As psychologists in the north-east of England, we are encouraged to hear that Jobcentre Plus in Newcastle “try to treat people as individuals” and we extend an invitation to Steve McCall to discuss the impact of social policies (‘I hope people don’t think I, Daniel Blake is a documentary’: Loach fails to represent reality, says jobcentre boss, 11 February). The film unfortunately does “represent the reality” of many people we have met who struggle with an ill system.
People with mental health difficulties, for example, already feel excluded from society and struggle to connect with others and the world around them. Cuts to income through benefit sanctions do not help people to recover but rob them of dignity, power and the ability to keep themselves warm and fed. To address a growing mental health crisis, we must together challenge the system that harms so many people like Daniel Blake.
Dr Nick Hartley, Jan Bostock, Alisdair Cameron ReCoCo, Dr Sammy Man, Louise Thomson, Dr Nancy Vanderpuye, Lauren Mawn, Dr Lois Arkley, Dr Anna Luce, Professor Alison Stenning
Psychologists Against Austerity North East
Advertising Standards Authority rules Alzheimer’s Research UK Christmas campaign was sensitively handled
A TV campaign that shows Santa forgetting Christmas after developing dementia has been cleared by the ad watchdog following complaints it was offensive and could distress children.
The festive campaign, called Santa Forgot, was run by the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK to raise awareness of dementia and help boost donations.
By 2056 the figure is estimated to reach more than $1tn a year, economic modelling shows, as experts call for national strategy
Economic modelling shows the cost of dementia in Australia has more than doubled in the past five years to reach almost $15bn.
By 2056 the cost is estimated to reach more than $1tn, according to a new report to be launched at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday.
Related: A cure for all ills: what medical advances can we expect in 2017?
Related: People with dementia deserve to find peace – and that costs money | Sophie WilkinsonContinue reading...
Women are visiting already stretched A&E units and GP surgeries instead, according to charity NCT
Tens of thousands of new mothers a year are seeking help at an A&E unit or GP surgery because they cannot reach a midwife to ask them for advice, a new study has found.
Mothers worried about a problem with their own or their baby’s health are adding to the strain on family doctors, emergency departments and walk-in centres because of midwife shortages and because they have “nowhere else to go”, says the parenting charity the NCT – which undertook the research.
Related: The sad truth about having a baby: ‘cattle’ care is now the norm | Milli HillContinue reading...
Healthcare professionals and patients share standout moments that make them proud of a health service free to everyone
When I was 20 I attempted suicide. I ended up in A&E where every staff member I came into contact with was patient, kind, and calm, even though the department seemed busier than usual. I was treated with compassion and respect, and one nurse even succeeded in making me laugh on what was the worst day of my life. I could feel the support all around me. They made me feel less alone and I can’t thank them enough.Even though a couple of years have passed, I still think about how fantastically I was treated in my vulnerable state, and how different my life could have turned out if it hadn’t been for their kindness and understanding. Without them, I don’t think I’d be here.
Studies reveal greater likelihood of attention disorders, shyness and anxiety in childhood and then adulthood for survivors with very low birth weight of 1kg
Children who are born very prematurely are at greater risk of developing mental health and social problems that can persist well into adulthood, according to one of the largest reviews of evidence.
Those with an extremely low birth weight, at less than a kilogram, are more likely to have attention disorders and social difficulties as children, and feel more shyness, anxiety and depression as adults, than those born a healthy weight.
Related: Premature babies 'more likely to end up in lower-paid jobs'
Related: Engineering lifesaving care for premature refugee babiesContinue reading...
Schools are reporting an increase in stressed-out pupils. But teachers can give young people the tools to cope
Educators like me will not be surprised at the results of a survey conducted by the Association of School and College Leaders, in which 55% of schools reported an increase in stress and anxiety among their pupils.
Related: How to teach ... mental health
Related: I am 16 and the education system is destroying my healthContinue reading...
The Professional Footballers’ Association has defended its response to the growing number of former players now suffering from dementia, after criticism that the union, clubs and Football Association are not doing enough to help them.
John Bramhall, the PFA’s deputy chief executive, said that, when the union is made aware of a former player in need, it tries to provide support “wherever we can”. However the cost of full-time residential care, which some players with advanced dementia require, is beyond its resources from its funding, principally by the Premier League, and it is not clear that the game is responsible for providing such facilities.Continue reading...
Early intervention on mental health and proper social care are vital if the health service is to stop merely lurching from one crisis to the next
Theresa May is busy enacting the “will of the people”, seemingly unaware that she’s not actually in her own elevated position due to the “will of the people” at all. And the nation is looking on, mesmerised. We may look back on this period in British politics and marvel at how the country was so busy leaving Europe that it failed to see the disasters waiting to happen at home.
Related: On mental health, the Tories need to put their money where their mouths are | Alastair CampbellContinue reading...
A psychiatric ward in London has been given a makeover, with work donated by artists and workshops for patients
When most people think of a secure mental health unit, they don’t tend to picture it decorated with artwork by award-winning artists and patients.
A psychiatric ward housing patients with schizophrenia in Springfield University hospital in Tooting, London, however, has undergone an artistic renovation. The once blank, colourless walls now house a variety of pieces from artists such as the Turner Prize-winning Assemble and photographer Nick Knight as well as by the patients themselves.Continue reading...
Working with younger children, we know how important it is to address wellbeing in primary schools and alleviate pressure on struggling NHS services
Public and political understanding of young people’s mental health is growing; the prime minister herself emphasised recently that mental illness too often starts in childhood and that, “when left untreated, can blight lives”.
Theresa May’s plans to offer every secondary school in the country mental health training, as well as strengthening links between schools and NHS specialist staff, are important steps in the right direction.
Related: Charities help fill gaps in children’s mental health services
Two-thirds of 10- and 11-year-olds worry all the time about things to do with their school life, home life or themselves
Related: Mental health charities can help people where the NHS cannotContinue reading...
The debate around Donald Trump’s mental health and his fitness to continue as US president rages on. Most recently Prof Allen Frances, the psychiatrist who wrote the book (or at least the diagnostic criteria) on narcissistic personality disorder has penned a letter to the New York Times stating that although Trump is a “world-class narcissist” he does not have a mental illness as he suffers no personal distress or impairment from his condition, which is a prerequisite for the diagnosis.
In the other camp, an American psychologist who believes Trump is a “malignant narcissist” has started a petition to remove him from office and a group of mental health professionals including psychiatrists have stated that his instability makes him incapable of serving safely as president. In doing so, these psychiatrists have broken the much-cited Goldwater rule which prohibits American psychiatrists from commenting professionally on public figures without conducting a formal assessment, declaring it to be unethical to stay silent in the face of what they consider...
In the second of our three-part Speak your Mind series, we meet Georgia, 22, who suffered from eating disorders through her teenage years. Thinspiration Tumblrs inspired her to lose weight but that spiralled to starvation and bulimia. Now recovered, she wonders why black women are rarely identified as having eating disorders
During my years of medical training I was tense and wound up almost all of the time. Then, just before my finals, things got very much worse. I began to draw up a complex revision timetable, which I obsessed over. I was as fearful of failing as I had been with my A-levels, but there was also a terrible sense of unease about what was happening to me, to which I couldn’t put a name.
I convinced myself that the best way to stay in control of my world was to design a kind of map for my mind and contain everything within it by the time the exams arrived. I ruled out lines on sheets of paper to create a chart to govern every waking hour for the next few months. I did not want to acknowledge the obvious parallels with my brother, whose strange behaviour would later be diagnosed as obsessive compulsive disorder.Continue reading...
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
Related: Mentally ill patients...
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...