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Both in and outside of health care certain buzz words and phrases become so ubiquitously used that a shared understanding is assumed despite conflicting perceptions of what these sentiments actually mean. Examples in health care include: shared decision making, quality of life, professionalism, patient-centered care, and evidence-based. Each sounds positive and intuitive — what health […]

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My patient The day I met you was early in my second year of internal medicine residency. After much of my internship had been spent on arduous inpatient rotations, I was finally ready to lead my own team of young doctors and students on a high-acuity wards service. Yet, in my continuity clinic, I was […]

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There is a taboo in medicine. It is becoming less prominent, but it still exists. You’re not supposed to talk about money. Not how much something costs a patient, not how much you get paid, not how you invest, and certainly not about the freedom from medicine that financial independence can bring. This first shows up […]

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There’s an ugly undercurrent that sometimes shows up in the emergency department: indeed all over the world of medicine. I’ve seen it in doctors and nurses alike. It’s a meanness, a smallness, a kind of moral judgment that can lead us to make poor medical decisions. Or it can simply make us poorer in spirit. […]

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Pledge to boost services undermined by failure to retain thousands of key workers, minister admits

Thousands of nurses, therapists and psychiatrists are quitting NHS mental health services, raising serious doubts about ministerial pledges to dramatically expand the workforce.

Two thousand mental health staff a month are leaving their posts in the NHS in England, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The news comes as services are already seriously understaffed and struggling to cope with a surge in patients seeking help for anxiety, depression and other disorders.

Related: Mental health issues in young people up sixfold in England since 1995

Related: One in three freshers 'show symptoms of mental health disorder'

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She said I had cancer, and an eating disorder, and pneumonia. I didn’t realize it was abuse until years later

I felt the cold metal of the tool through my shirt as she checked my spine for deformities. I was filled with panic, and a certainty that I had scoliosis. I pictured my spine twisted. Would I need a back brace? Eventually a wheelchair? I got lightheaded and said I needed to stop the test.

My mom was so good at combining fact with fiction that even I got confused what was real sometimes.

She explained that Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a rare form of abuse where a caregiver invents illnesses in a child.

These Fearless Females Are Drumming Their Way Into Music’s Biggest Boys’ Club

The Gay Black American Who Stared Down Nazis in the Name of Love

I’m Nonbinary. I Loved Being Pregnant. It’s Complicated.

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Global study investigates prevalence of psychological disorders among first-year university-level students

One in three first-year university-level students report symptoms of a mental health disorder, according to a new international study.

The study investigated the prevalence of psychological disorders – including major depression, mania, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder – among freshers in eight different industrialised countries.

Related: Young people’s mental health: we can build a resilient generation​ | Paul Burstow

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24-year-old who reduced her medication while swimming weekly in open water was drug-and symptom-free within four months

A year ago, a 24-year-old woman with depression was given an unusual prescription by her doctor: a weekly swim in cold water.

The patient, Sarah, was filmed as part of the BBC documentary series The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs, presented by Christoffer van Tulleken, a doctor and researcher at University College London.

Related: What's the ultimate way to defy depression, disease and early death? Exercise

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Proportion of four to 24-year-olds with mental health conditions rose to 4.8% in 2014

Six times more children and young people in England have mental health conditions than a generation ago, research has revealed.

The proportion of four to 24-year-olds who said, or whose parents said, they had a longstanding mental health condition rose from 0.8% in 1995 to 4.8% in 2014, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Medicine.

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A new report shows alarming rates of assault and harassment toward patients. These vulnerable people must be better protected

We already know that conditions in mental health units are not always up to scratch. Overuse of restraint, understaffing, patients being sent hundreds of miles from home: mental health units are often very far from the safe haven they ought to be for those needing help. And now a new report from the Care Quality Commission has uncovered some shocking truths about the sexual safety of patients and staff in mental health wards.

The report, which analysed around 60,000 incidents between April and June 2017, found 1,120 sexual incidents involving patients, staff and visitors; of these, more than a third – 457 – could be classified as sexual assault or harassment. More than two-thirds of the victims in these cases were patients.

Related: NHS care regulator says sexual incidents 'commonplace' in mental health units

Emily Reynolds is a freelance journalist and author

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New research shows the meditative exercise improves mental health, reduces stress and can prevent reoffending

Locked up in a tiny cell in Wayland prison, in Norfolk, detoxing from heroin and methadone, Mike Smith found that bending and breathing his way through a yoga meditation could give him up to three hours without any withdrawal symptoms – even with other inmates hammering on the door yelling “You’re mental” at him.

