Guardian Mental Health

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

I've spent years taming the OCD monster. Coronavirus has ruined everything

I’d come to think of myself as a sad wizard, burdened with rituals to prevent catastrophes. Then the pandemic made those threats real

For many of us, coronavirus has inspired a bit of a germ obsession. We wash our hands until they’re chapped. We see other people as potential vectors. We wipe down our groceries with Lysol, apparently having decided that, if it comes to it, we’d rather die of disinfectant poisoning than a virus.

In our efforts not to contract Covid-19, many of us are getting a taste of a different kind of illness: obsessive-compulsive disorder. And for some who have spent years learning to cope with OCD, the latest crisis is undermining everything we’ve learned about our own brains.

I had to repeat movements five times – a mere two repetitions could harm my dad; four could be fatal to my orthodontist

Related: The hellish side of handwashing: how coronavirus is affecting people with OCD

Coronavirus has shaken the foundations I built. Suddenly, the vague threats are not imaginary, but specific and real

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5 July 2020, 10:00 am

Vogue Portugal under fire for mental health cover in 'very bad taste'

Front of magazine’s ‘Madness’ issue attacked as attempt to glamorise mental illness

Vogue Portugal has been criticised for insensitive treatment of mental health on one of its latest magazine covers.

The image – one of four covers created for its July/August “Madness” issue – features model Simona Kirchnerova crouched in a bath flanked by two nurses, with one pouring water over her head. The cover has been criticised both for attempting to glamorise mental illness and for the use of the outdated term “madness”.

THE MADNESS ISSUE. COVER 1/4 It’s about love. It’s about life. It’s about us. It’s about you. It’s about now. It’s about health. It’s about mental health. #themadnessissue It’s about time. . Edição julho/agosto disponível em vogue.pt/shop Nas bancas disponível a partir de 10 de julho. ___
 July/August issue available at vogue.pt/shop Newsstands available from July 10th. . Photography @branislavsimoncik Styling @ninaford_ @nemamconaseba Hair @janmolnarofficial Make up @lukaskimlicka Models @simonakirchnerova Assistants Branislav Waclav / @PatrikHopjak / @fosia.rvs @exitmodelmanagement . #vogueportugal @lighthouse.publishing #editorinchief @sofia.slucas #creativedirection @jsantanagq

Hello ✨ I just want to say Thank You for all the support so many of you have given me since I lifted my hands in peaceful protest on the Gucci Runway show yesterday I feel very blessed to be surrounded by supportive comrades, and to know that there are so many people sharing support online for this action ✊ I want to use this opportunity to remind people that this sort of bravery, is only a simple gesture compared to the bravery that people with mental health issues show everyday. To have the bravery to get out of bed, to greet the day, and to live their lives is an act of strength, and I want to thank you for being here and being YOU ! ☀️ The support people have shown to my act is more than I could imagine, so I only trust that we will share this same support to our friends, siblings, loved ones, acquaintances, internet friends or even strangers, who might be going through tough times with their Mental Health. Showing up for them may come in many forms, check in via text or DM, listen to them with patience and without judgement, offer a helping hand with household tasks like food shop, cooking or cleaning, regularly remind them how amazing and strong they are, but also that is okay feel the feels too, Lets show up for people with mental health and help end the stigma together ! Many of the other Gucci models who were in the show felt just as strongly as I did about this depiction of straightjackets, and without their support I would not have had the courage to walk out and peacefully protest. Some have chosen to donate a portion their fee, and I 100% of mine, to mental health charities, who are doing amazing work for people today! Below are tags to some amazing charities that I encourage, if you have the resources and capacity to, please donate in any way you can, and in my linktree ( in bio ) is a google doc to websites for more charities ! <3 Also, please comment any other Mental Health organisations globally you would like to support and share, as my resources are UK/US based currently blessings, love & rage – Ayesha / YaYa ✨ ✨ ✨ @projectlets @mindcharity @mermaidsgender @qtpocmentalhealth @stonewalluk @switchboardlgbt @lgbtswitchboard @papyrus_uk

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3 July 2020, 3:17 pm

The Australian War Memorial's expansion money would be better spent on traumatised veterans | Paul Daley

The statistics about veterans with post-traumatic stress are disturbing. Helping them would be worth spending $500m on

Perhaps the most emotive justification for the planned $500m expansion of the Australian War Memorial came from the man behind the plan, the revered institution’s former director Brendan Nelson.

