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Absent a last-minute, lifesaving intervention, after 20 years of reviewing and summarizing clinical practice guidelines in a continuously updated database, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) will go offline on July 16th. Prior to its untimely death due to budget cuts, the NGC not only served as a one-of-a-kind online resource for clinicians, […]

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Primary care visits are never quick; we don’t give much advice over the phone or online; and we prioritize the government’s and insurance companies’ public health agenda over our own patients’ concerns. Imagine health care as a retail customer experience for a few minutes: Imagine you’re going to Walmart to buy a bag of dog […]

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When we go to the deli, we expect to take a number and wait in line. Accomplishing any task at the department of motor vehicles can be an ordeal of waiting and then being herded out the door. This is part of life in American society. However, it should not be part of your health […]

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Dieting teenagers are more likely to partake in other unhealthy activities, according to a new study. And there are common factors behind these behaviours

A study in Canada has found that teenage girls who diet are also more likely to take part in unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking and binge drinking. The research, involving more than 3,300 high-school students in Ontario, found that dieters were more likely to smoke, drink and skip breakfast three years later. Smoking and skipping meals have long been considered – unhealthily and erroneously – a way to lose weight. “But the explanation is not so clear for something like binge drinking,” said Amanda Raffoul, who led the study for the University of Waterloo. “It was worrying, she added, “since 70% of girls reported dieting at some point over the three years.” Previous studies, also in Canada, found that teenage girls undertook unhealthy weight-control methods such as vomiting (affecting between 5% and 12% of adolescent girls), diet pill use (between 3% and 10%) and smoking (up to 18% of girls).

Related: Severe obesity rates double during primary school, figures show

Related: Binge-drink Britain: how one weekend bender can...

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In equal societies, citizens trust each other and contribute to their community. This goes into reverse in countries like ours

The gap between image and reality yawns ever wider. Our rich society is full of people presenting happy smiling faces both in person and online, but when the Mental Health Foundation commissioned a large survey last year, it found that 74% of adults were so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Almost a third had had suicidal thoughts and 16% had self-harmed at some time in their lives. The figures were higher for women than men, and substantially higher for young adults than for older age groups. And rather than getting better, the long-term trends in anxiety and mental illness are upwards.

For a society that believes happiness is a product of high incomes and consumption, these figures are baffling. However, studies of people who are most into our consumerist culture have found that they are the least happy, the most insecure and often suffer poor mental health.

Related: The psychological effects of inequality – Science Weekly podcast

Related: Rising inequality linked to drop in union membership

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Southbank festival will host a panel on mental health and the music industry following band frontman Scott Hutchison’s death in May

Frightened Rabbit’s set at Meltdown festival in London is to be replaced by a panel on mental health awareness and the music industry, following the death of singer Scott Hutchison, who took his own life in May.

The Scottish indie band were due to perform on 19 June at Southbank Centre’s annual arts festival, this year curated by the Cure’s Robert Smith. Hutchison was last seen on 9 May. Police found his body near Edinburgh the following day.

Related: Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison: a songwriter who found humanity in our flaws

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Research finds 80% of rough sleepers who died in capital in 2017 had mental health needs compared with 29% in 2010


Deaths of rough sleepers with mental health problems have risen sharply over the last seven years, prompting concern that specialist services are not reaching those who need them.

Research released on Tuesday by the homeless charity St Mungo’s shows that four out of five (80%) rough sleepers who died in London in 2017 had mental health needs, an increase from three in 10 (29%) in 2010.

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As the World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition, one UK treatment centre reveals how it is trying to tackle the problem

Ian* was in his 20s when he started gaming in the mid-1990s. A long-time interest in building PCs had developed into an initially healthy interest in first-person shooters like Counter Strike and Team Fortress, which he’d play at weekends and when he came home from work.

It was the online element of these games, he says, that really changed his relationship to gaming, and what started as a hobby quickly took over his life.

