Review recommends disciplinary action against pair after three patients took their lives within eight months of decision to close Barrett Adolescent Centre
Two Queensland public servants face disciplinary action over the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre in 2014.
The Brisbane centre was the only facility to provide long-term in-patient treatment for young people with complex mental illnesses. Three young people took their lives within eight months of the decision, prompting a commission of inquiry.Continue reading...
Faced with the challenges of middle age, many people crash and burn. But is there another way?
• Help! My partner’s having a midlife crisis
As a well-adjusted middle-aged man, I like to define myself by the things I don’t have. I don’t have a scarlet Lamborghini or a conspicuous tattoo or a 22-year-old girlfriend to jumpstart my libido. Nor do I possess a penchant for extreme sports or expensive psychotherapy. Midway through my fifth decade, I’ve avoided the obvious pitfalls and reckon I’m coping quite well, which is why I am on my way to discuss the male midlife crisis with the therapist Andrew G Marshall, who has written a book on the subject. It’s a task that requires a cool and dispassionate eye. We will be like two doctors, I decide, objectively diagnosing the problems of others.
Inside his therapy room, Marshall directs me to an armchair and stoops to pour out some water. First impressions could hardly be more reassuring: Marshall is a soothing, sober man in colourful clothes. He asks about my background and my health, moving from my childhood to my present circumstances. I respond as honestly as I can, still confident I’ll be given the all-clear. I tell him I sailed past my...
Natasha Devon has obtained emails revealing education department worked against her because she criticised policy
Department for Education (DfE) officials appear to have been working to sack Natasha Devon, the government’s schools’ mental health champion, over her criticism of government policies even as they publicly denied doing so, according to internal emails obtained by Devon.
Devon, who was dropped from her role after she repeatedly argued that the government’s own education policies were contributing to poor mental health among young people, said the DfE emails confirmed her fears that the department had been trying to silence her.
Related: Sacked children's mental health tsar Natasha Devon: 'I was proper angry'
Related: Child mental health crisis 'worse than suspected'Continue reading...
She is also a survivor of child abuse rather than an evil person or the product of wonky genetics. It’s my privilege as a psychiatrist to help her
Sam* is a paedophile. Sam’s offence was a serious one – threatening a young boy and forcibly kissing and touching him. Sam was found guilty of this offence, and has a past history of offending including assaults, theft and drug use.
Sam is not in prison. Sam is in hospital. Sam was sent to hospital because the court took the view that the degree of mental illness that Sam had, in the form of schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, was so severe that Sam would not be safe in a custodial setting.
Related: I questioned my ability as a nurse after seeing my first patient die
Related: Walking into a home with drug abuse and domestic violence was terrifyingContinue reading...
Research has shown city dwellers are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression – but could individual buildings have a negative impact on wellbeing?
Screaming sirens, overcrowding, traffic; life in the city isn’t always relaxing.
These stressors aren’t simply inconvenient or irritating, though; research has suggested that urban living has a significant impact on mental health. One meta-analysis found that those living in cities were 21% more likely to experience an anxiety disorder – mood disorders were even higher, at 39%. People who grew up in a city are twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as those who grew up in the countryside, with a 2005 study suggesting this link may even be causal.
Related: Where is the world's most stressful city?Continue reading...
Money woes, stress, a lack of jobs at the end of it: university has never been tougher. But it can still provide you with the best years of your life
If student cliches are to be believed, university life once resembled an all-expenses-paid trip to a new town, where you could expect to meet your life partner, go on some marches, and turn up to a few exams right at the end. This year’s cohort of first years might, like their predecessors, be planning Ikea trips and breezily dumping their high-school sweethearts in anticipation of freshers’ week, but with fees likely to rise, no more grants and graduate employment levels looking ropey, they enter uni life in a far more precarious position than their parents did.
Most immediately, that classic cultural exchange, the year abroad studying in Europe, is at risk. Constant access to perfect Instagram fodder, dubious language skills and starting every sentence with “well, in Italy...” for six months upon return are but a few of the benefits of the Erasmus programme. But thanks to their Brexit-voting elders, students may be excluded from the scheme, according to a recent report.Continue reading...
Transfers increase by 20% in England and Wales, amid concerns over increase in prison suicides and self-harm
More prisoners are being diagnosed with mental health problems requiring hospital treatment, official figures obtained by the Guardian show.
The number of male prisoners being transferred to hospital under the 1983 Mental Health Act grew by more than 20% between 2011 and 2014 in England and Wales, said the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in response to a freedom of information request.
