Guardian Mental Health

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

Mentally ill asylum seeker sent away from promised treatment on 5,400km Qantas round trip

Man taken from Melbourne to Perth, where he had to be admitted to hospital six times, then back again

The Australian Border Force transferred a seriously mentally ill man to Perth from Melbourne, where a youth mental health facility was preparing to treat him – then took almost a month to bring him back.

On Tuesday, after being flown 2,700km across the country, admitted to hospital emergency or psychiatric departments six times, held in various forms of detention, then flying another 2,700km, the young man was finally taken to the facility that had originally offered to treat him.

Related: Qantas and Virgin bosses reject Morrison government calls to be silent on social issues

Related: Qantas shareholders push again for airline to refuse involvement in deportations

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17 October 2019, 2:21 am

The 'Glasgow effect' implies cities make us sad. Can the city prove the opposite?

Life expectancy for Glaswegians has long been notoriously low, but planners are starting to learn how to make citizens healthier – and happier

If you live in Glasgow, you are more likely to die young. Men die a full seven years earlier than their counterparts in other UK cities. Until recently, the causes of this excess mortality remained a mystery.

“Deep-fried Mars bars,” some have speculated. “The weather,” others suggested. For years, those reasons were as good as any. In 2012, the Economist described it thus: “It is as if a malign vapour rises from the Clyde at night and settles in the lungs of sleeping Glaswegians.”

You have to understand what sort of shape Glasgow was in. They thought the best approach was to start afresh

Housing estate in Drumchapel, Glasgow. Photograph: Alamy

You’re more likely to have violence, you’re more likely to have conflict; even sexual abuse is much higher in households where there are drinkers

Tenements in the Gorbals, Glasgow, in 1968. Photograph: David Newell Smith/The Observer

Le Corbusier’s ‘Radiant City’ project in Marseille. Photograph: Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

Mental health is almost uniformly worse in cities … that’s just what the data shows

Part of the Pruitt-Igoe public housing development in St. Louis, Missouri, being demolished by dynamite charges in 1972. Photograph: Fred Waters/AP

Related: Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson: ‘Inequality strikes at our health and happiness’ | Dawn Foster

If you can see children, it’s probably a healthy and happy city

View looking west along Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Photograph: Alamy

It’s very antisocial being sat in a metal box by yourself. The rise of urban loneliness and mental health [issues] to do with that disconnection is vast

The @GlasgowCityDeal Avenues project will transform the city centre, with the #SauchiehallAvenue showing what can be done. Watch @robertflorence explain how the #ArgyleAvenue will make the area and city more resilient in the face of climate change. @nature_scot #ScotClimateWeek

The community garden in North Kelvin Meadow, Glasgow. Photograph: Chris Leslie

Reclaiming the land for community is definitely the way forward. You can tell there’s a need but it’s not happening all over and it could be

Play area at the Children’s Wood, Glasgow. Photograph: Chris Leslie

Related: Could bad buildings damage your mental health?

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16 October 2019, 11:30 am

When kids are threats: the assessments unfairly targeting students with disabilities

A systemic problem in New Mexico schools turns a well-meaning evaluation into a stigma unfairly ensnaring minority groups

Jamari Nelson likes action figures and video games – the “usual kid stuff,” as the seven-year-old put it. One of his favorite activities is making slime out of glue, laundry detergent, and other household chemicals.

“I sort of really recommend this one for stress and stuff,” he said, showing off a mustard-yellow slime the consistency of Silly Putty. By varying the ingredients, by warming the slime with his hands or cooling it in the fridge, he can create endless, surprising varieties.

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15 October 2019, 6:00 am

More than half of A&Es provide substandard care, says watchdog

Hospitals struggling to cope with rising numbers of patients who cannot get help elsewhere

More than half of A&E units are providing substandard care because they are understaffed and cannot cope with an ongoing surge in patients, the NHS watchdog has said.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said 44% of emergency departments in England required improvement and another 8% were inadequate, its lowest rating. Last year 48% of A&Es fell into the two ratings brackets combined.

