Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Articles published by guardian.co.uk Society about: Mental health

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Running shows the mind who's boss | Clare Allan

30th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Your mental health benefits as much as your body when you put on your running shoesThe horror of the Boston Marathon bombings in which three people lost their lives, and many more sustained life-changing injuries, has focused attention on why anyone would choose to target so innocuous an event. It is certainly important to try to understand what motivates such behaviour. But important, too, not to overlook the immense motivational achievement completing a marathon represents for the thousands of individuals taking part.Last month, 35,000 runners set off to run more than 26 miles to complete the London Marathon. It was ...

Austerity kills, economists warn

29th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

New book points to devastating effects on health in Europe and US of government cutsGeorge Osborne, look away now: a new book claims it is seriously bad for our health, and that cutbacks have already had a devastating effect across Europe and North America. Pointing to soaring suicide rates, rising HIV infections and even a malaria outbreak, researchers argue that governments' austerity drives are costing lives.In research that will be seized on by opposition politicians demanding the UK's coalition government waver in its relentless austerity push, the political economist David Stuckler and the physician-epidemiologist Sanjay Basu say they have shown ...

I'm still confused by the court of protection

27th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

We've had to deal again with the secretive court that advocates on behalf of people unable to make decisions about their welfare – it's a peculiar businessIf you have a relative with dementia, there is a good chance you will have had dealings with the court of protection. It advocates on behalf of people deemed to lack the capacity to make decisions about their own welfare, property or finances. It performs a vital function, but is nonetheless, perhaps necessarily, a shadowy institution, and has been described as "Britain's most secretive court".From behind closed doors, the court (separate arrangements exist in ...

Welfare policies are cruel, but it's dangerous to draw a link with suicides | Ellie Mae O'Hagan

25th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Focusing on those who take their own lives after benefits are withdrawn may increase the possibility of others following suitHailing from Wales as I do, I am frequently updated with the goings on of my homeland via weekly calls from my parents, who habitually give me a rundown of who's marrying who, and – more broadly – what the latest is from our country's news stations. A few years ago my mother relayed a peculiar story to me about the county of Bridgend experiencing a sudden upsurge in its suicide rate. Between 2007 and 2009 25 people between the ages ...

Crime is falling. Now let's reduce fear of crime | Ally Fogg

24th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Despite the evidence, people don't believe Britain is becoming safer. Accepting the truth isn't easy, but would benefit the nationIn early February, I wrote here about the continuing and dramatic decline in violence and crime in the UK. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common responses below the line was incredulity. Several readers suggested the figures were declining because nobody bothered to report crime any more, not realising that the statistics were based on extensive crime survey research and not police figures. Some suggested that the national statistics must be masking concentrations of problems on deprived housing estates, where life gets ...

Police officers charged with misconduct after death of schizophrenic man

24th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Two Kent constables accused of misconduct in public office after Colin Holt, detained under Mental Health Act, died in custodyTwo police officers allowed a mentally ill man to die in front of them after neglecting their duty while detaining him, a court has heard.PCs Maurice Leigh and Neil Bowdery of Kent police pleaded not guilty to misconduct in public office over the death of Colin Holt, who had paranoid schizophrenia.Holt, 52, died from positional asphyxia at his flat in Gillingham, Kent, on 30 August 2010 after officers were called to return him to hospital, as he was subject to a ...

It's time to talk about mental health

24th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Angela McNab, chief executive of one of England's larger mental health trusts, explains how listening to patients has led to improvementsIn government, as in society, attitudes tend to change gradually, so health minister Norman Lamb's commitment to "prioritising mental health like never before, making sure that it sits on par with physical health" has come as a welcome step change to mental health professionals.Although one in four people in the UK will have mental health problems at some point in their lives, mental health services suffer institutional disadvantage compared to physical health services; press coverage of mental health is scant; ...

A breakdown of nervous breakdowns | Dean Burnett

24th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Many people suffer from a "nervous breakdown" at some point in their lives. But despite its widespread use, the term is not one that is medically valid as it is used to describe a wide range of conditionsThere's a lot in the world to get stressed about lately. This last week alone we've seen bombings and city-wide gunfights in Boston, massive explosions in Texas, on-going violence in the Middle East, emotions raised over Thatcher's funeral, increasing measles cases in Swansea, continuing savage benefit cuts and maybe an alien invasion or two that got lost amongst the onslaught of bad news. ...

Marian Keyes: 'I thought I'd never be able to write again'

21st April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

The Irish novelist talks about her crippling depression, the power of Come Dine with Me, and why she can't wait to be 50 – or 70You wrote your latest book, The Mystery of Mercy Close, in the grip of what you have previously described as a nervous breakdown. Does it feel miraculous that it got written at all?It does. I'm amazed. I really, really thought I'd never be able to write again. I had long months of catatonic, unable-to-get-out-of-bedness and then long months of this incredible fear, in the grip of panic. So the book was written very peculiarly. There ...

A girl's guide to modern living | Hadley Freeman

20th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

What not to say to a single friend, and how to welcome yet another baby into your social circle... Hadley Freeman explores life's trickiest dilemmasHow to cheer up your friend who is depressed about being single without lying to them, patronising them or making them feel even worse One has to begin by making the – I hope – patently obvious statement that there is nothing wrong with being single. Nonetheless, there are times when it can be tough. A person might have been happily single for years, and then one day, for whatever reason, they wake up and the ...

