Alcohol and NCDs – Harm and Solutions: Factsheet

IOGT International has released a new factsheet to illustrate how alcohol fuels the global NCDs tsunami – based on the latest scientific evidence – and to outline cost-effective solutions for change.

The factsheet includes information about the links between alcohol and cancer, cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, diabetes and mental health. The resource also highlights measures that can be implemented to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. 

Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez Fantástica explicación de la Dra Nora Volkow, Investigadora y Neurocientífica, en la actualidad Directora del National Institute on Drug Abuse de los Estados Unidos (NIDA).

Leadership in Mental Health

Event Date

9th-20th December 2019

This course is an excellent opportunity to enhance your understanding and skills in the field of global mental health. The course takes place annually at Sangath, Goa, India, and it welcomes participants from across the world to share their experiences and learn collaboratively. SANGATH is now welcoming applications for this year's course.


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Alcohol Misuse in the Armed Forces

Alcohol misuse in the UK armed forces is more than double than that of the general population, yet many of those who drink at harmful levels do not seek help. Preliminary research has shown how effective digital technologies can be used as a health intervention.

In a research project titled ‘Information about Drinking in Ex-serving personnel’ (InDEx), researchers and professionals from the University of Liverpool, King’s College London, Alcohol Research UK and Royal British Legion joined together to developed an app, to help people monitor and manage their alcohol consumption.

Involving Service Users in Mental Health Policy Making

There has been increasing support for the engagement of people who use mental services in the process of policy improvement. It would seem to make sense that those most directly affected by policy responses should have their views represented. This brings in to question the alternate forms of ‘evidence’ that can be used as part of evidence-based practice.

A recent study, conducted in Australia, has analysed interviews with individuals involved in drug policy discussions.

The aim of the study was to see how the idea of “consumer” is considered in relation to the discussion around the development of ‘evidence-based policy’, as well as question how power may be seen as centred through evidence-based practice, which may be considered conservative in the way it values forms of knowledge.

Participants included policymakers, advocates, non-governmental organisation representatives, consumer representatives, researchers and clinicians.

The authors present their findings in relation to two overarching ideas: Enacting difference, constituting “consumers”, and Difference and resistance.

Enacting difference, constituting “consumers”:

  • The drug policy ‘sector’ is viewed as a disjointed collection of different people with different perspectives and distinct interests in the policy process.
  • It was almost universally assumed that ‘consumers’ would be less powerful than others engaged in the policy process
  • It was clear the development of evidence-based policy privileges the ‘objective’ and ‘rational’ knowledge of clinicians and researchers

Difference and resistance:

  • Considered, rational argument and objectivity instead of subjectivity  fit more easily  with  evidence-based policy
  • Lived experience is devalued
  • There was a lack of alignment between understanding through lived experience and knowledge through scientific or ‘evidence-based’ definition.

Overall, although there is a move towards service user participation in developing policy, there is clear tension between the concept of ‘evidence base’ and how the process can be made to be inclusive.

Mental Health in the Americas: An Overview of the Treatment Gap

[ABSTRACT]. Objective. To understand the mental health treatment gap in the Region of the Americas by examining the prevalence of mental health disorders, use of mental health services, and the global burden of disease. Methods. Data from community-based surveys of mental disorders in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and the United States were utilized. The World Mental Health Survey published data were used to estimate the treatment gap. For Canada, Chile, and Guatemala, the treatment gap was calculated from data files. The mean, median, and weighted treatment gap, and the 12-month prevalence by severity and category of mental disorder were estimated for the general adult, child-adolescent, and indigenous populations. Disability-adjusted Life Years and Years Lived with Disability were calculated from the Global Burden of Disease study. Results. Mental and substance use disorders accounted for 10.5% of the global burden of disease in the Americas. The 12-month prevalence rate of severe mental disorders ranged from 2% – 10% across studies. The weighted mean treatment gap in the Americas for moderate to severe disorders was 65.7%; North America, 53.2%; Latin America, 74.7%; Mesoamerica, 78.7%; and South America, 73.1%. The treatment gap for severe mental disorders in children and adolescents was over 50%. One-third of the indigenous population in the United States and 80% in Latin America had not received treatment. Conclusion. The treatment gap for mental health remains a public health concern. A high proportion of adults, children, and indigenous individuals with serious mental illness remains untreated. The result is an elevated prevalence of mental disorders and global burden of disease.

