He was treated in hospital for mental health problems but will be discharged. Anything he does is on my head
“I’m going to go home and I’m going to stab someone.”
Alan is in the weekly ward review meeting with a group of doctors, nurses, and students. We’ve told him we think he is well enough to leave the ward; he disagrees.
Related: Sam is a convicted paedophile … and a teenage girlContinue reading...
Across Britain, soldiers’ lives are at risk because they can’t find the right treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, says Matthew Green, author of the new book Aftershock. He argues that the government must be honest about the huge gaps in the current system of care, and embrace pioneering new therapies. Only then, he says, will real change happen
Gail Porter, Ricky Hatton, Bill Oddie … in her portrait series Bipolar Picasso, Andrea Tyrimos explores our attitudes to mental illness. Mark Rice-Oxley joins the stars laying themselves bare in her studio
It can be unsettling to be painted. The last person who tried to paint me was my daughter. She missed out my mouth. Now Andrea Tyrimos is having a go. I’m optimistic that she will do a better job as a) she is a proper artist, and b) she is planning to exhibit the piece in a gallery later this week, alongside nine other portraits of people who, like me, suffer from mental illnesses.
All of which sounds a bit glum, until I turn up one afternoon at her north London studio to inspect progress. There I am, on a canvas 4ft by 4ft, leering down at myself as if to say: ‘What do you think you’re doing here?’ I’m slightly startled by how good a likeness it is. My nose is askew and my chin is formidable. It’s me, all right.
Related: Depression of Alastair Campbell and Amy Winehouse captured for exhibitionContinue reading...
Yet another report has been published showing frightening levels of mental illness among children and young people in England. The figure now stands at about a quarter of a million. I have written before, downplaying the phenomenon, usually along the lines of “children have never had it so good” and pointing to the increase in child-centrism, the boons of technology and the growth in living standards for most.
I can’t keep my head in the sand any longer. Something is going seriously wrong. Owen Jones, in an article in this newspaper, recited the usual suspects – overcrowded and poor housing, poor diet, lack of exercise, family conflict, the stresses of poverty and lack of state support. I am dubious about most of these explanations, largely because such matters have long been with us without an accompanying crisis of mental illness.Continue reading...
In Alicia’s tiny attic flat (“like a doll’s house,” as she puts it) in Lewisham, south London, she has reached day 20 without running water.
Since her landlord started to gut the two empty floors below her last year, the 55-year-old has been living on top of a building site. Scaffolding covers the outside of the three-storey house, a criss-cross of boards and metal poles metres high. The entrance hall ceilings are stripped bare, naked wires hanging down.
Related: Meet Sally, trapped in Concentrix’s circle of poverty, debt and fear
Alicia has mental health problems, and living conditions that would be distressing for anyone are torture to herContinue reading...
It seems more girls than ever feel the need to be perfect – at a time when the mental health of young women is a growing concern. We asked how striving to be the best has affected you
Do you look at other people’s lives and compare them to your own? Does this make you question whether you are smart, fit or happy enough?
If so, then you may be a perfectionist. Writing for the Guardian earlier this year, clinical psychologist Linda Blair described a perfectionist as a person: “who strives for flawlessness, for a perfect creation, outcome or performance ... They find it difficult to delegate, even if that means neglecting their health, relationships and wellbeing in pursuit of a ‘perfect’ outcome.”
Related: Mental illness soars among young women in England – survey
Related: This is modern Britain – no wonder young women have PTSD | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
Related: Thinner, smoother, better: in the era of retouching, that’s what girls have to be | Rhiannon Lucy CosslettContinue reading...
It’s final exam time, and overinvested parents are stressing about it as much as their kids. We’re asking the wrong questions about school pressure
If you want to get a measure of the mania that surrounds school exam stress consider this: a mental health organisation has set up extra counselling services ... for parents of HSC students.
Help is at hand, not only for the kids who are cutting themselves or starving themselves or crying themselves to sleep every night, or for the kids who are just plain overcome with generalised anxiety, but also for the “tens of thousands” of parents who find they can’t cope with their kids’ exam pressure.
Related: My daughter, my beautiful failure | Lucy Clark
Related: Parents turn to counselling over exam tensions
Related: So who says competition in the classroom is inevitable? | Lucy ClarkContinue reading...
Ahead of meeting with federal ministers, Indigenous mental health commissioner calls for funding and policy commitments to address ‘crisis’
Indigenous mental health commissioner Pat Dudgeon has urged the federal government to release a report on Indigenous suicide and commit to supporting local Indigenous-led solutions before a meeting in Western Australia on Friday.
