Peter Sutcliffe, now Peter Coonan, may be released from Broadmoor after mental illness judged to be under control
The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women, may be released from the secure psychiatric hospital Broadmoor and sent to a mainstream prison after a tribunal concluded that his mental illness was under control.
Sutcliffe was given 20 life sentences when he was convicted in 1981, but was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1984 and transferred to Broadmoor in Berkshire.
Related: Police review claims of unsolved Yorkshire Ripper attacksContinue reading...
Rates of alcohol and drug abuse are increasing, according to the inaugural Australian Youth Development Index
Australia’s youth have become far more politically engaged since 2006 and civic participation has increased significantly, putting a lie to the stereotype that young people are disengaged.
But their health and wellbeing has been deteriorating, with a worrying increase in drug and alcohol abuse over the past 10 years and higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases.
Related: Young people are so bad at voting – I'm disappointed in my peers | Hannah Jane ParkinsonContinue reading...
Survey by Mind says one in 10 has suicidal thoughts and significant proportion fear impact of disclosing mental health issues
Almost nine in 10 GPs and other practice staff find their work life stressful, according to a survey that raises concerns about their mental health.
The research, carried out for Mind, also found that one in 10 had had suicidal thoughts as a consequence of workplace stress, and a significant proportion feared the impact of disclosing their problem and/or resorted to unhealthy coping mechanisms.Continue reading...
From supporting a young man who wanted to kill himself to being held at knife point by a child, social care professionals recount what keeps them up at night
During my eight years in social care, I have struggled, like everyone in support roles, with the dreaded fear. It’s a fear that finds you not just at work but on your lunch break, during the commute, in the bath ... everywhere. I recently supported a young man in his early twenties who has a long history of mental health problems and was alcohol dependent. It was the anniversary of a bereavement, and he was intoxicated, self-harming and suicidal so I spent hours with him calming him down and putting plans in place. I stayed late – you do in this role, it’s not 9 to 5 – but the time came when I needed to hand over to my colleague.
Related: Silence your phone and let go of guilt: 10 tips to improve your wellbeing at work
Related: Social work is a high-stress job – support from peers is invaluableContinue reading...
Rugby player who set up Andy’s Man Club says it is vital for men to have place to speak without fear of being chastised or judged
The rugby league player behind a social media campaign urging men to talk about mental health problems says he want to halve the rate of male suicides in five years.
Luke Ambler, who plays for Halifax RLFC, launched the #itsokaytotalk campaign after the suicide this year of his brother-in-law Andy Roberts.
Related: Suicides and assaults in prisons in England and Wales at all-time high
We MUST tackle the taboo & get the message out there that it's #itsokaytotalk about anxiety or depression pic.twitter.com/DiCfg1AF1N
Us volunteers at #Teddington are all on board with #itsokaytotalk! @ChiswickRNLI @TowerRNLI @GravesendRNLI @RNLI pic.twitter.com/qb51djwtPeContinue reading...
Lithium is most effective drug in reducing self-harm and suicide, and bad reputation is misplaced, study suggests
Britain’s 650,000 people with bipolar disorder should take lithium to help control their condition, despite its reputation for dulling the senses, a significant new study has found.
Researchers claim that although the drug does carry some health risks, its overall effectiveness, especially its ability to reduce self-harm and suicide, mean it should be much more widely used.
I think many patients are missing out quite commonly on the best available treatmentContinue reading...
Atlas shows care review performed for less than half of patients in some parts of country but for nine out of 10 in others
People with dementia are being let down by local services across the country, according to new government data that critics say has revealed a postcode lottery in care for the chronic and degenerative brain disease.
An interactive “dementia atlas”, published online on Tuesday by the Department of Health, shows that standards of care vary widely in different areas, with services failing to reach almost half the patients for check-ups even once a year in one area.
Related: What happens to older people who can't afford good care?
Related: The Observer view on dementia care | Observer editorial
Related: Could music projects cut the cost of dementia care?Continue reading...
Clinical trial conducted in Australia and New Zealand will compare patients’ response to multiple doses of the drug with placebo
The first “gold standard” clinical trial of ketamine for the ongoing treatment of major depression was launched in Sydney on Tuesday and will involve seven research institutions and 200 patients from across Australia and New Zealand.
Several pilot studies have examined the effectiveness of ketamine for depression but these have typically been smaller studies testing a single dose of ketamine on acutely depressed patients.
Related: Quarter of chronically ill Australians skip treatment due to medical costs
Related: Health service calls for royal commission into Indigenous suicide ratesContinue reading...
