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Will funding cuts lead to vulnerable young people in Leeds slipping through the cracks?
  •, Thursday August 12 2010
  • A popular piece of jargon during the New Labour years was NEET ? an abbreviation for young people "not in employment, education or training". If being a NEET wasn't difficult enough, teenage pregnancy, youth offending, substance misuse and homelessness made the problem even worse.

Autism diagnosis is only the first step

  •, Thursday August 12 2010
  • Sally Bercow
  • As the parent of a six-year-old son with high-functioning autism, I was delighted to hear that diagnosis of autism may soon become much easier, thanks to a simple brain-scanning technique.

Rip Torn denied probation over armed drunken bank escapade

  •, Wednesday August 11 2010
  • Richard Adams
  • Rip Torn, the 79-year-old character actor, will have to make another appearance in court after a judge refused to let him avoid charges of breaking into a bank while drunk and carrying a loaded gun.

Newport State of Mind: songwriters pulled the video from YouTube

  •, Wednesday August 11 2010
  • Jemima Kiss
  • We've identified the culprit behind the Newport State of Mind takedown – and it wasn't EMI Music Publishing. Alex Warren and Terema Wainwright, who sang the parody of the Empire State of Mind duet by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

Mortgage aid cut 'will see disabled people lose homes'

  •, Monday August 9 2010
  • Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor
  • Almost 65,000 disabled people, including those with profound mental health problems, are at risk of losing their homes because of a cut in mortgage payment support for vulnerable people, according to the body representing housing associations.

Is there a UK law against 'cruel and unusual punishment'?