[RESUMEN]. Objetivo. Comprender la brecha en el tratamiento de la salud mental en la Región de las Américas mediante la revisión de la prevalencia de los trastornos de salud mental, el uso de los servicios de salud mental y la carga mundial de enfermedad. Métodos. Se utilizaron datos de encuestas comunitarias de trastornos mentales de Argentina, Brasil, Canadá, Chile, Colombia, Estados Unidos, Guatemala, México y Perú. Se emplearon los datos publicados de la Encuesta Mundial de Salud Mental para estimar la brecha de tratamiento. Para Canadá, Chile y Guatemala, la brecha de tratamiento se calculó a partir de los archivos de datos. Se estimaron la brecha de tratamiento media, media ponderada, y mediana, y la prevalencia de 12 meses por gravedad y categoría de trastorno mental para las poblaciones generales de adultos, niños y adolescentes, e indígenas. Se calcularon los años de vida ajustados por discapacidad y los años vividos con discapacidad a partir del estudio Carga Global de Enfermedad. Resultados. Los trastornos mentales y por consumo de sustancias representaron el 10,5% de la carga mundial de enfermedad en las Américas. La tasa de prevalencia de 12 meses de los trastornos mentales severos varió del 2% al 10% en los estudios. La brecha de tratamiento media ponderada en las Américas para los trastornos moderados a graves fue del 65,7%; en América del Norte de 53,2%; en América Latina de 74,7%; en Mesoamérica de 78,7%; y en América del Sur de 73,1%. La brecha de tratamiento para los trastornos mentales graves en niños y adolescentes fue superior al 50%. Un tercio de la población indígena en los Estados Unidos y el 80% en América Latina no recibieron tratamiento. Conclusión. La brecha de tratamiento para la salud mental sigue siendo un problema de salud pública. Una gran proporción de adultos, niños y personas indígenas con enfermedades mentales graves continúan sin tratamiento. El resultado implica una prevalencia elevada de trastornos mentales y de la carga mundial de enfermedad.

[RESUMO]. Objetivo. Compreender a lacuna de tratamento em saúde mental na Região das Américas examinando a prevalência de transtornos mentais, o uso de serviços de saúde mental e a carga global de doença. Métodos. Foram utilizados dados de inquéritos comunitários de transtornos mentais na Argentina, Brasil, Canadá, Chile, Colômbia, Guatemala, México, Peru e Estados Unidos. Os dados publicados na Pesquisa Mundial de Saúde Mental foram utilizados para estimar a lacuna de tratamento. Para o Canadá, Chile e Guatemala, a lacuna de tratamento foi calculada a partir de arquivos de dados. A lacuna de tratamento média, média ponderada e mediana, e a prevalência de 12 meses por gravidade e categoria de transtorno mental foram estimadas para as populações adulta, infantil-adolescente e indígena em geral. Os anos de vida ajustados por incapacidade e os anos de vida com incapacidade foram calculados a partir do estudo Carga Global de Doença. Resultados. Os transtornos mentais e de uso de substâncias foram responsáveis por 10,5% da carga global de doença nas Américas. A taxa de prevalência de 12 meses de transtornos mentais graves variou de 2% a 10% entre os estudos. A lacuna de tratamento média ponderada nas Américas para transtornos moderados a graves foi de 65,7%; em América do Norte de 53,2%; em América Latina de 74,7%; em Mesoamérica de 78,7%; e na América do Sul de 73,1%. A lacuna de tratamento para transtornos mentais graves em crianças e adolescentes foi superior a 50%. Um terço da população indígena nos Estados Unidos e 80% na América Latina não recebeu tratamento. Conclusão. A lacuna de tratamento para a saúde mental continua sendo uma preocupação de saúde pública. Uma alta proporção de adultos, crianças e indígenas com doença mental grave permanece sem tratamento. O resultado é uma elevada prevalencia de transtornos mentais e de carga global de doença.

2nd International Conference on Addiction Research & Behavioral Health

Event Date

The 2nd International Conference on Addiction Research and Behavioural Health will take place on October 16-17th October in Vancouver, Canada.

The theme of the event is “Exploring Innovation in Addiction Research present Era" and topics that will be addressed will include:

  • Addiction treatment and therapy
  • Drug Addiction
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Current research aspects on addiction
  • Addiction rehabilitation therapies

The event is designed for stakeholders, researchers, product developers, solution providers, sales and marketing professionals, management bodies and Experts Looking for Collaborative Work.

