Counselling and treatment for mental health issues to be offered, in the hope of boosting UK retention in the profession
Family doctors with heavy workloads are to receive specialist help to cope with the stress of their jobs in a groundbreaking new NHS initiative.
All 55,000 GPs in England will be able to seek counselling or medication from mental health nurses and psychiatrists in a £20m scheme to keep them healthy. The NHS GP Health Service will be trialled in 13 areas and then rolled out nationally if it proves its worth.Continue reading...
Wapekeka First Nation were denied federal funds to hire mental health workers months before declaring state of emergency over suicides of two 12-year-old girls
A private donor is being lauded by aboriginal leaders for stepping in “where the government of Canada has failed” after anonymously pledging C$380,000 to provide mental health workers for a suicide-stricken First Nations community in northern Ontario.
Related: Death strikes First Nations community, once a leader in suicide prevention
Related: The Canadian First Nation suicide epidemic has been generations in the making | Julian Brave NoiseCatContinue reading...
After opening up about my mental health problems, I received the help I needed to do my lecturing job well, writes Erica Crompton
On an autumn afternoon in 2009, I was fired from my job as a university lecturer. I hadn’t declared my schizophrenia on an application form and this was treated as gross misconduct. Many years later, I returned to the lecture theatre – but this time I was open about my condition, to a much more positive response. I learned an important lesson: that if I’m open about living with a mental illness, I can receive the support and help that I need.
I’ve since continued to work and have found it good for developing my sense of self-worth. I’m not alone in experiencing this. Elyn Saks, who also happens to have schizophrenia, is a remarkably high achiever. She first fell ill in 1977 and joined the USC faculty in 1989. She is now a tenured professor of law, psychology and psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law; adjunct professor of psychiatry at the UCSD School of Medicine; and on the faculty at the New Centre for Psychoanalysis.
Related: Dark thoughts: why mental illness is on the rise in academia
Twenty-two billion pounds: that’s the estimated annual cost to employers and taxpayers of sickness absence. Much of that relates to mental ill-health – which, along with musculoskeletal complaints, causes about 80% of sickness absence – and sick leave seems to be on the rise.
A recent survey by the Engineers Employers Federation found that 41% of companies had witnessed an increase in long-term absences over the past two years.
Related: Mental health and employment: the factsContinue reading...
Roger Curry, 76, was abandoned in Hereford after travelling with his family from his home in LA, legal papers allege
An American man with dementia was flown from his Los Angeles home to Britain and allegedly left in a car park by his wife and son, according to court documents in the US seen by the BBC.
Roger Curry, 76, was allegedly abandoned without identification in the car park of Hereford bus station on 7 November 2015.Continue reading...
Dementia Diaries is an audio diary project that captures people’s diverse experiences of living with dementia, now the leading cause of death in the UK. While the origin of the disease is still unclear and symptoms can vary greatly, these recordings, here with accompanying film, aim to capture some of the complexity of each caller’s individual perspectives
Banking is easier than ever thanks to contactless and mobile transactions. But making it simple to spend money isn’t all good
A recent report from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has revealed what many people with mental health problems already knew – mental illess can have a significant, and often terrifying, impact on your finances.
Anxious? Good luck tackling the bank statements piling up, unopened. Having a manic episode? Time to spend thousands of pounds on things you’ll never use! Depressed? … What was my pin again?Continue reading...
We need to change society so that supporting someone with mental health issues is seen not as optional but integrated into all structures and thinking
If you have been inundated today with people on Facebook, Twitter and daytime television imploring you to discuss mental health, that is because it is Time to Talk day. Mired in politeness and caution, people with mental health difficulties across the UK have gently requested kindness and understanding. Perhaps you’ve made the right noises and nodded sympathetically. You’ll probably feel you did the right thing, but unfortunately your compassion will not be enough to change anything.
In his novel Things Can Only Get Better, John O’Farrell recalls having the Jamaican poet Michael Smith as a guest at an early 80s university radical poetry evening. Afterwards Smith was turned away from a club for being black. Back at a student house Smith exclaimed: “I want justice!” to be answered by a young woman saying “I can’t give you justice but I can give you a hug.” This is where we’re at with mental health in the UK.
Related: Why a tax break for employers is the smart way to improve mental health | Norman Lamb
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The Croydon suburb has been named a safe space for people with dementia, an idea born in the cities of Japan. Campaigners now want London to become the world’s first dementia-friendly capital – but what would that mean?
