Blog

In 2017, more women than men were accepted into medical school for the first time. 2017 also brought attention to the sexual harassment many women face that often goes ignored. Medicine is not immune to behavior that objectifies women and ignores their complaints. My experiences are mild in comparison to many of my peers, but […]

Read more ...

Solving major problems in medicine through innovation can be boiled down to a process that teaches doctors how to be inventors. It’s called biodesign. In this episode, surgeon David Hindin  traveled to Silicon Valley to visit Stanford University and learn more about their biodesign program. Your patients are rating you online: How to respond. Manage […]

Read more ...

“Same team!” bellowed all the frustrated parents from the sideline of a lacrosse game as we watched two teammates clash sticks while fighting to catch the same pass. Both players missed the ball, and the other team scooped it up and scored, perfectly illustrating to our kids what happens when they battle among themselves. It’s […]

Read more ...

The fact that unexpected outcomes and rare events occur is one of the realities of medicine that is difficult to comprehend until you have personally experienced it. There are over 130 million emergency department visits annually, over 16 million of which require admission to a hospital. With that many encounters, even the rarest of events […]

Read more ...

The frontlines of health care have been transformed over the last decade as electronic medical records have been rolled out across America. Unfortunately, information technology has yet to live up to its immense promise in health care­ — a topic that I frequently write about. As somebody who has worked with every single major EHR […]

Read more ...

Sometimes life just walks right up and slaps you in the face. It happened to me while attending the dynamic FIX17 conference in NYC, and it led to an epiphany: At the ripe old age of 59, I am officially a dinosaur. I was giving a talk on the history of women in medicine. Passionate about the […]

Read more ...

High court ruling says policy was discriminatory against people with mental health issues

Up to 164,000 people are in line for increased disability benefits after ministers gave in to a high court ruling that said government policy had been “blatantly discriminatory” against people with mental health conditions.

In a major U-turn, the new work and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, said she would not challenge the December ruling that found changes to personal independence payments (PIPs) could not be justified.

Related: The new work and pensions secretary is an insult to disabled people | Frances Ryan

Continue reading...

Read more ...

It is time to base the economy on a more rounded view of human nature than that one that just considers individuals as selfish calculators of utility

The zero-sum game of competition for money and status that has gripped societies over the past 30 years have made their publics richer overall and given them longer lives of better quality. It has led to an embarrassing wealth of consumer goods. But it is also increasingly clear that the me-first model of modern economies is a big source of unhappiness. When life feels like a cut-throat contest each one of us is encouraged to chase income and rank. In a rat race improving one’s income causes others to feel dissatisfied with theirs. One person’s pay rise is another’s psychic loss. Envy spreads despair, encouraging workers to devote more time to making money than to family or community.

Such competition weighs heavily on national wellbeing. A slice of Britain seem to be losing hope; the lives of poorer citizens are unhappier than their richer peers in ways that simply having less money cannot explain. Our story revealing that private insurers refuse policies to people suffering even mild mental health conditions shows how those who...

Read more ...

Music can help reduce symptoms but only 5% of care homes are using it effectively, finds report

The symptoms of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people with dementia could significantly improve by listening to and playing music, according to a report.

The study, which compiled existing evidence as well as talking to experts, found music can help people with dementia recall information and reduce symptoms such as anxiety, agitation and aggression.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Study finds abused or neglected children who play sports are less likely to develop mental illness

Taking part in sport protects children who are abused or neglected from developing mental health problems in later life, according to a major public health study.

People who had adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) but regularly played sports as children were less likely to have a mental illness as an adult, the study found. People who had traumatic childhoods were also more likely to be mentally healthy if they took part in sport as adults.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Overworked? Stressed? Got a bad boss? In a new series we invite you to send in a short description of your predicament – so that other readers can offer solutions

Work has changed, and in many ways for the better. Hours have become more flexible, so parents and carers can spend time with those they love. We have more holidays. Smartphones, tablets and laptops have unshackled us from our desks. It’s illegal to discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, religion, disability or sexuality. There’s a minimum wage.

