Guardian Mental Health

This page shows the latest items from the Guardian Mental Health newsfeed.

'It looks like you're a lazy idiot': hoarders welcome medical classification

People say WHO decision to class hoarding as a disorder may improve public understanding

David Woods was a university student when he formed an insatiable appetite to find out more. He bought books – lots of them. Thirty years on, the 50-year-old council worker is surrounded on all sides by his ever-growing collection: 15,000 books and DVDs fill his small bungalow on the outskirts of Edinburgh. “It’s quite tricky to let go of some stuff,” he admits.

Woods is a hoarder, as is his housemate Lynda. They’re midway through an anxiety-ridden declutter, which has already resulted in one transit van full of “stuff” being taken away, with about six more left to fill. By the end, they hope, there may even be room to sit down.

Related: Do you have a problem with stuff? How to rethink hoarding disorder

Related: Inside the life of a hoarder: trauma, loneliness, and the secret power of Things | Giovanna Walker

Related: My dad has chronic depression and has begun to hoard junk

Related: How can we help people who can’t stop hoarding?

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18 August 2018, 6:00 am

My daughter, the murderer: a mother's desperate journey through the mental health crisis

In her first nonfiction book, Mary K Pershall examines the complex mental and institutional issues that led to the ‘unimaginable horror’ of her child taking another’s life

Mary Pershall dared to hope. Her daughter, Anna, had agreed to go to rehab, to tackle her dependence on alcohol, synthetic cannabis and ice. In return, Mary had put aside her scruples and driven to an adult store so that Anna could buy synthetic cannabis. It’s not an uncommon bargaining chip used by despairing parents. It would keep Anna’s withdrawals at bay until she was safely under medical supervision, but also – hopefully – secure her cooperation.

Not long after, Mary was chopping vegetables in their comfortable home in Oak Park, a northern suburb of Melbourne, when she spotted Anna walking briskly off down the driveway. She dropped the knife and ran after her.

Related: ‘Mine is not a hedonistic tale’: Jenny Valentish on trauma, addiction and the women left behind

She was this beautiful young white woman, so people didn’t take her seriously when she was being violent

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17 August 2018, 10:19 pm

Gilla Gelberg obituary

My wife, Gilla Gelberg, a psychotherapist working for the NHS in Newham, east London, has died aged 63, after being knocked down by a bus outside her workplace in Stratford. She was the psychodynamic psychotherapy team leader, working with individuals from diverse backgrounds with complex issues in which social deprivation, family abuse and refugee status converged. Despite the stress and challenges, this was her dream job, the culmination of years of training and clinical experience.

Born in Bloemfontein, in apartheid South Africa, daughter of Misha Gelberg, who owned and ran a men’s clothing store, and Shula Machnes, a former dancer, Gilla moved to London in 1978. A professional jazz vocalist in the early 1980s, she had a much stronger drive to help people, especially children, with emotional difficulty and trauma.

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17 August 2018, 3:16 pm

Adele shares story of friend's postpartum psychosis to help new mothers

‘Talk about how you’re feeling,’ singer urges, as experts say taboos can leave people isolated

Perinatal health experts and campaigners have praised the singer Adele for highlighting the issue of postpartum psychosis in new mothers.

Her best friend, Laura Dockrill – a poet, author, illustrator and short story writer – was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after giving birth to a boy, who is Adele’s godson.

Related: Postnatal depression: fathers can suffer similar issues to women, say experts

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

Related: Postnatal depression is not a new phenomenon, only a chronically ignored one

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15 August 2018, 5:19 pm

Back to the future: why my care home opened a 1950s-style diner

The Pitstop is just the latest nostalgic project created by staff to give residents spaces to reminisce and spend time with friends and family

For the first half of my career, working in a range of jobs across retail and manufacturing, I could not have imagined that my life’s work would turn out to be in dementia care. Everything changed when my husband became terminally ill in 2005, and I left my job to become his full-time carer.

Related: Care Home Open Day is a chance to showcase the best of care work

Our next addition will be a purpose-built pub, in memory of a much-loved resident

Related: Sign up for the Society Weekly email newsletter

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15 August 2018, 9:01 am

Centrelink's new robodebt trial bypasses previous safeguard for mentally ill

Exclusive: Acoss says targeting vulnerable people with automated debt recovery is ‘deeply irresponsible’

Centrelink is for the first time trialling a version of its automated debt recovery system on the nation’s most vulnerable welfare recipients, bypassing previous safeguards designed to protect those with severe mental illness, intellectual impairment or drug addiction.