When I got home on a Friday night, I would sit at the computer and I wouldn’t leave until Sunday night

Game makers are deliberately tapping into an addictive process

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John Paul Finnigan and Kevin Williams both struggled with PTSD after serving in Iraq

Two former soldiers who killed themselves within weeks of each other should have received more support, the brother of one of the men has said.

John Paul Finnigan and Kevin Williams served together on the frontline in Iraq and formed an “undeniable bond”. When they left the army they both struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Teens in Netherlands regularly top life satisfaction tables, with schooling playing a big role

In a biology class at a secondary school near Rotterdam, Gerrit the skeleton is not the only one with a permanent grin.

The Groen van Prinstererlyceum, which first trialled happiness lessons a decade ago, teaches some of the least troubled teens in the world.

Related: Young people can be champions of change in mental health care

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Despite government promises to end practice, figures show almost no change since 2016

Hundreds of mental health patients are being sent hundreds of miles from home to get treatment, despite ministers branding the practice damaging and unacceptable.

Latest NHS figures show that in February 650 adults in England had to travel for inpatient treatment, even though Jeremy Hunt, the health and social care secretary, has pledged to reduce, and eventually ban, out-of-area placements by 2020.

Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, health spending increased by an average of 1.2% above inflation and increases are due to continue in real terms at a similar rate until the end of this parliament. This is far below the annual inflation-proof growth rate that the NHS enjoyed before 2010 of almost 4% stretching back to the 1950s. As budgets tighten, NHS organisations have been struggling to live within their means. In the financial year 2015-16, acute trusts recorded a deficit of £2.6bn. This was reduced to £800m last year, though only after a £1.8bn bung from the Department of Health, which shows the deficit remained the same year on year.

Related: Figures reveal ‘alarming’ rise in injuries at mental...

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In the interests of our collective mental health, we need good, fun news as well as bad – so thank you, MPR raccoon

The last time a raccoon hit global news, it was Conrad, the Toronto raccoon killed on the road (bear with me), which inspired a vigil in tribute. City services left the raccoon on the side of the road for so long that someone left a note and a rose by the body. Soon, a framed photograph of a raccoon popped up; a Sharpie was left to encourage written respects on a card; candles and flowers surrounded the corpse. The raccoon was named Conrad. Most people appreciated the offbeat humour in this; others complained that the raccoon was being “disrespected”, even though it had a better send-off than many humans.

But there can be no ambiguity over the heartwarming tale of what happened to the critter that became known as the MPR raccoon, which has captured the world’s attention over the past couple of days. MPR raccoon (named after Minnesota Public Radio) got stuck on a ledge. Raccoons, which tend to climb upwards when stressed, scaled 23 floors of an office building before getting tired and having a nap on a windowsill. Office workers, powerless behind their sealed-shut...

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She was a sex worker in her 20s with the health of an 80-year-old. Were we right to section her to stop her drug abuse?

We found our patient lying on a mattress on the floor of her room, naked and intoxicated with ketamine. Her speech was slurred and confused, her eyes roaming aimlessly, but she appeared happier than she had been for a while. Some other patients were with her, clearly substance affected.

My colleague and I tried to remain composed, but I had that slow sinking feeling that we had already lost control of the situation. I couldn’t remember the part of our induction where all your patients take drugs and you have to pretend like everything is still normal.

Related: Sam is a convicted paedophile … and a teenage girl

Related: My patient told me he is going to stab someone. There's nothing I can do

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NHS boss Simon Stevens warns of double epidemic of child mental health and obesity

Social media firms must share the burden with the health service as it battles mental health issues in young people, the head of NHS England has said.

Setting out the health service’s key priorities for the future as it marks its 70th year, Simon Stevens, the body’s chief executive, warned of a “double epidemic affecting our children” that also included obesity.

Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, health spending increased by an average of 1.2% above inflation and increases are due to continue in real terms at a similar rate until the end of this parliament. This is far below the annual inflation-proof growth rate that the NHS enjoyed before 2010 of almost 4% stretching back to the 1950s. As budgets tighten, NHS organisations have been struggling to live within their means. In the financial year 2015-16, acute trusts recorded a deficit of £2.6bn. This was reduced to £800m last year, though only after a £1.8bn bung from the Department of Health, which shows the deficit remained the same year on year.

