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Issue:- Thursday, 08 September 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 4 news items.    Page - 1.

ADHD diagnosis drive to start in Liverpool

NEW ways to diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) faster in children are being investigated in Liverpool. Young people aged between 6 to 18 years, who have been referred for an assessment of the condition, are being invited to help.

Principal Investigator Professor Chris Hollis, who is leading the project looking at better ways to diagnose, said:- "ADHD affects up to five in 100 children and if left undiagnosed the child can sometimes become isolated because no one understands their behaviour. There has been rapid growth in diagnosis over the last 30 years with the number of children recognised and treated for ADHD in the UK increasing almost 10 fold from the early 1980's. Despite the increasing numbers, clinical methods for the assessing and treating of ADHD have hardly changed, so we want to look at the best way to identify the condition."

The study will investigate how effective the QbTest test is, which a computer based assessment tool that examines whether an individual is showing symptoms of the condition. A motion tracking system measures the amount of movement the user makes when performing the task. The project entitled:- 'Assessing QbTest Utility in ADHD' (AQUA Trial) has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research's Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC).  It is also taking place in other areas around the country, including Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.  Professor Hollis is also a Consultant in Developmental Neuropsychiatry with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham. "The other aims of the project we are hoping to identify is to assess whether the QbTest will lead to earlier treatment and improved patient outcomes. We will also be looking at the financial implications the test may have on the NHS if introduced. Spending on ADHD medication has increased seven fold between 1998 and 2005, so we want to ensure the financial costs of the test are viable."

The QbTest test takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete and the participant must respond as quickly and as accurately as possible to certain geometric shapes appearing on a computer screen by pressing a responder button. As they perform the task, a camera located above the computer records movement from a reflector located on the person's forehead. When the test is finished, a report is delivered which takes into account the person's age, gender and performance. NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands is a partnership of regional health services, universities and industry which turns research into cost saving and high quality care through cutting edge innovation.

Merseyside Police signs up to mental health campaign

MERSEYSIDE Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke and Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy on Wednesday, 7 September 2016, pledged to challenge mental health stigma and promote wellbeing in the workplace. During an event at Merseyside Police headquarters, attended by mental health charities and Merseyside Police staff, both signed the Blue Light Time To Change Pledge, to join the Blue Light Mental Health and Wellbeing Network. In May 1016, Merseyside Police 1st signed up to the network, which was the 1st of its kind in the UK, to develop access to mental health information and support for all employees of emergency services in Merseyside. The Pledge, introduced and delivered by the mental health charity Mind, is a growing movement of over 400 employers across different sectors in England who are all working to tackle mental health stigma and promote positive wellbeing within their workplaces. The event was timed to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, on Saturday, 10 September 2016, the theme of which is 'Connect, communicate, care' and aims to foster connections with those who have lost a loved 1 to suicide or have been suicidal themselves, to further suicide prevention efforts.  Representatives from the charities State of Mind Sport and Wirral Mind spoke at the event, which was also attended by staff members who will be trained as Peer Supporters within the organisation. Former Rugby League players Paul Highton and Jimmy Gittins are trustees for State of Mind Sport and shared their stories to the audience.

Chief Constable Andy Cooke said:- "Merseyside Police is delighted to be able to make this pledge, which is a great opportunity to share learning and develop wellbeing across the force to support our Officers and staff. We do a fantastic job protecting the public day in and day out, but it is a difficult job, physically, emotionally and mentally. It is essential that we able to talk about and recognise the signs of mental health symptoms, both in ourselves and in others. Merseyside Police is fully committed to helping our Officers and staff wherever we can by supporting them in this important area."

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said:- "I was pleased to join the Chief to make this important pledge today. 'Are you ok?' is a small question to ask one colleague to another in the emergency services and it may make all the difference to someone on the edge of mental ill health. Our Officers, PCSOs and staff do a tough job, often in tougher circumstances and we need to give them the support and care they need, when they need it. We all have a part to play in ending the stigma around mental ill health. From the top down, we have a duty to care and to support. By signing this pledge, we will demonstrate our commitment to breaking down barriers and ending discrimination."

Rachel Gilbert from Wirral Mind said:- "Wirral Mind are delighted to be working with Merseyside Police. This is a pioneering initiative and really productive development in terms of tackling the stigma around mental health and giving our Blue Light personnel the support that they both very much need and deserve."

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