The health minister, Susan Ley, assistant health minister Ken Wyatt and Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion, will attend a meeting on Indigenous suicide crisis in Broome in the Kimberley region on Friday morning before travelling 400km inland for another series of meetings at Fitzroy Crossing.
Related: Indigenous suicide rates in Kimberley seven times higher than other Australians
Related: Indigenous suicide is a humanitarian crisis. We need a royal commission | Dameyon BonsonContinue reading...
Independent review into homicides that occurred between 2010 and 2015 criticised Sussex Partnership NHS foundation trust for misjudging danger
An inquiry has criticised an NHS mental health trust for underestimating the risk of violence posed by patients who went on to carry out killings, two of which could have been prevented. Sussex Partnership NHS foundation trust has been criticised for not taking more seriously the families of disturbed patients who pleaded for help because they feared that their relative would commit violence.
The review of 10 homicides that occurred between 2010 and 2015 included the death of 79-year-old Donald Lock on the A24 near Worthing in Sussex in July 2015 after his car collided with that of Matthew Daley, who stabbed him 39 times.Continue reading...
Òran Mór, Glasgow
Alan Bissett evokes the whimsy of The Wind in the Willows in his insightful eulogy to Pink Floyd’s wayward genius
Chapter seven of The Wind in the Willows is called The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. As every good hippy knows, that’s also the name of the debut album by Pink Floyd, a prime cut of 1967 psychedelia so adventurously spaced out that it makes even the cross-dressing weirdness and trippy harmonies of the band’s first singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, seem conventional by comparison.
In his short eulogy to the Floyd’s wayward genius Syd Barrett, playwright Alan Bissett makes the connection between Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic and the acid-damaged songwriter who would soon be forced to leave the band because of mental ill health. It’s partly that, like Little Portly, the missing otter in The Wind in the Willows, Barrett was “always straying off and getting lost, and turning up again”. But it’s also that, underscoring the band’s early work, there’s a very English streak of whimsy in the tradition of Grahame’s literary fantasy.Continue reading...
A charity is investing in the arts to provide ‘wrap-around support’ for young people
Ten young people from Manchester mental health charity 42nd Street are struggling to spin their legs round their bodies while keeping their hands anchored to the studio floor as they’ve been shown. Instructor Kevin Turner stops them and explodes into his own demonstration of high-speed repetitions of the sequence, while they watch in astonishment.
“Look, my legs are all over the place,” Turner pants mid dance. “They are going like crazy. When I was ill, I often felt that things were happening that were out of my control. Can anyone else relate to that?”
Related: Mental health social workers aren't giving up hope, nor are their service users
There is nothing fluffy about this. Dance work like this should be recognised as a pre-crisis intervention
Related: Mental health services won't help children in temporary care settingsContinue reading...
Mental health week came and went and I stayed silent. That’s the thing about mental illness – often we can’t talk about it when the world wants us to
I think and write a lot about mental health. Since being diagnosed with anxiety and clinical perfectionism, writing has become an important way of coming to terms with my own psychiatric ailments, while trying also to raise public awareness. It’s not an easy task. Despite my eagerness and many importunate attempts to give a voice to mental illness, I am often left feeling like the world isn’t ready to listen.
But when mental health week ticked around this year, ears pricked up. My news feed was awash with articles about mental health, friends brandishing popular hashtags and events popping up all around my city.
Related: 'Mental health is not only about darkness and depression'
Related: Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That’s what’s wrenching society apart | George MonbiotContinue reading...
A woman expecting her first child wonders whether to contact her mother, who has mental health problems. Mariella Frostrup says there may be benefits to doing so
The dilemma I’ve always had a difficult relationship with my mother. She has mental health problems, few friends and feuds with family members. She was physically abusive and mentally controlling when I was young. When I was 16 she pushed me out of a car because I was 10 minutes late to meet her. If things break she won’t get them fixed. Her washing machine broke 15 years ago and she has been hand washing ever since, resulting in RSI.
I went to university, got therapy and “moved on”, although I had self-esteem issues and an eating disorder as a teen. In my 20s I tried to have a relationship with her, but my tolerance for her obsessive behaviour has lowered. I met my husband four years ago and she took an angry dislike to him – since then our relationship has deteriorated. It’s been more than a year since we’ve been in contact.
Drop her a card and leave it to her to reply. If it comes with emotional tripwires step awayContinue reading...
Hundreds of hospitals have signed up to let relatives of people with dementia be by their bedside in their final days following an Observer article two years ago
A little more than two years ago, I was in the kitchen with my friend, Julia Jones, in a state of helpless sorrow. My father, John, was still alive then, although he was in his desolating last stages. His slow-motion dying had gone on for months and would continue for several more. While it endured we half wanted him gone, and when it ended, of course we wanted him back – a living ghost rather than a dead man who might haunt us but would never return.
