Psychology & Psychiatry

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Supporting autistic children and their families in South Asia

It is widely known that autistic children are frequently anxious. However, while a number of interventions exist in high-income countries, they remain scarce in South Asia. The inspiration for this work began at an international meeting of the North East England South Asia Mental Health Alliance (NEESAMA.org) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2019. During the meeting participants identified an unmet need for an intervention to support autistic children experiencing anxiety in South Asia.

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Cover Artwork: Henrietta Graham

In the May 24 edition of Muses – the arts blog from BJPsych International – Dr Tim McInerny, Pictures Editor, BJPsych International introduces Henrietta Graham, the artist whose work is on the cover of the May 2023 Issue latest edition of BJPsych International.

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“Things that shouldn’t be”: Understanding the meaning of violation in OCD and trauma

The April BABCP Article of the Month is from Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BCP) and is entitled “’Things that shouldn’t be’: a qualitative investigation of violation-related appraisals in individuals with OCD and/or trauma histories” by Sandra Krause and Adam Radomsky The term ‘violation’ can pertain to many different things – violations of moral/ethical/legal codes, violations of social norms, violations of one’s personal space.…

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Muses at 2: Reflections by Dami Ajayi

When the editorial board of BJPsych International acceded to the launch of a web-based monthly arts blog, I volunteered as the commissioning editor. I did this partly because I already straddled the worlds of psychiatry and the creative arts. But also because it was an opportunity to be a part of something new.

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Humility

The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ values and behaviours, Courage, Innovation, Respect, Collaboration, Learning and Excellence combine into the CIRCLE acronym. In the list under Excellence, a link takes you to core values for psychiatrists. One of those is humility.

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Mortality in the year after discharge from psychiatric hospital

In the March 2024 edition of Magnify – the Journal Club blog from BJPsych – Dr Angharad de Cates and Dr Merryn Anderson chair a journal club in collaboration with Cornwall Partnership Trust, discussing ‘Suicide and other causes of death among working-age and older adults in the year after discharge from in-patient mental healthcare in England: matched cohort study’. They are joined by a group of early career psychiatrists who presented an appraisal of the paper, and who have written a blog post discussing their reflections on the process. An expert panel, including the senior author of the paper, also joined the discussions.

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Remarks on amelioration

The March edition of Muses – the arts blog from BJPsych International – features Nigerian poet Pamilerin Jacob who writes about being diagnosed with mental illness, his recourse to poetry, poetics and poetic language for therapy, meaning and vocation. He also pays a moving tribute to a friend who was instrumental to his survival.

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From a small seed to a giant Iroko tree: A postgraduate training programme in Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the youngest population of any region in the world with 70% under the age of 30 years. This youthful demographic profile can be both a blessing and a challenge. While the youth have the potential to drive economic development, meeting their educational, social, and health needs can over-stretch already limited human and material resources.

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Mapping evidence-based interventions to the care of unaccompanied minor refugees using a group formulation approach

The January BABCP Article of the Month is from Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BCP) and is entitled Mapping evidence-based interventions to the care of unaccompanied minor refugees using a group formulation approach by Veronika Dobler, Judith Nestler, Maren Konzelmann and Helen Kennerley  ‘Stop the boats’ slogans dominate current headlines.…

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We Were In The Pits, But At Least There Was Company

In March 2017, a medical doctor ordered his driver to stop on the Third Mainland Bridge, came down from his car and jumped into the Lagos Lagoon. Traditional media platforms and social media buzzed with this tragic news. It was not the usual fare: that cocktail of pernicious poverty, drug use, and wanton criminality; this was a gentleman. It unveiled a severe concern about that taboo subject, mental health. 

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From nightmares to sweet dreams

Daniel Kay, Editor in Chief of Research Directions: Sleep Psychology, reveals how a bad dream experience in childhood led to a fascinating career in sleep science “When I was a child,” recalls Daniel Kay, “I had a recurring nightmare that proved to be one of the most impactful experiences of my life.…

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Not the Emotion, but its Regulation: A Study on Depression and Anxiety in Public Healthcare System

The paper ‘Variables Associated with Emotional Symptom Severity in Primary Care Patients: The Usefulness of a Logistic Regression Equation to Help Clinical Assessment and Treatment Decisions’ by Ángel Aguilera-Martín, Mario Gálvez-Lara, Roger Muñoz-Navarro, César González-Blanch, Paloma Ruiz-Rodríguez, Antonio Cano-Videl and Juan Antonio Moriana, published in The Spanish Journal of Psychology, has been chosen as the Editor’s Choice Article for December 2023.…