But much is just the same, or worse than ever. Too many firms now expect you to be available round the clock, to answer their stupid emails or talk to clients on the other side of the world. Cameras and GPS track your every movement and toilet break; software counts each keystroke. And while we never dreamed of some of the jobs that have come into being, we have also watched the collapse of industries that once seemed indestructible.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

My daughter, Lindsay Riddoch, who has taken her own life aged 24, was an ardent and articulate advocate for better mental health services. She was a fiercely independent thinker and debater who was intent on exposing injustice, and if she saw something wrong she would try to put it right. She often talked about becoming a politician in later life.

Lindsay was born in Edinburgh and went to Boroughmuir high school in the city, where she was an accomplished diver, trampoliner and trombone player, and where she fixed up work experience in the Scottish parliament and with the Scottish government.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

The Perspective Project hosts art, poetry and writing with the aim of ending stigma and providing an outlet for those with mental health problems. The 24-year-old founder, Mark Anscombe, is already sharing the work of over 30 artists from around the UK, US and Canada, all of whom have various mental health issues. The project accepts submissions in any form, and people can submit anonymously

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Tracey Crouch tasked with implementing recommendations from commission set up after the MP’s death

Theresa May has appointed one of her ministers to lead on issues connected to loneliness, implementing one of the main recommendations of a report into the subject by the Jo Cox Commission.

Tracey Crouch, the minister for sport and civil society, will head a government-wide group with responsibility for policies connected to loneliness, Downing Street said.

Related: Loneliness is harming our society. Your kindness is the best cure | Rachel Reeves

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Funding withdrawn from psychosocial program on mistaken assumption all clients will be eligible for national disability insurance scheme

Hundreds of Australians in a support program for severe mental health issues are falling through the cracks of the national disability insurance scheme, renewing fears that the landmark reform is leaving gaps in psychosocial services.

The federal government is preparing to slowly cut its funding to a widely used support and recovery service for people severely impacted by mental illness, known as the personal helpers and mentors (Phams) program.

Related: NDIS: people with severe mental health problems being denied access on 'a daily basis'

Related: Disability sector risks losing volunteers over NDIS uncertainty, groups warn

Continue reading...

Read more ...

We’d like you to share your experiences of working in, or accessing, mental health services in the UK

Mental health care providers continue to receive far smaller budget increases than hospitals, five years after ministers pledged to create “parity of esteem” between NHS mental and physical health services.

If you work in the mental health sector, or have accessed their services, we’d like you to share your experiences and insight with us.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Suicide prevention expert Alys Cole-King wants distressed NHS colleagues to seek support themselves during the winter crisis

Reports by overstretched NHS staff of the pressures of the winter crisis moved Dr Alys Cole-King to fire off a series of tweets last week:“You matter as much as your patients”, she said encouraging anyone struggling at work in the NHS to tell someone, with a link to online self-help material for those feeling suicidal.

Related: By the end of my first year as a doctor, I was ready to kill myself

Related: Medical students urged to volunteer as NHS winter crisis worsens

Continue reading...

Read more ...

King’s Fund says physical health services are still getting bigger budgets, five years after ministers promised ‘parity of esteem’

Mental health care providers continue to receive far smaller budget increases than hospitals, five years after ministers pledged to create “parity of esteem” between NHS mental and physical health services.

The disclosure, in a new report by the King’s Fund, has sparked concern that mental health patients are receiving poorer quality care because of the widening gap in income.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Inquest hears Emily Hartley, 21, who had mental health problems, had been sentenced for breaking bail conditions

A 21-year-old woman was found dead in prison while serving a sentence for arson after setting herself on fire, an inquest jury has heard.

Emily Hartley died in the grounds of HMP New Hall near Wakefield on 23 April 2016. She had been allowed into the exercise yard of the women’s prison at about 3pm and was found hanged.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

In the bowels of an old pottery factory, a group of determined men eke out a profit from stripping down and recycling electrical waste. All of them have some form of mental health condition or disability. It's a tough business, but one with a dark sense of humour

  • Tell us what you think of our documentary series
  • Watch all the episodes here 
Continue reading...