If you have had stomach-shrinking surgery we would like to hear from you. What was your experience like? Did...

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Seeking treatment takes time and money and is often difficult to access for marginalised people

The recent deaths by suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have caused an outpouring of shock and grief on social media, and naturally raise questions as to how we can better support people with a mental illness at risk of self-harm. While sharing advice like “reach out to your friends and family” and “seek medical help” is undoubtedly positive, actually “getting help” in the Australian healthcare system can be both difficult to achieve, and very expensive.

Related: The cost of getting well in Australia is keeping us sick | Fiona Wright

Steps towards making our society more equal would help to improve the mental health of those most vulnerable

Related: NDIS failing people with severe mental health issues, new report warns

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If someone you know is finding the going tough, here’s what you can do to help them

Bristol University students and representatives have spoken up about the student mental health crisis and the state of provisions at the university. While student activists continue to push for better support, there are things we can do on the ground to support our friends who are struggling.

As Cambridge University Students’ Unions’ welfare and rights officer, a big part of my job is training students not only on mental health and wellbeing, but also on peer support. Alongside services, friends are well placed to help. We know each other better than service providers. We can be easier to open up to, serving as a bridge to getting more formal support.

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Academics urged to open up about stress and anxiety over high-stakes research audit

Academic researcher John Banks (not his real name) still has big personal regrets about bowing to pressure from his former university in the run-up to the government’s last high-stakes audit of research.

Universities obsess about the government’s Research Excellence Framework, known as the Ref, with good reason. The four-yearly exercise determines not only where around £2bn a year of public funding will go, but where universities and individual departments will rank in league tables.

Related: I wish we could talk more openly about mental health in academia

Related: In UK universities there is a daily erosion of integrity | Stefan Collini

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Children have gone into rehab due to internet addiction, and Lily Allen says she spends five hours a day on Twitter. How do we deal with this?

When Jean-Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people”, he was clueless. Social media did not yet exist. Now we all know how hellish other people are, no matter how heavenly their Instas. And we know not what we do. Or at least that’s how the internet is still spoken of, as something newish, out of control and worrying. The gnattish attention spans of adults, the limited vocabulary of children, social isolation, Trump, eating disorders, the “alt-right”. All of these are because of the damned old internet. Limiting the time your kids spend online is now a signifier of middle-class parenting is now limiting to limit the time your kids spend online. Really? This is like buying them wooden toys they never play with.

We still seem to have no real handle on how we talk about the online world apart from this narrative of fear, addiction and excess. At this stage of the game, I wonder how useful this is. A nine-year-old girl has reportedly been put into rehab for an Xbox addiction so bad that she would rather sit in her own urine than stop for a...

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Mental illness claims the lives of too many in music. A new helpline seeks to change that

When Jess Cornelius named her 2016 album Give Up on Your Health, she did so as a warning to herself not to get sick – physically, or mentally. As an artist, she couldn’t afford it.

The musician, who performs as Teeth & Tongue, has just swapped Melbourne for LA. Sounds great, except she found that sorting out visas, tax, social security numbers and bank accounts leaves little time for creativity. Being a musician is dispiriting, she says.

Related: ‘I was literally tearing myself up’: can the performing arts solve its mental health crisis?