In April 2018, announcing the expansion via an uncritical ABC story, Nelson said, “Whatever the cost is, as one man said to me, ‘We’ve already paid. We’ve paid in blood, and whatever the government spends on the Australian War Memorial … will never be enough’.”

Related: Former war memorial heads join call to redirect $500m for ‘grandiose’ expansion to veterans

An estimated 46% of ADF members who had transitioned from full-time service within the past five years met 12-month diagnostic criteria for a mental disorder … This level of 12-month disorder combined with the significantly greater severity of current self-reported symptoms of psychological distress, depression anxiety, anger, suicidality and alcohol use, particularly at subthreshold levels in the Transitioned ADF compared to the 2015 Regular ADF, places this population at significant risk of impairment and disability, highlighting the challenges of transitioning out of full-time military service.”

An estimated 75% of former ADF members met criteria for a mental health disorder prior to, during or after their military careers

A quarter were estimated to have met criteria for post-traumatic-stress disorder in their lifetime

More than 20% had suicidal ideation

29% had felt life was not worth living

8% had made a suicide plan

2% said they had attempted suicide.

Related: ‘All lies’: how the US military covered up gunning down two journalists in Iraq

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3 July 2020, 1:45 am

‘I saw so much killing’: the mental health crisis of South Sudan refugees

Therapy is helping some of the thousands forced over the border to Uganda to cope, but funding shortfalls mean resources are becoming scarcer

As darkness fell, Rebecca closed the door to her makeshift home. The day was over.

The 29-year-old, who had been uprooted from South Sudan to a north Ugandan refugee settlement, sat on the bed where her four children slept and, at around 10pm, tried to take her own life. “By then I didn’t care about anything – not myself, not even my kids. The pain was too extreme,” she says. Her children awoke and their cries brought help from neighbours.

Related: Food rations to 1.4 million refugees cut in Uganda due to funding shortfall

They have lost the past and don’t have hope for the future

[Festivities] are put on hold. These avenues of happiness are not there

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2 July 2020, 6:00 am

Mental health may be 'significant factor' in NHS referrals to Prevent

Referring patients to anti-radicalisation scheme can worsen illness, charity says

Mental health appears to be a significant factor behind referrals from the NHS to Prevent, the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation programme, a UK-based medical charity says.

In an 18-month study, researchers at Medact found that a significant proportion of NHS referrals to Prevent came from mental health trusts or mental health departments.

Related: Revealed: how teachers could unwittingly trigger counter-terror inquiries

Related: Environment and animal rights activists being referred to Prevent programme

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1 July 2020, 11:01 pm

Jill Hopkins obituary

My friend Jill Hopkins, who has died aged 82, was a psychotherapist who believed in creative collaboration with theologians and literary writers. She was the originator and convener of the Trialogue conferences, which brought her own discipline together with those of theology and literature.

Jill was born in Luanshya, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), the daughter of Richard Craufurd-Benson, a colonial official there, and his wife, Margaret (nee Taylor). She was sent to boarding school in Britain, but retained an attachment to Africa throughout her life.

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1 July 2020, 1:01 pm

Audrey Newsome obituary

My friend Audrey Newsome, who has died aged 91, founded the UK’s first university student counselling service – in 1964 at Keele University in Staffordshire.

Audrey was working at Keele as head of its careers department (then known as the appointments office) in 1963 when she suggested to the vice chancellor that the university should add on a personal counselling service for students experiencing difficulties in various areas of their lives. The plan was approved, and Audrey set about establishing the first service of its kind at any UK university.

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30 June 2020, 2:55 pm

Victoria's 'silent tragedy' of Indigenous suicide sparks calls for urgent intervention

Rate of Aboriginal people who take their own lives twice that of wider population

Victoria’s peak Aboriginal health organisation has called for an urgent government intervention into the “silent tragedy” of Indigenous suicide after a report found that rates of suicide among Indigenous Victorians are twice that of the broader population.

Nearly two-thirds of Indigenous Victorians who take their lives had experienced abuse before their deaths, while a quarter experienced bullying, a report by Victoria’s coroner’s court has revealed.

Related: Trauma and poverty behind suicide of 13 Indigenous youth, inquest finds

Related: ‘Unspeakable’: how can Australia stop the Indigenous suicide epidemic?

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30 June 2020, 7:28 am

UK's mental health has deteriorated during lockdown, says Mind

Government must take urgent action to prevent even bigger crisis in future, charity warns

Lockdown has been devastating for mental health and the worst could be yet to come, a leading charity has said.

The mental health charity Mind says a survey has revealed that lockdown has had a dramatic impact on the nation’s mental health, warning that unless action is taken now, the problem could grow.