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14 October 2019, 11:01 pm

Self-reported suicide attempts among black US teens rising, study finds

Researchers found a 73% increase for black boys and girls in high school who took surveyed between 1991 and 2017

Self-reported suicide attempts among black American teenagers are on the rise, according to a study published on Monday.

While the number of self-reported suicide attempts for white teenagers had no significant change over the years, and the number of attempts for Hispanic and Asian American or Pacific Islander teenagers have decreased, researchers found a 73% increase for black boys and girls in high school.

Related: Suicide attempts by poisoning rising among young people in US, study says

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 and Papyrus can be contacted on 0800 068 4141. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at

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14 October 2019, 10:01 pm

'I work with LGBT domestic abuse survivors. No one day is the same'

My charity supports a growing number of people, from those in violent relationships to others nervous about testifying in court

I work in a domestic abuse team for an LGBT charity. I never really know what to expect when I come in to work: whether it’s offering talking therapy or providing substance abuse services, no one day is the same.

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email 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

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14 October 2019, 6:30 am

‘I feel protected in the velodrome’: how track cycling helped ease my anxiety

Whizzing around on a bike with no brakes is strangely meditative – and has helped me to rediscover my adventurous, carefree attitude of old

I used to be proud of my carefree, adventurous attitude. I had travelled solo, jumped out of a plane and had a host of other adrenaline-filled experiences. But then, when I was about 27, something changed. I started to feel anxious about everyday things, such as going to the supermarket or driving. I worried about interacting with people, and hundreds of “what if?” situations that might arise when I was out.

I have had bouts of depression for more than a decade. It comes in waves: one moment I am feeling better, then days, weeks, months later it comes crashing back down on me. But anxiety has emerged more recently, in the past four years.

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14 October 2019, 6:30 am

Mentally ill students risk academic penalties for missing classes

Leading British universities have no support policies in place, Guardian finds

Students missing classes because of mental health problems risk being penalised with academic sanctions at some leading British universities, while others have no standardised policies in place to help students showing signs of distress, the Guardian has found.

Of the 21 leading universities that responded to a freedom of information request, only one in four said they had standardised intervention policies under which campus support services will contact students if they miss a defined number of classes.

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14 October 2019, 5:00 am

Half a million over-75s with dementia will have to pay for TV licences – study

BBC decision to transfer cost of licence fee will hit vulnerable older people hard, says Labour

More than half a million older people with dementia could be forced to pay for their TV licences from next year, according to research commissioned by Labour, findings the party said were “a national scandal”.

Tom Watson, the shadow culture secretary, who has pushed for the government to maintain funding for free TV licences for those aged 75 or over, said the process of applying for a licence could be particularly difficult for those with dementia.

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13 October 2019, 4:25 pm

Five ways to fight the winter blues

It is common to feel your spirits fall as the nights draw in. Even if this turns into full-blown seasonal affective disorder, there are steps you can take to improve your mood

One in five Americans feel some kind of winter blues, according to the psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal, the leading expert on the subject; the figure is even higher in the UK. As well as low spirits, common symptoms include fatigue, a lack of energy, a desire to sleep more, listlessness at work, and craving sweets and pasta. More than 30 years ago, Rosenthal and his colleagues at the US’s National Institute of Mental Health named the most extreme form seasonal affective disorder (Sad).

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13 October 2019, 2:00 pm

Mental health is a care we must share | Peter Fonagy

Wide social networks can help to shield people from mental disorder. A leading psychologist argues that we should celebrate this collective responsibility

The government published its first national review of children and young people’s mental wellbeing on 10 October, World Mental Health Day. The report found that four out of five children are happy with their lives. Or, more worryingly, that one in five are not.