Artists like Adele are admitting that touring is taking a toll and they need to put health first

Related: Adele: 'I'd be happy never to tour again'

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I strongly believe that clinical physicians do not have an edge on the rest of the market. Therefore, they should heed Warren Buffett’s advice — avoid picking individual stocks and invest in index funds. Nevertheless, some doctors do believe that they have an edge when it comes to investing in health care stocks. They think that just because they are […]

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Cyberbullying is a major and growing public health problem associated with increased risk of greater psychiatric morbidity and mortality among children and adolescents. Its prevalence, varieties, associations with other forms of maltreatment, risk factors and deleterious effects in different populations are poorly understood. Furthermore, effective, evidence-based approaches to screening and prevention in different populations are […]

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As a medical student, every eight weeks I rotate through a new specialty in a new hospital or health service. This means every eight weeks, I flick over to a new chapter in my textbook, learn a new set of medical lingo, meet a new team of doctors and a new cohort of patients. As […]

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On my morning commute as I read this NPR article, memories started flooding my brain. I could not control myself and had to write this. My last name “Theetha Kariyanna” has its origin from a small village Theetha and added to it is my dad’s name Kariyanna (a local folk god). Back in my school […]

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February 14, 2018. It’s the “before.” My phone rang, and I stopped breathing as words poured straight from her heart about the most recent school shooting — Stoneman Douglas High School, where I had nervously walked the halls as a freshman and excitedly watched my sister cheer at football games in Parkland, a boring little […]

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Some dismiss students as snowflakes. But the pressure they are under is real – and anything that helps is important

The guinea pigs weren’t even my idea. And initially, I was sceptical. A little earlier in the spring, as the pressure began to mount ahead of final exams, our senior tutor at the Cambridge college where I am president decided to help relieve the stress for some students by acquiring four guinea pigs to be fed, petted and generally adored. Since our college is proudly feminist, three were given appropriate names – Virguinea Woolf, Emmeline Squeakhurst and Ruth Bader Guineasburg, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a US supreme court justice. Since we are also deeply committed to biscuits, the fourth guinea pig was called Oreo.

Related: Our children are over-stressed. This is how we can protect them | Gaby Hinsliff

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This is just one on a list of things that have been found to have no relation to mental health

Mental health is a big problem. For me personally, with my various diagnoses, specialists, and meds, and for society in general. Not because there’s anything wrong with being mentally unwell – there absolutely isn’t – but because most people don’t understand mental health issues.

Poor understanding turns to fear.

Related: Doors, backpacks and Ritalin: what Republicans have blamed school shootings on

Related: Author Nancy Tucker on mental health: ‘Being a young woman can be agonising’

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As the Guardian reveals its 2019 University Guide, we look at something no league table covers – student wellbeing

• Tips for picking a university

When Elliot Bush first started thinking about university applications, the most pressing issues were module options and grade requirements. As a teenager, Elliot had experienced mental health issues, such as feelings of anxiety and hearing voices. “But it hadn’t affected my school work, and I was still getting good grades, so I didn’t think about it being a big issue at uni,” explains Elliot, who is now 21.

Related: University league tables 2019

Related: Applying to university: top tips from today's students to tomorrow's

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Not using phone is ‘a strange experience but really is good for you’, music producer says

Simon Cowell has revealed that he has not used his mobile phone for 10 months in an attempt to boost his mental health and happiness.

The music mogul said the move had paid off in terms of his quality of life.

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Coroner writes to health secretary after vulnerable man died in care home that had not been inspected by watchdog

A coroner has written to the health secretary expressing concerns about the shortage of suitable supported accommodation for vulnerable people with Asperger syndrome following the death of a man in a home that had not even been inspected by the care regulator.

Robin Richards, 33, had a long history of mental health issues and was sectioned after taking novel psychoactive substances and becoming aggressive and suicidal.

Related: Private hospitals warned over failing safety and quality standards

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That’s the claim made by the authors of The Inner Level, which furthers arguments first laid out in their 2009 work, The Spirit Level. They reveal the bleak truth about uneven societies

In 2009, when the world was still absorbing the shock of the previous year’s financial crisis, a book called The Spirit Level was published. Written by a couple of social epidemiologists, it argued that a whole raft of data conclusively showed that societies with greater inequality also had a range of more pronounced social problems, including higher rates of violence, murder, drug abuse, imprisonment, obesity and teenage pregnancies.

