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Psychiatry Congress

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Fuseworks Media

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, May 3 /Medianet International-AsiaNet/ --

The Royal Australian and New Zealand Collage of Psychiatrists' Congress runs until 6 May 2010 at SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland. The Congress brings together mental health experts in a diverse range of areas; from children and adolescents to old age, mental health across the lifespan will be discussed. Here are some highlights from today's program, the full program is available at http://www.ranzcp2010.co.nz/program/.

Hypochondriasis more common than depression and anxiety in general practice patients

Almost 20% of patients visiting general practitioners have been found to be suffering from hypochondriasis or somatisation (physical symptoms for which there is no identifiable physical cause), while 9.5% are likely to have depression or anxiety. The sample of 10,507 patients from 340 GPs in Australia found that 29.6% of the somatisers had high anxiety or depression scores, in contrast to 5% of non-somatisers. According to study author Prof David Clarke: "Somatisation occurs when physical complaints can be explained by a psychological disturbance. Somatisation is common in general practice, and more prevalent than depression or anxiety. A minority of somatisers have significant anxiety and depression. By contrast, the majority of patients with depression and anxiety have a significant degree of somatisation". (4pm)

E-therapies provide effective new strategies for treating adolescent mental illness

This symposium will discuss the growing development of innovative online interventions to address common mental health problems in adolescents. Topics include: the development of a fantasy game e-therapy for adolescents with depression attending school guidance counselling services; computerised versions for Maori adolescents and for same and both sex attracted adolescents; a multimedia mobile phone based program to prevent depression in adolescents; and an internet based self care package for university students. "Technology provides exciting and engaging opportunities to interact with young people with mental health issues. There is enormous potential and also challenges in creating appropriate learning designs to ensure therapeutic outcomes," said symposium chair A/Prof Sally Merry. (1.30pm)

College prize to be awarded to Maori Kaumatua

Mr Aramakaraka Pirika will be awarded The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' Mark Sheldon Prize at its annual College Ceremony tonight. The prize recognises outstanding contributions to Indigenous mental health in Australia or New Zealand. "Mr Pirika has been awarded the prize in acknowledgement of his tireless work with Maori with mental illness, for his leadership and guidance in relation to appropriate service provision to Maori and his extensive contributions to the work of the RANZCP as Kaumatua for the College in New Zealand," said Dr Lyndy Matthews, Chair of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' New Zealand National Committee. (6pm)

Mental health of asylum seekers

President of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Professor Louise Newman, President of the United Kingdom's Royal College of Psychiatrists Professor Dinesh Bhugra and Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry will speak at a policy forum on mental health and human rights. Professor Newman's presentation will look at the current situation relating to the mental health of asylum seekers and the Australian government's policy reversion to prolonged detention. "Psychiatrists and mental health professionals are deeply concerned that we will again see in the Australian detention system an epidemic of severe mental health problems as a result of mandatory detention of already vulnerable groups," said Professor Newman. (1.30pm)

Using the internet to manage depression

"Depression and suicide are major health issues for young New Zealanders. Approximately 100 young people die by suicide every year (NZ has the second highest youth suicide rate in the OECD) and NZ has high numbers of hospitalisations of young people for self harm. There are now a raft of internet and text based services available that are proving an effective way of providing treatment to young people with depression," said symposium chair Anil Thapliyal. This symposium will look at some of the programs of the New Zealand government's National Depression Initiative including the website www.thelowdown.co.nz that encourages young people to seek help for depression and improves access to treatment through online and text-based support services. The Journal, a user-friendly online self-management program for adults, backed up by personalised support services, will also be presented. The Journal will be launched in early June alongside a new series of promotional television advertisements fronted by John Kirwan. The new online program will be accessed through www.depression.org.nz. (9am)

Today's keynote speakers:

Jim Crowe, a community worker and mental health advocate for over 20 years, particularly in Asia.

The Asian Forum - A Shared Endeavour (8.15am)

Professor Mason Durie, Professor of Maori Research and Development and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Maori & Pasifika) at Massey University, on the governing body of Te Wananga o Raukawa, a tribal tertiary education institution and an expert on Mori mental health and indigenous development.

Indigenous Interventions in Mental Health: Maori Experience (11am)

Professor Sheila Hollins, Professor of Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability at St. George's, University of London and key researcher on deinstitutionalisation, health inequalities for people with intellectual disabilities and mental health outcomes following bereavement and abuse.

Better Lives and Better Mental Health for Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (11.45am)

Professor Patrick McGorry, Australian of the Year 2010, psychiatrist and an expert on early intervention for young people with mental illness. Professor McGorry is Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health, a world-renowned youth mental health service at the forefront of innovation in the early intervention and treatment of mental illness. He is also a Director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation (headspace).

Paradigm Changes and Mental Health Reform (6pm)

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