Mike Jay’s beautifully designed book is a fascinating tour d’horizon of the treatment – and mistreatment – of mentally ill people, seen mostly through the lens of London’s Bethlem royal hospital. Founded in 1247 and now merged with the much younger Maudsley, this ancient institution has been by turns the archetypal “madhouse”, an asylum and a mental hospital. Along the way, “Bedlam”, as it was once widely known, has often promised more than it could deliver. In 1676, when the hospital moved from its original overcrowded and unsanitary site in Bishopsgate to nearby Moorfields, Robert Hooke’s grand new building turned out to have no foundations, while the elegant baroque facade was in fact a sham. The symbolism was clear: here, as Jay puts it, was “a facade of care concealing a black hole of neglect”.
Related: Bedlam was originally a place of sanctuary – now it can be again | Mike Jay
While not risk-free, ECT can in fact be helpful as a treatment for severe depression, albeit usually as a last resortContinue...
When someone close to me was permanently damaged after being admitted to a mental health ward, I thought my career was over
As soon as I was placed on a mental health unit as a student occupational therapist I knew: working on a psychiatric ward was my dream job.
I was very lucky – I got that job pretty quickly after qualifying and worked with a dedicated team of professionals. Most really enjoy their work, although it’s not always easy. Mental health care can be extremely pressured, challenging, exhausting and some days downright sad. You see such desperate situations but you toughen up and eventually learn that despite trying, you can’t save everyone.
Related: My OT and I: how occupational therapists achieve the impossible
Related: The day an occupational therapist changed my lifeContinue reading...
Ageing population and better diagnosis have led to heart disease being knocked off top spot for first time, ONS says
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have replaced ischaemic heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales for the first time.
Last year, 61,686 (11.6%) out of a total of 529,655 deaths registered in England and Wales were attributable to dementia, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Related: Alzheimer's treatment within reach after successful drug trialContinue reading...
The music industry has always basked in a reputation for hedonism and self-destruction. Stress has traditionally been dealt with by indulging in sex, drugs and alcohol, or possibly the defenestration of a television.
Now, one of the UK industry’s biggest marketing companies believes a new approach is needed. Quite Great Music PR, which has promoted Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, The Doors, Stevie Wonder and Mariah Carey among others, is to start offering its clients access to a psychotherapist amid concerns about the mental health of musicians.
Related: Adele: 'I'd be happy never to tour again'Continue reading...
In recent years the National Health Service has made much greater use of talking therapies for people with mental health problems. However, first-line approaches to more complex disorders, based crudely around diagnostic labels, are frequently ineffective. An alternative approach to such disorders is cognitive analytic therapy (CAT), developed by Anthony Ryle, who has died aged 89. For these, it is recognised as an effective and user-friendly treatment.
CAT looks beyond the initially identified problems to the whole person, and to that person’s coping patterns, which will in turn have arisen from earlier formative relational experiences with care-givers and significant others (“reciprocal roles”). Though he acknowledged biological factors, Tony also noted that arguably our most important biological predisposition is to be socially formed. He based CAT around a concept of a predominantly relationally and socially formed self, with a style of therapy to match. CAT depends on an active collaboration between the patient and an overtly compassionate therapist to...
Despite ‘scandalous’ practice being outlawed six years ago, vulnerable minors are still being treated in adult settings
Dozens of children and young people with mental health problems are still being treated on wards containing adults with sometimes severe psychiatric problems despite ministers having supposedly outlawed the practice in 2010, the Guardian can reveal.
Mental health campaigners condemned the persistence of the problem and said it was completely unacceptable for vulnerable minors to be subjected to what many find a “terrifying” experience. The Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb, who had responsibility for mental health care in the coalition government, said putting children on adult wards was scandalous and must be ended at once.
Related: Mental health assessments 'needed for children in care'
Related: An adult mental health ward is no place for a child | Rae EarlContinue reading...
The new spin on loneliness is that we ought to welcome it, in modest doses, says Oliver Burkeman
Loneliness is everywhere in the world of psychology these days – the subject of so many studies, articles and talks that you sometimes wish the loneliness researchers would go away, so you could just get some damn time to yourself. Perhaps you knew that loneliness can be lethal: it’s linked to heart disease, insomnia and depression, and is a better predictor than obesity of an early death.
But the new spin on loneliness is that we ought to welcome it, in modest doses. “As long as we then do what we should do – reconnect with people – then loneliness is a good thing,” the German psychologist Maike Luhmann told the US website Vox. “This is a sign from our psychological systems that there’s something off.” It’s a “biological warning system” that evolved over millennia, alerting us to potentially dangerous levels of isolation. True, isolation isn’t so dangerous today: a friendless Londoner is less likely to starve, or be eaten, than a friendless prehistoric hunter-gatherer. But there’s a reason the pang of loneliness hurts so much.
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Royal college analysis says NHS bodies in some areas are spending little more than £2 per child despite surge in illness
NHS bodies are spending as little as £2.01 per child on mental health care for young people, despite the big spike in anxiety, depression and other serious problems among under-18s.
