Guardian Mental Health

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

Lewis Capaldi arena tour pledges help for fans with anxiety

Mental health charity Mind welcomes chart-topping star’s scheme to provide support workers, gig buddies and an ‘escape room’

The musician Lewis Capaldi has announced that he is to provide provisions for fans at risk of anxiety and panic attacks on his upcoming UK arena tour. Capaldi, whose single Someone You Loved has been No 1 for seven weeks, is adding a compulsory 50p charge to his ticket prices to cover the costs of a scheme he has named LiveLive.

Fans will be able to access support from a qualified team at each venue before and during Capaldi’s arena shows, which take place in 2020. There will also be designated help points for anyone struggling emotionally, an “escape room” for anyone who needs time out, and a gig buddy system for fans travelling alone.

Large events like pop concerts can be huge fun … but loud noises and busy crowds are a given

Related: The ordinary boys: how Ed Sheeran-inspired troubadours swept the charts

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18 April 2019, 5:12 pm

'I've been peed on and beaten up': the ex-rough sleeper given an MBE for helping homeless people

Dennis Rogers spent 10 years on the streets battling alcoholism, but isn’t sure he would have survived in today’s brutal climate

Dennis Rogers isn’t sure he’d be alive now if he had his time living on the streets as an alcoholic again. “I don’t think I would have got better if I was homeless now. The situation is getting to be the worst I’ve seen.”

Rogers, who is 59, should know. He has a unique insight into homelessness and how it’s changed over his lifetime. He spent 10 years mostly living rough before he managed to get a place in rehab for a year for his alcoholism, which had become so bad that he needed to drink four cans of super strength lager every morning before he could stand up.

Related: ‘We predict more deaths’: GPs on the frontline of UK homelessness crisis

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18 April 2019, 8:39 am

'I wasn’t aware I was suffering': Marine A talks about troops' mental health

Al Blackman, who killed an injured fighter, is working to help marines learn from case

A former Royal Marine jailed for shooting dead a wounded Taliban fighter has expressed concern about troops’ lack of mental preparation before being deployed to war zones and revealed he is working with the marines to help them learn from his experiences.

Al Blackman, better known by his codename, Marine A, who is now out of prison on licence, said he accepted the killing was wrong and he took full responsibility. But he said he believed there was work to do to ensure troops received adequate training in dealing with the mental as well as physical challenges of the battlefield.

I’m not pointing any fingers of blame at anybody. My situation was my situation

Related: Spare a thought for Britain’s veterans left to battle their demons alone | Andy Price

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17 April 2019, 11:01 pm

My assistance dog changed my life – but I brace myself when we leave home | Fiona Wright

When I step out with Virginia, my largely hidden disability became startlingly visible – for better and for worse

Almost a year ago exactly, I became the handler of an assistance dog, after a long and rigorous process involving an in-house assessment, a medical assessment and a recommendation from my psychiatrist and my GP respectively.

Almost a year ago, I started working every week with a professional trainer so that both the dog and I could learn what to do.

Related: The cost of getting well in Australia is keeping us sick | Fiona Wright

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17 April 2019, 6:00 pm

How to be Queen of your history class | Brief letters

Horrible Histories | Financial anxiety | Easter cacti | Pyjamas in bed | Notre Dame

Stuart Jeffries can’t be a true fan of Horrible Histories if he “can’t list the kings and queens of England” (Ghosts review, G2, 16 April). My three daughters can all reel them off from “William, William” to “Queen Liz two” because they remember the brilliant Horrible Histories song.
Naomi Joffe

• In response to Hilary Osborne’s “Five ways to reduce financial anxiety” (G2, 14 April), I suggest five alternative ways: 1) Demand better pay, 2) Demand meaningful work, 3) Demand low rents, 4) Embrace anti-consumerism, 5) Read Chomsky. But I am someone who barely manages, so what do I know.
Asad Ali Abbasi

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17 April 2019, 4:50 pm

A&E turned away man who then killed himself and wife, inquest told

Thomas and Katherine Kemp of Ipswich had sought help after he threatened to kill himself

A mentally ill man killed his wife and then himself hours after the “inseparable couple” were turned away from an A&E department where they had tried to seek help, an inquest has heard.

Katherine Kemp, 31, had dialled 999 after her husband, Thomas, 32, had threatened to kill himself in the early hours of 6 August last year. Police arrived at their Ipswich flat while she was still on the phone to the ambulance service and found the couple to be calm.

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17 April 2019, 3:38 pm

Priory fined £300,000 over death of girl, 14, in East Sussex hospital

2016 inquest found neglect contributed to Amy El-Keria’s death in high-dependency unit

The Priory healthcare group has been fined £300,000 over the death of a 14-year-old girl at one of its hospitals.