Read more ...

Two people with a mental health history describe difficulties of seeking insurance cover

  • Exclusive: People with mental illnesses refused access to insurance

I experienced mental health problems in 2009, from which I slowly recovered over the course of a few years. I was experiencing severe anxiety and it became unbearable and I struggled to sleep. I ended up in hospital. I was there for a few days and when I was finally seen by the psychiatrist he said I should never have been admitted but instead should have had support from my local GP team.

Related: Number of university dropouts due to mental health problems trebles

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Exclusive: Insurance firms deny discrimination, with 7/7 victim among those turned down

  • Case studies: ‘I didn’t know why I’d been declined’

Insurers have been accused of depriving access to life insurance and other kinds of cover to people with depression and anxiety, even for physical conditions unrelated to their mental health.

People who have suffered even mild mental health conditions or one-off episodes say they have been refused life insurance altogether, aggravating their financial insecurity.

Related: I haven’t had a mental health problem for 40 years, but I’m still toxic to insurers | Laura Marcus

Continue reading...

Read more ...

It is the year 2018, and patients don’t always receive good care and doctors questions their career choice. How have we arrived at this tragic state of affairs? The answer is that our for-profit health care system is the principal cause — not only of poor patient care but physician burnout. Only a single-payer system, […]

Read more ...

A song from Medicine the Musical by Michael Ehrenreich. Support the Kickstarter campaign to bring the production closer to completion. Medicine the Musical is a unique musical that brings the world of medicine and medical school to the public in an accessible and entertaining way. Set to a dynamic rock score, Medicine the Musical follows a group of first year […]

Read more ...

The United States is facing a looming physician shortage, and some groups see this as an opportunity to promote an agenda of replacing physicians with nurses. The nurse-as-doctor concept appeared in the Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing 2011 report, which called for a radical change to the nursing structure in the United States, including […]

Read more ...

The current state of health care in America, in my opinion, has been negatively impacted by Big Pharma, health insurance corporations, health care corporations and a plethora of governmental mandates. All have placed an immense burden upon our practicing physicians who spend much of their day doing paperwork and inputting into computers rather than face […]

Read more ...

I entered medical school with an intense desire to take care of others. A naturally — sometimes overbearingly — caring person with a penchant for science, becoming a physician was my dream since middle school. My naiveté was quickly slapped by reality when I realized people enter medicine for many other reasons: prestige, job stability, […]

Read more ...

I remember medical school and residency vividly. How could anyone forget such a sacrifice, such a vital investment in a top-notch education? Hours upon hours of hard work while practical knowledge amassed exponentially every single week. As a lifelong learner committed to excellence, I loved being surrounded by equally dedicated, intelligent high achievers. My classmates […]

Read more ...

Would patients be admitted, or people be allowed to come to work, in a hospital that had Legionnaires’ disease spreading through its HVAC system or cryptosporidium in its water supply? When there is an unusual smell associated with headaches and nausea in a surgical unit or emergency department, do people continue to work there and […]

Read more ...

When Gillian Tarn offered to help vulnerable friends navigate the benefits system, she could not believe the draconian and inhuman system she encountered

Last year, two of my friends were called in for a reassessment of their benefits (Our benefits system is now a racket for cheating the poor, 2 January). Both suffer from arthritis and mental health issues. Both, following their health assessment reviews, had their benefits terminated. Both appealed and thanks to an independent judge and doctor had their benefits reinstated – and then some six months later were called for a further health assessment. It was this point that I offered to help. As a former headteacher, I am used to dealing with authority and to completing complex forms. I began by making phone calls to establish why my friends had been summoned yet again – three assessments in 18 months. I was passed from pillar to post: call centres in Hull, Doncaster and York. No one could tell me why, but advised that we must attend or risk losing benefits.

For Ms K’s assessment, we made the 18-mile trip to York. En route we got a phone call to say that our appointment was delayed one and a half hours. For Mr K’s appointment in...

