Mens Sana in Corpore Sano: A Healthy Mind and a Healthy Body

Issued: Mon, 09 May 2005 00:00:00 BST

The University of Glasgow is bringing together key experts in the field of children's mental health to discuss how we can improve the mental health and well being of children and young people. The conference will be held on Friday 13 May at the Hilton Hotel, William Street, Glasgow and will be attended by over 500 professionals from health, social care and education who all make a positive contribution to this area.

The root of many adult mental health problems and illness are in childhood. Currently one in five young people under the age of 20 experiences psychological problems ranging from anxiety and depression to psychotic and major development disorders

Dr Allyson McCollam, Chief Executive, Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health and conference chair for the day, explains:

'It is no surprise that a conference on the mental health and well-being of Scotland's children and young people is attracting such interest, from such a diverse range of people. All of us who work with children, young people and families have a role to play in supporting good mental health and improving well-being. We have much to learn from each other, and especially from the young people themselves.'

Recent research has revealed large numbers of teenagers who have experimented with alcohol and drugs. Speaking at the conference, Joy Barlow of the University of Glasgow's Drug Misuse Research Centre will use evidence and figures exploring the prevalence of drug and alcohol use in young people. She explains:

"My work examines the effectiveness of child and mental health services, as well as the potential impact on those whose parents and carers and are involved in drug taking. The most widely used drug by teens is cannabis, the recent debate surrounding its reclassification making it potentially more accessibility to this age group.

What the media says to young people about drugs and alcohol is confusing. On the one hand you have the casual attitude that binge drinking is a lot of fun and being drunk is a good experience, on the other there are strong messages about the negativity of binge drinking. In reality the press carries very little factual information."

Dr Andrew Hill, University of Leeds will be speaking on children's body image dissatisfaction, the influence of gender and its consequences and options for improvements. He explains:

"Body dissatisfaction appears commonplace for pre-teenage and teenage girls. Research suggests this negativity is expressed at an earlier age than the preference for thinness and that it has intensified in recent years. We need to ask whether this is an unintended consequence of the publicity surrounding the obesity epidemic."

David Benton's at the University of Wales who will speak on Diet and children's behaviour - is there a link? He explains:

"It is commonly assumed that diet adversely influences a child's behaviour; for example some schools have introduced breakfast clubs, removed additives from meals or banned particular snacks or drinks. The Feingold diet suggested that hyperactivity reflects the response to 'aspirin-like' chemicals in a range of foods. The foods causing adverse reactions proposed by Feinfold, do not necessarily contain additives and are as likely to be in a natural state as highly processed. The individual nature of the response, and the limited amount of good data, makes it difficult to recommend a general policy".

Media Relations Office (media@gla.ac.uk)


The conference will be held on Friday 13 May 2005, 10.10 ? 16.30pm, Hilton Hotel, William Street, Glasgow

For further information, please contact: Carolyn Fraser, Division of Developmental Medicine, University of Glasgow, Tel 0141 201 9264 or on 13 May 2005 on 079 6656 1474 or Mike Findlay in the University Press Office on 0141 330-3535.

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