The conference will allow participants to meet experts in the field and network on a global level. The latest research will be presented and there will be an opportunity to build a new customer base.

The event organisers are currently accepting abstracts.

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Webinar: How Do Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Affect Young People?

This webinar will present an update on research into co-occurring mental and substance use disorders among young people in Australia.

It will ask:

  • how many young people experience co-occurring mental and substance use disorders?
  • What is the impact?
  • And what are the implications for research, prevention and treatment?

It will include a discussion of some recent trends in drug and alcohol use among young Australians, changing gender patterns across the world, and will raise some questions for future directions in research and prevention of mental and substance use disorders.

This webinar will draw on the latest research to provide a big picture view of the changing landscape of mental and substance use disorders in Australia and what it means for young people. 

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about patterns of co-occurring mental and substance use disorders among young people in Australia
  2. Explore how these patterns are changing
  3. Discuss the implications for research, prevention and treatment

Perceptions about Mental Illness among General Practitioners



General practitioners (GPs) play an important role in the physical care of patients with severe mental illness, so our aim was to analyse the relationships between GPs’ sociodemographic status and worked-related variables and their perceptions about mental illness.


A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in the Clinical Management Unit of Mental Health (CMU-MH) of the Regional Hospital of Malaga (Spain). The eligible population comprised all GPs working in the 13 primary care centres (PCCs) in the hospital’s catchment area during the study period. GPs were interviewed to collect data on their attitudes to and knowledge of mental illness, psychiatry and the local mental health team, as well as their sociodemographic status, professional qualifications and experience. Bivariate analysis was carried out.


145 GPs answered the questionnaire (77%). ANOVA revealed that most of the PCCs with the best relationship with their mental health team and best attitude to mental illness were in the Central Community Mental Health Unit, which operated a collaborative model of care.


These results indicated that GPs who worked more closely with their specialist mental health team had a better perception of their relationship with the mental health centre and less stigmatisation in regard to mental illness.

Recovery Connects 2019

Event Date
United Kingdom

The Recovery Collective are pleased to announce Scotland's first ever alcohol and drug-free festival Recovery Connects at Queen's Park Arena on Sunday 12th May!

Alongside an amazing line up of acts, the festival will also provide addiction, mental health and homelessness services, recovery communities and local social enterprises an opportunity to set up stalls to promote the work they do whilst also entertaining the crowd with a range of family-based activities. 

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Smoking Cessation Intervention for People with Severe Mental Ill Health

People who have experienced serious mental health issues are three times more likely to smoke than the wider population.

This summary, plus infographic, describes the Smoking Cessation Intervention for People with Severe Mental Ill Health trial.

The study, led by the University of York, demonstrated that when people with severe mental ill health issues are provided with a bespoke smoking cessation intervention, smoking quit rates were doubled compared to those who received usual care.

This research highlights the importance of tailored and responsive interventions for people who use mental health services.

Prevalence of Cognitive Impairment in Patients with Substance Use Disorder


Introduction and Aims

Cognitive impairments in substance use disorder predict treatment outcome and are assumed to differ between substances. They often go undetected, thus the current study focuses on the prevalence of and differences in cognitive functioning across substances by means of a cognitive screen at the early stage of addiction treatment.

Design and Methods

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment was administered to outpatients seeking treatment for substance use disorder. Patient characteristics (age, years of regular use, polysubstance use, severity of dependence/abuse, depression, anxiety and stress) were also taken into account.


A total of 656 patients were included (n = 391 used alcohol, n = 123 used cannabis, n = 100 used stimulants and n = 26 used opioids). The prevalence of cognitive impairments was 31%. Patients using alcohol had a lower total‐ and memory domain score than those using cannabis. Patients using opioids scored lower on visuospatial abilities than those using cannabis or stimulants. Younger patients scored higher than older patients. No effect was found for the other investigated characteristics.

Discussion and Conclusions

Given the high prevalence of cognitive impairments, standard screening at an early stage of treatment is important to determine the course of treatment and maximise treatment outcome. Caution is needed in interpreting results about opioids due to an underrepresentation of this patient group, and more research is needed on the effect of age on Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance.

8th European Conference on Mental Health

Event Date

The 8th European Conference on Mental Health will take place 2nd-4th October in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.

Abstract submission is now open!