My father’s drawn-out death lasted nine months: he went into hospital as someone living well with dementia; he came out quite lost and broken, and all the love in the world couldn’t have found him or put him together again.Continue reading...
Review to examine if signs of deviant behaviour were missed in boy and girl, now 15, who killed Elizabeth and Katie Edwards
Two teenage killers’ interactions with social workers, teachers and other mental health services will be examined in a serious case review as both face life sentences for the “cold, calculated and callous” murders of a mother and her 13-year-old daughter.
Authorities will look into whether signs of deviant behaviour by the boy and girl, both 14 at the time of the murders, were missed in the months and years leading up to the killings of Elizabeth Edwards, 49, and her daughter Katie, who were stabbed to death as they slept at home in Spalding.Continue reading...
I had anorexia and spent a year in hospital. With the help of those around me, I learned to take those difficult first steps to recovery
I found out my mum was dying four days before she passed away, and she wasn’t even the one who told me, it was my godfather. I had known she was unwell for some time, but her death still came as a shock. The last couple of days were very painful.
My issues with food started before her cancer diagnosis. At 12, I started to think I was fat. I have always been insecure about the way I look, so I went on a diet and it spiralled out of control. When I found out my mum was ill, everything got worse. I was eventually referred to children’s mental health services because I was so unwell. My life was so out of control that food, the one thing I thought I could control, became my obsession.
Related: Quarter of a million children receiving mental health care in England
Related: Help for children's mental health, from apps to parenting classesContinue reading...
Poll of specialist workers finds that 20% believe services are seriously lacking, with potentially dangerous consequences
Seven out of 10 specialist nurses caring for the growing number of young people struggling with mental health problems believe that NHS services are insufficient.
Half of all mental health nurses working with troubled young people say child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) are inadequate and another 20% say they are highly inadequate, according to a poll undertaken by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) for the Guardian. Only 13% believe they are good or very good, while the rest say they are adequate.Continue reading...
McGorry, who joined Labor’s Bill Shorten at a press conference, says LGBTIQ exclusion from marriage is a form of discrimination
Mental Health Australia and leading advocate Patrick McGorry have publicly opposed the same-sex marriage plebiscite, arguing exclusion from marriage is a form of discrimination.
On Tuesday McGorry, a former Australian of the year, joined the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, and deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek, at a press conference in Sydney calling for the government to ditch the plebiscite citing the potential harm to LGBTIQ people.
Related: Marriage equality plebiscite appears doomed as Shorten moves to block bill
Related: Turnbull doesn’t believe in marriage equality – he believes in majoritarianism | Paul Karp
Related: Marriage equality plebiscite appears doomed as Shorten moves to block billContinue reading...
Michael Palin says longtime friend and collaborator’s illness is ‘terribly sad’ but that comedy group are ‘not a sentimental bunch’
The Monty Python team will “rally round” Terry Jones following his dementia diagnosis, Michael Palin has said.
Palin, a fellow Python and friend of Jones since they met while studying at Oxford in the early 1960s, said it was a “terribly sad thing to befall anyone”.Continue reading...
The NHS Digital report on the prevalence of mental health problems in England has laid bare the stark challenge we face (Mental illness soars among young women in England, 29 September). Record numbers of adults in England are now living with mental health problems, with some groups and communities facing heightened risks – notably young women, people in mid-life, BME communities and those living on benefits. One conclusion from the study should be that people deserve access to good quality support and treatment. It is encouraging that more people are now receiving services.
However, we are a long way from recognising and addressing the factors that multiply the risks of some people many times over. Changes over the past decade have led to elevated risks for young women, people aged 55-64, both groups facing challenging transitions, and people depending on employment and support allowance.Continue reading...
Three years ago, in August 2013, Jonathan Trott felt so tormented by cricket that, as a way of avoiding another day of a Test against Australia at The Oval, he thought of some distressing ways to escape. “Just briefly,” he explains, “I considered driving my car into the Thames or into a tree. That way I could get out of the ordeal.”
This was a Test in which Trott scored 99 runs – 40 in the first innings and 59 in the second. The game was drawn and England sealed a 3-0 series win to retain the Ashes. It should have been another high point in Trott’s impressive career and yet, as his new book reveals, that game was a dark marker in his unravelling.
Related: Jonathan Trott says watching England at Lord’s gave him ‘great closure’
Related: Something better change or Trott’s early retirement will not be the last | Andy Bull
Related: Gareth Batty’s England encore a victory for bloody-minded persistence | Andy BullContinue reading...