As a mental health nurse, trying to help a homicidal and suicidal patient while his mother screamed at me was too much
People often say they couldn’t do my job. I frequently wonder how I do. There are times I dread going in, times I can’t sleep at night because I’m worrying about a patient and days where I can laugh and cry intermittently. Every day feels like a gamble working as a community mental health nurse, not knowing what to expect.
Take Friday as an example. My diary was packed. Any sensible community nurse knows to keep this day as free as possible. With paperwork on the rise, I try to reserve a few hours on Fridays to make referrals to hostels, find people homes, update risk assessments, call carers and check patients have their crisis plans for the weekend.
Related: I fail patients in my job as a psychiatric nurse and leave them feeling worse
Related: Seeing how the NHS handles attempted child suicide scares meContinue reading...
The ideal of a doctor as a tower of strength, indefatigable and resourceful is one that most are happy to embody to the detriment of their lives and patient safety
A patient came to see me at my GP practice the other day. “I know you from the hospital,” he said. “It was you I saw on the night I went to A&E.” He paused, and then added: “You seemed tired”.
I couldn’t recall the event – it occurred during the A&E rotation of my GP training in 2014. At the time I felt that night work was killing me slowly. Driving home in the mornings I used to fear it might kill me quite suddenly. In that particular job I was obliged to alternate so frequently and jarringly between day and night work that after three months my life had blurred into a homogeneous grey fog in which I took pills to go to sleep and pills to wake up again. Driving was hazardous but working wasn’t straightforward either. On one occasion I fell asleep while phoning a patient’s relative in the middle of the afternoon. After three months I was struggling, my heart was skipping beats and I was so depressed that I started to think that maybe crashing my car wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Related: 'I fell asleep at the wheel':...
Reaching for your phone to help with stress and sleep might feel counterintuitive, but there are now hundreds of apps out there to help us find inner peace. With even the NHS on-board, there must something in it
To the smartphone-addled among us, advising the use of apps to fix mental health problems might seem like telling someone who needs to get fit to live on jam and fags. But it’s happening all the same. While gadget and social media addiction are lampooned for increasing teenage depression, and complaints abound that the constant compulsion to check apps and message conduits leaves us frazzled and scatterbrained, purveyors of wearable tech, app designers and even the NHS really want us to use our phones for soul-soothing.
The idea of treating mental health digitally is not new. A PC-based online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment for depression has been in clinical use for seven years now – rolling out newer such services via smartphone apps will make this kind of treatment even more accessible. Meanwhile, there are more than 500 mindfulness apps, offering meditation soundtracks, relaxation techniques and pearls of wisdom, not to mention the many...
Tim Smart quits troubled organisation that has been criticised for failing to investigate deaths of more than 1,000 patients
The interim chair of troubled Southern Health NHS foundation trust has become the latest senior figure to quit the organisation.
The trust has been widely criticised for failing to investigate more than 1,000 unexpected deaths of patients with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
Related: Why did Connor Sparrowhawk die in a specialist NHS unit? | Saba SalmanContinue reading...
A new Wellcome Collection exhibition, Bedlam: the asylum and beyond, which I co-curated with Bárbara Rodriguez Muñoz, uses the story of Royal Bethlem hospital to trace the rise and fall of the mental asylum. Although the asylum’s era of mass confinement has been consigned to history, the ideas that animated it still shape the mental health landscape. And some of its long-forgotten aspirations are now being reclaimed to imagine and create new approaches to mental healthcare.
Bethlem hospital – known for centuries in popular slang as Bedlam – has occupied three different sites over the last three centuries. Each illuminates the attitudes to mental health of its day. During the 18th century it was a grand edifice in Moorfields, north of the City of London, whose baroque façade concealed the bleak galleries in which patients were confined. This contrast expressed the dual function of the “madhouse”, as it was then known: a worthy charitable initiative for the benefit of those who would otherwise be on the streets, but also keeping them securely...
Findings challenge Jeremy Hunt’s claims that patients admitted at the weekend are at greater risk of dying
Mental health patients admitted to hospital on a Saturday or Sunday are no more likely to die than those who arrive on a weekday, according to a study of how more than 45,000 patients fared in British hospitals.
The findings challenge Jeremy Hunt’s claim that patients admitted at the weekend are at greater risk of dying because too few doctors are on duty. The health secretary has said as many as 11,000 patients die avoidably every year as a result of the “weekend effect”.