The organisation committee particularly welcome papers that challenge current research, policy and practice. When submitting abstracts the themes should be interpreted broadly, as they are not intended to limit potential contributions. The conference themes are set out below:

  • Families
  • Veterans’ mental health
  • Multi-cultural approach
  • Community care
  • Competence and professionalism
  • Service user involvement
  • Education
  • Substance abuse
  • Addictions
  • Recovery
  • Physical health
  • Mental health services
  • Human rights
  • eHealth
  • Mental health through the life span
  • Issues in different clinical settings
  • Best practices
  • Work development projects

Prevalence of Undiagnosed PTSD among In-Patients in an SUD Treatment Centre

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common co-ocuring disorder among patients with substance use disorders. Treatment of PTSD improves SUD treatment outcome. Many studies show that a large number of patients with co-morbid PTSD do not get diagnosed, talk less of getting treatment for PTSD. We administered the PTSD check list (civilian version) to patients on admission in June 2017 after obtaining informed consent. Twenty-one percent (21%) of them met the DSM IV criteria for PTSD, but none of the patients had a diagnosis of PTSD in their case files prior to the study.  PTSD is frequently missed by clinicians when assessing clients seeking treatment for substance use disorders.

Psychoactive Substance Dependence in Females: A Three Year Review

Psychoactive substance use was regarded as a male affair in the past. However, recent findings show an increasing number of females are getting involved. We conducted a three year retrospective review of patients admitted to the Centre for Addiction treatment in Vom, plateau state, Nigeria. We compared the proportion of female clients seeking treatment over a three year period from 2014 to 2016.  There was a steady increase in the female population seeking treatment for substance use disorder within the period of the study.  An overwhelming number of them had multiple drug use disorder and the most common drug of use among females was tramadol. Injecting drug use was very rare among females and the most co-occurring mental disorder among them was depression.

The Link Between Smoking and Cognitive Functioning in People with Psychosis

The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 7 million people a year (WHO).

People with psychosis are more likely to smoke compared to the general population and it is believed that this could have a negative impact on cognitive functioning.

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, has analysed the association between peoples’ current smoking behaviour and performance on cognitive tasks, whether a longitudinal link between smoking behaviour and cognitive functioning exists, and if smoking cessation can improve peoples’ cognitive functioning.

The researchers compared people with non-affective psychosis, their unaffected siblings and healthy individuals.

Results found that:

  • At baseline, 66.6% of the patients smoked, compared with 38.3% of the siblings and 25.2% of the control subjects.
  • Among the patients, there was a link between smoking and lower performance on cognitive processing speed
  • Within the unaffected sibling group, there exists a negative link between smoking status and working memory, reasoning and problem-solving.
  • Within the health control group, there was a significant association between smoking behaviour and lower cognitive processing speed.
  • There is an association between smoking cessation and better performance on processing speed among the patients who quit smoking. The results show that even changes in the number of cigarettes smoked per day were linked with cognitive functioning improvement.

Overall the results show that smoking is positively linked with lower performance in many cognitive functions for all of the groups tested. The evidence for the link between smoking cessation/ reduction and cognitive functioning improvement highlights the benefits of incorporating smoking cessation support into evidence-based interventions for people with psychosis.

Hazardous Alcohol Use among Patients with Schizophrenia and Depression

Harmful alcohol use is known to increase the risk of alcohol dependence as well as physical conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cirrhosis.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a common co-occurring disorder in people with mental health conditions. This can negatively impact the course and treatment outcomes.

Researchers in Singapore have investigated the prevalence and nature of hazardous alcohol use among those with schizophrenia and depressive disorders taking into account sociodemographic and clinical factors, and severity of depression and anxiety. They also assessed the link between alcohol use and the quality of life of psychiatric patients. 

A total of 310 patients participated in the study which involved completing a set of clinical measures. 

Results found that:

  • The prevalence of hazardous alcohol use was 18.8% among patients with depression and 6.4% among patients with schizophrenia. 
  • Patients who were unemployed were more likely to engage in hazardous drinking compared to participants who were students or employed.
  • Patients with severe anxiety were 9 times more likely to engage in hazardous alcohol use than those with mild anxiety
  • Patients with severe depression were 5 times more likely to engage in hazardous alcohol use than those with minimal depression
  • Current smokers and ex-smokers were about 15 times and 13 times more likely to engage in hazardous alcohol use as compared to non-smokers
  • Harmful alcohol consumption was particularly associated with lower quality of life in the physical health domain.

Overall the research emphasised the link between severity of depression and the risk of hazardous alcohol intake. This highlights the importance of both conditions to be treated jointly and for thorough screening to help with early identification of issues.