You don’t need to spend long in Purley to realise the town is home to many elderly people. The otherwise unremarkable suburb of Croydon is surrounded by numerous residential care homes, and in Purley Library, staff are used to adapting to the needs of elderly visitors.
While the older generation adds much to the town’s community and economy, there are occasional issues: visitors from the local care homes often forget where they are or what they are looking for. “We’ve had two already this morning,” one librarian says on a Friday afternoon in January. Another local describes how she notices some people having trouble in shops, struggling to remember pin numbers or momentarily forgetting what they are buying.
We want people with dementia to feel confident to go out
Related: Improving with age? How city design is adapting to older populationsContinue reading...
Australia’s national mental health commissioner says money is needed most in community services
Government funding for mental health is “locked down in the dysfunctional hospital system” rather than being invested in community mental health services where it is most needed, the national mental health commissioner, Ian Hickie, says.
Hickie made the comments in response to new data from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare released on Thursday, which found spending on mental health-related services increased to $8.5bn in 2014–15, a $911m increase compared with 2010–11.
Related: Mental health is one of main issues facing Australia, says youth surveyContinue reading...
Gauteng minister resigns after facilities found to be ‘unable to distinguish between proper care and a business opportunity’
At least 94 patients with mental health issues died after South African authorities moved themfrom hospitals to unlicensed health facilities that were likened to concentration camps, a government investigation has revealed.
Many of the deaths were due to pneumonia, dehydration and diarrhoea as the patients were hurriedly moved to 27 “poorly prepared” facilities in an apparent cost-cutting measure that showed evidence of neglect.
Related: Refugees risking lives to reach bright lights of JohannesburgContinue reading...
Figures show 50,819 youngsters contacted the helpline for a serious mental health problem in 2015/16 – up 8% over four years
Charities are calling for improved mental health provision in schools as new figures reveal more than 50,000 children and young people contacted Childline last year seeking help for serious mental health problems.
The helpline has seen a 36% rise over four years in youngsters needing help for depression and other disorders, while there was also a rise in the number of youngsters feeling suicidal.Continue reading...
Broadcaster calls for walk-in eating disorder centres, saying he ‘failed to grasp’ that his daughter Maddy ‘was seriously mentally ill’
The broadcaster Mark Austin has revealed how he struggled to understand his daughter’s anorexia and “failed utterly to grasp that she was seriously mentally ill”.
In a candid account, he admits he thought her “crass, insensitive, selfish and pathetic” and became so frustrated he once told her: “If you really want to starve yourself to death, just get on with it.”
Related: Anorexia: you don’t just grow out of it | Carrie ArnoldContinue reading...
The rugby union referee Nigel Owens has said that he asked if he could be chemically castrated after realising he was gay. Owens said the pressure of refereeing the 2015 Rugby World Cup final was nothing compared to the struggle to accept his homosexuality.
Owens also revealed his health struggles. He tried to lose weight and became bulimic; at another point, in an attempt to gain weight, he started going to the gym, then became hooked on steroids. He also described going to a doctor and saying: “I do not want to be gay. Can I get chemically castrated?”Continue reading...
The Conservative party has made a strategic decision to stuff young people. Not out of sadism, not because it derives vicarious thrills from inflicting misery on the next generation: the Tories don’t care because they have calculated that they don’t have to. The young are less likely to vote, goes their rationale, and they are certainly unlikely to vote for us. We can safely ringfence them for economic pain, balancing the nation’s books on their youthful backs, and we will suffer few political consequences for it.
Short-termism doesn’t cover it. Britain’s destiny is now in the hands of a generation soaked in pessimism, scarred by economic insecurity and decline, demonised by politicians and press barons. It did not need to be so: it was a choice.
They have stolen the essential of human existence, that which offers assurance at times of difficulty: optimism
Related: Theresa May's mental health pledges don't roll back years of Tory cuts | Hannah Jane ParkinsonContinue reading...
Behaviour of Hamed, who has been released from Lorengau prison following an acute mental health episode, described as erratic and bizarre
A refugee jailed following an acute mental breakdown in the Manus Island detention centre has been released from prison, only for him to be found wandering the streets of the Papua New Guinea town of Lorengau, half-naked, “hungry and homeless” according to fellow refugees, politicians and police.
