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Archive for the ‘mental health and substance abuse’ Category

Technologies as Support Tools for Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

September 2, 2014 Comments off

Technologies as Support Tools for Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

This study analyzes the technologies most widely used to work on areas affected by the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Technologies can focus on the strengths and weaknesses of this disorder as they make it possible to create controlled environments, reducing the anxiety produced by real social situations. Extensive research has proven the efficiency of technologies as support tools for therapy and their acceptation by ASD sufferers and the people who are with them on a daily basis. This article is organized by the types of systems developed: virtual reality applications, telehealth systems, social robots and dedicated applications, all of which are classified by the areas they center on: communication, social learning and imitation skills and other ASD-associated conditions. 40.5% of the research conducted is found to be focused on communication as opposed to 37.8% focused on learning and social imitation skills and 21.6% which underlines problems associated with this disorder. Although most of the studies reveal how useful these tools are in therapy, they are generic tools for ASD sufferers in general, which means there is a lack of personalised tools to meet each person’s needs.

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Information and Communication Technologies to Promote Social and Psychological Well-Being in the Air Force

September 1, 2014 Comments off

Information and Communication Technologies to Promote Social and Psychological Well-Being in the Air Force
Source: RAND Corporation

This report presents the findings from a pioneering exploratory survey of 3,479 active-duty, guard, and reserve Airmen on their use of information and communication technology (ICT), the association between ICT use and social and psychological well-being, and the potential for Air Force mental-health professionals to use ICT to meet the needs of Airmen. The survey data were weighted to ensure that the analytic sample would be representative of the gender, age group, rank (officer, enlisted), and affiliation (active, guard, reserve) composition of the U.S. Air Force. Rates of ICT usage by Airmen are presented, along with Airmen’s perceptions of the relationship between social support and ICT use, their attitudes about seeking and receiving health information via technology, and the differences in ICT use, social support, and psychological well-being among different groups of Airmen. Finally, recommendations are presented on ways the Air Force can leverage ICT to promote the social and psychological well-being of Airmen.

Data for Building a National Suicide Prevention Strategy

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Data for Building a National Suicide Prevention Strategy (PDF)
Source: American Journal of Public Health

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the U.S. As both the rate and number of suicides continue to climb, the country struggles with how to reverse this alarming trend. Using population-based data from publically available sources including the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the authors identified patterns of suicide that can be used to steer a public health – based suicide prevention strategy. That most suicide deaths occur upon the first attempt, for example, suggests that a greater investment in primary prevention is needed. The fact that definable subgroups receiving care through identifiable service systems, such as individuals in specialty substance use treatment, exhibit greater concentrations of suicide risk than the general public suggests that integrating suicide prevention strategies into those service system platforms is an efficient way to deliver care to those with heightened need. The data sets that reveal these patterns have both strengths (e.g., population-level) and weaknesses (e.g., lack of longitudinal data linking changing health status, intervention encounters, suicidal behavior, and death records). Some of the data needed for crafting a comprehensive, public health – based approach for dramatically reducing suicide are currently available or may be available in the near term. Other resources will have to be built, perhaps by enhancing existing federal surveillance systems or constructing new ones. The article concludes with suggestions for immediate and longer-term actions that can strengthen public data resources in the service of reducing suicide in the U.S.

Key factors associated with Asperger’s syndrome and implications for effective teaching to enhance student participation and engagement

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Key factors associated with Asperger’s syndrome and implications for effective teaching to enhance student participation and engagement (PDF)
Source: International Journal of Human Sciences

This paper discuses the key factors associated with Asperger’s syndrome and the implications for effective teaching to enhance student participation and engagement. Firstly, it presents a brief introduction to Asperger’s syndrome and its main characteristics. Secondly, it explores student communication, social interaction, challenging behaviours and learning, and the implications for effective teaching. Thirdly, the importance of and the implications for collaborating with parents, teachers, professionals and individuals living with Asperger’s syndrome are discussed.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Detained Youth

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Detained Youth (PDF)
Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Incarcerated youth die by suicide at a rate two to three times higher than that of youth in the general population. In this bulletin, the authors examine suicidal thoughts and behaviors among 1,829 youth ages 10 to 18 in the Northwestern Juvenile Project—a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL.

Key findings include the following:
• Approximately 1 in 10 juvenile detainees (10.3 percent) thought about suicide in the past 6 months, and 11 percent had attempted suicide.
• More than one-third of male juvenile detainees and nearly half of female juvenile detainees felt hopeless or thought a lot about death or dying in the 6 months prior to detention.
• Recent suicide attempts were most prevalent in female detainees and youth with anxiety disorders.
• Fewer than half of detainees with recent thoughts of suicide had told anyone about their suicidal thoughts.

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge
Source: Eurobarometer

Young Europeans are less informed about the effects and risks of drugs than just a few years ago. While they widely use the Internet to gather knowledge, a new Eurobarometer survey shows that compared to 2011, respondents are less likely to have received such information from most sources, in particular from media campaigns and school prevention programmes.

More than one quarter of young people (29%) say they have not been informed at all in the past year about the effects and risks of so-called legal highs – currently legal substances that imitate the effects of illegal drugs. This comes at a time when the number of young people saying they have used ‘legal highs’ has risen to 8%, from 5% in 2011.

More than 13,000 citizens aged 15-24 were interviewed for the Eurobarometer “Young People and Drugs” across the EU. Drug use and drug-related problems continue to be a major concern for EU citizens. They are also a significant public health and public safety issue. According to studies by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), drug experimentation often starts in the school years, and it is estimated that one in four 15-16 year-olds have used an illicit drug. In recent years, the use of ‘legal-highs’ has become increasingly popular, and the European Commission is working to strengthen the EU’s ability to protect young people by reducing the availability of harmful substances, as part of an overall drug policy regulatory framework

Precipitating Circumstances of Suicide among Active Duty U.S. Army Personnel Versus U.S. Civilians, 2005–2010

August 27, 2014 Comments off

Precipitating Circumstances of Suicide among Active Duty U.S. Army Personnel Versus U.S. Civilians, 2005–2010
Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior

To help understand suicide among soldiers, we compared suicide events between active duty U.S. Army versus civilian decedents to identify differences and inform military prevention efforts. We linked 141 Army suicide records from 2005 to 2010 to National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) data. We described the decedents’ military background and compared their precipitators of death captured in NVDRS to those of demographically matched civilian suicide decedents. Both groups commonly had mental health and intimate partner precipitating circumstances, but soldier decedents less commonly disclosed suicide intent.

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