The 46-year-old charity worker has been clean of drugs for seven years after breaking his two-decade cycle of addiction, reoffending and imprisonment. He now has a full-time job with the Karuna Trust, a charity working in India and Nepal, and he’s been out of prison for more than five years. He puts this down to the self-control he gained during his daily sessions of yoga and meditation while “inside”.

Related: Doing a stretch: how yoga is cutting stress in South African prisons

One man told me that the yoga class was the first time he had ever relaxed in his life

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I was depressed for years, and there was nothing worse than people asking me how I was. But there are things you can do to help

Last week was RUOK? Day, a day dedicated to reducing the impact of suicide on our lives. The aims of awareness campaigns such as this are, of course, noble: suicide is a terrible problem that affects far too many of our lives, and preventing even a single suicide is something that we can all aspire to do.

Related: Senate inquiry to examine claims Indigenous suicide prevention funding misspent

There’s nothing worse than feeling guilty with a smile pasted on your face, telling people that you’re 'just tired'

Related: Fears those with severe mental health issues are falling through NDIS cracks

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Half of GPs surveyed for new report say patients’ psychological problems the issue causing them most concern for future

Australians are seeing their doctor to discuss mental health ailments more than any other issue, according to a new report by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

The college’s 2018 Health of the Nation report, released on Wednesday, also noted increasing out-of-pocket costs for patients and raised some concerns about bulk-billing rates, despite the federal government saying there was now a record number of Australians visiting their doctor without having to pay a cent.

Related: Patients trust their secrets to doctors, not the government or the tax office | Ranjana Srivastava

Related: Australia's doctors elect GP president to 'send a message' to Greg Hunt

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Exams and social media blamed for finding that only 25% of respondents describe themselves as very happy

There has been a sharp decline in happiness among girls and young women in the UK in the last decade, with the majority of them blaming exams and social media for causing stress, a major survey has found.

Just one in four (25%) girls and young women between the ages of seven and 21 described themselves as “very happy” in the latest girls’ attitudes survey for the Girlguiding organisation – down from 41% in 2009.

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Social injustice has a profound psychological impact – and it’s tearing our society apart, say the authors of The Spirit Level

New analysis this week showing that 14 million people live in poverty highlights just how unequal a society the UK has become. Poverty is particularly prevalent among disabled people, single parents, unemployed people or those working irregular or zero-hours jobs.

It follows recent research by the OECD showing that social mobility has stagnated, with a child from a poor family in the UK taking five generations on average to earn the average wage, compared to two generations in Denmark, and three in Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Related: Sign up for the Society Weekly email newsletter

Related: New study finds 4.5 million UK children living in poverty

Related: Kaite O’Reilly: ‘I write disabled characters who aren’t evil, piteous or helpless’

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Researchers are asking people who have suffered from depression and anxiety to provide DNA samples so they can look for common genes

Genetic links to anxiety and depression are to be explored in the largest ever study into the issue, experts have announced.

Researchers are calling on people in England to sign up to the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (Glad) study. It is hoped that 40,000 volunteers aged 16 and over will agree to be part of a database which will be used in future research studies to better understand the genetic aspects of mental health conditions.

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D*Face and Shepard Fairey among artists donating to men’s mental health charity

Some of the world’s most prolific street artists have offered works to be auctioned in aid of Movember, the men’s mental health charity.

Sotheby’s has announced a charity sale called Against the Wall, which has involved Dean Stockton, who goes by the name D*Face, persuading other street artists and artists to come up with new work for a cause close to his heart.

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Data obtained by Labour shows extent of out-of-area care that reduces chances of recovery

Patients with serious mental health problems are being sent more than 300 miles away from their home areas because of widespread bed shortages across the NHS, figures show.

Adults in mental health crises were sent as far as 307 miles from home last year, where they were denied easy access to family and friends for many months – a situation NHS chiefs have admitted reduces chances of recovery.

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Scottish Conservative leader reveals she self-harmed and had suicidal thoughts as a teenager

The Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, has been praised by mental health experts, campaigners and MPs for talking openly about self-harming and having suicidal thoughts as a teenager.

Davidson, who is pregnant with her first child, talked about going into “a total tailspin” after a boy she knew killed himself. At 17, she said that she started hurting herself, punching walls, cutting her stomach and arms with blades or broken glass. When she was 18, she was diagnosed with clinical depression.

