World Mental Health Day

Illustration of someone reaching out for help

Every year on 10 October many organisations, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), recognise World Mental Health Day. The objective is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health. This year’s theme, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘Mental Health for All’. It is a timely reminder of how all of our mental health and wellbeing is being impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cochrane Common Mental Disorders (CCMD) review group have already published several reviews of specific relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include Psychological therapies for women who experience intimate partner violence and Behavioural activation therapy for depression in adults. The group is also expediting several other new or updated reviews.

For some sections of the population the impact of COVID-19 on mental health could be greater, so it is important that we provide Cochrane evidence relevant to these vulnerable groups. One group of concern are children and young people, many had to adapt to long periods away from school, their friends and social networks. Young people now face much greater uncertainty about their future.

At the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders - Children and Young People Satellite, hosted by the University of Auckland, the focus is on undertaking Cochrane Reviews on topics that are relevant to young people and their caregivers. As a first step, the satellite has conducted a cross-sectional survey with a broad range of stakeholders, these stakeholders let us know that anxiety, depression and suicide are the most important issues for young people. Respondents highlighted the complex interplay of several issues such as early home environment, lack of mental health literacy, disconnection with social environment and structural issues adversely impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

The gap between resources available to do research and the large range of child and youth mental health issues that need attention, means that rationalising what to focus on first is important. Ensuring meaningful engagement of stakeholders in prioritising is critical. As a next step, the satellite invites young people, their caregivers, clinicians, academic researchers and all those who work for, or care about, child and youth mental health to help them identify the ‘top 3’ research questions that the Satellite should focus their evidence synthesis on over the next few years. Take a moment on World Mental Health day to help - please share and complete the survey and pick your top-3 questions. 

Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Group is a Review Group that works with authors from around the world to produce and disseminate systematic reviews of healthcare interventions for treating and preventing a range of mental health problems. Some of the conditions they cover include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, somatoform disorders and suicide.

Related resources:

Research prioritisation: young people driving the mental health research agenda - In this Evidently Cochrane blog for mental health researchers and those interested in evidence synthesis, Sarah Hetrick and Vartika Sharma, researchers at the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders – Children and Young People Satellite (hosted by the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand) look at the benefits and practicalities of engaging with young people in the process of undertaking child and youth mental health research.

Friday, October 9, 2020