Related: ‘Urgent studies needed’ into mental health impact of coronavirus

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29 June 2020, 11:01 pm

Can I go clubbing? Yes – in New Zealand! Your guide to easing and the arts

Are seatless, stroll-through shows the future of theatre? Can one-way dancing save nightclubs? Could budding indie bands storm Wembley stadium? Scientists imagine the arts after Covid-19

The day before museums began closing in Britain, I saw Aubrey Beardsley at the Tate and Titian at the National Gallery. It was a strange experience, the power of the art undercut by the unsettling feeling that something deadly could be among us. “Don’t come too close to me,” I found myself thinking, or: “I can’t believe you’re coughing in public.” I wondered if it was wrong of me to even be there. With the words “global health emergency” ringing in my ears, I resolved not to leave the house again for pleasure. Soon, there was no choice anyway.

Those thoughts have resurfaced now that lockdown is easing and arts institutions face enormous pressure to reopen – and keep visitors safe. “The virus has produced a great deal of anxiety,” says Gabriel Scally, honorary professor of public health at the University of Bristol. “Coming out of lockdown, there are bound to be people whose psychological problems – OCD or agoraphobia – will be exacerbated by this. We need to make sure people can enter venues with confidence.”

If you’re in a basement three levels down, you should be very concerned

The headline on this piece was changed to reflect the fact that, as well as in New Zealand (if you’re a permanent resident), you can go nightclubbing in a few countries including Switzerland, China and on Guernsey.

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29 June 2020, 5:00 am

Boost NHS mental health youth services to tackle radicalisation, say psychiatrists

Specialists argue that spending on NHS is as important as counter-terrorism measures

Leading psychiatrists have urged the government to boost public resources for youth mental health to tackle an association between depression or anxiety and sympathies with violent protest and terrorism.

Edgar Jones and Kamaldeep Bhui, professors of psychiatry at King’s College London and the University of Oxford, warned that the underfunding of mental health services has left young people with PTSD, anxiety and depression susceptible to a range of poor outcomes, including radicalisation, which can culminate in violent extremism.

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29 June 2020, 5:00 am

Horse racing helping jockeys tackle mental health issues | Chris Cook

The pressures on professional riders are well-documented and in the wake of Liam Treadwell’s death the sport plans to do even more to offer support to those affected

“I absolutely hated racing that season,” says Harry Teal, reflecting on the time, just a couple of years ago, when he was struggling to establish himself as a jockey while in the grip of a serious depression. Not that he recognised the illness for what it was; instead, he tried to soldier on without help for the best part of a year.

“I felt there was a tremendous amount of pressure put on me. I was going racing and thinking, I’m going to do things wrong … and then I would do them wrong. And then I’d feel worse because I’d got it wrong. Relationships at home were falling apart, friends, family. I was distancing myself from everyone. I would go home and fall into a dark hole.”

Related: Pyledriver a genuine Derby hope for ‘bits and bobs’ owner Guy Leach | Chris Cook

Related: Talking Horses: Kevin Manning hopes to splash out on Fiscal Rules

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28 June 2020, 4:36 pm

Screen survivors of Covid-19 for PTSD, say mental health experts

Specialists say condition likely to be widespread among those admitted to hospital

Tens of thousands of Covid-19 survivors should be screened for post-traumatic stress disorder because of their experiences in fighting for their lives, mental health experts have urged.

Leading psychiatrists and psychologists want NHS bosses to ensure that all those who were admitted to hospital when they became seriously ill with the disease are assessed and checked regularly.

Related: Health experts on the psychological cost of Covid-19

Related: A generation of children could be scarred by this pandemic | Gaby Hinsliff

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28 June 2020, 12:48 pm

Simon Pegg: 'It's time… Film would be so much healthier with more voices, different stories'

The screenwriter and actor talks about lockdown life, Black Lives Matter, and his latest film about a pop producer dealing with mental illness

Several months into lockdown and Simon Pegg has grown a beard. It’s a pointy affair. “I’m going for the jazz nerd look,” says Pegg. “Sort of free drum solo.” “Catweazle!” calls his wife, Maureen, passing through. Jazz-weazle, maybe? It quite suits him.

Pegg is Zoom-ing from his kitchen table at home in Hertfordshire, looking relaxed and cheerful. Though Covid-19 restrictions have put his acting work on pause – just at the start of a Mission Impossible shoot (for the seventh picture in the series) – he’s been coping well. There’s other work to be done.