  •, Monday August 9 2010
  • James Welch
  • Shadowfirebird asks: "Do we have in this country a principle of disallowing cruel and unusual punishment, and if so, what constitutes "cruel and unusual"?
Social networking: Failure to connect
  •, Saturday August 7 2010
  • Tom Meltzer
  • T he first time I joined Facebook, I had to quit again immediately. It was my first week of university. I was alone, along with thousands of other students, in a sea of club nights and quizzes and tedious conversations about other people's A-levels.
A better response to depression
  •, Saturday August 7 2010
  • Depression may be "invisible", but it can be known and understood (Editorial, 4 August). There is increasing evidence that mental health problems are developmental in nature, and up to three-quarters of adult difficulties start in childhood.
The secret to … coping with holidays
  •, Saturday August 7 2010
  • Anna Tims
  • Warm waves and white sands. Gin in a hammock. You can probably feel the panic rising at the thought of it. New research reveals that 40% of workers return from holiday feeling more stressed than before they left and a third work while on annual leave.
Dementia study finds almost 40% of cases could be avoided
  •, Friday August 6 2010
  • Denis Campbell, health correspondent
  • Large numbers of people would be spared the agony of dementia if depression and diabetes were banished and people ate more fruit and vegetables and spent longer in education, doctors claim today.
Don't deprive refugees of access to justice
  •, Thursday August 5 2010
  • Ayesha Christie
  • The tragic death of Osman Rasul last week confirmed some of my worst fears of how the closure of Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ) would impact on some of our most vulnerable clients. I
How PCC resolved complaints about Street-Porter's Daily Mail depression article
  •, Thursday August 5 2010
  • Roy Greenslade
  • The Press Complaints Commission received more than 180 complaints about a Daily Mail article by Janet Street-Porter in which she referred to depression as "the new trendy illness."
China kindergarten attacker kills three children and teacher, reports say
  •, Wednesday August 4 2010
  • Associated Press
  • Three children and a teacher have been killed in an attack on a kindergarten in eastern China, it was reported today. Residents living near the scene described how an unidentified man, carrying a knife, entered the school in the eastern city of Zibo,
No joke, being a psychiatric patient has its funny side
  •, Wednesday August 4 2010
  • Clare Allan
  • This summer I'm directing a comedy at the Edinburgh festival. Pension Plan is a one woman show, written and performed by Leisa Rea, and is perhaps best summed up in her own words as "a mardi gras for the mildly depressed".
Mental health: The invisible illness
  •, Wednesday August 4 2010
  • Editorial
  • "I have of late – but wherefore I know not – lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercise; and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory". Depression is part of the human condition and Hamlet's description of its symptoms matches those in a modern medical textbook.
GPs should have bigger role in antenatal care, says think tank
  •, Wednesday August 4 2010
  • Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor
  • Family doctors need to be more directly involved in the care of pregnant women, a leading health thinktank says today, after finding there is one maternal death a week due to obesity, heart disease or mental health problems.
Campsfield House detainees go on hunger strike
  •, Tuesday August 3 2010
  • Karen McVeigh
  • About half the detainees at the 216-bed Campsfield House immigration centre in Oxfordshire are refusing meals in protest at their prolonged detention and treatment, they said today. The detainees claim to have suffered mental health problems as a result of being locked up with no prospect of removal from the UK or release.
Campsfield detainees go on hunger strike over treatment
  •, Tuesday August 3 2010
  • Haroon Siddique
  • More than 100 people at Campsfield immigration centre in Oxfordshire have gone on hunger strike in protest at their prolonged detention at the facility. They claim that many of them have developed mental health problems as a result of their detention
Japan: ending the culture of the 'honourable' suicide
  • Guardian Weekly, Tuesday August 3 2010
  • Andrew Chambers
  • A recent report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has noted "strong evidence of a link between economic hardship and suicide". In 2009 there was a 24% year-on-year increase in suicides in the Republic of Ireland, while the most recently available figures in the UK show that the beginning of the economic downturn in 2007-8 resulted in a 6% rise.
My week: Jonathan Espie, clinical psychologist
  •, Tuesday August 3 2010
  • I specialise in child and adolescent mental health for the East London NHS Foundation Trust. We work with children and their families – young people can be referred to us by their school or GP.
Liberating the NHS to benefit patients
  •, Tuesday August 3 2010
  • Suggestions that abolishing the cap on private patient income for NHS foundation trusts will result in long waits for NHS patients are misleading (NHS trusts aim for private profits, 2 August).
Man kills 11 on digger rampage in China
  •, Monday August 2 2010
  • Associated Press in Beijing
  • A drunk man killed 11 people while on a rampage driving a digger into shops and vehicles in northern China, a government spokesman said. The incident began when 38-year-old Li Xianliang killed a customer at the Hongyuan coal depot in Hebei province's Yuanshi
Depression – the illness that's still taboo
  •, Monday August 2 2010
  • Mark Rice-Oxley
  • I can't say exactly when it started. Maybe the day in July last year when a headache in the shape of a question mark curled itself around my right eye and made itself at home. Or a month later, when a liquid fatigue poured into my legs and set.
Making banks more user-friendly
  •, Monday August 2 2010
  • We write with growing concern that the UK has one of the highest levels of personal debt in the world – in April this year the British people owed over £1,460bn in private debt. Debt has become part and parcel of everyday life – many of us owe money on a credit card, loan or overdraft. Borrowing money can be beneficial, as is the case with student loans, business loans and
Babies don't suffer when mothers return to work, study reveals
  •, Sunday August 1 2010
  • Tracy McVeigh and Anushka Asthana
  • A ground-breaking study has found that mothers can go back to work months after the birth of their child without the baby's wellbeing suffering as a result. By assessing the total impact on a child of the mother going out to work, including factors outside the home,
One in five Britons has consulted a counsellor or a psychotherapist
  •, Sunday August 1 2010
  • Jamie Doward
  • Almost one person in five has consulted a counsellor or psychotherapist, while almost half the population know someone who has, according to a survey by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), which suggests that the stigma attached to "talking therapies" is disappearing.

