Bill Harvey: Who could ask for more?
The link between vision and mental well-being is strong and ECPs are in an excellent position to screen a general population
Author: Bill Harvey
It was a bright cold day in May and the clocks were striking 13.
Another week, another plethora of increasingly surreal stories. People queue in a car park in Bury St Edmonds for dental treatment from DentAid, a charity originally set up to provide dental services to Ukrainian prisons.
Scientists puzzle over the increase in confirmed cases of monkey pox (57 on the day of writing), a disease previously thought unheard of outside a few African locations. And, a new report reveals that an unbelievable 400,000 children and young people are being treated for mental health problems in England each month. An annual increase of over 54%.
As part of an assessor training day run by the College of Optometrists last week, I enjoyed an interesting presentation from a mental health specialist outlining how Generation Z trainees live in a world of instant information. Every action is instantly and very publicly judged in a binary ‘pass or fail’ manner. Generation divides are stark and contribute to the current well-being problems.
There was also a useful update from the excellent Professor Lizzy Ostler, director of education at the College, about the ongoing changes to education of eye care professionals in the coming years. Expect to hear much more about the proposals for change soon, but the integration of a work-based scheme within a five-year programme is more than likely; though, curiously, one nameless university is not playing ball.
I really hope the opportunity is grasped to include mental health awareness in any new curricula. The link between vision and mental well-being is strong and ECPs are in an excellent position to screen a general population who see us on a regular basis. Unlike NHS dentists, we might even be paid for extra service provision that supports efforts to address mental health problems.
Assuming the news reports are true, of course, and not just, as some Russian mouthpiece amazingly implied, Newspeak from a society of ‘declining liberalism’. Now that is mental!
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