Read more ...

Exhibition at London auction house features ‘hugely inspiring’ work by artists creating outside the mainstream

The first exhibition of outsider art to be held at Sotheby’s will open at the London auction house next week, showing a lifesize cardboard sculpture of a runner, minutely detailed drawings by a former punk rocker, and works in embroidery, found materials and chewing gum.

The exhibition will feature pieces by artists working outside the traditional art world, including some who are self-taught and some who have social, physical or mental health problems. All are supported by the arts charity Outside In.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

The YouTube star claimed he was trying to ‘raise awareness’ of mental health issues by filming a dead body. It’s time to stop using this meaningless phrase

The words “outcry as YouTube star posts video of dead body in Japan” are so ludicrous, almost nonsensical, that they may as well have come from a random 2017 headline generator. Unfortunately, they don’t.

Logan Paul, a 22-year-old vlogger, has been castigated across the internet for publishing a video showing the body of a suicide victim in Aokigahara, a forest near Mount Fuji notorious as a site for multiple suicides every year. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul (no relation) told Paul he should “rot in hell”; even Piers Morgan described him as a “sick, twisted, heartless little prick”.

'Awareness raising' is so ubiquitous a phrase that it has been rendered utterly meaningless.

Related: Girls are facing a mental health crisis – and it’s not just because of Instagram | Katharine Sacks-Jones

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Ros feels fitter than ever at 71. Julia has found happiness. We asked readers how they ditched their bad habits and formed good ones – here are their inspiring stories

New Year resolutions are made in the hope this year will be different, we’ll have a new start, ditch habits that have been holding us back and take up those that will lead to a happier, healthier life. All too often, though, they have been scuppered by 3 January. But not always. We asked readers about the resolutions they managed to keep in 2017.

Related: Share your best money saving tips

Continue reading...

Read more ...

My self-worth and confidence were shot to pieces, and something had to change. Quitting drink gave me some control over my life

As the clocks strike midnight on New Year’s Eve, I will finish a 12-month stretch of self-imposed sobriety. A year ago I had got to a point where I was drinking and smoking too much and – until the moment when I decided to quit – I was largely in denial about the impact it was having on my health. The scale of my drinking was normal for the social circles I was in. Whether the people I was with came together through work, football or friendship, drinking was commonplace.

But by the end of 2016, I felt uncomfortably overweight and my mental health was getting worse. I regularly experienced what I would describe as depression and felt weighed down with angst. On hindsight, these feelings were particularly pronounced after drinking, but they were becoming routine.

My dad made a comment I found irritating at the time: that I looked a little overweight and that alcohol might be the reason

Related: My brother’s punch in the face shocked me out of alcoholism | Darren McGarvey

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Byron Katie was deeply depressed when a radical change left her joyful. She now uses her secret to help others – whether brutalised by war or merely stressed

For a long time, Byron Katie’s children thought she was having them on. Her character seemed to change overnight, and they didn’t trust her one bit.

For 10 years – until that day – she had spiralled into rage, paranoia and despair, becoming so depressed she seldom left her house. She’d stayed in bed for weeks at a time, and her children learned to tiptoe past her door to avoid her furious outbursts.

I can transform the situation by becoming aware of what it is I’m thinking and then questioning those stressful thoughts

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Mental health experts call for a change of policy on supported housing

In October, the government finally listened and dropped potentially disastrous plans to limit funding for supported housing. However, this victory was short-lived. The decision that local councils should fund short-term supported housing instead risks being just as damaging. Ministers say the new fund will be ringfenced, but we’ve been here before. Ringfences only last so long. When a similar ringfence was lifted back in 2009, cash-strapped councils cut funding by 45%. Tenants need the security of knowing that their rent will be covered and providers need security to invest long-term. This proposal provides neither.