Related: Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson announces pregnancy

Related: Alastair Campbell has become an unlikely champion of people with mental illness

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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The landscape of health care has changed nearly beyond recognition in the past decade. If you’re a veteran of the profession, you’ve seen the other side of things — you once had the chance to live the dream, to swim in the pool of autonomy and self-employment, to call the shots and act on behalf […]

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American medicine is in trouble, and the men and women who run our country’s medical societies are just the ones to save it. Think about the trouble, the confusion, the upheaval. Some call it reform. Some call it progress. Some call it just more damn, unnecessary change. Health care is such a politically volatile phrase […]

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I’m probably in the minority on this, but I’m not a fan of the NYU School of Medicine free tuition program. Now I’m all for debt relief for medical students who start their careers with a mortgage. I was one of them. After 13 years, I’m still one of them! I’m also for any initiative […]

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A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. The path to becoming a physician is remarkably devoid of leadership training. Being an adept manager is an increasingly important aspect of medicine and is not explicitly taught as part of medical training. When we, as attending physicians, suddenly find ourselves in situations where we […]

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Let’s face it, “wellness” isn’t going to go away despite some of the backlash. In my opinion, wellness is at the intersection of science, medicine, and health. Simply, wellness means health and happiness. No matter where you are on your health journey, you can achieve your wellness goals which can help you live a healthier life. […]

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I have been working in pediatric primary care for nearly 5 years post-residency and truly love my work. I currently am dealing with very painful post-herpetic neuralgia and many people with this quit working. At some personal cost, I have continued my practice because I find my work day so rewarding I simply can’t imagine […]

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Did a gym visit even happen if you didn’t post a selfie of it? Scroll Free September is urging online addicts to take a break

Name: Scroll Free September.

Age: Just a few days old.

Relax. It’s not the end of the world – just a month without Facebook

Related: Social media is harming the mental health of teenagers. The state has to act | June Eric Udorie

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Further research is needed on the link between children’s mental health and pollution, says Robin Russell-Jones, expanding electric vehicle infrastructure will help London, says Andy Boland, and incinerators should also be targeted in the capital, says Michael Ryan

The link between cognitive performance and air pollution is very worrying but not surprising (High pollution levels ‘causing huge reduction in intelligence’, 28 August). The report by the Royal College of Physicians in 2016 drew a link between air pollution and dementia in the elderly and reduced cognitive performance in children. This recent study from China indicates that teenagers and adults are also affected.

We don’t know how these effects are mediated, but with neurotoxins such as lead the most critical period of exposure is likely to be during pregnancy. A study undertaken in New York of non-smoking mothers showed strong associations with foetal exposure to particulates and subsequent mental health problems in those children at primary school age. These problems included anxiety, depression and ADHD. This has momentous implications for public health. We are suffering an epidemic of mental health problems among...

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As Children’s Society report says 100,000 14-year-olds self-harm, one young woman tells her story

I was 12 when I first started self-harming. At my school there was a lot of bullying and harassment happening. Kids would throw my stuff out the window, pick on me for how I looked and the music I listened to. There was a lot of sexting going on within our school and I got targeted, which was very upsetting.

Related: Calls for action over UK's 'intolerable' child mental health crisis

Related: A safe space: NHS unit on frontline of child mental health crisis

Related: Quarter of 14-year-old girls in UK have self-harmed, report finds

Related: Mental health at university: know where to find support

Names have been changed.

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

In the UK, Childline can be contacted on 0800 1111.

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Teachers and campaigners say young people under pressure but support is underfunded

  • Case study: ‘I self-harmed to cope with my feelings’

Children and teenagers are facing an “intolerable” mental health crisis and an urgent cash injection is needed in schools to prevent a lifetime of damage, teachers, doctors and MPs have warned.

Amid concerns about deeply worrying rates of self-harm and soaring numbers of children seeking help for problems such as eating disorders, teachers, campaigners and politicians have made a desperate plea to the government.

Related: At 14, I self-harmed to erase my body. But my body was not the enemy | Maggy van Eijk

Related: Children forced to travel hundreds of miles for NHS mental health treatment

Related: Hospital admissions for teenage girls who self-harm nearly double

Related: The Guardian view on self-harm: we live in uniquely pressurised times, and girls are suffering | Editorial

Children and young people in the UK who have concerns about mental health can contact Childline on 0800 1111. In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In...

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Scientists call for more investment in promoting healthy lifestyle after discovering strong link between diseases

Having a stroke can double the risk of developing dementia, say scientists, who are calling for more effort to be invested in promoting the healthy lifestyles that reduce the chances of stroke.

A team from Exeter University has analysed data on stroke and dementia risk from 48 separate studies involving a total of 3.2 million people around the world.

