Guides

COVID-19 learning hub: The Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) has a COVID-19 learning hub. It was created to support healthcare professionals with access to education and learning resources during the COVID-19 outbreak. Resources include links to access past COVID-19 Series webinars (free to watch), recommended guidance, specialty training, a round-up of current clinical trials and references from the RSM Library.

Early Years in Mind: Developed by mental health experts at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, this is a free online network for early years practitioners that provides user friendly guidance on supporting the mental health of babies, young children and their families. Alongside, Early Years in Mind provides an outlet for professionals and communities to connect with each other, share knowledge, and find ways to work together to create a shared approach to supporting children under five.

Reports

State of Child Health in the UK: The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) recently published State of Child Health 2020, a compilation of data on the health of babies, children and young people across all four UK nations. While the nation has made improvements, it is still lagging behind other European countries. The report shows that for many measures of children’s health and wellbeing, progress has stalled, or is in reverse. Across most indicators, health outcomes are worse for children who live in deprived areas, and for some of the outcomes, these inequalities have widened. One of the main reasons progress has been seriously affected is due to the deep cuts to local authority budgets - which are used to finance public health initiatives and community services.

Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care in 2019: Using the NatCen Social Research’s British Social Attitudes (BSA) 2019 survey, the Kings Fund and the Nuffield Trust have analysed the people’s views on health and care services. The report demonstrates that overall public satisfaction with the NHS rose significantly in 2019 after falling for the last two years. Overall satisfaction was at 60% – a 7 percentage point increase from the previous year, with older people more satisfied than younger people. It is important to bear in mind that the timing of the survey itself means that the results reflect attitudes before the emergence of the virus. The way the NHS and care organisations respond are important factors that are likely to influence results from future BSA surveys.

Research

The effects of social deprivation on adolescent development and mental health: The physical distancing measures mandated across the world have significantly reduced adolescent’s opportunities to engage in face to face contact outside of their households. Social deprivation in adolescents is thought to have far reaching consequences. Animal research has shown social deprivation and isolation have unique effects on brain and behaviour in adolescence compared with other stages of life. This may however be less detrimental due to the widespread access and use of digital forms of social interaction. The increased use of digital media however has its own set of consequences. The findings reviewed highlight how physical distancing might have a disproportionate effect on an age group for whom peer interaction is a vital aspect of development.

Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being: This report presents key findings on the health and wellbeing of 227,441 young people aged 11, 13 and 15 years in 45 countries including the United Kingdom who participated in the 2017/2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey. Findings revealed that the levels of cigarette-smoking are worryingly high, particularly among 15-year-olds. In this age group, 15% of adolescents report having smoked a cigarette at least once in the past 30 days and nearly 1 in 3 mentioned having tried smoking (27% of girls and 29% of boys). Since adolescence is a critical period when the risks associated with substance use are particularly high and smoking behaviour is typically established during adolescence; coordinated action is required quickly.

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