The behaviour of Hamed, a refugee from Iran whose surname Guardian Australia has chosen not to publish, has grown increasingly erratic and bizarre, leading to conflicts with the Manussian population.
Related: It’s hard for me to leave Manus Island without justice: Behrouz Boochani on the US refugee deal
Related: The judge who unmade Manus Island on why offshore detention has no futureContinue reading...
I am, of course, pleased that Theresa May recognises that increasing numbers of adults and children are suffering from mental health difficulties (May pledges to try to reduce stigma, 9 January). The huge emotional burden this puts on families only increases the risks. These difficulties have escalated in the six years since massive cuts to public services and most preventive mental health services, alongside the increased culture of competition that leads to more anxiety and less security.
Having been part of primary prevention and secondary child and adolescent mental health services in my 30-year career in the NHS, it was soul-destroying to see services closed and specialist skills built up over decades being lost. It is galling to hear the plans presented as if they are new and concerning that one of the plans is for teachers to be trained to identify mental health issues and provide interventions. Often teachers, also struggling with cuts to services and increased pressures, can already recognise mental health issues but lack the time and expertise to offer interventions that could make a significant difference. Identification alone is not helpful unless combined with...
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments, including Theresa May’s ‘shared society’ speech and Jeremy Hunt on the NHS
I know La La Land did well at the Golden Globes last night - I didn’t realise the secretary of state was living there. Perhaps that’s where he has been all weekend. Can he now confirm that the NHS is facing a winter crisis and the blame for this lies at the door of No10 Downing Street? Does the secretary of state agree it was a monumental error to ignore the pleas for extra support for social care in the autumn statement a few weeks ago? Will he now support calls to bring forward the extra £700m allocated for 2019? Will he bring that forward now to help social care?
The lord chancellor has requested urgent advice on how to put an end to this practice. This sort of cross-examination is illegal in the criminal courts, and I’m determined to see it banned in family courts too.
The prime minister rightly talked about securing a deal with the EU that commanded the support of both leave and remain voters. That matters a lot. There is almost certainly a majority in the country – and a cross-party...
The landscape is not changing quickly enough – it’s time resources followed the rhetoric
In less than 12 months, two prime ministers have chosen to start their year with major speeches about mental health, committing themselves and their governments to a transformation of the mental health landscape. But as so many of the statistics and personal stories bear witness; the landscape is not changing fast enough.
In her speech earlier this month, Theresa May talked about the critical importance of relationships and the role of government to “encourage and nurture” them.
Related: Construction project rebuilds lives after brain injury and mental illness
Related: Children's mental health services are struggling. Can teachers help?Continue reading...
Some people can bounce back from life’s pressures, but others do not seem to have the capacity. Can anything help them to strengthen their emotional armour?
How do you feel when bad things happen? Do you bounce back from adversity or sob indefinitely? Emotional resilience, the ability that some people have to withstand stress, was once thought to be a genetic gift. You were either lucky and had it, or you didn’t and struggled. Studies show that teenagers who fail exams have an increased risk of depression as adults, while athletes who lose can feel long-term guilt and humiliation. But recent psychological research suggests that emotional resilience can be developed. A systematic review of what makes people able to deal with failure looked at results from 46 studies.Continue reading...
It’s been a good few years to be a UK political sketch writer, but it would be great to be in the US right now
Even if it was primarily intended as a diversionary tactic to stop people asking her about Brexit for a few days, it was good to hear Theresa May talking about making mental health a priority. Though I couldn’t help thinking her words might have sounded a little more sincere if she had offered a little more than the £1bn for mental health services that David Cameron had promised, but never delivered, in an almost identical speech the year before. Under the Conservative and coalition governments there have been 4,000 fewer nurses and 600 fewer doctors working in mental health. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to pay for my all-too-frequent visits to psychiatrists and therapists over the past 30 years; without that ability, I dread to think what would have happened to me. Or if I would still be around. But I’m all too aware that many people aren’t that lucky, and either have to struggle on alone or wait a long time to get help. By which time for some it will have been too late.
Related: Money makes the World Cup go round: more teams means more cash | David...