Amy El-Keria was being treated at the group’s Ticehurst House psychiatric hospital in East Sussex when she died in November 2012.

Related: Mental health of pupils is ‘at crisis point’, teachers warn

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17 April 2019, 12:08 pm

Mental health of pupils is 'at crisis point', teachers warn

Anxiety, self-harm and suicide are rising, finds survey of school leaders and teachers in England

More than eight out of 10 teachers say mental health among pupils in England has deteriorated in the past two years – with rising reports of anxiety, self-harm and even cases of suicide – against a backdrop of inadequate support in schools.

In a survey of 8,600 school leaders, teachers and support workers, 83% said they had witnessed an increase in the number of children in their care with poor mental health, rising to 90% among students in colleges.

Related: Children who need help with mental health face postcode lottery – study

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16 April 2019, 11:01 pm

Why I went viral on Twitter after talking about being evicted on Sky News | Kirsty Archer

The patronising interviewer, who is a landlord, demonstrated the contempt with which many landlords view renters

On Monday I had the weird experience of going viral on Twitter after an altercation with a Sky News journalist. Following the government’s announced plans to scrap section 21 eviction notices, I was invited on to Sky News to talk about the time I was served such a notice in February. I made a complaint about the serious disrepair in the flat I have been renting with a friend since August. We now have to get out by the end of the this month.

As it stands, section 21 gives landlords huge power over our lives and discourages renters from making complaints or requesting repairs, for fear of section 21 revenge evictions. Since 2015, around 140,000 other tenants have been victims of revenge evictions making section 21 the leading cause of homelessness in England, displacing huge numbers of working people and migrants from their communities each year.

Related: Short-notice evictions face axe in tenant rights victory

Related: ‘No-fault’ eviction of tenants must end. But beware unintended consequences | Simon Jenkins

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16 April 2019, 5:57 pm

Four prisoners dead in six weeks: the crisis unfolding in San Diego county jails

‘When someone dies by suicide in a system’s highest level of care, there is enormous cause for concern,’ says an attorney from Disability Rights California

On 18 March, Maria Palacios Escalera got a call from a doctor at the UC San Diego hospital in southern California. Her son, Ivan Ortiz, an inmate at San Diego’s Central jail, had tried to kill himself, he said. Doctors had been able to revive him, but he had a weak pulse and his brain had been deprived of oxygen. She should make her way over to the hospital as soon as possible.

Escalera and her daughter Priscilla rushed to the hospital, but when they got there, a deputy with the San Diego sheriff’s department told them they’d need to get a permit to see Ivan – visitors must obtain a permit from the jail’s watch commander to visit an inmate who’s been hospitalized, even if the inmate is “in grave condition”, department policy says.

The San Diego jails struggled with an over-incarceration of people with mental health-related disabilities and failed to provide treatment

Our jail system provides excellent medical screening and care

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16 April 2019, 10:00 am

Want a larger penis? Then your problems may be upstairs, not downstairs | Tom Usher

The alarming surgery statistics coming out of Papua New Guinea are a sure sign of masculinity’s silent crisis

A massive penis please. That’s most guys’ answer to a question many of us have at least thought about before: what part of your body would you like to surgically improve, and how?

I remember when there was a rumour went round that Peter Andre had undergone plastic surgery on his abs to make them as pristinely popping as they were in the Mysterious Girl video, and I remember even then, as an eight-year-old boy barely aware of anything except strawberry laces and Arsenal goalkeeper kits, thinking: “Why did he do that when he could’ve got a massive penis instead?”

These festering fixations have consequences far beyond mutilated genitals. Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men in the UK under 49

Related: Like women, men are now suffering in their pursuit of the ‘perfect’ body | Barbara Ellen

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16 April 2019, 7:00 am

'A woman wants to die. As a social worker, I help her see that life matters'

My job as a mental health social worker involves supporting people in crisis and advocating for others

The hospital team’s consultant psychiatrist and I meet with Colin, who’s been referred by his GP. He hasn’t left home on his own for a month because he’s been hearing voices which make him believe he’s going to be kidnapped. The psychiatrist discusses medication with Colin, and I speak to him about the things in his life that affect his mental health.

Related: ‘Retrieving the bodies of people who have died tears firefighters apart’

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15 April 2019, 7:48 am

Can going to therapy become as straightforward as going to the gym?

At Self Space, Jodie Cariss offers flexibility, online bookings and the chance to change therapist mid-treatment. But does it work? Stuart Jeffries tries it out

I am standing outside a building in Shoreditch, east London, admiring its elegantly distressed paintwork. It could be an artisanal cheese shop but for the name, Self Space, and the blurb on the window that reads: “A good conversation with a qualified person.” Let’s hope. I have a session booked: 30 minutes of therapy for £44.

