As an occupational therapist in adult mental health my biopolar disorder made me feel a liability. Here are my tips for opening up in the workplace
Even though I have been an occupational therapist in adult mental health for 16 years, it took me a long time to learn how to balance the demands of the job with a healthy lifestyle.
Over the years in previous working environments, I have had many comments from different colleagues such as:
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Join us today between 12pm and 2pm to discuss how our health service can cope as it deals with a rise in demand for mental healthcare
The demand for mental health services is growing. In fact it’s predicted that major depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the world by 2020.
However, spending is not rising with demand. In 2012, the London School of Economics and Political Science estimated that just a quarter of people with mental health problems receive any treatment.Continue reading...
Mental health suffers more staff vacancies than other areas in the NHS
Mental health occupies a unique place in the NHS workforce. Although some staff work in an acute setting, most work in the community as part of a team with other professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers and occupational therapists. The work is characterised, says Ian Hulatt, professional lead for mental health at the Royal College of Nursing, by a “strong multidisciplinary ethos”.
There are a variety of specialisms on offer, Hulatt says. “They may work in early intervention teams with people having their first episode of psychosis, in outreach teams with clients that are difficult to engage with and perhaps need a lot more support, or they may work in a community drug and alcohol team.” Staff can also work in child and adolescent mental health services, with prisoners and, increasingly, with older people who have dementia.Continue reading...
Former health minister says the practice of sending people in crisis to hospital beds far from home must end
We see countless examples of the discrimination against mental health at the heart of the NHS, but there are few as outrageous as the practice of shunting people with mental illness across the country in search of a bed at a moment of crisis.
One of my constituents in Norfolk has described how, after an attempted suicide, he was transported in silence more than 120 miles to a mental health facility in London. Frightened, isolated and disorientated, he felt more like a prisoner than a patient.
Related: Tackling underfunding in children’s mental health servicesContinue reading...
With four in 10 rough sleepers having a mental health problem, homelessness charity St Mungo’s has called for the government to invest in specialist support
Claire McMenemy has spent almost a lifetime drifting in and out of homelessness: sleeping rough on the streets, in a hostel bed or in a prison cell. Diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at the age of 13, she ran away from her Aberdeen home and was discovered by police on a London pavement. Two years later, and homeless once more, she tried to kill herself as her mental health deteriorated.
Today, nearly 30 years later, the 46-year-old is in her own flat, following support from outreach workers from homelessness charity St Mungo’s. Critically, she has also received talking therapy for her mental-health problems and is learning to understand how to stop self-harming and to control her impulsive behaviour.Continue reading...
Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 49 in the UK, and stereotypes of masculinity make it hard for men to discuss their problems
‘He was the life and soul of the party, but inside he was battling serious demons. He was a 25-year-old man who looked to have everything going for him, but he couldn’t vocalise his problems.” That is how Rowland Bennett describes his best friend Charlie Berry, who took his own life a year ago.
Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 49 in the UK, and men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women. According to campaigners, most men thinking about suicide never talk to anyone about the problems that have brought them to crisis point.
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The practice of transferring patients with mental health issues long distances for acute care needs to end, demands report led by former NHS chief Nigel Crisp
Every month, about 500 mentally ill people travel more than 30 miles for an inpatient bed: the long distances they are required to travel is usually due to a lack of local provision. This was outlined in a recent report from the independent commission into adult acute mental healthcare, supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and led by ex-NHS chief executive Nigel Crisp. The report demands include a deadline of October 2017 to stop the practice of sending severely ill patients miles from home.
“Transferring patients long distances for acute care is bad for patients and their families, bad for the system and very expensive,” Crisp says. “We met with trusts that had phased this out over a period of a year and improved services and staff morale as well as saved money while doing so. NHS England should accept our target.”
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New research has raised hope for using mindfulness in treating mental ill-health. We asked readers about their experiences and had a mixed response
Many people, in an attempt to de-stress, have tried some form of mindfulness – the practice of sitting still and focusing on your breathing and thoughts. But does it work? And in what circumstances?
A new study has raised hope for its use in treating mental health problems. The biggest review of the practice by researchers at Oxford University found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could help to combat depression as effectively as drugs.
Related: What does depression feel like? Trust me – you really don’t want to know | Tim Lott
It certainly makes sense that spending 10 minutes a day relaxing and focusing would help you feel more present
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Small gestures of solidarity can make a tremendous difference, as an encounter on a packed train made me realise
I was on a packed commuter train in central London when an old lady walked up to me. She looked at me sternly, glanced at my chest then said “thank you”.
I knew why.
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The impact of austerity on children’s health can’t be doubted. Yet ministers have axed the one woman who can tell them how bad things are
It’s emblematic of the government’s handling of the mental health crisis that when Natasha Devon, the Conservatives’ much-publicised children’s mental health tsar, found her role unceremoniously axed, the government seemed more concerned with face-saving spin than with the children in need of help.