Professional body Cilip highlights work helping troubled youngsters and warns that reduced funding will shunt problems on to NHS and police
Public libraries’ significant role supporting the mental health of young people risks being undermined by swingeing budget cuts forced on local authorities, the head of their professional body warned this week. He added that, if funding is not protected, the work of libraries as frontline information resources for young people in need will be pushed on to the already overstretched police, health and social services.
It is estimated that one in 10 UK children experience mental health problems, as do one in four adults. Nick Poole, head of the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals (Cilip) providers, told the Guardian that cuts to local library services would “continue to bite the availability of dedicated resources such as advice on anxiety, stress, exams and bullying”.
I would like to think that the powers that be recognised the role of libraries in helping vulnerable people.
Related: Library closures 'will double unless immediate action is taken'Continue reading...
Anorexia and bulimia are mental illnesses. They may start with a wish to have the perfect body, but a pattern emerges that is akin to drug addiction
As the cookie crumbles in my mouth, delivering a shot of much-needed sugar, a sudden urge flashes across my mind. I am tempted to grab another, and another, before dashing to the loo to purge. Stilling myself, I engage rationally with my feelings and manage to move on without giving in.
I’m not always so successful.
I have come to believe that eating disorders, like a virus, lie dormant in our system, waiting to strike
Related: I'm a man and I have an eating disorder. That's not a contradictionContinue reading...
Theresa May is right – there is a ‘hidden injustice’ in young people’s mental health, but it’s one that has been exacerbated by this government
It’s good to talk, and at the moment there’s a lot of talk about mental health and, in particular, about the mental health of young people.
I’m thinking, of course, of Theresa May’s recent speech, in which she announced a government green paper on children and young people’s mental health services, mental health first aid training for schools and a few other measures – to be funded apparently out of thin air – because mental health has been “a hidden injustice in this country” for far too long. From whom this injustice has been hidden was not specified.Continue reading...
We write to you as 45 former directors of social services with many decades of senior management experience behind us, to express our grave concerns about the current underfunding of adult social care services. Not a day goes by without well-informed groups expressing their dismay at the outcomes for vulnerable adults. Yet despite this the chancellor made no mention of this issue in his autumn statement.
We know that £4.2bn has been taken from local authority budgets over the past five years. The appalling consequences are there for all to see. Rapidly rising levels of dementia, but cuts in home care support. Hospital beds full, but insufficient residential places for vulnerable adults to be discharged to. Increasing suicide levels among young people, but draconian cuts in mental health provision. Many more people living – and dying – in the streets, but inadequate support and a lack of hostel accommodation.Continue reading...
What is it about the mental health debate that makes me go all Malcolm Tucker, effing and blinding at the gap between what politicians say about it and the reality on the ground? And why do I want everyone else to get as angry as I am about it? Because every time there is pressure on health spending, mental illness slips down the priority queue.
We are frankly light years away from the parity between mental and physical healthcare that is set out – in law – in the NHS constitution. In the last week, I have spoken to a mother at her wits’ end because her daughter is being treated in Scotland when she lives 80 miles south of the border; a young man I persuaded to get help for his anxiety and depression who has been given some pills and told he might get cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in six months; a student who has dropped out of education after two failed suicide attempts, one of which followed a long wait in a crowded room waiting to see an overstretched university psychiatrist.
May and Cameron presided over 8% cuts in...
A decade ago our first multiple-signatory “toxic childhood” press letter described how children’s health and wellbeing were being undermined by the decline of outdoor play, increasingly screen-based lifestyles, a hyper-competitive schooling system and the unremitting commercialisation of childhood.
Despite widespread public concern, subsequent policymaking has been half-hearted, short-termist and disjointedly ineffective. The above factors continue to affect children adversely, with “school and cool” displacing active, self-directed play at an ever-earlier age. Physical health problems like obesity continue to escalate, and mental health problems among children and young people are approaching crisis levels. As well as the intense distress caused to families, there are obviously longer-term social and economic consequences for society as a whole.
Related: Experts call for official guidelines on child screen useContinue reading...
Many women are breaching parole because they fear abusive partners or have unmet mental health needs, charities say
Charities working with women released from prison say that some are breaching their parole conditions or committing further crimes so that they will be returned to jail – because their lives on the outside are so bleak.
Many of the women seek a return to prison because they have nowhere to live, fear an abusive partner or have unmet mental health needs.
Related: The disastrous decisions behind troubles in prisons and probation | LettersContinue reading...