Lost Transmissions will be available online from 29 June

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28 June 2020, 10:30 am

Only 13% of UK working parents want to go back to ‘the old normal’

Survey shows people want to continue with more fulfilling and family-friendly work environments

Whatever the new normal is post Covid-19, we don’t want it to be anything like the old one. At least, when it comes to earning a living.

Lockdown has given people a chance to sample new ways of balancing their jobs and family lives and they have concluded that something must change. Just 13% want to go back to pre-pandemic ways of working, with most people saying they would prefer to spend a maximum of three days in the office.

Related: A new normal: how has working from home been for you?

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28 June 2020, 6:12 am

How an inner-city motel became a detention centre for more than 100 refugees

Daily protests and weekly rallies are giving hope to men held in budget lodgings in Brisbane

Sami* has a few friends in Brisbane, where he’s lived for almost 18 months. Sometimes they’ll stop by his lodgings, an inner-city motel and serviced apartment complex. They’ll wave up to him from the street and call out his name.

Although Sami, 34, can wave down to Kangaroo Point’s Main Street from the balcony outside his room, he can’t stroll outside to greet his friends. Sami is a refugee and this hotel is a detention centre.

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27 June 2020, 8:00 pm

Streaming: gaslighting films that will have you doubting your sanity

The Invisible Man, now available to stream, is the latest in cinema’s chilling tradition of psychodramas, from Gaslight to The Girl on the Train

In the before times, when films were still being released in cinemas, The Invisible Man staked an early claim as the year’s best mainstream blockbuster. A steely, sharp-witted reimagination of a dusty old Universal fantasy franchise, Leigh Whannell’s film succeeded by flipping audience expectations of whose story to tell from its far-fetched premise: not the millionaire playboy scientist who discovers ingenious means of invisibility, but the ordinary, unassuming woman – played with frenzied commitment by Elisabeth Moss – he chooses to torment with these powers, in ways only she can see and feel.

Now out on streaming and DVD, it’s a horror film that assumes the victim’s perspective in ways both bracing and classical: there may be a rich tradition of imperilled horror heroines pursued by violent, insistent men, but The Invisible Man builds her plight as a thoroughly era-attuned meditation on toxic masculinity and the difficulty that victimised women often have in being believed. Among its many virtues, Whannell’s film offers a perfect metaphorical primer on the concept of “gaslighting” – a buzzword often thrown about these days to refer to any form of lying. Its true meaning, that of undermining someone’s trust in their own sanity, is a rather more subtle, insidious process, presented here to maximum claustrophobic effect.

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27 June 2020, 7:00 am

Glenn Brasse obituary

Stoke Newington, north London, 1946: a secretive Austrian artist checks into a Jewish-owned lodging house. Suspicion mounts. A religious court is assembled to decide who he might be. Human foibles are gently exposed and all is resolved. Such was the wry and humane storytelling of my brother-in-law Glenn Brasse, for his son’s independent film Sanhedrin.

Glenn, who has died aged 70 after a short illness, was born in south London, the grandson of Jewish refugees from Ukraine and Poland. His mother, Iris (nee Bendel), died when he was aged 18. His father, Robert, having spent 14 years in an orphanage, was a shopfitter and, later, wholesale confectioner, and set a strong “glass half-full” example, which Glenn followed. Educated at a Brighton grammar school, Glenn was the first in the family to attend university, studying law at the London School of Economics (LSE).

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24 June 2020, 5:23 pm

Four ways the Covid-19 crisis will transform UK social work

Coronavirus has thrown up tough challenges for the profession, but there is also the chance for positive change

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a whole new range of challenges for social workers. They are juggling personal safety worries with the effects of lack of resources and workforce shortages, all while attempting to safeguard vulnerable children and adults, observe social distancing and protect public health.

Modern social work – and the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) – celebrates its 50th birthday this month, yet what would have been a time to take stock of our history with an eye on the next 50 years has been turned on its head.

Related: ‘I can’t know the children are safe’: social workers’ fears over lockdown

Related: Sign up for Society Weekly: our newsletter for public service professionals

Ruth Allen is chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers

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24 June 2020, 7:36 am

Scientists link bowel inflammation to higher risk of dementia

Study is latest to find high degree of correlation between gut health and mental health

People living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have more than twice the risk of developing dementia, researchers have revealed in the latest study to link gut health to neurological diseases.

A growing body of research suggests changes in the gastrointestinal tract may affect the brain through two-way communication known as the gut-brain axis.

Related: The human microbiome: why our microbes could be key to our health

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23 June 2020, 10:30 pm