June 2009

Homeless blogs open the door on a rough world
  •, Tuesday June 30 2009
  • Penny Anderson
  • Earlier this year in Houston, Texas, the viral marketing expert Kevin Dolan and his son Sean had an idea to help the homeless: select and focus on one rough-sleeper, offer them assistance and then, with their co-operation and consent, record their story for a new website. Surmising that a site called "Help this homeless person" would not grab your attention
Carlos Castilla del Pino
  • The Guardian, Monday June 29 2009
  • Michael Eaude
  • The civil war in Spain drove thousands of people insane and left untold numbers in need of psychiatric care. Carlos Castilla del Pino, who has died of cancer aged 86, was the psychiatrist who cured many of them and his writings on mental health changed the methods of treatment in Spain.
The drugs don't work
  •, Monday June 29 2009
  • Ed Halliwell
  • It may have been the happiest day of the year on 19 June, but we are already into the hangover. Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats reveal that antidepressant prescription numbers are going through the roof – 36m scripts were handed out to patients in England last year, a rise of 2.1m on 2007.
Background: Britain's heatwave plan
  •, Monday June 29 2009
  • James Sturcke
  • Britain's heatwave plan was drawn up after a record hot spell in 2003, during which temperatures in Kent reached 38C (100.4F). Medical experts said the number of deaths among people over 75 rose 60% during that period, with around 2,000 dying from heat-related conditions.
Stonewall's unfinished legacy
  •, Sunday June 28 2009
  • Nancy Goldstein
  • The modern lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement in America was born 40 years ago this week. In the wee hours of 28 June 1969, patrons of Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn, a New York dive frequented by some of the most marginalised members of an already marginalised community – drag queens, transgender people, homeless youths, hustlers
The interview: Bobby Baker
  • The Observer, Sunday June 28 2009
  • Kate Kellaway
  • When I tell people I am about to meet Bobby Baker, I get one of two reactions. "Who's he?", or - if they have seen her shows - they'll enthuse as if she were an old friend. Bobby Baker is a performance artist whose gift is for subverting domesticity. She is seriously funny and has, for 35 years, lived up to her surname.
Let's call the bankers' bluff
  • The Guardian, Saturday June 27 2009
  • Despite the devastation to the world economy and its impact on the careers, prospects and family lives of so many people, the culture of astronomical bonuses is being resumed, even by financial institutions rescued from collapse by public funds (The new City buzzword: BAB (that's Bonuses are Back)
New research says alcohol causes one in 10 European deaths
  • The Guardian, Friday June 26 2009
  • Sarah Boseley, health editor
  • One in 10 deaths in Europe are caused by alcohol, according to research published today, and one in 25 around the world. Doctors writing in the Lancet say that drinkers mostly die from injuries, cancer, heart disease and liver cirrhosis.
Teenage babysitter murdered two-year-old girl
  • The Guardian, Friday June 26 2009
  • Helen Carter
  • A 15-year-old babysitter was today convicted of the murder of a two-year-old girl who was beaten and suffered 68 injuries while her mother was shopping. Demi Leigh Mahon was bitten, beaten and had her hair sheared off by Karl McCluney who was looking after her for 90 minutes last July while her mother, heroin user Ann Marie McDonald, went to pick up a child benefit cheque
Driven to kill
  • The Guardian, Friday June 26 2009
  • Julie Bindel
  • During her relationship with her husband, Malcolm, Sara Thornton endured repeated beatings. She sought help from numerous agencies, called the police repeatedly and her husband was eventually charged with assault. But he died before his court appearance. As he lay drunk on the sofa one night in June 1989, she stabbed him to death.
An invitation to reoffend
  • The Guardian, Thursday June 25 2009
  • Libby Brooks
  • It was with a heavy heart that I read of Alan Johnson's pledge this week to revive the state crusade against antisocial behaviour. Our new home secretary was concerned that the government had been "coasting" on the issue. The prospect of more rhetoric about yob culture leaves me weary.
Social services failures resulted in 16-month-old girl's murder
  •, Thursday June 25 2009
  • Patrick Butler
  • A series of errors meant child protection agencies missed several opportunities to intervene to protect a 16-month-old girl physically abused and finally murdered by her violent father, a inquiry has found. Social workers, schools and health visitors all failed to follow basic safeguarding procedures in the case of Amy Howson, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Squaring the funding circle
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 24 2009
  • Peter Beresford
  • There is a broad consensus, which includes the government, that the present system of social care funding is untenable. Yet with the publication of the green paper expected next week, there is little agreement or clarity about how social care should be funded for the future
Voice of experience
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 24 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • Ask someone with a mental health problem to tell you what frustrates and angers them about dealing with mental health services, and somewhere near the top of their list will be that the official culture is often one of "us and them". They are also likely to say they wish they were listened to more often by the professionals treating them.
Heart of England plans £10m record scan
  • Smart Healthcare, Wednesday June 24 2009
  • SA Mathieson
  • A service to scan medical records, worth an estimated £5m-£10m, was the largest published tender in healthcare IT during May. It was posted by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which wants to digitise its records for Documentum and Folding Space software, a job it says will take from three to 10 years.
Key strategies for commissioners
  •, Tuesday June 23 2009
  • Jane Dudman
  • 1.45pm: Prof Sube Banerjee did not disappoint: his presentation this morning on the national dementia strategy for England, which he co-wrote, was absorbing. It had everything: a clear outline of the way to fund better services for dementia, with early diagnosis paying for itself in three to five years
Staying the course
  • Public, Tuesday June 23 2009
  • Jane Dudman
  • This is a time for cool heads. That was the comment from professor Andrew Kerslake, director of the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University and one of the speakers at this year's National Commissioning Conference in Birmingham. Kerslake was talking about personal budgets - but his comments apply to managers facing difficult times across the whole public sector.