It has been assumed, as Colin Grant says, that no one outside Edward Lear’s family “knew of his epilepsy or the shame he felt about it” (After the fall, 13 August). But Lear noted in a late diary entry that he had “almost always” managed to keep his sometimes “heartstopping and braintwisting” seizures secret. The forms of Lear’s grand mal seizures seem to have varied and there are indications that he sometimes had absence seizures (petit mal).
It was not only in the culture of Emily Dickinson’s polite America that epilepsy was associated with syphilis, insanity and masturbation, both in the popular imagination and among influential medics. The many editions of the pamphlet Onania, first published in England circa 1715, established masturbation as a cause of epilepsy, and for a while one of Lear’s sisters slept in his bedroom to make sure he did not give way to “impurity”. Lear would have been in accord with Graham Greene’s doctor who prescribed “good walks”, but did not live long enough to enjoy the benefits of Kepler’s malt extract.
The welfare system needs a revolution, but change should be from the bottom up
Seventy years on from the creation of the welfare state and social care is one of the biggest, most important and yet most neglected social policies. Now another new government needs to face up to the vital need for radical reform. The spending cuts made in the name of austerity over the last six years have especially hit local authority social care. This in turn has particularly hurt the growing numbers of older and disabled people needing help, including mental health service users and people with learning difficulties. While the rhetoric surrounding social care has been all about integration, the tendency is still to treat it in isolation.
Despite social policy needing a rethink, discussions about welfare have become very narrow, largely framed solely in terms of benefits policy, separating off housing, health, employment and education as if they are altogether different issues. It has also become heavily polarised. On the one hand there is the dominant discourse framed largely in terms of restricting access to benefits and frequently stereotyping disabled people and other claimants as scroungers...
Her reaction may be understandable, but it was wrong – and sending a troubled man to prison is likely to make his problems worse
So a woman judge is abused as “a bit of a cunt” who should “go fuck yourself” by a racist thug whom she has just jailed. She hits back that he too is “a bit of a cunt” and he too should fuck off. To adapt Oscar Wilde on the death of Little Nell, it would take a heart of stone not to cheer.
Judge Patricia Lynch QC has duly become a hero to the retributive classes. Give these people a taste of their own medicine, is the cry. Show them who is boss. Meanwhile, there are inevitable complaints to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office. Is this an appropriate way to sentence a man to a year and half in prison? Is this how we expect our judges to behave?
Related: Complaints made after judge trades insults with defendant in courtContinue reading...
It’s a buzzword in universities but what does resilience actually mean? Our overuse of the term may be causing more problems than it solves
Resilience has been a buzzword in education for years now. Advocates say that young people need to develop the ability to cope with difficulties themselves, rather than expect others to solve their problems. But critics argue that it is used as a catch-all term that removes responsibility from institutions and fails to address the problem of worsening mental health in students.
Related: Tuition fees 'have led to surge in students seeking counselling'
Students need to be equipped to bounce back from tough situations or those where they didn’t achieve perfection.
Related: No one sees how hard it is for students with an invisible illnessContinue reading...
Creating green spaces and better connections between people are just two of the ways urban planners can improve mental health
The frenetic, isolating nature of city life can be a day-to-day struggle for millions of people. An environmental cocktail of densely packed streets and homes, cramped and lengthy commutes and noise pollution as well as significant pockets of poverty and deprivation can take their toll. As a result, mental ill health and urban life are inextricably linked.
With urban areas expected to house two-thirds of the world’s population by 2050 and some cities, such as in China, undergoing unprecedented expansion, the relationship between urban environments and mental health – and what to do about it – is rapidly coming to the fore.
Related: Is city living bad for your health?Continue reading...
The range of mental health problems experienced around pregnancy and childbirth is vast and often isn’t spoken about. Here, we share your stories
Magda, a 29-year-old software developer, regularly fends off questions about when she will have her first child. Coming from a close-knit family and having been with her boyfriend for a decade, the topic is brought up regularly. But Magda grimaces in response, only to be told: “Don’t leave it too late.”
For Magda, the question of when she wants to have a child is complex. There is a serious history of depression and psychosis in her family on both sides. In fact, her mother was sectioned for a long time after giving birth to her.
A lot of times my days are coping minute to minute. I don’t know if that puts me in a good position to raise a child
When it comes to having children I have two thoughts. One, genetically I don’t like the idea of gambling and seeing whether I pass it on... Second, should that child not have to deal with that, they will have to deal with me as their father and a lot of times my days are coping minute to minute. I don’t know if that puts me in a good position to raise a child in the best way.
Giving birth was much...
Residents in north London have come up trumps with a development that includes affordable housing and mental health support – and green spaces
Housing can be a gloomy beat: most news stories focus on eviction rates, homelessness, rising house prices and rent rates locking people out of stable homes, while council housing is forcibly sold thanks to short-sighted government policies.