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Capitalising on multi-disciplinary insights into depression

Following the launch of Research Directions: Depression by Cambridge University Press, Editor-in-Chief Ian Hickie explains why a question-led and global approach will reveal new insights into mood disorders The launch of Research Directions: Depression represents ‘a chance to co-ordinate a real global effort in the field’, according to Editor-in-Chief Ian Hickie.…

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An Evolutionary Look at Allomaternal Stress-Buffering During Pregnancy

Grandmothers often help the mother-child dyad, but when does this help start? In our lives, we may see many people increase helping behaviors towards a close friend or family member when she has a child to offset her increasing needs. From an evolutionary perspective, these kin and non-kin helpers (or ‘allomothers’) buffer maternal workloads to increase the health and survival of the mother-child dyad. One critical category of allomother that has been studied extensively is grandmothers because of their child-care expertise as well as their often close geographic proximity and emotional connections to the dyad. Much of the research has focused on this allomaternal help at weaning, or more generally, after the child is born. However, given recent evidence that maternal conditions during pregnancy can alter birth outcomes and increase the risk of postnatal morbidities, more evolutionary research is needed to explore prenatal allomaternal effects.

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Uniting in Resilience: How Collective Belief Heals War’s Hidden Wounds

War doesn't merely result in physical devastation. The mental and emotional aftermath, particularly from modern warfare that targets civilians, is profound. Civilians suffer alongside combatants, facing deaths, injuries, chronic disability, multiple displacements with uprooting of whole communities, loss of homes, destruction of essential services, infrastructure and environment. These traumatic experiences lead to a wide range of mental health issues, from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance abuse to family and collective trauma impeding personal and community recovery.

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A Witness to My Inner Struggle

Puzzle was created during a admission It's a self-portrait, but the question is of what? Throughout my life, painting and the canvas have given me the the opportunity to let go and thus art has helped in my recovery.

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Computational neuroscience and clinical perspective: Approaching negative symptomatology

We are honoured that our paper “Longitudinal trajectories in negative symptoms and changes in brain cortical thickness: 10-year follow-up” has been chosen as RCPsych Article of the Month. During recent years, our team has been part of the “Programa de Atención a Fases Iniciales de Psicosis (PAFIP)”. PAFIP is a three-year early intervention initiative designed for individuals who have experienced their first episode of psychosis (FEP). Those who willingly joined this program received comprehensive care from a team of professionals, including psychiatric nursing, psychology, psychiatry, and social work. A decade after the onset of psychotic disorders, the PAFIP team reconnected with the participants for a follow-up evaluation.

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Cover Artwork: Faces

As Pictures Editor, I selected Peter Eddie's art for the August cover because of his intriguing drawings of faces and his enthusiastic use of any surface, here water cups. The rows of faces appear like an audience, looking out on us the viewer and reader of this journal.

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LONDON IS THE PLACE FOR ME 

My life as I knew it changed in the autumn of 2019. I started a new job in a new city in a new country. To further tip the scale, my aisle-destined engagement began to fail that summer, with unresolved conflicts sporadically rearing their heads in five cities on three continents. That summer, my laptop (and all my precious writing and dissertation) was stolen on a flight from London to Lagos.

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Wairua and Psychiatry: healing partners  

From my Māori world view, wairua or spirituality is our essence. Everything else flows out from there. If we don’t get spiritual wellbeing right, other approaches will have only limited benefit. It seems to me that psychiatry offers treatments that are focused on the brain, addressing physical and psychological wellbeing. I notice that western talking therapies often don’t address spiritual values that are of critical importance to Māori and other Indigenous peoples.

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Cover Artwork: Head in 4 Parts

As pictures editor, I selected Peter Grundy's art for the February cover because of his striking designs that simply portray complicated issues. Peter Grundy is one of the world's leading information designers. Peter Grundy states his designs and illustrations aim to turn complex information into simple visual stories in a world of modern messiness.