But what lies behind these figures? Between 2012 and 2018, the number of children and young people referred for mental health treatment increased by about two-thirds. The number of university students reporting a mental health problem rose fivefold over the same period. How can we understand these dramatic increases? Has there been an actual rise in mental disorder?

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13 October 2019, 9:15 am

The link between stress and depression … and the 10 simple words that could help

Neurological insights into how the brain processes stress, and how it can develop into depression, have led to new interventions

It’s a damp, midweek afternoon. Even so, Cardiff’s walk-in stress management course has pulled in more than 50 people. There are teenagers, white-haired older people with walking aids, people from Caucasian, Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds. There is at least one pair who look like a parent and child – I’m unsure who is there to support whom.

The course instructor makes it clear that she is not going to ask people to speak out about their own stress levels in this first class: “We know speaking in public is stressful in itself.” She tells us a bit about previous attendees: a police officer whose inexplicable and constant worrying prevented him from functioning; a retired 71-year-old unable to shake the incomprehensible but constant fatigue and sadness that blighted his life; a single mother unable to attend her daughter’s school concert, despite the disappointment it would cause.

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13 October 2019, 8:00 am

Grading cannabis strength ‘will improve mental health of users’

Addiction experts say standard units, similar to those used for alcohol, would help consumers know the level of drug they are taking and its effects

Standard units for grading the potency of cannabis – similar to those already used for alcohol – would result in significant improvements in the mental health of users, according to addiction experts.

Researchers from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, working with staff from King’s College London, UCL and the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, say more needs to be done to make people aware of the levels of THC – the main psychoactive component – in the cannabis they are consuming.

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13 October 2019, 6:21 am

My tears as a junior doctor were a ‘flaw’ that, in psychiatry, became my greatest strength

I burnt out as a GP but in mental health I could take time with patients and, at last, make a difference

“If you’re going to reject me, then reject me,” I said. I was deep in the bowels of Leicester University, being interviewed for a place at medical school. I was 35, a fact the learned professor interviewing me returned to again and again. How would I cope with the workload? Would the four hours’ driving each day prove too much? How would I support myself through my studies? Concerns that travelled through my own mind. Unlike the questions I asked myself, though, the queries in that interview room were all prefixed with “at your age”. I didn’t see my age as a problem, and eventually I told him so.

“Reject me for the hundreds of reasons you reject people,” I continued, “but don’t reject me because of my date of birth. Your date of birth should be a bit like your National Insurance number. You need it occasionally, to fill in a form, but otherwise why not keep it at the back of a drawer and forget about it?”

I overcame my fear of cadavers by choosing to attend post-mortems

My knack of absorbing small details became my strongest suit

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12 October 2019, 2:00 pm

It's OK to be sad – but you can try to do something about it

Optimism is not about good times but about people trying to make them better

Some things are just sad. A fond farewell. Sudden loss. Unfulfilled potential. Little children doomed before they’ve properly started. The tragedy that someone somewhere takes their own life every 40 seconds.

So it is always inspiring to meet people determined to do something about it.

I think a major problem relates to the plastic in nappies which end up incinerated or put in landfill. If plastic can be removed from menstruation products what about nappies and incontinence pads?

Much of our current popular culture – TV, movies, news, theatre – paints a picture of a bleak, dystopian future where humanity is tearing itself apart, leading to increased eco-anxiety, negativity and paralysis. It’s time to tell different stories – ones that stretch our dreams and inspires courage and hope.

This year’s Kindness UK Doctoral Conference Award for the University of Sussex will be launched on World Kindness Day, 13 November. A lunchtime panel discussion at the university’s Attenborough Centre will feature Kind Rebellion, a combination of music, animation, and academic debate.

The event will include a performance by New Note Orchestra which comprises musicians in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

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11 October 2019, 10:30 am

Self-inflicted deaths rise in prisons in England and Wales

Watchdog also finds drug use continues to plague jails despite agreed action plans

Self-inflicted prison deaths in England and Wales have increased by 23% in a year, while drug abuse continues to plague facilities despite repeated recommendations to tackle the problems, the prisons watchdog has found.

