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August 30, 2013

Chaplaincy Blog
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» HCF Prayers September 2013

Jesus wept,             and in his weeping                         he joined himself forever                         to those who mourn.             He stands now throughout all time,                         this Jesus weeping                                     with his arms about the weeping ones:             ‘Blessed are those … Continue reading

May 28, 2010

Welsh Institue of Health and Social Care Blog
wihsc
is about »
» Disasters and WIHSC

On average, a major disaster occurs every day somewhere in the world. There are many, many more minor disasters and incidents and other traumatic events. Typically, the news media, whether international, national, regional or local, focus on events that are disastrous to some group of people.

These kinds of events challenge us if we are involved directly or because we know someone who is, and the suffering, distress and worry, in other words the psychosocial price and the mental health consequences may be huge. However, there is another side to disasters; they may bring out the best in societies, portray the enormous altruism of most people and groups of people, and show their great personal psychosocial resilience and the resilience of families and other collectives. At the most positive end of this spectrum, some people even describe ‘post-traumatic growth’ that appears to be independent of their distress and suffering at the time and afterwards.

Better understanding the psychosocial and mental health aspects of disasters, major incidents, war and terrorism, including how people experience both extreme events and the smaller and less recognised challenges of life describes a stream of work that is now core to WIHSC’s portfolio. We have created relationships within the university with its cross-faculty initiative that has already seen creation of a chair in disaster studies. Also, we have forged alliances with other academic institutions and service agencies to research this field.

We are working with and advising several governments about their contingency policies and the countries’ preparedness, sustainable workforce development, and communication with and preparation of communities prior to, during and after events. We are researching the nature of psychosocial resilience and how societies can strengthen and assist people, families and communities before events and support them better in their recovery afterwards. We have worked with an international group to identity the principles of good and effective post-disaster psychosocial and mental healthcare. We have made substantial contributions to the following reports, Psychosocial Care for People affected by Disasters and Major Events and Principles for Disaster and Major Incident Psychosocial care.

We will post updates on our work on this site from time to time.

Written by Richard Williams, Professor of Mental Health Strategy

» Disasters and WIHSC

On average, a major disaster occurs every day somewhere in the world. There are many, many more minor disasters and incidents and other traumatic events. Typically, the news media, whether international, national, regional or local, focus on events that are disastrous to some group of people.

These kinds of events challenge us if we are involved directly or because we know someone who is, and the suffering, distress and worry, in other words the psychosocial price and the mental health consequences may be huge. However, there is another side to disasters; they may bring out the best in societies, portray the enormous altruism of most people and groups of people, and show their great personal psychosocial resilience and the resilience of families and other collectives. At the most positive end of this spectrum, some people even describe ‘post-traumatic growth’ that appears to be independent of their distress and suffering at the time and afterwards.

Better understanding the psychosocial and mental health aspects of disasters, major incidents, war and terrorism, including how people experience both extreme events and the smaller and less recognised challenges of life describes a stream of work that is now core toWIHSC’s portfolio. We have created relationships within the university with its cross-faculty initiative that has already seen creation of a chair in disaster studies. Also, we have forged alliances with other academic institutions and service agencies to research this field.

We are working with and advising several governments about their contingency policies and the countries’ preparedness, sustainable workforce development, and communication with and preparation of communities prior to, during and after events. We are researching the nature of psychosocial resilience and how societies can strengthen and assist people, families and communities before events and support them better in their recovery afterwards. We have worked with an international group to identity the principles of good and effective post-disaster psychosocial and mental healthcare. We have made substantial contributions to the following reports, Psychosocial Care for People affected by Disasters and Major Events and Principles for Disaster and Major Incident Psychosocial care.

We will post updates on our work on this site from time to time.

Written by Richard Williams, Professor of Mental Health Strategy

May 10, 2010

Welsh Institue of Health and Social Care Blog
wihsc
is about »
» Taking Liberties

This, in retirement, is what I do one way or another every day, as well as every couple of weeks or so. And the taking of liberties brings, in turn, unbridled joy alongside deep, conflicting thoughts.

Never have I had so much freedom – to spend rewarding times with people I like and love; to enjoy, in my own way a pace, the physical and intellectual challenges of cultivation; and, essentially, to own my in-tray and change it’s order without catastrophe following. Every day is a good day, and for this I have freedom and autonomy to think.

But what a contrast is the lot of those I meet as I chair Mental Health Managers Hearings. Often they ‘choose’ not to come: their mental state will not allow them to appear in a room filled with those who, by personal experience or the recounting of others, will report verbally on the intimate details of their lives as though they were not present, and conclude overwhelmingly and, it seems, unanimously – whether managers or professionals – that ‘it would be best for you to stay here and be helped’. This, and the ‘need for the public and yourself to be protected’, signals a door never really half open is about to close again. Next, the Tribunal; but at least skilled representation is assured this time, rather than at best, and then infrequently, only a lay advocate.

In one life the continuous and almost total opportunity and power to fulfil my own ends and determine the journey towards them. In the other, suspending liberties – putting them into limbo. The one brings the other into sharp and uncomfortable relief.

Written by Morton Warner, Emeritus Professor, WIHSC

November 27, 2009

Genomics News
gennews
is about »
» 'Mental illness gene' discovered

BBC health news reports that scientists have discovered a gene which may help explain the causes of mental illness.

The ABCA13 gene is partially inactive in patients with severe psychological conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. It is hoped that identifying genes which make people more likely to develop psychiatric illness may lead to new treatments being developed.

The international team of scientists was led by Edinburgh University. They studied the genes of 2,000 psychiatric patients and compared them with those of 2,000 healthy people. The study suggested that ABCA13 was faulty more frequently in patients with mental illness than in the control group.

Douglas Blackwood, psychiatric genetics professor at Edinburgh University, said: “This is an exciting step forward in our understanding of the underlying causes of some common mental illnesses. These risk genes could signpost new directions for treatments.”

The team believes the gene may influence the way fat molecules are used in brain cells and the research will now focus on exactly how this occurs. The discovery could lead to drugs that restore mental health in patients with psychiatric illness.

Dr Ben Pickard, who was part of the Edinburgh team but now works at the University of Strathclyde, said: “This study is the first to identify multiple points of DNA damage within a single gene that are linked with psychiatric illness.

“It strongly suggests that this gene may regulate an important part of brain function that fails in individuals diagnosed with these devastating disorders. “I think it opens up a whole new area of biology which indicates that these conditions are perhaps related at a fundamental level.”

The Edinburgh University research is in collaboration with scientists at universities in Aberdeen, Queensland and North Carolina. The study took around five years to complete and involved patients from Scotland. The results have been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.