Welfare recipients whose files are marked with a “vulnerability indicator” have so far been exempt from Centrelink’s controversial methods of clawing back overpayments, which have received widespread criticism for their inaccuracy and unfairness since a raft of changes introduced in mid-2016.

Related: Centrelink’s ‘deeply flawed’ robo-debt to face new investigation

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14 August 2018, 6:00 pm

Mental health at university: know where to find support

The transition to university is drastic – and not everyone sails through it. That’s why university mental health setups are second to none

At the beginning of his second year at Loughborough University, Rahul Mathasing started struggling. His moods were becoming darker, his motivation disappeared and he started missing lectures. He approached the university medical centre, which referred him to the local NHS community mental health team. His pattern of behaviour – manic episodes in which he couldn’t concentrate or sleep, as well as episodes of very low moods – led to a diagnosis, in February 2015, of bipolar disorder.

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

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14 August 2018, 4:22 pm

Navigating modern life with Matt Haig and Christina Dalcher on feminist dystopias – books podcast

We explore the unhealthy nature of modern life with Haig in Notes on a Nervous Planet, while Dalcher talks about her thriller Vox

This week we hear from the bestselling novelist Matt Haig about his latest work of non-fiction, Notes on a Nervous Planet, which examines the challenges of living in the 21st century.

And we peer into the future with linguist Christina Dalcher, who imagines a world where women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day in her action-packed debut novel Vox.

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14 August 2018, 8:00 am

More than 200 suicides recorded at mental health units over seven years

Care Quality Commission figures show overall number falling but more women have begun taking their own lives than men

More than 200 patients killed themselves in mental health units over seven years, new figures have revealed, prompting concern about the safety and quality of care.

Data collected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) shows that 224 people died of self-inflicted injuries between 2010 and 2016 in mental health hospitals in England.

Related: Judge calls for Mental Health Act reform over rising detentions

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13 August 2018, 11:01 pm

Dying well when you have dementia | Letters

Linda Fairbrother and Colin Brewer respond to Henk Blanken’s long read on the limits of legal euthanasia

Henk Blanken (The difficulty of dying well, 10 August) suggests that the responsibility for authorising euthanasia should lie with a “loved one”. I doubt this would work any better than leaving it to a doctor. My elderly mother coped with my father’s progressing dementia for six years, though the task was becoming impossible, because she could not bear to place him in a dementia unit. She finally agreed to do so only after the local hospital told her she must not take him back home after a minor stroke. This took away the burden of guilt at “abandoning” him. If it was hard for my mother to put her husband in a care home, how much harder, even impossible, would it be for anyone in similar circumstances to decide their loved one should die on their say-so, however rational that decision might be?
Linda Fairbrother

• Alzheimer’s is now the single most common cause of death in Britain. If severely affected, most Britons would not want treatment for life-threatening illnesses. A 2007 survey found that more than 60% would not wish to be resuscitated after a heart attack. Nearly three-quarters wanted to be allowed to die passively. Yet without very specific contrary instructions in a living will/advance decision, resuscitation and active treatment are medicine’s default positions.

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13 August 2018, 4:48 pm

Why YouTubers are feeling the burn

From fashionistas to popular scientists, YouTube’s top video stars are crumbling under the relentless pressure of producing new content for the site

When Lucy Moon sat down with her therapist to discuss why she was feeling so low, she was on top of the world. A burgeoning career as a YouTuber was in mid-bloom: her subscriber count – an important metric on the site, and a sign of a creator’s popularity – was booming, and offers of work and brand tie-ins were rolling in. But all was not well. She wasn’t happy. The workload was rising; the pressure to be perfect in front of the camera was crushing. And the therapist was shocked.

“She was like: ‘I cannot believe you think this is normal, to be running this kind of operation for the first time with no career support,’” says Moon, a 23-year-old beauty-and-lifestyle YouTuber with more than 319,000 subscribers. “I meet so many YouTubers who say that.”

I’m hesitant to badmouth the algorithm. YouTubers can use it as a bit of a scapegoat

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12 August 2018, 6:00 am

I’m small but have big breasts – is it OK not to wear a bra?

Society tells us only women with small boobs should go braless, says Chidera Eggerue, but it’s how you feel about it that matters

I’m in my early 20s and don’t have a lot of body confidence, something that began at puberty. When I dress in certain clothes, my mother makes comments about me needing more support for my chest (I’m nine stone and a size 34F). My friends and siblings have also made comments about me seeking attention, but when I wear less, it’s because of the hot weather. I was thinking about going braless the other day because I wanted to wear a strappy dress, but I felt so uncomfortable and vulnerable without a bra that I chickened out. What can I do?