Related: Fewer people die in hospital at weekends, study findsContinue reading...
Wellcome Collection, London
This jumbled exhibition tracking changing attitudes to mental illness could have been a powerful study of Bedlam and psychiatry. Instead it fails to make sense of the real place and the myth
Sir Alexander Morison stands tall and sombre with his top hat in his left hand and a white handkerchief in his right. His eyes are grey and slightly sunken, his lips thin, his face long and gaunt. He seems marked by the sadness of his profession. For Morison was an “alienist”, a 19th-century doctor of mental illness, at London’s infamous asylum Bethlem Hospital, popularly known as Bedlam, whose history and cultural significance are explored by the Wellcome Collection’s new exhibition Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond.
Related: Taking over the asylum: art made at Bedlam and beyond – in picturesContinue reading...
A new exhibition collects together work made by inmates of mental hospitals – which is often startlingly detailed and fiercely lucidContinue reading...
A woman who split from her husband seven years ago finds that, as she struggles with her mental health, he is by her side and in her bed. Mariella Frostrup responds
The dilemma I have been having a dreadful time with the menopause for the past two years and a mental health team is now involved with my care. My husband and I split up seven years ago, but we remained close and see each other often. My husband has stayed the past couple of nights as I’m in quite a scary place, but we ended up having sex, and lots of it. I have not had sex for a long time and our sex life when we were married was never good, it was a real chore for me. We talked so much and have felt totally relaxed around each other. Please tell me what’s happening to me as I am meant to be having a breakdown, but I am having the most wonderful time with my husband. I had not slept for three nights before that when the psychiatric nurse prescribed me sleeping tablets. My mood swings are horrendous, yet I feel I have fallen in love with the man who has always been my rock. It’s like I am seeing him for the first time.
Mariella replies Perhaps you are! Thank you for providing a sliver of tangible proof to back up my...
Is coming into work when you’re so sick that you’re on the verge of collapse really something we should be praising, or encouraging? When Hillary Clinton announced last week that she was trying to work through a pneumonia diagnosis and continue her campaign schedule, her supporters were quick to use this as an opportunity to praise her strength of character. She was described as tough, determined, strong, gritty and other adjectives that suggest working through serious illness is to be admired.
Related: Hillary Clinton campaign admits 'we could have done better' handling pneumonia news
Related: Zero-hours contracts used far beyond short-term work, research saysContinue reading...
Royal Society for Public Health study finds snacking on junk food largely to blame for additional consumption on work journeys
The average UK commuter consumes nearly 800 additional calories a week while travelling to and from work, often as a result of unhealthy snacking, a study has found.
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), which commissioned the research, said longer commutes are potentially shortening lives by increasing stress, limiting sleep and physical activity, and encouraging unhealthy eating.
Related: Meet the supercommuters: how to survive five hours of travel every dayContinue reading...
“When you are high, it is tremendous. Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to seduce and captivate others a felt certainty. Feelings of ease, intensity, power, well-being, financial omnipotence and euphoria now pervade one’s marrow. But somehow, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast and there are far too many, overwhelming confusion replaced by fear and concern. You are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of mind … It goes on and on and finally there are only other people’s recollections of your behaviour – your bizarre, frenetic, aimless behaviour …” – A patient’s account in Manic-Depressive Illness by FK Goodwin and KR Jamison
Related: I have bipolar disorder, but I wouldn’t want to ‘fix’ my mind | Gavin Extence
The most significant risk factor for developing bipolar may be environmental stress
Related: 10 things you should never say to someone with bipolar disorderContinue...
Katrina Percy to keep pay deal of about £240,000 a year in new role after quitting as head of NHS trust that was criticised over death of Connor Sparrowhawk
The boss of an NHS trust that was widely criticised for failing to investigate unexpected deaths of patients with mental health problems or learning disabilities has stepped aside, citing “media attention”.
However, Katrina Percy will continue to be employed by the organisation in a new role – pulling in the same pay and benefits of about £240,000 a year – as a strategic adviser, a trust spokeswoman said.
Related: ‘We never thought he wouldn’t come home’: why did our son, Connor Sparrowhawk, die?Continue reading...
With access to mental health treatment under increasing strain, experts weigh up the benefits of using the video platform to find relief from anxiety disorders
YouTube has become the go-to social platform for life hacks. Hoards of chipper lifestyle vloggers upload new self-improvement videos every day, ranging from recipes for hot chocolate served in an orange to the secrets to effective to-do list writing. But among the homemaking tips and makeup tutorials, a crop of these videos are tackling a more serious subject: mental health.
