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.
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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...
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...
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...
Residential treatment centres are an alternative to prison for offenders with mental health problems, and can offer a better chance of lasting rehabilitation
One day in early August, 36-year-old Gavin bumped into an old friend outside That’s Entertainment music and DVD shop in Preston market.
“He pulled me to one side, but I didn’t recognise him,” Gavin (a pseudonym) says when we meet a week later. “He was like, ‘How you doing? I’m just going to get some stuff, make some money.’ He’s opened his bag and it’s full of razor blades. He’s selling razor blades for a tenner a pop, all of that business.”
Related: Rise in prisoners moved to mental health hospitals
Related: How easy is it to get help for a mental health problem? Five different storiesContinue reading...
Seven in 10 psychiatrists deem Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to be inadequate at best, Guardian survey finds
NHS services for the soaring numbers of children who have self-harmed, tried to end their life or are having a breakdown are woefully substandard and risk prolonging their suffering, according to their psychiatrists.
More than seven out of 10 (72%) consultant psychiatrists who specialise in treating children and adolescents say that NHS care for under-18s experiencing a crisis in their mental health is either inadequate (58%) or very inadequate (14%), according to a survey undertaken for the Guardian. Only 19% said NHS services were adequate and just 9% said they were good.
Related: Jeremy Hunt says child mental health services are NHS's biggest failingContinue reading...
Contest winner Hussain Manawer says it was not an ambition to go to space, he just wanted to be taken more seriously
For most people who go into space it is a dream come true, but for the man set to be the UK’s first Muslim astronaut his priority is making the world a better place.
Hussain Manawer, 25, from Ilford, Essex, is due to blast off in 2018 after seeing off thousands of other entrants from more than 90 countries in a competition.Continue reading...
LSE study led by Labour peer found that failed relationships and physical and mental illness were bigger causes of misery than poverty
Clinical psychologists have raised the alarm over a controversial piece of research led by a Labour peer, with one saying it “lets austerity off the hook” as a cause of mental health problems.
The London School of Economics study led by Lord Richard Layard, published in early December, found that failed relationships and physical and mental illness were bigger causes of misery than poverty.
Related: Mental illness and poverty: you can't tackle one without the other | Dean Burnett
Related: Study finds 7m Britons in poverty despite being from working familiesContinue reading...
Educationalists, psychologists and authors also call for a minister for children to try to address ‘toxic’ nature of childhood
A group of leading authors, educationalists and child-development experts is calling on the government to introduce national guidelines on the use of screens, amid concern about the impact on children’s physical and mental health.
It is one of a series of measures outlined in a letter to the Guardian, highlighting what it describes as the increasingly “toxic” nature of childhood, and signed by 40 senior figures, including the author Philip Pullman, the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the psychotherapist Susie Orbach and the childcare expert Penelope Leach.
Related: Screen-based lifestyle harms children’s health | Letters
Related: Are tablet computers harming our children's ability to read?Continue reading...
If you experience loneliness, or work with a charity tackling it, we’d like you to share your experiences with us
An ageing and more transient population, and changes to the way we make social connections, are responsible for more lonely people than ever before.
Amongst older people, rates of chronic loneliness have remained steady since the 1940s, with 6-13% of people over the age of 65 reporting they feel lonely “all or most of the time” according to the ONS. 18-34 year-olds are more likely to feel lonely more often, to worry about feeling alone, and to feel depressed because of loneliness than those over 55, according to the Mental Health Foundation.Continue reading...
Psychologists believe they can identify progressive changes in work of artists who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease
The first subtle hints of cognitive decline may reveal themselves in an artist’s brush strokes many years before dementia is diagnosed, researchers believe.
The controversial claim is made by psychologists who studied renowned artists, from the founder of French impressionism, Claude Monet, to the abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning.
Related: Strobe lighting provides a flicker of hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s
Related: Words fail us: dementia and the artsContinue reading...
Tell us whether your life has been saved or changed by a doctor, nurse, paramedic, midwife, porter or other health worker
Day in, day out despite the huge pressure on the NHS, healthcare professionals change patients’ lives.
In a recent interview, journalist and broadcaster Nick Robinson spoke of how grateful he was to the speech and language therapist who helped him get his voice back after his vocal cord was damaged in an operation to remove a lung tumour.Continue reading...
Eight million child refugees is a mental health time bomb. Ignoring it now would be a terrible mistake
Everyone knows there’s an international refugee crisis. But there is a vital issue that’s in danger of being missed – the terrible psychological damage that’s being done to millions of children. Such harm is less obvious than physical wounds, but most European countries haven’t had to deal with childhood trauma on this scale since the end of the second world war.
There are now 8 million of these children, according to Unicef, and they make up nearly half the world’s refugees. It’s hard to make sense of such huge numbers, but they break down into heartbreaking individual stories. Earlier this year Stephen Cowan, a council leader from west London, visited the makeshift camp in Calais, hoping to be able to bring a number of unaccompanied child refugees to England. On a mild autumn day, he spotted a young Afghan boy who was shivering and sweating as though he had a fever. “Is he ill?” asked the councillor. The interpreter shook his head. “No,” he said, matter-of-factly, “he’s been in the camp for two months and it’s driven him mad.”
Country after country is shifting the blame on to...
Michael Palin says news of Terry Jones’s diagnosis prompted huge outpouring of support and interest in the disease
The news this autumn that the former Monty Python actor Terry Jones is suffering from dementia prompted an extraordinary outpouring of support and interest in the illness, his colleague Michael Palin has said.
“The response was not just great sympathy for Terry and his family, but great interest in dementia,” Palin said. “So many people from all over the world saying my mother, my grandmother, my sister, my aunt, we’ve all suffered from this so what can we learn from this. That really surprised me and everyone I know.”
Carey Mulligan, Michael Palin and Michael Parkinson discuss how music helped loved ones with dementia. Read more: https://t.co/MGYhUjjQn6 pic.twitter.com/ZrqW4AW49xContinue reading...
Caring nurses, skilled surgeons and quick thinking midwives. Readers recall health workers who changed their lives
I’d gone to A&E in Derby, where I was staying for Christmas, with the most dreadful headache. I’d been a radiographer at St Thomas’ hospital in London for 18 years and knew something wasn’t right. It was the day after Boxing Day and there had been heavy snow so it was busy with people who had fallen over.
I never got the chance to tell her that she was perfect at her job, that she showed me care that I will never forget.
Related: Death, helicopter crashes and tears: nurses' career-defining momentsContinue reading...
Study tracking 6.6 million people estimates one in 10 cases of Alzheimer’s among those living by busy roads could be linked to air and noise pollution
People living near a busy road have an increased risk of dementia, according to research that adds to concerns about the impact of air pollution on human health.
Roughly one in 10 cases of Alzheimer’s in urban areas could be associated with living amid heavy traffic, the study estimated – although the research stopped short of showing that exposure to exhaust fumes causes neurodegeneration.
Related: Ageing test could highlight patients at risk of dementiaContinue reading...
Almost 10m working days are lost to stress in the UK every year. Readers share their stories of how they keep it under control
Never being able to switch off from technology used to cause me stress at work. People assume that, because you have a work iPhone and colleagues all over the world, you’re happy to respond to any minor request at the most ungodly of hours.
Playing in a brass band helps me relax. Once the baton is lifted everything else disappears
Related: Eight ways to eliminate stress at workContinue reading...