This page shows the latest items from the Guardian Mental Health newsfeed.
Children receive worse mental health care than adults | Letters
21 October 2017, 11:05 pm
No information is revealed about the effects of expensive treatment
I fully support the children’s commissioner’s request to NHS England to provide information about how local clinical commissioning groups are spending their increased budgets on community-based provision for children with mental health difficulties (“Children’s commissioner savages NHS…”, News).
But there is another startling fact that she highlighted in her recent report. That is that the bulk of NHS mental health spending is accessed by only a tiny number of children, who are admitted to largely privately owned, low-secure hospitals. Unlike in adult mental health, no information is published on the outcomes. No one disputes that some children require in-patient treatment but for NHS England to be unable to say if this expensive treatment has had any benefit means public money is being spent without accountability and without consideration for the best interests of the child.
U-turn on housing benefit cap for mentally ill and elderly
21 October 2017, 2:04 pm
Move follows outcry from charities and evidence that housing projects have been axed
Plans to cap housing benefit for thousands of mentally ill, elderly and other vulnerable people in supported housing are to be re-examined after protests by MPs and charities.
The rethink, expected within weeks, also follows evidence from the National Housing Federation, which found that 85% of schemes to build new supported and sheltered homes for vulnerable people have been shelved by housing associations because of fears that the new funding system will make them unsustainable.
Children waiting up to 18 months for mental health treatment – CQC
20 October 2017, 6:00 pm
NHS watchdog’s report sounds alarm that accessing care for under-18s in England takes so long, amid self-harm concerns
Children with mental health problems are waiting up to 18 months to be treated, a government-ordered report will reveal next week, in an indictment of the poor care many receive.
A Care Quality Commission report into child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) will warn that long delays for treatment are damaging the health of young people with anxiety, depression and other conditions.
Meditation on a lack of Conservative morality | Letters
20 October 2017, 5:34 pm
Politicians and business people who say they practise mindfulness are totally ignoring an important facet of Buddhism, writes Pam Stainer
The continuing enthusiasm for mindfulness in government and business should be welcomed. As someone who has practised a form of Buddhist meditation for nearly 30 years, I know how hard it is to still the mind and to begin to see things as they really are.
It is a paradox of meditation practice that it is training the mind not to think about things that leads to understanding and clarity of mind, and not, as the Conservative MP Tim Loughton seems to believe, wallowing in the bath thinking (Report, 19 October).
Electroconvulsive therapy mostly used on women and older people, says study
20 October 2017, 2:39 pm
Findings are a cause for concern and symptom of the ‘over-medicalising of human distress’, says co-author of report using NHS data
The use of electroconvulsive therapy to treat serious mental health problems is more prevalent in women and older individuals, researchers have found.
The study, which looked at data from a group of NHS trusts in England between 2011 and 2015, found that, on average, two thirds of recipients of ECT were women, and 56% were people aged over 60.
Antidepressants are associated with side-effects in elderly people, whereas ECT is very safe
Related: What is ECT and how does it work?
Why pessimists have a reason to be cheerful | Oliver Burkeman
20 October 2017, 2:00 pm
Whatever explains Japan’s chart-topping life expectancy, it isn’t being really chipper all the time
For critics of positive thinking like me, as well as for plain old curmudgeons (also like me, to be fair), it’s an awkward truth that an optimistic outlook does seem to lead to a healthier life. Scientists, with their annoying fixation on facts, have published study after study suggesting that an upbeat attitude protects you from cancer, heart disease and stroke. In one big analysis of American women, the most optimistic were 29% less likely to die, during a six-year follow-up, than the least; in another, involving men too, people with positive views of ageing ended up living longer.
At last, though, we pessimists have something to fight back with: a new study in Psychological Science, highlighted on the Research Digest blog, that compared levels of optimism, cholesterol and body weight among people in the US and Japan. It found Americans are much likelier to have healthier cholesterol, and less likely to be overweight, if they’re chipper. But there was no such connection among the Japanese. Whatever explains Japan’s chart-topping life expectancy – lots of fish, a strong tradition of family care for the elderly – it isn’t being really cheerful all the time.
Was the children’s tsar right to rip chunks out of the NHS boss?
20 October 2017, 11:45 am
Anne Longfield provoked a reaction but the confrontation is in danger of obscuring the issues around mental health services she wanted to highlight
The mauling of NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens by children’s commissioner Anne Longfield over mental health services is a rare example of brutal disputes between officials breaking out in public.
The children’s commissioner for England, a post created in 2004, exists to stand up for the rights of children, particularly on issues affecting the most vulnerable.
Longfield’s argument that the system is driven by crisis rather than early intervention applies to the entire NHS
Manus medical team to stay on after detention centre closes
20 October 2017, 6:29 am
Papua New Guinea’s government contracts IHMS to remain beyond the 31 October deadline – but it is not known how long for
The healthcare provider for Australia’s offshore processing regime, International Health and Medical Services has been contracted by the Papua New Guinean government to stay beyond the closure of the Manus Island detention centre at the end of the month.
Under the recently signed contract IHMS will continue providing healthcare to refugees – who are expected to settle in the PNG community – and non-refugees in Lorengau and in Port Moresby, but it is not known how long for.