Obviously, bad news needs to be reported; often the people most subject to discrimination and homelessness are precisely those people the political class view as voiceless. But amid the doom, small symbols of hope appear in housing.
Related: 'I can't believe how I've flowered as a tenant on a housing board'Continue reading...
With big pharma short on solutions, we talk to people pioneering new ways to beat conditions including anxiety, depression and schizophrenia
Once upon a time, the future of mental health treatment was drugs. The advent of Prozac and whole class of similar medication in the 1990s gave doctors an easy option and big pharma easy money.
But 20 years on, the problems have not gone away. In fact, mental illness is much more pervasive, with depression now the world’s second biggest cause of disability.Continue reading...
Architects’ Journal survey reveals heavy workload and anxiety over debt from seven-year course primary sources of stress
More than a quarter of architecture students in the UK are receiving or have received medical help for mental health problems related to their course. Another quarter feel they may have to seek help in future.
Anxiety over the student debts accrued during the seven-year course, and workloads that frequently require all-nighters, were the primary sources of stress identified by undergraduates.
Related: Six things students can do to boost their mental healthContinue reading...
Lee Arnold, who has paranoid schizophrenia, is sentenced to life in jail for killing William Lound in Salford
The mother of a student who was murdered in a transphobic and homophobic attack has blamed “totally inadequate” mental health services for the death of her son.
Lee Arnold, 37, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 23 years and four months for stabbing 30-year-old William Lound 12 times in his room at his halls of residence in February this year.Continue reading...
As a soon-to-be mental healthcare professional, I don’t see the bad. I see a health service that needs more support, love and care
It’s no secret that the NHS is fighting a battle. We see it every day in the arguments to and fro, between the NHS and the government.
Every time I log on to Facebook I’m invited to another protest against the junior doctor contracts, or about the NHS student bursaries. At one point every single message in my inbox was a petition, I spent the whole evening signing, sharing and sending them around. I wanted to save the NHS too.
Related: Our grassroots campaign is fighting NHS bursary cuts
Related: Neonatal nursing is an amazing job, but it takes an emotional tollContinue reading...
“The fall in the pound has already led to a 9%-13% cut in our programme funding,” says Jon Rosser, chief executive of World Child Cancer. The international charity, based in the UK, helps about 4,000 poor children in developing countries to get cancer diagnoses and care every year, by twinning hospitals in the UK and other western economies with hospitals in countries including Bangladesh, Cameroon, and the Philippines. Doctors and nurses volunteer their time, helping to train local medics so that they can diagnose and treat more children with cancer. The charity also helps families with drug costs.
But since the UK voted to leave the EU in June, the depreciation of sterling – which is down around 12% against the dollar alone – means that the charity’s grants are worth much less. “We have had to tell all programmes to start cutting back,” says Rosser.
Related: Cornwall fears loss of funding after backing Brexit
Related: Theresa May takes Brexit’s immigration message to eastern EuropeContinue reading...
Social workers and lawyers despair at Camhs’ refusal to assess or treat young people placed in short-term care
“How can a child who is psychologically in a very bad place settle unless they get mental health support?” asks independent reviewing officer Sukhchandan Kaur. She is talking about a 15-year-old boy who was neglected for years and slipped through the social care net until his early teens and has been placed with several foster carers who have been unable to manage his behaviour. Child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) will not work with him.
“I’ve appealed twice,” she says in despair. “They’ve not even assessed him. For him to be assessed, he would have to be accepted as a referral. And they won’t.”
'We’re so used to them saying no that we don’t even refer any more'
Related: Tackling underfunding in children’s mental health services
Related: What service users want to change in mental health policyContinue reading...
Ken Loach’s drama exposed the tragic mental health consequences of homelessness, but half a century on the problems and failures are increasing
Sunday saw the BBC’s 50th anniversary screening of the landmark film Cathy Come Home, written by Jeremy Sandford and directed by Ken Loach. First broadcast in 1966, this drama about a young mother caught in an impossible, inhuman system, which leaves her homeless, destroys her marriage and ultimately robs her of her children, led to public outrage, a surge in donations to the charity Shelter and the founding of the charity Crisis the following year.
The number of people sleeping rough with a mental health problem has more than tripled over the past five years
Related: Legacy of Cathy Come Home should fuel fury over homelessnessContinue reading...
Deadlines are looming, you’re broke and student parties are a distant memory. Being a postgrad is tough at times, but you don’t have to suffer in silence
Doing a postgrad means signing up to having a bit more on your plate. You’ll be balancing finances, managing a high workload, figuring out your career and perhaps living in a new town, away from friends and family – all at the same time. But it’s an opportunity that’s likely to be rewarding, intellectually challenging and transformative. So how do you make the most of it while keeping stress at bay?