Supported housing can mean someone is able to live independently in their community without having to face unnecessary stays in hospital. Stays in supported housing are also far cheaper, so they save vital NHS resources and provide a more suitable environment for people who need it. Already, the need for supported housing far outstrips supply. The new funding model could make this shortage worse and put further pressure on our health services. Supported housing saves lives.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Sexual harassment, domestic abuse and poverty are growing causes of trauma among girls, and the gender disparity is going unnoticed

In 2017 there has been report after report of a growing gender divide in mental health, with rising rates of mental illness among girls and young women. There has been little action to tackle these. In 2018, we have an opportunity to get things right.

From the intervention of a senior judge in the case of Girl X to rising numbers of girls and young women undergoing mental health admissions, self harm and suicidal thoughts, there has been wide range of evidence over the last year showing that our girls are facing a mental health crisis.

What is especially shocking is the prevalence of PTSD, which one in seven young women experience

Related: We created the #MeToo movement. Now it's time for #HerToo

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Deborah Coles, Joe Sim and Steve Tombs see a system which is outside of democratic control

Yet another damning report on prison conditions, not least with respect to those with mental health problems, emerges (The treatment of prisoners with mental health problems is a national shame, 20 December). Eric Allison notes the call by Inquest, among others, for alternatives to prison to be found for those suffering mental health problems and a more therapeutic response for those for whom prison is the last resort. But the problems are much more fundamental – if blindingly obvious. For almost 40 years, Inquest has worked with families bereaved by prison deaths. During that period, coroner after coroner has highlighted repeated, systemic failures and the inappropriate use of prison for a range of different groups who should simply not be there.

Meanwhile, a constant stream of investigations, inspectorate and monitoring reports, and inquiries into prisons has produced rigorous, evidence-based recommendations to protect the health and safety of prisoners and staff in British jails. And yet even the state’s own mechanisms for ensuring accountability are ignored and not acted on. This is a...

Read more ...

Project aims to identify risk factors by comparing school and health records, paving the way for early intervention

Researchers are embarking on an ambitious project to see whether a child’s school record can provide vital clues as to whether they are at risk of suicide or self-harm.

Nearly one in 10 young people self-harm or have suicidal thoughts but understanding of the causes is limited, making prevention difficult.

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Study finds interpreters working with the Syrian refugee resettlement programme in Scotland need ‘priority’ support due to stress and depression

Interpreters for Syrian refugees should be given psychological support as a “priority” due to the stress the work causes, according to a study.

Researchers looked at how the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme (SVPRP) was rolled out in Edinburgh, as a way to provide guidance for other authorities.

Related: The refugees who brought hope to a Scottish island

Continue reading...

Read more ...

The number of homeless cases involving someone suffering from a mental or physical illness has skyrocketed since 2010

Homelessness among people with mental and physical health problems has increased by around 75% since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, and there has been a similar rise in the number of families with dependent children who are classed as homeless.

According to official figures collated by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the number of homeless households in England identified by councils as priority cases because they contain someone who is classed as vulnerable because of their mental illness, has risen from 3,200 in 2010 to 5,470 this year.

Related: First vending machine for homeless people launches in UK

Continue reading...

Read more ...

Yale psychiatric professor who briefed members of Congress last month tells the Guardian ‘the danger has become imminent’

  • Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House review – tell-all burns all

The revelations in Michael Wolff’s explosive book about Donald Trump’s first year in office have renewed scrutiny of the president’s mental health.

Related: Michael Wolff defends book and says of Trump: 'To quote Steve Bannon: He's lost it'

Related: Three TVs, a phone and a cheeseburger: tell-all book reveals Donald's bedtime

Continue reading...

Read more ...

The routines of sweeping, polishing and tidying have spiritual meaning, and you don’t have to be religious to benefit from them

Mental health counsellors often recommend that clients clean their home environments every day. Dirt and squalor can be symptoms of unhappiness or illness. But cleanliness is not only about mental health. It is the most basic practice that all forms of Japanese Buddhism have in common. In Japanese Buddhism, it is said that what you must do in the pursuit of your spirituality is clean, clean, clean. This is because the practice of cleaning is powerful.