The number of prison deaths also rose by 6% to 334 in the financial year 2018-19, despite an unexplained reduction in the number of prisoners dying from natural causes, the prisons and probation ombudsman said.

Related: Stop playing politics with prisons, union leader urges Johnson

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10 October 2019, 3:18 pm

NHS doctor may leave UK over refusal of permission to remain for mother

Top child psychiatrist appeals to Johnson over Home Office’s ‘almost callous’ decision

A leading children’s psychiatrist plans to quit the NHS and move to Australia because of the Home Office’s “almost callous” refusal to let his mother stay in Britain.

Dr Nishchint Warikoo, the lead psychiatrist for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Hampshire, said he and his family were being “forced to leave” the UK in order to stay together.

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10 October 2019, 12:18 pm

The grief over my daughter's suicide never ends, but I can help other junior doctors

As a doctor myself I know how isolating this job can be, which is why I am raising awareness of mental wellbeing at my trust

I first heard of my daughter Lauren’s disappearance in the early hours of the morning on 1 March 2017. Her car was found abandoned near a beach in Devon after she had been reported missing from her job in the A&E department of a NHS trust.

I remember suddenly feeling old, helpless and awfully afraid. Lauren was 26 and in her third year as a junior doctor in the south-west of England; I am a senior hospital doctor, approaching retirement and working in the midlands. It took only days to come to the inescapable but shocking conclusion that Lauren had taken her own life. Something I thought was unthinkable and only happened to other people had happened to me.

Related: Junior doctor suicide makes me worry about how I’ll cope in the job

The British Medical Association offers free, confidential support to doctors and medical students on 0330 123 1245. In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email 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

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10 October 2019, 9:32 am

Out of control: is too much work the real cause of burnout?

Millennials, gig economy workers and corporate high-flyers are all suffering from burnout, but mounting overtime is not the only culprit

Carolyn King reached a crossroads moment in her life, ironically, while negotiating a roundabout on the way to work.

She hated her job, but had always been able to push through the Sunday night dread to turn up on time. Yet on this particular Monday morning, almost two years ago, King couldn’t exit the roundabout.

Related: Could you be suffering from mid-year burnout?

Many employees are working 19th-century hours at the expense of their mental and physical wellbeing

Meaningless work exhausts people, and it makes them more cynical

Related: Overwhelmed by your to-do lists? Try this simple solution | Oliver Burkeman

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9 October 2019, 11:00 pm

How can every mind matter in a broken mental health system? | Letters

Readers respond to the launch of the NHS Every Mind Matters campaign and share their thoughts on other mental health issues

Congratulations to Suzanne Moore for highlighting those who are forgotten in campaigns such as Every Mind Matters (Telling people to jog will not solve this mental health crisis, 8 October). When Jeremy Hunt spoke of the biggest expansion of mental health services in Europe, he referred to expanded provision for people with mild to moderate problems. Those with serious mental heath problems have found that there is no therapy for them, specialist services like assertive outreach have disappeared, and their community mental health teams are too busy managing crises to support them.

I work with people who regularly self-harm and feel suicidal. Because the NHS has a tendency to keep them out of services and ignore NICE guidelines aimed at helping them, they find themselves the subjects of reports such as “No Longer A Diagnosis of Exclusion” and “The Patients Psychiatrists Dislike”. As they are turned away while seeking help and reading “If you feel that life is not worth living, you’re harming yourself or have thought about self-harm, it’s important to tell someone” on the Every Mind Matters website they will rightly feel gaslighted. We are building awareness of difficulties for which there is no help. We are encouraging people to talk while leaving them alone. Despite this, the insult of being manipulative and deceitful is thrown at the people wanting help, not those who promise the earth but whose words are dust. It’s clear that some minds don’t matter as much as others.
Keir Harding
Wrexham, Clwyd

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9 October 2019, 4:29 pm