Given that naked profit motive had just taken the world to the brink of economic collapse, it was a good moment to take stock and reflect on where rising inequality was leading us. For the previous 30 years a broad consensus had operated in politics, particularly in the US and Britain, that as long as those at the bottom were being lifted by the rising tide of wealth, then it didn’t much matter that those at the top were rising much faster.

There is evidence showing that companies with a bigger pay ratio are less efficient, less productive

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(GOOD Music / Def Jam)
The world’s most talked-about rapper is bracingly honest about his mental health struggles – though his attitude towards women still needs work

It seems a strange thing to say about an album premiered at a globally live-streamed exclusive playback that involved flying journalists and “influencers” to the mountain ranges of Wyoming – an event with its own merchandise range, including a long-sleeved T-shirt that retails for $145 – but there is something curiously low-key about Kanye West’s new album. At least by Kanye West’s standards.

It is neither a bold stylistic statement in the vein of 808s and Heartbreak (from 2008) or Yeezus (2013), nor a sprawling address along the lines of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or ye’s immediate predecessor, The Life of Pablo. Its seven tracks – none of them an obvious hit single – clock in at a trim 23 minutes. Its cover was apparently snapped by West on his phone en route to the launch. Neither of the curious, attention-grabbing singles that preceded it are included, though the lyrical concerns of Ye vs the People are peppered throughout – you hear quite a lot about how no one fully understands the genius-level thought...

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Readers respond to Polly Toynbee’s piece about dementia and quality of life for those with the disease

After 35 years working with people with dementia, and having a father who has had Alzheimer’s disease for the past five years, I find it hard to be certain that I know what people with dementia are thinking and if they judge life in the same way as before they had dementia (Why do we keep people alive against their wishes?, 29 May). Their lives are certainly different from ours and what theirs once was, but are they “empty husks”? Katharine Whitehorn is no longer a journalist, mother, friend, etc, and my father is no longer a veteran, great-grandfather etc; they can no longer recall any of that, and it is distressing for us who remember them as such to see that and the loss of their ability to care for themselves, but is it equally distressing for them? What is their experience of this new reality? That is a much harder question because we can only observe from the outside.

The people I’ve seen seem to have very varying experiences of dementia. Some appear very distressed, others relatively happy, and this experience can appear to vary greatly both from person to person and from...

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It’s bad enough that we demonise the poor and disabled – now they can’t even leave their homes or use social media in peace

Until a few years ago, if a patient with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia told you that they were being watched by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), most mental health practitioners would presume this to be a sign of illness. This is not the case today.

The level of scrutiny all benefits claimants feel under is so brutal that it is no surprise that supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has a policy to share CCTV “where we are asked to do so by a public or regulatory authority such as the police or the Department for Work and Pensions”. Gym memberships, airport footage and surveillance video from public buildings are now used to build cases against claimants, with posts from social media used to suggest people are lying about their disabilities. More and more private companies are being asked to send in footage. The atmosphere is one of pervasive suspicion, fuelled by TV programmes such as Benefits Street and successive governments’ mentality of “strivers v skivers”.

Related: Have you lost benefits due to surveillance by the fraud and error prevention...

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A 24-hour response team in West Yorkshire is easing the pressure on emergency services

One consequence of the closure of so many mental hospitals since the 1960s has been the increase in the number of people being sent far from their homes when they have needed a bed to receive treatment. However, a scheme in Bradford is showing that you can stop such out-of-area placements altogether by strengthening community-based care and support.

“You can live in Lancashire and have to go to Cornwall for a hospital bed,” says Chris Dixon, clinical manager of the First Response crisis scheme. “It’s hugely detrimental to people’s mental health because it’s harder to recover when you are hundreds of miles from home and don’t have family and friends around you.”

Related: Young people can be champions of change in mental health care

Related: Mental health care: have services really been transformed?

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New initiatives are helping young people enter the conversation – but there’s still stigma around accessing services

‘If you don’t deal with the mental health of young people, the cost to the community is disastrous, never mind the public purse,” says Jacqui Dyer, chair of Black Thrive and vice-chair of the England Mental Health Task Force. Black Thrive, based in Lambeth, south London, aims to tackle the systemic issues behind poor mental health outcomes in black communities.