Psychiatrists claim the small sums being spent by GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England constitute a national scandal at a time when youth self-harm and suicide are rising.
Related: Ban use of police cells for people in mental health crisis, MPs toldContinue reading...
Game played by 2.4 million people has become largest dementia study in history, generating equivalent of 9,400 years of lab-based research
A mobile phone game that tests spatial navigation skills and has been played by 2.4 million people, has become the largest dementia study in history and raised hopes of a breakthrough in diagnosing the disease.
Sea Hero Quest, a collaboration between Alzheimer’s Research UK, Deutsche Telekom, game designers Glitchers and scientists, has generated the equivalent of 9,400 years of lab-based research since its launch in May.Continue reading...
Peers to move amendment to policing and crime bill in attempt to safeguard wellbeing of vulnerable people
People suffering a mental health crisis should never be held in police cells as they find it terrifying and become even more unwell, ministers will be told.
Peers will move an amendment to the policing and crime bill on Wednesday to ensure that adults who are feeling suicidal, are psychotic or are self-harming are never taken to police stations for assessment. It already plans to do that for under-18s.
Related: The police can’t continue to pick up the pieces of Britain’s mental health cuts | Ian Blair
Related: Mentally ill people more likely to die after police use force – watchdogContinue reading...
Despite efforts to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, Productivity Commission says some areas are getting worse
Australia’s efforts to combat Indigenous disadvantage are continuing to see declining outcomes in mental health, family violence, and incarceration, the Productivity Commission has found.
The commission’s biannual report, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage, has measured the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people since 2000. The data helps inform Australia’s progress on its closing the gap targets, agreed to by the council of Australian governments (Coag) in 2007 and 2008.
Related: The suicide rate in Australia is a humanitarian crisis that we can no longer ignore | Gerry Georgatos
Related: Indigenous suicide is a humanitarian crisis. We need a royal commission | Dameyon BonsonContinue reading...
Down to Earth aims to engage hard to reach and vulnerable people through participation in practical activity in Wales
At first glance it’s just another construction site. On one side of the yard, a group of men in hard hats stand around a large electric saw, watching the foreman demonstrate how it works. Further along, another group are wielding hand saws. The sound of banging and clashing comes from inside a half-finished wooden structure.
But this isn’t your average building site and these are no regular builders. They’re patients on day release from three low secure mental health facilities within the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) health board in Wales.
Related: Westminster: wealth, opulence and socially isolated new mothersContinue reading...
From digital assistants to ‘smart’ medicine bottles, a new wave of connected devices could help people live independently for longer
Smart bottles that dispense the correct dose of medication at the correct time, digital assistants, and chairs that know how long you’ve sat in them are among the devices set to change the face of care for those living with dementia.
Dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales, and is thought to affect more than 850,000 people in the UK. But a new wave of connected devices, dubbed “the internet of things”, could offer new ways to help people live independently for longer.Continue reading...
Dementia is now the commonest cause of death in England and Wales, and although Alzheimer’s was first identified more than a century ago, effective treatments have proved elusive. But progress may now be in sight
Related: Sea Hero Quest: the mobile phone game helping fight dementia
Most of us forget names, dates or places from time to time. But Hilary Doxford never did. While the rest of us smile about our common inadequacy, she knew she was experiencing a genuine malfunction of her high-performance brain. “I did have a really good memory and didn’t need to write things down,” she says. “And I used to be able to multiply two four-digit numbers together almost instantaneously.” But one day, she started getting the sums wrong.
Related: Dementia and Alzheimer's leading cause of death in England and Wales
Related: A decade of deadlock over Alzheimer's treatment may be drawing to a closeContinue reading...
If dementia is now a leading cause of death in England and Wales (Report, 15 November), this is partly due to increasing awareness and diagnosis of dementia, along with improving treatments for general medical disorders. These figures highlight the need for science-driven, clinically oriented research to improve diagnosis and treatment. There is currently research investigating the earliest brain changes associated with dementia, and development of novel pharmacological and psychotherapeutic interventions to improve outcomes.
However, these figures also highlight the urgent need to improve access to advance care planning and palliative care for patients who have end-stage dementia. Patients with advancing dementia experience significant psychiatric and medical comorbidities, which can pose difficult management issues for relatives and attending physicians. Advance care planning is a targeted intervention that promotes autonomy in end-of-life decisions, before individuals lose decision-making capacity.Continue reading...
I knew afterwards that my days working as a nurse in the emergency department were numbered
I stood in front of the ambulance bay door. My badge clutched in my hand, knuckles white, jaw clenched. I questioned my attempt at returning to work on this day. I stood in front of the doors grappling with a burning feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew then, right there, that my career in the emergency department was over.
A quiet swollen presence of pain ran down every corridor. The night before, we lost a colleague to suicide. Some of us found the body. Some of us carried out the post mortem care. Some of us stood there as family filed in to the room. Some of us made the calls alerting fellow staff. Some of us, all of us, changed forever that night.