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Jessica Southgate on the mental health crisis among young women and girls, Mike Stein on the plight of young people generally, and Michael Heaton on the use of photographs that aggravate the problems of self-image among girls

It is extremely concerning, but unfortunately not surprising, that so many girls are self-harming (Report, 29 August). This adds to a growing body of evidence of a mental health crisis among young women and girls, with depression as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at alarming rates. Body image, pressures at school and gender stereotypes are rightly cited as possible explanations, but they are not the full story.

The sexualisation of girls, the pressures they face around sex, and particularly the alarming levels of sexual and other forms of violence they experience, must be a key part of the conversation. If we continue to bury our heads in the sand on this issue, self-harm figures will continue to rise.

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Kathryn Frazier spent much of her career raising the profiles of clients like Migos and Daft Punk through publicity but now as a life coach she also helps artists stay on an even keel

In the last 15 months, the suicides of Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington and Avicii have reinforced the notion that talent, success, wealth and worldwide fame do not assure happiness. In the wake of these deaths, mental health in the music industry has become a white-hot issue, with a genre-spanning collection of artists coming forth to discuss their own struggles with depression, anxiety, addiction and the pressures of fame.

And while her job has long been to help artists achieve such fame, Kathryn Frazier has more recently become a resource for them to figure out how to deal with it.

Related: Perfectionism and poverty: why musicians struggle with mental health

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Watchdog calculates cost to business and public purse of indebted and stressed adults – not helped by harsh bailiffs

The British economy is losing almost £900m a year from the rapid rise in personal debt problems, according to a report from the Whitehall spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said reduced levels of worker efficiency, people staying away from work and greater chances of people in debt committing crime, meant there was a wider cost of £897m annually to the overall economy.

Related: MPs rebuke councils for 'overzealous' use of bailiffs

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NHS England chief attacks foreign betting firms that fail to pay into £10m help fund

Betting firms who sponsor Premier League football clubs have been criticised by the chief executive of NHS England for apparently ignoring the industry's duty to help Britain's estimated 430,000 problem gamblers.

Simon Stevens castigated foreign-owned betting companies for not contributing to a £10m fund which pays for addicts' treatment while leaving the already overburdened health service to “pick up the pieces” from gambling-related mental ill health.

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Guidance from Universities UK and charity Papyrus seeks to halt rise in student deaths

All university staff who deal with students should receive training in suicide intervention and prevention, according to new guidelines.

But the guidance – published by the Universities UK (UUK) group and the youth suicide prevention charity Papyrus – makes only brief references to data protection issues that could block universities from contacting the families of vulnerable students.

Related: Bristol University did not help suicidal student before she died, coroner hears

Related: Student mental health must be top priority – universities minister

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One in three new fathers worry about their mental health. Many struggle to bond with their babies, or wrestle with despair and aggression. Why isn’t this more widely acknowledged – and why won’t the medical establishment support them?

Ross Hunt, his wife and their new baby were still on the maternity ward when he knew that something was wrong. “I realised I didn’t really want to hold her,” he says. The nurses handled her so casually, so instinctively; their ease made him recoil. “They lifted her up, blanket around her. I thought: ‘She’s tiny. I don’t want to touch her.’ But they made me.”

Back home, Hunt’s estrangement began to bed down. There was “just no connection” between him and the baby. His wife would dress little Isabelle, “looking all cute. She’d show me – and there was just nothing there. I’d wanted a baby so much; I assumed that when I had one, I would be fine. But any time Isabelle came to me and started crying, I almost took it personally.” He told his wife: “I know I don’t like her – but it’s mutual.”

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Mental health workers are taking their services to the doorstep in areas attacked by insurgents in north-east Nigeria

Cletus Nicholas takes his life in his hands when he gets on his keke marwa motor tricycle each morning.

For the past five weeks, he has been offering “counselling on wheels” support to survivors of Boko Haram attacks, going into villages around the city of Maiduguri in north-east Nigeria, the birthplace of the Islamist group.

Related: What next for the millions uprooted by Boko Haram? – photo essay

Related: Women saved from Boko Haram claim soldiers made them trade sex for food

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One in 14 people over the age of 65 in the UK will develop dementia and while there is no cure, scientific evidence shows there are several ways you can guard against it

Among the biggest risk factors for dementia are diabetes and mid-life obesity, which can double your chances of dementia at a later age. Links have also been found between elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and the risk of dementia, although these are not conclusive. Monitoring your weight and cardiovascular health in middle age could greatly reduce your likelihood of dementia.