Related: Sacked children's mental health tsar Natasha Devon: 'I was proper angry'
Related: Mental health champion for UK schools axed after criticising governmentContinue reading...
‘Unacceptable’ that two men were released from hospital without being seen by a trained psychiatrist, says state coroner Mark Johns
The South Australian coroner has criticised the state’s mental health system after it failed two men who took their own lives soon after being released from hospital.
Mark Johns said it was unacceptable the two men were not seen by a trained psychiatrist after being detained by police under the Mental Health Act.
Related: It's time to destigmatize mental health. We can start by talking about it | Chirlane McCrayContinue reading...
Misunderstandings mean many people in mental health hospitals, and among those with learning disabilities, fail to cast ballot
Mental health trusts and charities are calling for groups that are traditionally disenfranchised, such as psychiatric inpatients and people with learning disabilities, to register to vote in the EU referendum.
According to a study of the 2010 general election, voter turnout among mental health inpatients was 14%, less than a quarter of the proportion of the general population who voted (65%).Continue reading...
With pressure to improve mental health services and provide parity of esteem with physical health, there are challenges and benefits for the NHS and its patients
Improving the UK’s mental health system is among the greatest challenges facing the NHS. Rising suicide rates, long waiting times for inpatient and community mental health team appointments, and people in crisis unable to find a hospital bed anywhere near home are just some of these challenges.
Mental health has never been so high profile, with politicians lining up almost weekly to declare it a priority and even the prime minister pledging earlier this year to set in motion a mental health “revolution”. However, translating rhetoric about paving the way for radical improvements and achieving “parity of esteem”, so that people in need of mental health support can expect swift, appropriate treatment on a par with physical health, is proving tricky.Continue reading...
Lack of trained mental health professionals, low investment and high stigma means people lose years of their lives to illness, says the Lancet
One third of the global burden of mental illness – defined as healthy years lost to an illness – falls on China and India, where millions go untreated because of stigma and lack of resources, research published in the Lancet has found.
In China, less than 6% of people with anxiety and depression, substance use disorders, dementia and epilepsy seek treatment while in India, only about one in 10 people is thought to receive specialist help.
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With mental health awareness week in full swing, I would like to commend the Scottish government for its commitment to invest an additional £150m for mental health over five years.
Improving access to services and addressing the issue of mental health, particularly in young people, is an issue we should all be talking about. Unfortunately there is still such stigma around mental health, especially in males. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics last February show the male suicide rate is the highest since 2001, which is a troubling statistic.Continue reading...
Even as he faded from her memory, the veteran MP’s mum could still belt out a Gracie Fields number, he tells Jeremy Vine
Veteran MP and David Cameron-botherer Dennis Skinner is belting out Roll Out the Barrel at the top of his voice, backed by a group of dementia patients. It’s loud, joyous and full of life.
In Radio 2’s Dennis Skinner vs Dementia, he talks to Jeremy Vine about his fears and hopes around the disease. Skinner’s mother and sister had dementia, and he worries he’ll be struck down, too. At 84, he’s razor-sharp: reeling powerful speeches off the top of his head and doing killer sudoku every day. If anyone is proof that keeping your brain engaged is a good thing, it’s the Beast of Bolsover.Continue reading...
A perceived link between mental illness and gun violence has spurred reform bills. That link is weak, but an overhaul remains crucial
There are very few issues that garner bipartisan support in an increasingly divided Congress. But mental health is one of them – bills that propose overhauling the US mental health system are slowly moving through both the House and the Senate.
And they’ve largely gained traction thanks to the rash of mass shootings here the past few years. The idea that mental illness helps cause horrific acts of violence (and the fact that gun control laws are basically nonstarter) is spurring legislators to action.
Related: It's time to destigmatize mental health. We can start by talking about it | Chirlane McCray
Related: What does depression feel like? Trust me – you really don’t want to know | Tim LottContinue reading...
Tumblr’s mental health communities seem to be filling in the gaps for healthcare in the US, by providing support, information – and actual help from clinicians
Mea Pearson, a 24-year-old with borderline personality disorder, first confronted the world of online therapy after returning home from being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a mental illness characterized by unstable moods, behavior and relationships, in 2012 – a conclusion doctors reached after she attempted suicide.
Vulnerable, and grappling with the new diagnosis, Pearson first searched online to find out more about her condition, where she was met with characterizations of people with BPD as violent and incapable of maintaining relationships. “The more I researched, the worse I felt,” Pearson said.Continue reading...