Student groups and universities are concerned about rising stress levels. Last year Universities UK’s mental wellbeing working group discovered that campus counselling services are seeing an annual increase in demand of about 10%, with mental health professionals identifying anxiety and stress as the cause.
Master's students can put a lot of pressure on themselves and become perfectionists
Related: How to make your part-time master's worthwhile
Related: The great escape: five reasons to study abroad for a master'sContinue reading...
The scale of the mental health challenge is huge – but it’s not clear that promises of more funding and cultural change are being upheld
Promises, platitudes and plans are piling up for mental health, but how much is going to be delivered?
Mental health accounts for roughly £12bn of the NHS budget. In parliamentary terms the current support for mental health is unprecedented – parity of esteem with physical health services is enshrined in the Health and Social Care Act 2012, plus last year’s spending review made explicit reference to improving quality, choice and outcomes in mental health.
Related: ‘This isn’t acceptable’: outcry at state of NHS mental health care funding
The scale of the task is becoming clearer, but it is daunting.
Related: Joined up health and care needs a giant leap forward | David BehanContinue reading...
Patients suffering from mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety most likely to forfeit care
One quarter of chronically ill Australians are skipping healthcare because of prohibitive medical costs, with those suffering from mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety most likely to forfeit care.
The finding comes from research led by James Cook University in Queensland that examined the chronic health conditions associated with the highest out-of-pocket costs and whether those costs prevented people from accessing treatment.
Related: Rockmelon industry devastated by salmonella outbreak linked to NT farm
Related: Untested stem cell treatments proliferate in Australia, study findsContinue reading...
Tech innovations can help patients self-manage their conditions and keep track of older people as well as those in care homes
Picture the scene: an elderly woman with bronchitis is overcome by breathlessness while out for an afternoon shop. Instead of ignoring the problem, she immediately turns to her mobile phone, which is measuring her breathing rate and integrating that reading with other personal health data. The program decides that she needs a GP consultation within two hours, books it at a local walk-in centre and even tells her which bus to catch.
Far from being science fiction, this kind of scenario represents the kind of reality the NHS must work towards, says Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s medical director. With spiralling costs, demand increases and staffing issues squeezing existing resources, a future of mobile-centric healthcare would increase efficiency – and maybe save lives.
A few well-thought-out and correctly aimed interventions will do far more than a scattergun introduction of funky toys
Related: The NHS needs a strong dose of tech investment
Related: How digital technology will make people powered health a realityContinue reading...
Last week, in a largely futile attempt to actually do some work, I installed a browser extension that blocked pretty much any website I could possibly distract myself with. Twitter: gone. Facebook: gone. Even my emails, which I obsessively tend to in order to feel moderately productive, were off limits for an hour.
Having found new and imaginative ways to waste my own time, what surprised me most was not how much more work I did, but the sheer frequency with which I attempted to access the internet. I’d incessantly tap “twitter.com” into the address bar, somehow immediately forgetting it was blocked. I’d click on my still-open Facebook tab to check my feed before remembering there was no point. Every time I finished a sentence I’d flit away from my work again, trying to exchange 10 seconds of productivity for 10 minutes of distraction. I knew I spent a lot of time online – but not this much.
Related: Five ways to curb your internet use and get your life back | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
Related: Turning off technology is about mental wellbeing – not being a...
Britain’s children face both an obesity epidemic and a mental health crisis. Giving them the chance to be active and connect with nature can only help
Is there any feeling on earth quite like that of a child on the first day of the summer holidays? The giddying sense of freedom and potential, after hours spent gazing longingly at browning grass and cloudless skies through classroom windows. At the beginning of the summer holidays, your gauzy days stretch out before you like chewing gum, waiting to be filled with adventure. If you were anything like me, most of them will have been spent outside; your life a procession of doing words: running, climbing, building (and wrecking), swimming, playing and paddling.
Related: Nearly one in four British children overweight or obese, claims study
A survey earlier this year found that three-quarters of children spend less time outside than US prison inmatesContinue reading...
New York’s mayor has thrown his weight behind a mental health programme focusing on prevention and recovery – the UK should take notice
New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s new programme of mental health spending is impressive in its scale, leadership and depth of resources, and could provide a lesson for central and local government leaders in the UK.
The programme, Thrive, comes with a mental health roadmap [pdf] for the city that states its ambitious aims: “It is our goal to not only reduce the toll of mental illness, but also promote mental health and protect New Yorkers’ resiliency, self-esteem, family strength and joy.”
Related: Mental health services kept waiting for promised 'revolution'
We have to pursue treatment and prevention. Both are necessary; one is not sufficient without the other
Related: Tackling underfunding in children’s mental health servicesContinue reading...