My dad appears to actively dislike me

20th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

He is more aggressive than I've seen him since he got ill. At one point, he even makes to push me in the faceOn this visit to Dad's care home, I'm told he is "having a wander". I find him at the end of the corridor that leads to the residents' bedrooms. He is standing, muttering to himself and running his hands along the walls, as if trying to read something through his fingertips."Dad!" I say, arms out. This time I'm ready for the shock of his appearance, determined to be calm and cheerful.His eyes seem to glimmer and fill. "Ah," he says. "You're back."I sigh with relief. That's ...

M25 suicide case demonstrates limits of court of appeal | Joshua Rozenberg

18th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Supreme court's backing of initial tribunal reaffirms principle that suicidal people may not realise full effects of their actionsIn the early hours of a wintry morning eight years ago, a motorist named Barry Hughes parked his car on the hard shoulder of the six-lane carriageway that links the M25 motorway to the Dartford Crossing bridge in Essex. Hughes got out of his car, waited until an articulated lorry was approaching in the centre lane and then ran out into the road. He then stood in its path, facing the lorry with his arms raised.Hughes was killed instantly. The inquest into ...

Fathers-to-be, trust me, watching your children being born is not traumatic | Ally Fogg

16th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Media misrepresentation of research into life-threatening labour complications has real and harmful consequencesNothing I have experienced in my life has ever touched the moments when my children were born. No drug could match the euphoric rush of pleasure and relief at knowing both mother and baby were well; the intense wave of love that swept over me, both for the newly born son pressed to my chest and for my beautiful partner who had just conquered the challenge of nature's most demanding and rewarding miracle.Like most couples in the modern developed world, our experiences in the maternity ward were joyous ...

The Hoarder Next Door; How Royal Illness Changed History – TV review

16th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Strange behaviour, from all walks of life, dominated the schedules last night'There are over one million people living in clutter ... pushing people to breaking point." As I'd have to count myself as one of those one million – my various collections of books, football programmes, ticket stubs, banquet menus, Panini stickers and stamps are completely misunderstood by my family – the opening voiceover of the new series of The Hoarder Next Door (Channel 4) grabbed my attention. Thereafter it wavered somewhat.There's clutter and there's clutter, and this being a Channel 4 documentary, the definition of clutter was stretched to ...

Rewind radio: Prisoner Soul; Solos on Loneliness; Steve Lamacq: Lammo Celebrates 20 Years at the BBC – review

13th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

The real-life jailhouse rock, moving reflections on loneliness, and a doff of the cap to the hardest-working man in indiePrisoner Soul (R4) | iPlayerSolos on Loneliness (R4) | iPlayerSteve Lamacq: Lammo Celebrates 20 Years at the BBC (6 Music) | iPlayerAn absorbing programme yesterday in the nicest of Radio 4 slots, 10.30-11am on a Saturday (nice, that is, if you're having a leisurely post-lie-in breakfast: I dream of those). Prisoner Soul was about a brief, weird anomaly in the 1970s when the US prison system allowed, and in some cases encouraged, prisoners to form bands and – incredibly – release ...

Dad does not recognise us

13th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

He looks shocking and doesn't show a flicker of recognition. I'm impressed that, while I'm floored, my sister is unfazedIt is Easter Monday when my sister and I finally get in to see Dad. A deceptive day, sunny but bitingly cold. We take chocolate because that's what you do at Easter – not an egg, but a chocolate sheep. I thought it looked more manageable to eat, but its cartoonish, stupid face on the wrapper irritates me."He's down in his room," says the care worker as we sign the visitors' book. She punches the code on the door lock that ...

My brother appears to be mentally ill, but won't seek help

12th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

Annalisa Barbieri suggests ways to enlist support for a family member who is verbally and physically abusive but refuses to discuss his problemsMy brother, who is 45, has never settled. Since leaving school he has not sustained a job, home or relationship long-term, and has been in and out of prison for various reasons. He is the only one of my six siblings to lead such a life. We, and several other family members, have intervened and supported him in one way or another, emotionally, practically and financially, only for him to return to his old ways. He currently lives ...

Ban all advertising aimed at young children? I say yes | Jonathan Kent

11th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

We protect our children from harm, except for the psychological damage many say ads cause. Parents have the power to end itHow on earth did we come to this? We protect our children obsessively from every harm, we vet every carer, teacher or medic with whom they come into contact, we fret about their education, their development. Yet despite all this, one group, which in no way has their best interests at heart, has almost unfettered access.We seem to take it for granted that advertisers and marketeers are allowed to groom even the youngest children. Before children have even developed ...

Vaughan Bell: news from the borders of mental illness

7th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

New research is challenging polarised views of how best to define, diagnose and treat conditions such as schizophreniaWhen the psychologist Peter Chadwick explained that he was trying to research psychosis he was given short shrift by one of his patients. "You're trying to climb rain, Peter, or sweep sun off the pavement." The desire to build a science of disabling mental states can sometimes seem like wishful thinking, especially to those who have experienced the turmoil of an unquiet mind.It is therefore no accident that critics of psychiatry have always had a particular dislike for the use of diagnosis. There ...

Dad's care home has been hit by the norovirus

6th April 2013

Society: Mental health | guardian.co.uk

I haven't seen Dad for a long time, but I'm six months pregnant and don't want to get the vomiting bugOn Valentine's Day they had a tea dance at Dad's care home, complete with paper hearts and soppy songs on request. At Christmas there was a huge tree, tinsel and a carol service. I am sure there were sprayed-on cobwebs at Halloween and bunting on the jubilee. When the days are interminable, any chance to mark and differentiate them can't be missed.So arriving for a visit just before the Easter weekend, I am half expecting an egg hunt and someone in ...