Grieving families ‘missing out on critical support’
20 October 2017, 5:00 am
Princes William and Harry hailed for speaking out as Child Bereavement UK calls for debate on coping with loss
Thousands of families are going without the support they need after losing a child or parent, according to the psychotherapist who helped princes William and Harry after the death of their mother, Princess Diana.
Julia Samuel, founder patron of Child Bereavement UK, said the princes’ moving and candid testimony about the death of Diana 20 years ago had “shifted the dial”, adding that the charity had seen an increase in calls to its helpline as a result.
Samaritans has a letters service too | Letters
19 October 2017, 5:59 pm
For those unable or unwilling to use Samaritans’ telephone service, the organisation also corresponds by post, writes one of its volunteers
I read with pleasure the piece by Tom Francis about Samaritans (Opinion, 10 October). I have been a Samaritan volunteer for 20 years. There have been changes in that time but the core of what we do is the same. Samaritans have been there for me throughout many life-changing events and our support network for volunteers is remarkable, as is what we do every duty. I am a listening volunteer in my “brick” branch, but I also belong to one that does not have a geographical base: the correspondence branch. We answer letters from people who, for whatever reason, do not access our service via telephone, computer or by text. Many of those people are in prison, and sending a letter may be the only way they feel comfortable, or are able, to access us. Many people who contact Samaritans are unaware we exist, as are many Samaritan volunteers. We are there for everyone, just like a “brick” branch. Please help us get the message across to everybody who might need us, or would like to become a Samaritan volunteer.
Name and address supplied
• Contact Samaritans free from any telephone on 116 123 (no credit needed) or write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, Stirling FK8 2SA. You can call even if you don’t have credit on your mobile, and the number won’t show up on phone bills. Or email email@example.com or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.
Women get the blame for everything. No wonder self-harm in girls is rising | Cerys Howell
19 October 2017, 3:33 pm
We will never have girls who love and cherish themselves if we continue to burden them with failings that are hardly ever theirs
So self-harm too, it seems, is a women’s issue. Along with anorexia, bulimia and every other self-destructive behaviour going. A University of Manchester study published this week in the British Medical Journal found that self-harm among girls is soaring. While the rate of self-harm among boys has stayed roughly the same, among 13- to 16-year-old girls it has increased by 68% in the last three years. Self-harm is three times more common for 10- to 19-year-old girls than boys. This is a significant finding, particularly given that self-harmers are 17 times more likely to die from suicide, and 34 times more likely to die from drug or alcohol poisoning.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: anger, catharsis … and show tunes
19 October 2017, 3:26 pm
Rachel Bloom is back as Rebecca for a third season of the dazzling musical comedy with its clever takedowns of sexism and awareness of mental health
Not many shows feature song and dance numbers about violent obsessions. But then Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – the third outing of which just landed on Netflix – wears its musical sadcom credentials proudly. Indeed, the season started with titular ex, Rebecca, too depressed and humiliated to get out of bed – a sure sign that the laughs are unlikely to get any lighter this time around.
As for the music, there were power ballads on wallowing in a fugue of self-hatred and big Broadway numbers, in which characters spontaneously burst into song while pirouetting across the screen.
HMP Winchester inmate who died had asked staff about suicide methods
19 October 2017, 10:48 am
Sean Plumstead’s remarks to staff member – who had not had compulsory self-harm training – were not reported, inquest hears
An inmate who killed himself at Winchester prison had asked a member of staff two days earlier about the best method of ending his life but his comments were never reported, an inquest has heard.
A jury at Winchester coroner’s court found that the jail’s failure to instigate appropriate self-harm support measures contributed to the death of Sean Plumstead, a father of two, who was discovered by his cellmate on the evening of 15 September last year.
‘It’s been such a battle’: Wolston Park survivors win shock payouts
19 October 2017, 2:17 am
Former wards of the state express surprise at ‘very respectable’ offer from Queensland government – and tell of fight still ahead
Fortune had not exactly been smiling on Sue Treweek.
She had been living out of her car for a week after violence prompted her to leave her home in Logan, south of Brisbane.
You can’t go and put a needle into somebody without letting that person know what that injection’s for
I still want those non-state ward kids to be looked after or recognised
Self-harm among girls aged 13 to 16 rose by 68% in three years, UK study finds
18 October 2017, 10:30 pm
Data from GP practices between 2001 and 2014 showed rates of self-harm for boys stayed roughly steady – but soared upwards for girls in recent years
Self-harm reported to GPs among teenage girls under the age of 17 in the UK increased by 68% over just three years, research has revealed.
The study also found that self-harm among young people aged 10-19 was three times more common among girls than boys, with those who self-harmed at much greater risk of suicide than those who did not.
If it was just down to greater awareness, then you would expect to see it in girls aged 10-12 and 17-19
Tory MP who has hour-long baths claims £662 water bill on expenses
18 October 2017, 6:49 pm
Tim Loughton’s parliamentary accounts show he has been spending up to £50 a month on Thames Water supply
A Conservative MP who enjoys an hour-long morning bath racked up water bills over the past two years of £662 all charged to the taxpayer.
On Tuesday, Tim Loughton MP, the co-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on mindfulness, told a conference of international parliamentarians that he meditates in the bath every morning and commented that his contemplative habit was “not cheap”.