This page shows the latest items from the Guardian Mental Health newsfeed.
Millions of women are losers in ‘scandalous’ postcode lottery, researchers find
Millions of women across the UK are being denied vital NHS care to help them cope with mental health problems triggered by pregnancy and childbirth, doctors say. A “scandalous” postcode lottery means that pregnant women and new mothers in a quarter of Britain cannot access any specialist support to tackle conditions that can have a devastating effect on their lives.
The lack of services is so acute that women could end up taking their own lives because they do not receive help, according to the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) of medical groups and childbirth campaigners. “The lack of provision of perinatal mental health services in some parts of the UK is scandalous,” said Dr Alain Gregoire, the alliance’s chair.
Couchsurfers in Brisbane twice as likely to describe their mental health as poor than those sleeping rough
Young couchsurfers report having worse mental health and greater risk of suicide and self-harm than those sleeping on the streets, a study has found.
Preliminary results from a research project involving couchsurfers in Brisbane found they were twice as likely to describe their mental health as “poor” than those sleeping rough, and reported higher rates of suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviour.
‘In this image, in all of them, I marvel how little of myself is left. The more pieces of myself I lose, the more men I attract’
I sit in child’s pose on the carpet, my back inches away from the heater in the wall, cradling images of the girl I used to be. I cup her many faces in my hands, like water droplets threatening to spill through laced fingers.
I am an MA student on the journalism course at Birkbeck, University of London, fighting for compensation for lectures lost due to the staff strike. We paid £3,000 last term for services that were not provided. I wrote to the master of the university, David Latchman, about this and received no reply. I then wrote to the registrar and got this back: “Your tuition fees contribute towards your entire learning experience and are not directly linked to specific contact or teaching hours. Your tuition fees also cover infrastructure such as buildings, library and IT.” How can it possibly be stated that my entire learning experience is not diminished by a lack of lectures?
The university have taken my money and banked what they have not paid the lecturers, it seems. We have been told that the strike may affect lectures for the first two weeks of next term and could be ongoing. I have just been asked to pay my fees for the summer term. I don’t intend to throw more money at the university unless I get a promise of compensation if the strike is ongoing. I wonder if I’ll be thrown off the course?
Depression seems a uniquely human way of suffering, but surprising new ways of thinking about it are coming from the field of artificial intelligence. Worldwide, over 350 million people have depression, and rates are climbing. The success of today’s generation of AI owes much to studies of the brain. Might AI return the favour and shed light on mental illness?
The central idea of computational neuroscience is that similar issues face any intelligent agent – human or artificial – and therefore call for similar sorts of solutions. Intelligence of any form is thought to depend on building a model of the world – a map of how things work that allows its owner to make predictions, plan and take actions to achieve its goals.
Gemma Procter pleads guilty to manslaughter after boy falls from sixth floor of block of flats
A 23-year-old woman has admitted killing her 18-month-old son, who died after he fell from the sixth floor of a block of flats.
Elliot Procter was found with fatal injuries at the bottom of the Newcastle House flats in the Barkerend area of Bradford, West Yorkshire, in October last year.
Around 350,000 people could soon qualify for right to select and pay for treatments through bespoke care plan
Hundreds of thousands of people with mental health conditions and physical disabilities could be given the option of a personalised NHS budget for their own care needs under government proposals.
People with learning difficulties and dementia are among around 350,000 who could have the right to select and pay for treatments that improve their health and wellbeing through a bespoke care plan agreed with medical professionals. For children and people unable to manage the money, parents or carers will be able to manage the budget.
Dr Luke Ong was five months away from becoming a GP when he made a simple error with his application to remain in the UK
A year ago I had a stable job working as a trainee GP in Greater Manchester and was due to qualify in February this year. I was in a relationship, had my own car and everything was great.
But for the last eight months my life has been a living hell.
I chose general practice because I like having the time to sit with patients and build up a relationship
The years it took for the government to recognise my right to be in the UK exacerbated my serious mental health problems
When I was a child, my father gave me a wind-up turtle. It was a souvenir he bought back from a trip to the UK in 1979 and I loved it so much that it inspired me to come and live here. I arrived in the UK in 2008 but, unlike my father who came to perform as a musician, I came to brighten my future with study. Drunk with love for England, I could never have predicted the hardship and trauma I would face at the hands of the Home Office.
I have long suffered from depression. I reached a point where my mental health was so poor that I was no longer able to study. Despite my obvious vulnerability, an application to extend my visa on mental health grounds was denied. I was devastated.
Once on a bus I received a text message from the Home Office telling me to return to my home country immediately
The singer-songwriter told People magazine, ‘I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted’
Mariah Carey has discussed her experiences with bipolar disorder for the first time in an interview with US celebrity magazine People. The multimillion-selling singer said that she was first diagnosed with the disorder in 2001, when she was hospitalised for a physical and mental health breakdown: “I didn’t want to believe it.”
The singer, who is in her late 40s, said that it wasn’t until recently that she sought treatment following “the hardest couple of years I’ve been through”. In 2014, Carey separated from husband Nick Cannon, the rapper and TV host with whom she has twins, Moroccan and Monroe. In January 2016, she announced her engagement to Australian billionaire James Packer, but announced in October 2016 that the engagement had ended.