Despite the collective efforts of schools, social workers and hospitals, children and parents speak of reduced services unable to help patients until their condition becomes critical. Here, 20 readers talk about their experiences
New figures show in June that nearly a quarter of a million children and young people were in contact with mental health services for problems such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
The NHS data highlights the scale of the growing crisis in young people’s mental health. But what help is there for those who need it? Research shows 28% of children referred for support in England – including some who had attempted suicide – received no help in 2015.
Whether we like it or not, teachers will be in the frontline on the critical issue of children’s mental health.Continue reading...
Over a million people in the UK aged over 65 now experience chronic loneliness. This figure will only rise as our population ages. And research shows that severe loneliness affects people across their life course, including children and young people (Hypersocial days are here again!, 3 October).
Chronic loneliness is as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and as damaging as obesity and physical inactivity. It is linked with depression, dementia and high blood pressure alongside a number of other conditions. Loneliness impacts on our struggling health and social care system, with evidence showing that those living with loneliness are far more likely to visit their local doctor or A&E. New research shows the health cost alone of loneliness is equivalent to some £12,000 per person over 15 years.Continue reading...
To tie in with a major new study about mental health in the workplace, we’d like you to tell us about your experiences
A new study suggests more than three quarters of workers aged 16 to 64 have experienced symptoms of poor mental health, and nearly two thirds of those with mental health problems believe work was a contributing factor.
Many of the 20,000 employees surveyed by the charity Business in the Community employees found their employers lacked awareness, training and responsiveness to mental health issues. More than half said their employers took no action when they disclosed their symptoms of poor mental health.Continue reading...
Liz Truss took to the Conservative conference podium as justice secretary for the first time today, ready to usher in “the most far-reaching reforms ever seen”. The reforms weren’t outlined, but mental health got just one, fleeting mention. This is in spite of the prison and probation ombudsman reporting an alarming rise in “self-inflicted deaths” – up 34% compared with 2014-15. The number of prisoners self-harming, assaults on inmates and deaths in prison all went up over the past 12 months. Self-harming incidents in prison are over six times higher among women than in men.
When Anna Baker was arrested, she was reliant on a methadone replacement programme. Anna was a long-term heroin addict, but the prison she was placed in didn’t have a detoxification programme available. Instead of methadone, she was prescribed painkillers.
Women account for 28% of all self-harm incidents in jail, despite making up less than 5% of the prison population
Related: Women are dying in jails they should not have been sent to | Eric AllisonContinue...
The intolerable pressures placed on our girls and boys are resulting in shockingly high levels of mental health problems
A society should be judged by how it treats its children. A country that fails to invest in its children is imperilling its future. And that’s why we should all be alarmed by the crisis of mental health among Britain’s girls and boys – and the chronic lack of support to overcome it.
Related: Quarter of a million children receiving mental health care in England
Related: We’re all casualties of this cruel arms race in primary school education | Zoe WilliamsContinue reading...
A new study shows 63% of managers put business interests above staff wellbeing – but serious companies realise that doesn’t make sense
The mental health of the UK workforce is in a grim state, according to a major new survey. More than three quarters of the 20,000 workers aged 16- to 64 who took part said they had experienced symptoms of poor mental health, and nearly two thirds of those with mental health problems felt work was a factor.
The study (pdf), published on 4 October by charity Business In The Community (BITC), in partnership with YouGov, also found a shocking lack of employer awareness and responsiveness. More than half of the employees who disclosed their symptoms of poor mental health said their employers took no action. A minority of managers (22%) surveyed said that they’d had training in spotting and supporting employees who are struggling, and most managers (63%) said they felt obliged to put the interests of their organisation above the wellbeing of team members.
Related: The culture of presenteeism is going to kill British workers | Archie BlandContinue...
Lucy Alexander says her son Felix, 17, from Worcester, was bullied from the age of 10 after he was teased over video game
A mother whose teenage son took his own life after being the victim of bullying that began over a computer game has said everyone has a collective responsibility to prevent other young lives being lost.
In an open letter, Lucy Alexander said her son Felix, 17, was so damaged by the abuse, isolation and unkindness he had experienced before his death that he did not realise anyone at his school cared about him.
Related: Worried about a child’s mental health? Here’s what you should do | Katie ArgentContinue reading...
I’ve just started on a psychosis team, and despite the warnings of dire straits from friends and the media, I’ve witnessed very good practice
I entered the field of mental health social work just a few weeks ago, joining a psychosis team. I had been warned by friends, family, taxi drivers and the media that this area of work is in dire straits and suffering hugely from cuts and poor practice.
Related: What can the UK learn from New York's approach to mental health?
The support worker valued the time spent with each service user as much as they did with him
Related: For 12 years I've felt a burden at work. Now I'm ready to talk about mental healthContinue reading...