Being assaulted made me dwell on how services too often rely on coercion – which is incompatible with recovery
He was listening intently, when suddenly he swung his right fist, catching me on my lips completely unaware. He was training to be a boxer and packed a punch. Blood splattered on my shirt with the thud of the fist, my glasses flew off, and everything seemed to slow down. I pushed myself off the settee, dropped the notes and tried to make for the door. I was acutely aware of his presence half a metre to my right as he followed me screaming and swinging his fist. His mother was crying and pleading with him to stop. Due to a past history of violence, a couple of policemen were in attendance and radioed the incident in. Two police vans turned up to take him away, ending the tirade of verbal abuse.
My gums were extremely swollen but luckily the x-ray did not show any fractures. However, the facial surgery registrar said the swelling was impeding blood circulation and my incisors would turn black and fall out. I am glad to say he was wrong; nine years on I still have my teeth.
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Everyone told me quitting my dream job was brave, but it felt like my only option
In the spirit of LinkedIn, I would like to congratulate myself on my own work anniversary. It’s almost a year to the day that I wiped my eyes, took a deep breath and told my employers I was terribly sorry but the role really wasn’t right for me and I’d like to hand in my notice. A year since I decided I simply wasn’t capable of working for a prestigious organisation, on a title I’d dreamed of writing for since I was 17. A year since every day started with a panic attack and ended with a bad dream. A year since I stopped expecting to hear sentences that started with my name and ended with “we’re letting you go”.
Everyone told me that quitting was brave. But last year it felt like my only option, or perhaps the best of three: I could leave; I could get fired; or I could stay in reception weeping all day and hoping people would assume I was some kind of art installation. I didn’t leave with a job to go to, or any definite employment prospects. All I knew was that some instinct for self preservation had kicked in. I’d been trying to ignore these anxious feelings for a while, but they were getting too big...
It is no exaggeration to say Graeme Fowler was instrumental in laying the foundations for the career of the man who was to become one of the most successful captains the country has had and who now runs England cricket. Andrew Strauss was a multitalented sportsman, and a third-year student at Durham when Fowler set up his brainchild cricket centre of excellence there and began coaching the university’s best players. “He was,” said Strauss recently, “the man who turned me from a recreational cricketer to someone who believed he could play professionally.”
Related: Spare a thought for rugby’s vulnerable gladiators wrestling with their demons | Robert Kitson
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Springwatch presenter says he twice nearly killed himself and describes having been bullied as ‘the weird kid’ when a teenager
The wildlife presenter Chris Packham has spoken of having twice been on the brink of trying to take his own life during severe bouts of depression.
Packham, 54, revealed he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in his 20s, and described his thoughts as a “great, hopeless vacuum”.
Related: The BBC should treasure Chris Packham, not sack himContinue reading...
Back in 2010, the Mental Health Foundation found that 18- to 34-year-olds were more lonely than the over 55s; last year the whole UK was found to be the “loneliness capital of the European Union”. In 2014, Esther Rantzen told us that children were facing an “epidemic of loneliness”, just like the elderly. And in a new report, the thinktank Demos says the capital is the loneliest place in Britain for older people. It does seem generally rather grim, especially down south. For anyone.
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My mother, who lived with me in her old age, was lonely even in our house; all her friends had dropped off their perches
Related: All by myself: what Londoners say about being aloneContinue reading...
CQC says serious concerns remain over patients’ safety at NHS mental health trust where a teenager died in 2013
The chairman of an NHS mental health trust that was told it was not doing enough to investigate unexpected deaths has resigned after an inspection found there were still serious concerns about the safety of patients.
A team from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates health and social care services, said Southern Health had not made effective arrangements for responding to concerns raised by patients, their carers or staff.Continue reading...
Judge says surgery is in best interests of woman, who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer
Surgeons can perform a hysterectomy on a patient with paranoid schizophrenia who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and lacks the mental capacity to make decisions about treatment, a judge has ruled after a hearing in a specialist court.
Mr Justice MacDonald concluded that surgery would be in the woman’s best interests after bosses at an NHS hospitals trust with responsibility for any cancer treatment asked him for rulings.Continue reading...
Department for Education denies axing of role is connected to Natasha Devon’s criticism of policies such as increased testing
The government has dropped its mental health champion for schools after she publicly criticised current education policies, in particular the testing regime, which she claims is detrimental to children’s mental health.
Natasha Devon was appointed by the government last August to raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding young people’s mental health, as part of a wider £1.25bn drive to improve care.
The results of our experiment paint a very striking picture of the power of therapy involving VR in treating patients with persecutory delusions
If you haven’t yet heard about Oculus Rift, chances are you soon will. Virtual reality (VR) headset technology – in the form of the Oculus and its main competitor the HTC Vive, both of which have just been launched on the consumer market – is about to make the leap into the mainstream. For the gaming industry, big bucks are in the offing. Facebook paid £2 billion to acquire Oculus Rift ; the returns, one imagines, could swiftly dwarf that figure.