I can totally relate to your experiences. I discovered from about 15 that I had saggy boobs, and remember going to the high street and feeling frustrated that none of the bras would fit.

Related: My mother drinks all day and refuses help

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10 August 2018, 2:00 pm

Sex is the last taboo for health workers – and it's putting patients in danger

We’re good at talking about death and mental health, but sex is a conversational hurdle we have yet to overcome

Guardian Jobs: see the latest vacancies in healthcare

As a junior doctor working in psychiatry, I’m always struck by the honest answers and insight my patients share with me, offering a glimpse into how their mental health affects every aspect of their lives – from their finances and their diets to their sleeping patterns, careers and even dog-walking routines.

Related: Sex and special needs: Why new schools guidance must embrace pupils with learning difficulties

Families of patients managing mental health symptoms frequently voice their concerns about managing their sexual needs

Related: The day I removed a toy dinosaur from a woman’s vagina

Related: Sign up for the Society Weekly email newsletter

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10 August 2018, 9:47 am

English courts trial mental health referrals for vulnerable offenders

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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9 August 2018, 11:01 pm

Postnatal depression: fathers can suffer similar issues to women, say experts

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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9 August 2018, 7:00 pm

Eating disorder patients sent miles from home as Suffolk centre lies empty

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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9 August 2018, 3:29 pm

This worried world: why anxiety memoirs are filling our shelves

As society shifts towards talking more openly about mental illness, readers are hungry for answers and authenticity

Publishing trends reflect the age we are living in. It’s not just about the sort of stories people want to write, but the stories that people want to read.

In 1987, London advertising executive Peter Mayle took a second home in the south of France intending to spend a year writing his novel, A Year in Provence. Instead he sparked a mini-industry of blockbuster aspirational travel memoirs which lasted for two decades.

Related: We live in an age of anxiety – and we can’t blame it all on Trump | Arwa Mahdawi

Related: ‘I should feel pleased the fast is having the desired effects but my life is boring’

We are definitely more open about talking about mental illness now than we have in the past

Related: Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig – how to survive the 21st century

Happy Never After, by Jill Stark (Scribe)

One Hundred Years of Dirt, by Rick Morton (MUP)

The Rapids, by Sam Twyford-Moore (New South)

Notes on a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig (Allen & Unwin)

First we Make the Beast Beautiful, by Sarah Wilson (Pan Macmillan)

Lost Connections, by Johann Hari (Bloomsbury)

Mental, by Dr Steve Ellen and Catherine Deveny (Black Inc)

The Happy Brain, by Dean Burnett (Allen & Unwin)

Making Dogs Happy, by Melissa Staring & Paul McGreevy (Murdoch Books)

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9 August 2018, 12:00 am

Ritalin-type drugs best to treat ADHD in children, shows study

Methylphenidate drugs safest and most effective while adults do better on amphetamines

Ritalin and other drugs of the same class are the most effective and safest medications to prescribe for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a major scientific review.

The review of ADHD drugs shows that they work, and work well, in spite of concerns among the public and some doctors that children in the UK are being overmedicated. Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, has likened the drugs to a “chemical cosh” and claimed they were being overprescribed, disguising bad behaviour among children that could be better dealt with.

Related: UK children with ADHD wait up to two years for diagnosis, say experts

Related: UK children with ADHD wait up to two years for diagnosis, say experts

Related: Nature or nurture: unravelling the roots of childhood behaviour disorders

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7 August 2018, 10:30 pm

We live in an age of anxiety – and we can’t blame it all on Trump | Arwa Mahdawi

Precarious jobs, inequality and unaffordable housing: no wonder we are all so worried. But what if the answer is to drop out a little?

The anxiety industry is having one hell of a moment. Barnes & Noble recently announced that US sales of books related to anxiety are up more than 25% from a year ago, leading the retailer to hypothesise that “[Americans] may be living in an anxious nation”. Ya think?

It’s not just anti-anxiety books flying off the shelves. There has also been a substantial increase in demand for depression and anxiety medications in recent years – on both sides of the Atlantic. According to Zion Market Research, the “general anxiety disorder market” is undergoing rapid growth and is expected to generate revenue of $3.7bn by the end of 2020 in the US. Meanwhile, the UK has become the world’s second-largest market, after the US, of illegal online sales of the anti-anxiety medication Xanax.

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7 August 2018, 11:42 am