free, live online event will feature guest lectures and abstract presentations, with opportunities for delegates to ask questions. 

Date: Tuesday 13th October
Time: 2 – 5 pm

To register, click on the link below:

https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/news-events/events/conference-webinar-difference-self-mental-health-audiology

The posters which had been accepted for the workshop, are now available to view online. Visit this link:

 https://eposters.rcpch.ac.uk/ 

(You’ll need to register but RCPCH membership is not needed for this).
You’ll find the posters in the ‘mental health’ section.  Please view the posters, register for the webinar, and spread the word!

Dr Sheila Peters: Immediate Past Convenor of PMHA

Reimagining the future of paediatric care after COVID-19

Last month, the RCPCH published an interesting report Reimagining the future of paediatric care post-COVID-19 – a reflective report of rapid learning‘. The report is the first in a series of reports from the Paediatrics 2014 Project.

“This report, published on 26 June 2020, is the first in a series from the Paediatrics 2040 project that will inform RCPCH’s vision for the future of paediatrics in the UK. We summarise our learning from this period of rapid change, focusing in particular on the elements of new practice that we want to keep and take forwards into the future…

To read the report, click the link below:

https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/reimagining-future-paediatric-care-post-covid-19-reflective-report-rapid-learning

The Importance of Human Contact Today

During the interval of a recent concert by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Dr Dickon Bevington, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, gave a thought provoking, and topical talk:

The Importance of Human Contact today, about Mentalization, Attachment and Kindness.

About Dr Dickon Bevington:

Dr Bevington is the Medical Director at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS FT where he leads CASUS, an outreach service for complex substance using youth. He is also a Fellow of the Cambridge and Peterborough CLARHC, a collaboration based in Cambridge University dedicated to developing leadership and research in health and social care.

Dr Bevington’s consultant career started in adolescent in-patient psychiatry, but he now concentrates on developing and delivering innovative home-based or street-level out-reach interventions for complex, co-morbidly burdened young people who are socially excluded, using mentalization to underpin both the therapeutic and the organisational approach to this work. In this respect, together with Dr Peter Fuggle, he is the co-lead for the Adolescent Mentalization-Based Integrative Treatment (AMBIT) project.

Dr Bevington trains and lectures internationally on MBT and AMBIT, and has published a number of papers and chapters in the eld of mentalization and multimodal outreach approaches, most recently with Dr Fuggle. He is also co-author of “ What works for whom: a critical review of treatments for children and adolescents” which is a review of all treatment trials in the past 10-15 years across the world.

Take a look at the Anna Freud Centre website for more information about this field of Child Mental Health.

For a great resource for on-line learning, click on link below: https://www.annafreud.org/mental-health-professionals/anna-freud-learning-network/

Staying Sane in the Times of Covid-19

An article by Dr Emma Blake, Consultant Paediatrician, now Chair / Convenor of PMHA

Well, in these crazy times – with universal maelstroms – all of us are trying to cope with our personal whirlpools. Being a front line medic, whilst coping as a “full time” parent and teacher; trying to keep yourself, your kids and everyone else around you sane – it’s not manageable, is it?

I wish I had all the answers. Medice, cura te ipsum. Heal thyself. But no-one knows the cure for Covid-19, no immunisation – even against the anxiety and psychological impact of it. As a paediatrician, mother of four, with “shielded” vulnerable relatives; suddenly homeschooling three children and trying to get a “gap-year” son trapped in Vietnam back to the family;  I, like the rest of us, am trying to juggle all the balls whilst wearing minimal / flimsy PPE.

At the PMHA (Paediatric Mental Health Association) we are trying to find resources to support parents who are doing the best they can to care for their children’s health, education and emotional needs at home. A popular PMHA Facebook post (which has currently reached over 9.6 million people!) suggests taking the pressure off ourselves with regard to home-schooling or children; to try to take the stress out of the situation as much as possible.

Enjoy the time together – “cuddle up and read, read, read” etc. The best way to de-stress kids is to de-stress ourselves (often easier said than done). Obviously older kids (GCSEs and A Levels) need more structured work (thank you teachers!), but the principle is the same – our kids will remember what this felt like at home. They will remember the emotions and relationships.

We are seeing an increase in mental health presentations to paediatric wards – when we are doing our best to keep people safe at home. However, not all young people are safe at home. Abuse is escalating, domestic violence and parental mental health / substance abuse difficulties are worsening. As paediatricians, we need to be more aware of mental health and safeguarding issues, more than ever. The most vulnerable children are more hidden from view – and we are waiting for a tsunami (not only from Covid-19 ventilated elderly – but also young people who have had to cope with the “perfect storm”at home).

In addition to our Facebook page; the PMHA, along with Serena Haywood (St Georges) and Simon Chapman (Kings) have also developed a website – Indoor Explorers – to try to bring together resources to support parents at this difficult time.

If you have any useful resources for parents or professionals at this time – please share them with us at ContactPMHA@gmail.com

Dr Emma Blake,
Child Mental Health & General Paediatric Consultant,
Designated Doctor for Safeguarding Children, Isle of Wight,
Vice Chair PMHA and Chair of Child Mental Health (CSAC) at the RCPCH

You-COPE: Youth COVID-19 Experience Survey

Request from Dr Lee Hudson: Clinical Associate Professor, UCL GOSH Institute of Child Health, London

“My colleagues and I (including the President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) are conducting an online study looking at how COVID-19 is affecting the lives, mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 16-24. It’s an academic study, not commercial and results will be used for academic research only. It is a joint project between UCL and Imperial College in London, but is covering the whole of the UK.

  • This is going to be really important to understand what the needs are now and moving forward for policy and healthcare
  • They are a particularly vulnerable group as they tend to fall between the cracks in terms of health provision but also having a voice

Please share this survey with young people aged between 16 and 24

To share the survey – copy the below link into an email:

https://uclpsych.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5hjERUS4yP1xiTz?

For more information about the survey, click on the UCL logo below:

Lockdown learning and play

Opportunities for unstructured play in the early years
are really important, says Ramchandani

A while back, The Guardian published this interesting article discussing learning at home through play in the context of the Coronavirus crisis…

“Learning at home does not have to look like school and probably shouldn’t, says Britain’s first play professor. With coronavirus closures offering opportunities for home learning, and many parents more on hand during the lockdown, play can come into its own, says Paul Ramchandani, Lego professor of play at the University of Cambridge…

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/apr/21/dont-turn-your-home-into-school-lego-prof-of-play-on-lockdown-learning