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Mindfully with Tunmise: Interview with Nigerian broadcaster and mental health advocate

The April edition of Muses – the arts blog from BJPsych International – features an interview with Tunmise Kuku, a Nigerian radio broadcaster and mental health advocate who has been open about her diagnosis of Type II Bipolar Affective Disorder. Three years ago, she took a deliberate career break to write Living Mindfully: A Journey of Being, a memoir that draws from her experiences and stories. It has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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Exploring whether practitioners working for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services are culturally competent to deal with the needs of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities

The March BABCP Article of the Month is from the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist (tCBT) and is entitled “‘It’s been quite a poor show’ – exploring whether practitioners working for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services are culturally competent to deal with the needs of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities” by Afsana Faheem.…

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Ode to the Powerless: Bessie Head’s ‘A Question of Power’ through a Personal Lens

No writer’s life and work has had a more profound impact on me than that of Bessie Head, a woman who was born in a psychiatric hospital in South Africa, raised in foster care and later exiled to Botswana, a country she simultaneously loved and hated. By the time she died in 1986, Head had published several novels, including A Question of Power, which she described as “almost autobiographical” in its account of the life of Elizabeth, a woman in the midst of a psychological crisis against the backdrop of her country’s political struggles. I am afraid of readingthis novel againbecause of how vividly it evokes a memory from my medical school days, of a psychiatric evaluation with a patient exhibiting dissociation symptoms and who was later diagnosed with comorbid schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder.

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Cover Artwork: Albert

In this edition of Muses – the arts blog from BJPsych International – Dr Tim McInerny, Pictures Editor, BJPsych International introduces Albert, the artist whose portrait is on the cover of the February 2023 issue of BJPsych International.

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Echoes of Shame: A Comparison of the Characteristics and Psychological Sequelae of Recalled Shame Experiences Across the Voice Hearing Continuum

The January BABCP Article of the Month is from Behavioural and Cogntive Psychotherapy (BCP) and is entitled “Echoes of shame: a comparison of the characteristics and psychological sequelae of recalled shame experiences across the voice hearing continuum” by Rachel Brand, Rosalie Altman, Carla Nardelli, Maxine Raffoul, Marcela Matos and Catherine Bortolon Over the last few years, we, among many other researchers, have been involved in the developing field of clinical and research work on trauma-related voice-hearing (hearing voices without the corresponding external stimuli, also known as auditory verbal hallucinations).…

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Higher rates of involuntary psychiatric hospital admission among minoritised ethnic groups are not explained by lack of access to care

The RCPsych Article of the Month for January is ‘Ethnic inequalities in involuntary admission under the Mental Health Act: an exploration of mediation effects of clinical care prior to the first admission’ and the blog is written by authors Daniela Fonseca Freitas, Susan Walker, Patrick Nyikavaranda, Johnny Downs, Rashmi Patel, Mizanur Khondoker, Kamaldeep Bhui and Richard D. Hayes. The article is published in The British Journal of Psychiatry.

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Conspiracy beliefs in the Spanish-speaking context

The paper “Validation of the Spanish Version of the Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale” by Angelo Fasce, Diego Avendaño, Neil Dagnall, Andrew Denovan, and Álex Escolà-Gascón published in The Spanish Journal of Psychology has been chosen as the Editor’s Choice Article for December 2022.…

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‘I’m unlikeable, boring, weird, foolish, inferior, inadequate’: How To Address The Persistent Negative Self-evaluations That Are Central To Social Anxiety Disorder With Cognitive Therapy

The December BABCP Article of the Month is from the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist (tCBT) and is entitled “‘I’m unlikeable, boring, weird, foolish, inferior, inadequate’: how to address the persistent negative self-evaluations that are central to social anxiety disorder with cognitive therapy” by Emma Warnock-Parkes, Jennifer Wild, Graham Thew, Alice Kerr, Nick Grey and David M.

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Cultivating new paradigms in mental health

On a global basis, mental health is an issue almost unimaginable in its scale. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently estimated that some 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and that every 40 seconds someone commits suicide with causes including mental health afflictions, such as depression. Indeed, the WHO says that, among those aged 15 to 29, suicide is a ‘leading cause of death’ – and that the majority of these are in low- or middle-income countries.

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How can the CBT community better meet the needs of older people?

The November BABCP Article of the Month is from the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist (tCBT) and is entitled “Embedding the silver thread in all-age psychological services: training and supervising younger therapists to deliver CBT for anxiety or depression to older people with multi-morbidity” by Georgina Charlesworth Older people respond better to psychological therapy than working age adults – a consistent evidence-based conclusion from analyses of large datasets and national surveys.…

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Cover Artwork: ‘Medusa’ by Sarah Kogan

In the November edition of Muses – the arts blog from BJPsych International – Dr Tim McInerny, Pictures Editor, BJPsych International introduces Sarah Kogan, the artist whose portrait is on the cover of the November edition of BJPsych International. 

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What is the reluctance! (“It couldn’t possibly be ADHD”) (Is it ADHD?)