“We’re working with the local authority, schools and mental health [workers] to improve services – and the voice of children and young people will be central,” says Dyer. “Part of how mental health services have to change is to listen to what communities are saying in order to respond better when young black people show up in a crisis or require early intervention.”

Related: Mental health care: have services really been transformed?

Related: Mental health self-help guides tend to be dull, so I created a vibrant zine | Andy Walton

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People’s rights are at the forefront of treatment, but funding remains an issue

A sure sign that mental health had emerged from the shadows came when Prince Harry talked about his near-breakdown years after his mother’s death. Literally shut away from sight a few decades ago, mental illness has moved to the centre of public debate.

NHS services have also come a long way since their inheritance of lunatic asylums and a dubious arsenal of treatments such as insulin shock therapy, which was used to induce comas. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, produced by an independent task force for NHS England two years ago, spoke of a “transformation” in which the emphasis had already shifted to human rights.

Related: Future-proofing the NHS: how the UK's largest workforce is gearing up

Related: 'It's revolutionary': staff and patients on 70 years of the NHS

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None of the 75 sites visited by experts met the standards of care set by the United Nations

Mental health institutions in Europe are failing to safeguard residents’ human rights, with many described as shocking by experts who have found not one institution among 75 visited across the continent fully met all of the standards set by the United Nations.

While some institutions took care to train staff to deal with crises, create individual recovery plans and provide access to legal support, others failed to even partially meet such standards.

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 28-year-old man is evaluated for a 2-month history of progressive lower-extremity edema, weight loss, and fatigue. Medical history is significant for recreational use of inhaled cocaine; he denies injection drug use. He has no other known medical issues and takes […]

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The devastating opioid epidemic is one of the largest public health problems facing the U.S. Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from opioid use disorder. Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers. A 2015 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found people who are addicted to […]

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When I was a cardiology fellow back in the 1980s, I learned about a variety of early tools for evaluating heart health that had been displaced by the modern standards of electrocardiography (ECG, or EKG for the Deutschephiles) and echocardiography. One such technique – ballistocardiography – stuck with me, and may be making a comeback. […]

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Without doubt, the future of medicine will include mandatory education for physicians on their conscious and unconscious biases. The politically and culturally progressive nature of medical education and graduate medical education almost ensure that this will eventually be a deeply-ingrained part of our training and our continuing certification. I’m sure that as our culture purports […]

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Doing a simple internet search, you can find a plethora of information about well-being and health. Being happy and well is a goal everyone should aim to achieve. However, I  find many of the tips out there are simply unattainable. It may be that I am just a fail at true inner peace and that […]

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People with disrupted 24-hour cycles of rest and activity more likely to have mood disorders, research suggests

People who experience disrupted 24-hour cycles of rest and activity are more likely to have mood disorders, lower levels of happiness and greater feelings of loneliness, research suggests.

While the study does not reveal whether disruptions to circadian rhythms are a cause of mental health problems, a result of them or some mixture of the two, the authors say the findings highlight the importance of how we balance rest and activity.

Related: Nobel prize for medicine awarded for insights into internal biological clock

Related: Late risers more likely to die early? Wake me up from this nightmare | Andy Dawson

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Raising awareness of mental health problems should be the start of the process of tackling them, not the end

It’s mental health awareness week, 2018. And that’s good. It’s important to be aware of something that affects literally everyone, and that a quarter of the population regularly struggle with. It’s weird that anyone wouldn’t be when you put it in those terms, but that does seem to the case.

Perhaps the term is a bit misleading, or not specific enough. It’s not exactly mental health that people need to be made aware of, so much as the fact that mental health can, and regularly does, go wrong. And when someone’s mental health does falter or fail, they should receive the same concern and help that someone with a more obvious “physical” ailment should get, not scorn and stigma, as often happens.