VR may be about to transform gaming, but the technology dates back to the late 1960s and the so-called Sword of Damocles. Bulky and relatively unsophisticated though it was, the main elements of VR were all present in the Sword. A computer generated an image, a display system presented the sensory information and a tracker fed back the user’s position and orientation in order to update the image. For the user, sensory data from the natural world was superseded by information about an imaginary world that changed in response to their actions. The result was what you’d experience with Oculus Rift...
Two students reveal how they felt during their work experiences in a hospital – from first day nerves, to what it felt like to help patients
As a first-year healthcare student, there is nothing quite as exciting and nerve-wracking as your first-ever placement in a hospital. After sitting in lecture theatres and learning the theory behind diseases, medicines and more, as well as practising clinical procedures on coursemates, a stint working in a hospital will allow you to meet and treat real patients. Two students share their experiences of working in a hospital for the first time – as well as the ways in which they dealt with the highs and lows.Continue reading...
Woman claiming to work for Southern Health NHS trust calls Dr Sara Ryan ‘vindictive cow’ after report on son’s death
The mother of a teenager who died while under the care of a heavily criticised mental health trust has been called a “vindictive cow” in a voicemail message left by someone claiming to work for the trust.
Dr Sara Ryan has been campaigning for accountability from Southern Health NHS foundation trust and its staff since her 18-year-old son Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath at Slade House in Oxfordshire in July 2013, after an epileptic seizure.
Related: Neglect contributed to teenager's death at NHS unit, inquest findsContinue reading...
When Johnny Perez spent three years in solitary confinement, his only human contact was a correctional officer who slid cold food through a metal slot in his door. He argues that this treatment takes away prisoners’ humanity, damages their mental health and makes it harder for them to integrate back into society upon release
After six months as a charity leader I’m ready to share my top tips – including saying no and listening to grassroot supporters
I was appointed chief executive of Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity, six months ago and as a leader in my 20s I am often asked how I find the role. I’ve learned lots in my first few months and have had great insight and advice from sector colleagues. In the hope of encouraging more young people to grab opportunities in the charity sector, here are some of the highlights.Continue reading...
A Frenchman is suing a former employer, alleging his work became so dull it affected his health. Tell us how you’ve coped with tedious tasks
What do you do when you’ve been given a really boring job at work? You sue – well, at least that’s what Frédéric Desnard has done.
The 44-year-old Frenchman claims he made the decision to sue his former employers for £280,000 because his job became so dull he suffered a “descent into hell” similar to burnout (but less interesting).
One aid worker in the refugee camps of Lebanon fears that needs are still growing while funds run low
“I just stopped my father from killing himself. Please help me.”
The call came through at eight in the evening. The man’ voice was trembling, but I could distinguish his Syrian accent clearly.
No matter how much we were doing, it never seemed to be enough
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The team had to downsize because funds began running low, but the need did not slow
Related: Secret aid worker: what should doctors do when we witness human rights abuses?
Related: Refugees and mental health: 'These people are stronger than us'Continue reading...
As the economy plummets professionals say an ‘unprecedented’ number of male clients are breaking taboos to seek support. IWPR reports
Mental health professionals in Kazakhstan are reporting a surge in the number of male clients seeking help as a result of the country’s financial crisis.
Psychologists say the economic downturn has proven particularly traumatic for men who are under significant pressure to provide for their families in what is still a heavily patriarchal society.
Nearly a quarter of mortgage are three months behind with repayments
For Kazakh men, demonstrating weakness is unthinkable
Related: Post-Soviet world: what you need to know about KazakhstanContinue reading...
YoungMinds activist Alice Victor discusses the pressure she felt during exam season and how teachers can support young people through the stress
As teachers, you know that your students express themselves in different ways. Talking about their mental health is no different, so don’t ignore any comments a young person makes, however brief, even if something seems like a bit of classroom banter. Everyone has different sensitivity levels, and what you might disregard as a throwaway comment could be the tiniest hint of a much bigger issue.
Related: Why should teachers talk about mental health with students and colleagues?
Related: Five ways to tackle the mental health taboo in your classroomContinue reading...
With Saturday’s parkrun cancelled on safety grounds, participants explain its benefits, from mental health to friendship
Heather Doody could not hold back the tears as she surveyed the playing fields that were to have been the scene of her sporting triumph on Saturday morning. “I’m sorry, it must seem silly to see me crying but this place means so much to me – it feels like a home from home. I’m really sad.”
Doody was due to complete her 50th parkrun surrounded by the scores of friends she has made in the three-and-a-half years she has been tackling the 5km course at Little Stoke near Bristol.
We can all run and we can do it together in a place of safety, surrounded by support, advice and friendshipContinue reading...