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Dr Gabriela Pavarini took part in the Festival of Neuroscience in Dublin organised by the British Neuroscience Association to celebrate and share the latest thinking in neuroscience today.

The BNA 2019 Festival of Neuroscience ran from the 14-17 April this year.

The symposium on Mental Illness in Children and Adolescents was organised by Elaine Snell from International Neuroethics Society and Professor Mitul Mehta from the British Psychopharmacology Society.

The symposium included a panel of experts:

  • Judith Homberg, Radboud University – Psychopharmacology in the young and developing brain
  • Ciara McCabe, University of Reading – Anhedonia and adolescent depression
  • Paramala Santosh, King's College London – Child psychopharmacology and development: perspectives from real world clinical practice
  • Gabriela Pavarini, University of Oxford – Early intervention and moral development in child psychiatry

Dr Pavarini from the Department of Psychiatry co-chaired the symposium which discussed the neuroscience, ethics and practice in psychopharmacology of providing support and treatment for children and young people experiencing mental health problems.

 

As the field of predictive psychiatry advances, it's important to examine the social and ethical implications. It's also essential to understand the perspectives of young people, who will be key targets of prevention and early intervention initiatives based on predictive analytics. 

 

- Dr Pavarini, Department of Psychiatry.

 

During the symposium the ethical implications coming out of research with adolescents under the BeGOOD Citizen's Project, in particular the type of support young people would like following a predictive test, concerns around data privacy and issues surrounding trust in predictive algorithms, were discussed.

The British Association of Psychopharmacology and the International Neuroethics Society convened the symposium and invited academics from a mix of disciplines. Talks ranged from the effects of prenatal antidepressant exposure by Professor Judith Homberg, adolescent depression and anhedonia using novel experimental paradigms by Professor Ciara McCabe, and insights from clinical practice on Child psychopharmacology and development by Professer Paramala Santosh.

 

Young Minds Matter, how to support young people experiencing mental health problems

'Young Minds Matter', was a public engagement event which involved young people, parents, carers and practitioners in a discussion about how to support young people experiencing mental health problems.

The event sought to raise awareness of the changes children go through as they grow up through their teens and into adulthood. To help people to better understand what is going on in a teenager's developing brain and discuss how best to spot mental health difficulties. All of which could help vulnerable young people who need support. It uncovered how new ways of thinking can help manage anger, build confidence and improve well-being.

The public engagement event was organised and chaired by Elaine Snell, International Neuroethics Society. On the panel Dr Pavarini joined Dr Paramala Santosh sharing insights from clinical practice and Professor Mitul Mehta talked about adolescent brain development.

 

Young people often resort to mobile apps for mental health support, so it's important to talk about the different types of information a young person should consider when picking an app beyond user ratings. For example, can you use the platform anonymously? What's their privacy policy? Do they present evidence for their effectiveness? It is also important that young people feel empowered to participate in discussions about these issues, and more generally, that we understand how young people want to be supported with their mental health needs. - Dr Pavarini

 

For further information about the BNA 2019 Festival of Neuroscience.

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