Related: Depressed? Your doctor might soon prescribe ketamine
Related: An emotional support animal is just a mouse click awayContinue reading...
Corbyn, who faced repeated questions about ‘Traingate’ row, also condemns ‘lunatic’ remark by leadership rival Owen Smith
Jeremy Corbyn has reacted angrily after being repeatedly asked about his public row with Virgin Trains, and reminded the company’s boss, Sir Richard Branson, of Labour’s pledge to renationalise the railways.
Corbyn faced several questions over his account of sitting on the floor of a “ram-packed” Virgin service at an event on Wednesday to launch Labour’s health policies in London.
Related: Behind Traingate: retracing Corbyn's trip to see reality of UK rail travel – liveContinue reading...
Adolescents are particularly susceptible to worries over weight and diet. Here’s what parents can do to stop these fears becoming serious health issues
If you want your child to be a healthy weight, don’t use the D word. Talking about diets or even weight is bad for all adolescents, the American Academy of Pediatrics said this week. The academy’s latest guidelines aim to prevent not only eating disorders but also obesity. They are particularly aimed at preventing teenagers who are trying to lose weight from tipping into eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa. Neville Golden, professor of pediatrics at Stanford University Medical School and lead author of the guidelines, said that 40% of those admitted for eating disorders are dieters who got out of control. “Scientific evidence increasingly shows that, for teenagers, dieting is bad news,” he said.
Teenagers in the US who diet in ninth grade (around 15 years of age) are three times more likely than non-dieters to be overweight by 12th grade. But dieting is also the most important predictor for developing an eating disorder. Hence the academy’s new one-size-fits-all guidelines. Wellness is the word preferred to weight. But...
Camera Off is the new mini series from The Story, our podcast dedicated to bringing you great documentaries, investigation and long-form storytelling.
In this first episode we hear the powerful tale of Chris and Michael brought together across generations, cultures and continents through the strange twists and turns of mental illness, hallucinations, and love
Michael was at medical school when he was gripped by paranoid schizophrenia which left him at the mercy of the voices in his head. He survived on the streets of New York for 10 years by believing he was part of a special intelligence force working to stop George Bush’s evil plot to take over the world, until he hears the voice of Britain’s Queen.
Meanwhile, Chris was a retired art gallerist in England. One day, their eyes meet during a service at Westminster Abbey, and a story of friendship, love and survival unfolds.Continue reading...
Katie Simpkins, from Corsham in Wiltshire, was detained for her own safety but no hospital bed was available in the county
A mental health trust has apologised after a patient had to sleep in the back of a police car in a hospital car park because there was no bed available for her.
Katie Simpkins, 23, from Corsham in Wiltshire, was detained under the Mental Health Act for her own safety but there was no hospital bed available in the whole of the county.
Related: NHS mental health care ‘pushed to breaking point by lack of beds’Continue reading...
Going online may fill a void for struggling parents, but can the internet’s instant gratification fail to address deeper perinatal problems?
She irritates your parents. She baffles your grandparents. The preoccupied young mum feeding, with one hand, organic sweet potato puree to her eager eight-month-old, and checking her Facebook notifications with her smartphone in the other. A stereotype which would pass for a member of the Modern Tribe and one I’m sure you already recognise. Perhaps she is closer to yourself than you would like to admit.
Related: Postnatal depression: what the baby books don't tell you | Tania Browne
Related: Two in five new dads concerned about mental health problems, survey saysContinue reading...
From the insanity found in modern politics to the genuine tragedies of mental illness, this month we want your prose to help us find sense in the world
We live in a mad, mad world. If you don’t believe me, just watch the news tonight to see the full gamut of insanity on display. From low tragedy to high farce, politics, economics and celebrity culture all seem to be locked in a downward spiral of lunatic proportions. It’s enough to drive a poet to despair.
Mind you, this is no new thing. In the 18th century, a poet like Christopher Smart could be driven to the asylum by virtue of religious experiences that were at odds with the dictates of the rational fashion of the time. His contemporaries considered that, by virtue of their resistance to reason, the insane were a danger to society and should be held in isolation – so it was with Smart. During the six years he spent in mental health asylums, he wrote most of his very best poetry, including the wonderful Jubilate Agno, which sees the poet turn inwards for his inspiration, ignoring the bedlam of his surroundings and making poetry of Orphic power.
I have lived it, and I know too much.
My café-nerves are breaking me