Of course, as a monk who is dedicated to spiritual life, I recommend Buddhist concepts and practices. But you don’t have to convert to a new religion to learn from it. Many people’s associations with the word “religion” may include a set of rules to regulate people’s values and actions; the creation of an irrational transcendent entity; or the idea of a crutch for people who cannot think for themselves. In my view, though, a respectable religion does not exist to bind one’s values or actions. It is there to free people from the systems and standards that order society. In Japanese characters, the word...

Read more ...

It began at school, with A-star expectations and a horror of failure. Now we’re on social media platforms, locked into a game of mutually assured depression

During many job interviews, it’s common to be asked: “What’s your biggest weakness?” It’s a horrible question to respond to on the spot. We know it’s a trick, and the answer isn’t: “Sometimes it takes me more than two hours to stop looking at my phone and get dressed after a shower,” or: “I spend my free time constructing elaborate revenge fantasies.”

The cheat’s answer of choice, the panicky pick that puts you in a better light than the truth might, is along the lines of: “I’m a perfectionist.”

When Facebook launched, students were the perfect customers – because we were desperate for the validation it offered

Although precise definitions differ, broadly speaking millennials are those people born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s. They are so called because they turned 18 in or after 2000. They are also collectively known as Generation Y

Related: Am I a perfectionist? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Linda Blair

Continue...

Read more ...

The second term is starting and the January blues are kicking in. It’s time for everyone to make students feel supported

What’s a first-year undergraduate student got to feel down about? They can drive, get credit cards and have signed up to three years of parties hosted by their new social circle. Life’s a picnic.

Look again. For Generation Z, every shameful thing they’ve ever said is on the internet. If they’re freshers, they’re cut off from their loved ones for the first time, and worried they’re not like the other students on their corridor. Others still are wrestling with mental health problems they’ve been dealing with for some time. Just look at the figures: an estimated 15,000 students disclosed a mental health problem last year.

Related: It's time for universities to put student mental health support first | Jon Wakeford

Security doesn’t always have the training to detect the onset of mental illness. By the time we cross paths with a depressed student, it can be too late

Related: Mental health: what can new students do to prepare for university?

Continue reading...

Read more ...

As an internist with “added qualifications in geriatric medicine” I care for a great many elder individuals. In most cases, these are individuals I met 20 or more years ago and have been privileged to share their lives with them as they aged. The circle of life is relentless and unforgiving, so there comes a […]

Read more ...

Long continues the debate of what impact hospitalists have on inpatient outcomes. This issue has been playing out in the medical literature for 20 years, since the coining of the term in 1997. In the most recent iteration of the debate, a study was recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine entitled “Comparison of Hospital Resource Use and […]

Read more ...

The announcement that CVS plans to acquire Aetna for US$69 billion raises hope and concerns. The transaction would create a new health care giant. Aetna is the third-largest health insurer in the United States, insuring about 46.7 million people. CVS operates 9,700 pharmacies and 1,000 MinuteClinics. A decade ago, it also purchased Caremark and now […]

Read more ...

A guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. It was actually a great diagnosis that led me to become an internist. I distinctly recall a patient admitted to my service during my third-year internal medicine clerkship inpatient rotation. He was extremely sick and what was wrong with him had eluded multiple […]

Read more ...

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Lady Dynamite and BoJack Horseman pulled no punches with portrayals of the differing, complex sides of mental health disorders

  • More on the best TV of 2017
  • More on the best culture of 2017
  • ‘It’s like I was out of stories to tell myself that things will be OK.” Episode six of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s third series and Rebecca Bunch is in a psychiatric ward after overdosing on a plane. The animated, wide-eyed Bunch we’ve come to know and love has been hollowed out. She’s empty and ashamed. The only hope is a new diagnosis, which she clings on to as a renewed chance at life.

    The episode was praised for its candid and sensitive portrayal of mental illness, specifically the diagnosis process. Rachel Bloom, who stars as Bunch and co-created the show with Aline Brosh McKenna, told Vanity Fair earlier this year that they consulted with a team of doctors to reach the character’s diagnosis: borderline personality disorder.

    Continue reading...

    Read more ...

    About this site

    Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".