Related: Are dementia-friendly communities the answer to isolation and stigma? | Claire Goodman

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The academic rigour of an affecting study of suicide is undermined by a simplistic conclusion

“I think – and I know it sounds melodramatic – that I might not make it this year,” 17-year-old New Zealand schoolgirl Victoria McLeod wrote in her journal at the start of 2014. “I know when I see those grades bold and black on a piece of paper, I will either jump for joy or jump off the top floor of this condo.”

Her grades came back first class but, on 14 April that year, she still jumped to her death from the 10-storey apartment block. Her devastated parents, Linda and Malcolm, have shared her diary with developmental psychologist and science writer Jesse Bering, in the hope they might help others make sense of the epidemic of apparently talented, healthy and blessed young people, with fulfilling lives beckoning, killing themselves.

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Australia’s offshore processing regime under spotlight with at least 20 troubled refugee children on ‘food and fluid refusal’

• Pacific Islands Forum: what is it and why have some media been banned?

Nauru’s hosting of the Pacific Islands Forum is at risk of being overshadowed by its role in Australia’s offshore processing regime – in particular, the acute mental illness of dozens of refugee children.

Medical sources on Nauru say at least 20 children are in the Australian-run regional processing centre 1 (RPC1) on “food and fluid refusal” and at risk of permanent harm or death.

Related: Pacific Islands Forum: what is it and why have some media been banned?

Related: 12-year-old on Nauru who tried to set herself alight not getting medical treatment, father says

Related: ‘Darkness surrounds me’: Nauru child refugee paints pictures of despair

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The past decade has seen an enormous upheaval in the practice of medicine. The private independent medical practice is in danger of extinction. Management overhead and red tape has skyrocketed due to government regulations and private insurance and pharmaceutical benefit rules. Added to that are multiple electronic medical records that need to be implemented, vary […]

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The trouble began when I needed to open the electronic health record (EHR) system for the tenth time that day. EHRs have significantly changed the way we practice medicine. They have completely eliminated the need for storage and transport of paper charts, reduced prescription errors secondary to illegible handwritings of physicians and provided an excellent […]

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 77-year-old woman is evaluated for frequently fluctuating INRs (<1.8 to >3.5) while taking warfarin therapy. She has undergone INR testing every 1 to 2 weeks and frequent warfarin dose adjustments. She reports a consistent dietary intake. Medical history is notable […]

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In the second week of April, I headed to San Francisco where I took part in the SWOG Semi-Annual Meeting. To those who might be unfamiliar with us, SWOG is a member organization of the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) and is tasked in running clinical trials across disease sites and scenarios, from prevention to […]

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American physicians dole out lots of unnecessary medical care to their patients. They prescribe things like antibiotics for people with viral infections, order expensive CT scans for patients with transitory back pain, and obtain screening EKGs for people with no signs or symptoms of heart disease. Some critics even accuse physicians of ordering such services […]

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With the transition to residency, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about next steps in my career. I even did a self-reflection exercise for a class in which I listed out professional decisions that will come up in the next few years (including choices like fellowship selection, type of practice setting, whether to pursue […]

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What is it? Kratom is a powdered herbal supplement derived from the leaves of a tropical evergreen tree that is native to Southeast Asia and is usually taken orally but can also be brewed into teas. It is commonly used by consumers as an alternative medicine to self-treat opioid addiction and chronic pain.  The leaves […]

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Psychologists helping judges opt for community sentences as alternative to prison

Offenders with mental health, alcohol and drug abuse problems are being referred to health services as part of community sentences in an effort to steer them away from jail time.

Under a pilot scheme in five areas in England, psychologists and panels comprising justice and health officials have been providing information to judges or magistrates to determine whether offenders should be required to receive treatment.

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Calls for new fathers as well as mothers to be screened for depression after the birth of a child

The mental health of new fathers is being overlooked despite evidence suggesting men might experience similar rates of depression to mothers after the birth of a child, experts have warned.

It is thought at least 10% of new mothers experience postnatal depression, although charities have said figures could be higher as surveys have shown many women do not seek help or are not asked about their mental health after having a baby.

Related: Can men get postnatal depression?

Related: Postnatal depression – ‘I felt disembodied for so long but suddenly I was back in my own body’

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MP decries ‘nonsensical’ situation as parents make six-hour trips to visit daughter

People with life-threatening eating disorders in an area of England with poor provision are being sent miles away from home for help despite a new specialist centre in the area lying empty.

Chris McKenna, a clinical psychologist, has spent £2m transforming his family home in Suffolk into a 12-bed inpatient facility called the Chimneys. He did so after finding out there was no treatment centre in the county when his daughter needed treatment for anorexia, and she would have to go to Norwich for help.

Related: 'People shouldn't have to move': getting care for an eating disorder

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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".

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