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I’ve used my experiences over the last 20 years to develop Swirl, an accessible guide to managing anxiety

I have struggled with anxiety, particularly overthinking, for a number of years. I’ve had cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and taken medication – and I’ve collected a lot of self-help literature.

I’ve found most of this material dull and lengthy, and if you have mental health issues, you might struggle with the motivation and concentration to read it. As a mental health nurse, I also noticed there were few resources for service users that were empowering or pleasing to the eye. There was a lot of stereotyping, with pictures of clouds, people frowning or sitting with their head in their hands. I wanted to create something that could take on those associations.

If you wake up in the middle of the night with your mind swirling with thoughts, my hope is that you can pick up Swirl and that it will soothe you

Related: I'm reinventing mental health care by putting patients in charge

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The UK’s abundant woodland has proven health benefits. That’s why Network Rail’s destructive scheme must be opposed

In 2001 there were 1.3bn trees in England. That’s 25 for every person in the country, the highest numbers since the first world war. One article predicted that in 2020 there would be more trees in England than in 1086, when 15% of the country was cloaked in woodland. Part of the reason for this buoyant outlook was the country’s response to the great storm of 1987. We mourned for our ancient yews and the beeches of Chanctonbury Ring. Petitions were drafted, many thousands of saplings were planted. We rebuilt our woods with solemn and impassioned dedication.

The predictions will not fall short. Across the UK, the number of trees has sharply increased. In 2015 there were 3bn trees, the equivalent of 47, a sizeable copse, for every person, around twice as many as in 2001. These statistics might evoke a bosky eden where the wild wood is reclaiming the land, yet recent years have also seen a return of large-scale felling, with Network Rail’s plans to cut down millions more trees the latest example.

Related: Revealed: Network Rail's new £800m scheme to remove all 'leaf...

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Six-week checkup would help the 50% of UK mothers with mental health problems

New mothers should receive a mental health checkup six weeks after giving birth to help tackle possible postnatal depression and other problems related to having a baby, ministers have been told.

A cross-party group of 60 MPs and peers have written to Steve Brine, the minister for public health and primary care, demanding that all mothers in England have an assessment of their emotional and mental health carried out by a GP, practice nurse or health visitor.

Related: How to survive the mental pressures of being a new mother

The maternal check is often either not done at all or is done in a hurry at the end of the baby check appointment

Related: Our health system is failing new mothers | Maggie Gordon-Walker

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Tessa Jowell was a member of the Mental Health Act Commission set up in 1983 to safeguard the interests of patients formally detained in mental hospitals, which included visiting and monitoring their care.

Already an expert in the field, she wore her learning lightly. A team player, she combined penetrating questions with a compassion for the patients and the staff caring for them. Distressing though the work sometimes was, she was always vivacious and full of good humour.

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I am one of the women who has felt overwhelmed. And this isn’t due to hormones, or any of the other explanations that are used to blame women

Like every other age known to humankind, these are hard times to be a woman. According to the UK’s biggest survey into the impact of stress, 81% say they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope in the past year (compared with 67% of men). The other 19% were probably too damn busy, or perhaps just drained by being paid less than the man sitting next to them, to respond.

Related: Three in four Britons felt overwhelmed by stress, survey reveals

Women are twice as likely to experience anxiety as men

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Stress almost drove me out of the profession. But a change in leadership has helped me fall back in love with education

  • Read more from the Secret Teacher

Not so long ago, I was ready to quit teaching. Now, I’ve got my sights on leadership. The difference is my headteacher.

Under my previous head, I got the point where I couldn’t go on. I was signed off work with anxiety and stress. At school, we’d been under intense pressure to get more children to expected levels to show the school was improving – and were always on edge thanks to drop-in observations. As a member of the school leadership team, the headteacher expected me to remain distant from the rest of the staff, meaning I was isolated from my colleagues.

Related: Teachers are at breaking point. It's time to push wellbeing up the agenda

When staff sought support, they were made to feel it was their fault – and their responsibility alone to deal with it

Related: Every school needs a staff wellbeing team – here’s how to start one

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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".