Related: By the end of my first year as a doctor, I was ready to kill myselfContinue reading...
The most influential psychiatric handbook prohibited a joint diagnosis of autism and ADHD until 2013. But the link could be significant
Until as late as 2013 a joint (or comorbid) diagnosis of autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was not permitted by the most influential psychiatric handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is an essential tool in psychiatry as it allows clinicians and researchers to use a standard framework for classifying mental disorders. Health insurance companies and drug regulation agencies also use the DSM, so its definition of what does or doesn’t constitute a particular disorder can have far-reaching consequences.
One of the reasons for the prohibition of a comorbid diagnosis of autism and ADHD was that the severity of autism placed it above ADHD in the diagnostic hierarchy, so the inattention that is normally present in autism did not seem to merit an additional diagnosis. Nevertheless, that was an odd state of affairs, as any clinician working in the field would be able to quote studies that point to anything from 30% to 80% of patients with autism also having ADHD. More problematic still...
Public Health Wales study finds children who suffer abuse, violence or other trauma more likely to develop chronic disease
Children who suffer abuse, violence or other trauma at home are more likely to become seriously ill as adults, a report has concluded.
The study says children who endure four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with a chronic disease in later life compared with those who have experienced none.Continue reading...
Officer did not verify that David Newman, who had dementia, had authority to drive before crash in Leicestershire, inquest told
An 87-year-old motorist was killed in a head-on motorway crash two months after police failed to notice his driving licence had been revoked because of dementia, an inquest has heard.
Albert Newman and a passenger in a van died after the “confused” motorist drove the wrong way for up to 30 miles along the M42, A42 and M1 in the early hours of 12 October last year.Continue reading...
In 2007 Sean Smith made an award-winning film about the Apache Company Stryker Brigade Combat Team during war in Iraq. Nine years on, the soldiers are back in the United States. They discuss post-traumatic stress and how their experiences in Iraq affect their daily lives and their political beliefs in 2016
It used to be that the eyes were considered the window to the soul. In 2016, you might have better luck checking someone’s social media. The tiny details we share about our lives have blurred the lines between “online” and “real life” – our Facebook accounts even get “memorialised” when we die.
Related: Dear technology, please could you stop being so needy | Rebecca Nicholson
What if an algorithmic branding of 'ill' was shared with the world without our knowledge or consent?Continue reading...
Hundreds with chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalopathy, to try online psychological therapy
Hundreds of children and young people are to get treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome for the first time, to see whether methods that have proved highly successful in the Netherlands can be adopted by the NHS.
Up to 2% of young people are affected by CFS, also known as myalgic encephalopathy (ME). But few get any treatment, and attempts to help have sometimes stoked the row over the causes of the condition. Activists on social media frequently denounce doctors who suggest that psychological issues play any part in the disease.
Related: My final year at Oxford, when I felt punished for having ME
Related: What I’m really thinking: the person with MEContinue reading...
By talking about my borderline personality disorder to a roomful of people, I could see I had made a difference to those with mental ill health
It was a dreary February day and I was thinking about my diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. At work and miserable, I turned over the possibility of using my negative experience for good.
Some of the best writers in history have found inspiration on their darkest nights. In this world, where the media are always encouraging young people to strive to look better and improve themselves, the beauty of who they are is often overlooked.
Related: Express yourself: how a charity is using dance to improve mental health
Related: Volunteering + social impact = mental health improvementContinue reading...
After 20 years as an officer, my mental health crashed. Talking about my feelings to Mind’s Blue Light support line has helped me cope
When people used to ask me, a serving police officer, how I was feeling, “OK” became an easy phrase to use. It didn’t show how much I was hiding.
I have worked for Essex police for more than 30 years. After 20 years of service, in 2013 my mental health started to decline. There were no big warning signs, no alarms, no sirens, just the start of a really difficult period of my life.
Related: Police stress costs thousands of working days in ScotlandContinue reading...
Plymouth pools funding across a range of services, with widespread benefits
Once a week, troubled children in Plymouth battling emotional problems can slip out of lessons and speak to a mental health professional – at their own school.
Teams of mental health staff started working across 27 secondary schools in September as part of an early-intervention scheme aimed at supporting city youngsters when they need help. Backed up by counsellors, the teams offer a wide-ranging package of support including talking therapies and play therapy.
Related: The 'three conversations' model: turning away from long-term care
Related: Children with positive care experience outperform at schoolContinue reading...
From mindfulness meditation to drinking calming teas, or relaxing with a good book, how do you de-stress after a long day at work?
Every year in the UK, more than 9.9m working days are lost to stress. And with the rise of 24/7 emails, insecure employment, and automation – our jobs are often the main culprit. So how can you stop taking your work worries home with you?
As today is National Stress Awareness Day, we’re looking for the best ways to relax after a stressful day at work. From mindfulness meditation to drinking calming teas or relaxing with a good book – how do you de-stress after a difficult day?Continue reading...