I have many questions, and not just about my mental health. Can a one-off therapy session make a difference? And is Self Space at risk of being swamped by a stream of neurotic people like me?

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15 April 2019, 7:00 am

Barriers to tackling mental health issues | Letters

Sharing your experiences with colleagues can be freeing or detrimental, warns one anonymous writer. Headteacher Eileen Sheerin responds to the news that children who need help with mental health face a postcode lottery

While I agree with the idea that it is helpful to be able to talk to managers and colleagues if you have mental health issues (It can be a wonderful freeing moment, G2, 8 April) it very much depends on the attitudes of those you work with as to the outcome.

I tried to lessen the stigma around these issues by sharing some of my difficulties with colleagues in an appropriate way, but when I was open with the CEO of the small company where I had worked for over 10 years, I came to regret it. My difficulties were seen as personal weaknesses, I was not paid for time taken for mental health treatments (despite appointments for medical treatments for other staff being taken as paid time off), and I was not supported in any way. This was despite the relevant staff member being a qualified psychologist.

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14 April 2019, 5:12 pm

Coalition vows to 'break the curse of youth suicide' with mental health package

Coalition promises $42m on mental health initiatives for young and Indigenous Australians

The Coalition has pledged a further $42m on mental health initiatives for young and Indigenous Australians, on top of $461m in the budget for mental health and suicide prevention.

Of the new funding, $22.5m will be spent on research grants to help find better treatments for mental health problems and $19.6m on the Indigenous advancement strategy to prevent suicide, particularly in the Kimberley.

Related: Young Australians survey finds surge in concerns about mental health

Related: Gut bacteria may have impact on mental health, study says

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12 April 2019, 9:00 pm

Horror over Alesha MacPhail murder 'must not obscure lessons'

Experts say Alesha’s killer, Aaron Campbell, is ‘not a one-off’ – and more can be done to prevent similar crimes

Since Aaron Campbell received a life sentence last month for the brutal rape and murder of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail, the reverberations from his crimes have continued as the public and professionals struggle to come to terms with what the trial judge, Lord Matthews, described as “some of the wickedest, most evil crimes this court has ever heard”.

Related: Why was Alesha MacPhail killed? Perhaps we should stop asking | Libby Brooks

Related: Teenager guilty of murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail

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11 April 2019, 12:24 pm

Why can’t I sleep? My mission to understand insomnia – video

Millions of people in the UK have trouble sleeping, and Guardian reporter Leah Green is one of them. Like many insomniacs, she has tried all the home remedies, sleep hygiene techniques and gadgets designed to cure her sleep problems. She finds out why it is so difficult to conquer insomnia, and why good treatment is so hard to come by

For more information about treating insomnia:

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11 April 2019, 10:02 am

Aphantasia: why a Disney animator draws a blank on his own creations

Glen Keane, who illustrated The Little Mermaid, is among the 2% of the population with a little-known condition leaving them without mental imagery

If you have seen The Little Mermaid, you can probably visualise Ariel in your mind’s eye, but for Glen Keane, the Disney animator who drew her, that is impossible. Keane has a condition called aphantasia, meaning his mind’s eye is blind. And so does Ed Catmull, the former president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Catmull, 74, told the BBC that he discovered his condition while attempting to visualise a sphere during a session of Tibetan meditation: “I went home, closed my eyes … I couldn’t see a thing,” he said. “For an entire week, I kept trying to visualise this sphere.”

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10 April 2019, 5:01 pm

Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey to team up for mental health TV series

Apple TV+ documentary will build on Harry’s advocacy for those who ‘silently suffer’

The Duke of Sussex is teaming up with Oprah Winfrey for a documentary series on mental health, Kensington Palace has announced.

Prince Harry said he hoped it would show examples of “human spirit fighting back from the darkest places”. He added that he was “incredibly proud to be working alongside Oprah on this vital series, which we have been developing together for several months”.

Related: Children who need help with mental health face postcode lottery – study

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10 April 2019, 12:17 pm

Children who need help with mental health face postcode lottery – study

Report finds wide disparities in spending on services for low-level conditions across England

Children suffering anxiety, depression and other low-level mental health conditions face a postcode lottery when seeking treatment, research has shown.

There are wide disparities in spending per child in different parts of England with more than a third of areas seeing a real-terms fall in spending on these services. This is despite soaring demand and increased government funding for children’s mental health nationally, the study by the children’s commissioner for England found.

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9 April 2019, 11:01 pm