We know that the prevalence rates of physical and mental disorders are higher in people with intellectual disabilities than in the general population. ADHD is one of those neurodevelopmental disorders where clinicians appear reluctant to make the diagnosis in people with ID. Of course, diagnosing ADHD-ID can be difficult for many reasons such as other diagnoses overshadowing the core signs of ADHD. Despite clearly observing and documenting symptoms of ADHD (without calling it ADHD), we are slow to consider the diagnosis. We always wonder why health professionals are very reluctant to consider the diagnosis of ADHD in people with ID that has led us to write the article.

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GOOD ART IS (NOT) PRETTY ART

The October edition of Muses – the arts blog from BJPsych International – features a short blog by Motswana visual artist, Sedireng Mothibatsela, who writes about a crucial moment in her artistic development which coincides with her parent’s separation. It is a moving piece about how visual arts intersects with trauma and healing. I can recall the afternoon that changed how I create. I was 12 years old and in my last year of primary school and the looming high school years ahead presented many questions about how I wanted to proceed with my art. I had painted a watercolour still life and I was bored with it. Although my art received praise from my family and peers, my handling of watercolour was juvenile at best. I needed more; technically and conceptually. It was then that I began to question the art making process. Like most young artists in primary school we were simply taught that “good art is pretty art.”

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Cover Artwork: ‘Ella’ by Gemma Anderson

In the August edition of Muses – the arts blog from BJPsych International – Dr Tim McInerny, Pictures Editor, BJPsych International introduces Gemma Anderson, the artist whose portrait is on the cover of the August edition of BJPsych International.

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Disentangling Emotions during the Coronavirus Outbreak in Spain: Inner Emotions, Descripting Feeling Rules and Socioemotional Conventions

The paper “Disentangling Emotions during the Coronavirus Outbreak in Spain: Inner Emotions, Descriptive Feeling Rules and Socioemotional Conventions” by Amparo Caballero, Sergio Villar, Itziar Fernández, Verónica Sevillano, Pablo Gavilán, and Pilar Carrera published in The Spanish Journal of Psychology has been chosen as the Editor’s Choice Article for August 2022.…

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Understanding why people with OCD do what they do, and why other people get involved: supporting people with OCD and loved ones to move from safety-seeking behaviours to approach-supporting behaviours

The May BABCP blog article is written by Ashley Fulwood and discusses an article from the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, “Understanding why people with OCD do what they do, and why other people get involved: supporting people with OCD and loved ones to move from safety-seeking behaviours to approach-supporting behaviours” by Nicola Philpot, Richard Thwaites and Mark Freeston.…

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On the cover of the February 2022 issue of BJPsych International

As pictures editor I selected Courtney’s art as it is a powerful, beautiful, enigmatic image of identity and mental health. It is difficult to make an artwork that sensitively visualises the experience of illness and recovery. Courtney’s work does both, in a strong portrait that immediately gains attention. It is a fitting cover and I am proud that a patient artist has created this work that speaks so clearly to the international audience of the journal.

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Is the female autism brain different?

Our 5-year-old-daughter has been evaluated by multiple clinical psychologists for autism spectrum disorder with all of them saying she doesn't meet the criteria for ASD, even though we strongly believe that she has the disorder’, a case and a conundrum I first heard from a mother in 2011 and from countless other parents since then.

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Magical Thinking and Moral Injury: Exclusion Culture in Psychiatry

This article arose out of mounting frustration at the modern mental health system. It is a distillation of many conversations, rants, angry emails and personal ruminations. It is a psychiatrist’s scream into the abyss. However, from the abyss, many screamed back. The reaction to this article since its publication online has been surprising and heartening. A number of clinicians and patients have emailed from all over the UK (and beyond) to express their agreement and relief at a psychiatrist having ‘said it’. Patients have spoken of how much the article reflects their own experience. iBut this raises a further troubling question: if the content resonates with so many, why are services still getting it wrong? What will it take to bring about genuine culture change? One thing is clear: this requires group action and not lone voices.

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Processing pain whilst pushing for progress, back of the queue and frontline. CBT for African & Caribbean communities.

The December BABCP Article of the Month is from the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist and is entitled “Frontline yet at the back of the queue – improving access and adaptations to CBT for Black African and Caribbean communities” by Leila Lawton, Melissa McRae and Lorraine Gordon The thirst for us to write this paper extends beyond our professional roles having witnessed (and continuing to witness)  the devastating consequences of poor mental health within our Black African and Caribbean families and communities. The…

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