From recalling names to relearning how to make tea, occupational therapists can help people with dementia regain functions
The number of teachers seeking mental health support has risen by 35% in the past 12 months. Many of them are in crisis
When secondary school teacher Victoria broke down in front of her class, she realised the stress of the job had got too much. “I became exhausted,” she says. “I stepped into my classroom and instantly knew I couldn’t be there.” She called our charity’s helpline, which offers mental health support to those working in education. She’s just one of 8,668 people to have come to us for help in the past 12 months.
By turning the role into an unmanageable task, we risk alienating those with the passion and skill to succeed
Professionals denied me the chance to be there for my boy when he needed me the most
Three years back I joined a club no one wants to be a member of. I became a parent who lost their child to suicide. He was 20. I didn’t think it was possible. I trusted his doctors to take good care of him. I trusted they would tell me if there was a real risk of him dying, given I was his mother and prime carer. I thought they had the expertise to identify and address a crisis when they saw it. Suicide was not in the script.
I turn the events around his sudden death over and over in my head, and it makes no sense. He had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 weeks before he died. Initially his response to medication was good but then he plunged into a deep dark depression, which I thought was being managed by his GP. All this time, he lived at home with me. None of the medical staff mentioned the word “suicide” at any stage.
A father was told by the GP: ‘Now that your son’s dead, I can tell you this wasn’t his first attempt at ending his life.
Failing to match educational accomplishments causes distress similar to a divorce, says study
Men who fail to match or exceed their parents’ educational achievements suffer levels of psychological distress similar to the impact of divorce, while women are largely unaffected, according to new research.
Researchers at the University of Oxford analysed data from more than 50,000 people across the UK and 27 other mainly European countries to compare their psychological states with their educational achievements.
When my father died suddenly in January at the age of 91, family and friends gave him a great send-off. We had a private cremation, an uplifting memorial service at church, and rounded off the day with a buffet at the golf club. The next day, Mum couldn’t remember anything about it. She kept asking whether Dad had died, how he had died, and obsessed about having to organise the funeral.
About 10 years ago Mum was diagnosed with dementia, the creeping and cruel illness that has stolen her short-term memory although not – yet – her vibrant personality. Thanks to round-the-clock care by my father, her memory problems worsened only gradually until his death. But in grief, her confusion has deepened significantly.
In a speech recorded in March at The School of Life in Melbourne, the Australian author explains how writing The Shepherd’s Hut got him thinking about the boys that get left behind
In an excerpt from a speech about his new book The Shepherd’s Hut, the author says it is men who need to step up and liberate boys from the race, the game, the fight
• Winton on writing ‘with my heart in my mouth’ – podcast
I don’t have any grand theory about masculinity. But I know a bit about boys. Partly because I’m at the beach and in the water a lot.
As a surfer you spend a lot of time bobbing about, waiting for something to happen. So eventually, you get talking. Or you listen to others talking. And I spend my work days alone, in a room with people who don’t exist, so these maritime conversations make up the bulk of my social life. And most of the people in the water are younger than me, some by 50 years or more.
There’s a constant pressure to pull on the uniform of misogyny and join the Shithead Army
A man in manacles doesn’t fully understand the threat he poses to others
Because of our history, there has never been a stigma in my family about seeking help from an expert, including a psychotherapist, a life coach and a hypnotherapist
The word “antidepressants” was part of my vocabulary before I was 10. A number of adults in my family, including my mum, were long-term takers. From a young age, I knew what Prozac was and remember playing with the boxes of St John’s Wort tablets that were stacked by the telephone. An elderly aunt had been sectioned in Ireland decades earlier – and remained incarcerated until her death – for what, these days, would probably be diagnosed as bipolar disorder and treated far more sensitively.
“All the females in our family are crazy,” my father has always tenderly joked, even telling my serious boyfriends when I brought them home. It would have been funnier if there wasn’t a lot of truth in the statement. It’s an interesting situation when you grow up with the knowledge that mental illness runs in your family – especially the women. Wondering if every down day, every rough patch could be something else entirely – the beginning of your psychological inheritance.
I must have been eight or nine when I remember first becoming obsessed with certain repetitive habits
I now have the power to reframe any negative situation and see the positives
Two Sustrans staff members explain how offering residents of a women’s hostel the freedom of cycling is helping to improve their mental wellbeing
A cycling session at Queen Mary homeless women’s hostel in London starts with some reflection in the tea room. Eleven women discuss how they’re doing this week, how the cycling went for them last week and what they’re hoping to build on in today’s session. Then they push their bikes to a local basketball court to practise in the safety of an off-road environment. Supported by instructors from Westminster council’s training team, they practise riding by themselves; pushing off, cycling in a straight line, looking over one shoulder, turning, keeping going.
Commissioning groups in England must answer to officials if they miss investment standard
NHS bodies that put too little money into improving mental health care have been threatened with sanctions in a crackdown intended to ensure more cash reaches the frontline.
NHS England has written to all 207 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to warn that they must deliver on a key NHS-wide funding pledge in order to meet the rising demand for help.