The welfare reform bill's hour of need

  •, Monday June 22 2009
  • Jonathan Rutherford
  • As the welfare reform bill begins its fifth day of the report stage in the House of Lords, a small and determined group of independent and Liberal Democrat peers are putting up a fight; adding amendments, testing the government's arguments, picking over sentences in forensic detail. They're highlighting the threat to mentally ill people and those with learning disabilities
Neither euthanasia nor suicide, but end-of-life choice
  •, Monday June 22 2009
  • Sarah Wootton
  • Our opponents have confused, perhaps deliberately, what the campaign for assisted dying is all about in recent weeks. To clarify, we campaign for the choice of assisted dying for the terminally ill within strict safeguards. Not euthanasia. Not suicide. Not encouraging people to jump off cliffs
Mental health services need to face up to their 'toxic effect' on black people
  •, Monday June 22 2009
  • Hari Sewell
  • Mental health services are failing black people. Not only do a disproportionate number end up in mental health services, but research also shows that once black people enter the mental health
  • system, this over-representation gets worse with each repeat admission.
'It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders'
  • The Observer, Sunday June 21 2009
  • Lisa Bachelor
  • Visiting a financial adviser is not something you might expect someone between the age of 16-25 to be interested in. But when the advice sought concerns ways of getting out of debt, the need for a guiding hand suddenly becomes clearer. Last year over 50,000 under-25s visited their local Citizen's Advice (CA) bureau to get help on debt.
  • See a psychiatrist? Are you mad?
The Observer, Sunday June 21 2009
  • Salley Vickers
  • Richard Bentall, a clinical psychologist, is a controversial figure in the field of mental health. An example of the hostility that his conclusions provoke among those practising conventional (that is, drug-based) psychiatry is given in the preface to this book, which raises serious questions about the treatment of mental illness.
Antidepressant use soars as the recession bites
  • The Observer, Sunday June 21 2009
  • Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
  • Fears the recession is affecting the mental health of the nation appear to be borne out by new figures that show prescriptions of antidepressants are soaring. Last year in England there were 2.1m more prescriptions of antidepressants than in 2007
Money, money, money ...
  • The Guardian, Saturday June 20 2009
  • Anna Maxted
  • My parents never spoke to me about money. I grew up in splendour like the Queen: never handling it, rarely seeing it. As a result, I'm a financial incompetent. I don't understand money, and fear losing it all or going to prison because I misunderstand an obligation and accidentally defraud the tax office.
Is St Lucia really heading for hell because of Amy Winehouse?
  • The Guardian, Friday June 19 2009
  • Marina Hyde
  • What has seemingly endless legs, an attendant trail of parasites, and the power to visit a Category 5 apocalypse upon hopelessly impressionable Caribbeans? If you answered "Amy Winehouse's stay on St Lucia", then you are correct - but at what cost, dear readers, we are about to find out.
Mental health charity loses financial backing
  •, Friday June 19 2009
  • David Brindle
  • The respected Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health is to cease working as an independent charity, after the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, which funds it, gave notice of its intention to wind down support. The foundation, one of the charitable trusts set up by the Sainsbury supermarket family, will support the centre for the rest of this financial year to the tune of £2m
I am menopausal, depressed and irritable
  • The Guardian, Thursday June 18 2009
  • I am a married woman in my early 50s and mother to two teenagers. Family life is getting on top of me - my relationships with my children are increasingly strained. I have been menopausal for the past five years but stopped HRT two years ago for health reasons.
The future: in whose hands?
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 17 2009
  • Ian Cook
  • Disabled people in Britain are members of an ever more diverse community - pretty much like the wider UK society. More than 11 million disabled adults in the UK have protection under the Disability Discrimination Act - one in five of the total adult population.
Traffick hazards
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 17 2009
  • Jon Silverman
  • Julia sobs a little, pauses to collect herself, then delivers what she considers a damning finale to her story of escape from a man who brought her to the UK from west Africa ostensibly to start a new life, but who imprisoned her as a sex slave, burnt her with candles, and beat and abused her. "I was pregnant, hungry and dehydrated," she recalls.
The quest for equality
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 17 2009
  • Ben Furner
  • The campaign for disability rights and true equality could be said to be approaching middle age. This summer sees disability high on the political agenda, with discussions and consultations on key issues such as welfare reform, new equality legislation, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
There's no escape from the past in this kangaroo court
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 17 2009
  • Mark Johnson
  • Staff in my office ran Criminal Records Bureau checks on me recently, in the interests of science. When my record came through, they pronounced me unemployable. It's a good thing that, as a changed man, I started my own business and then my own charity, for what a nasty, vindictive, unforgiving document the CRB check is, listing all the bad things that the old me did
A sporting chance
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 17 2009
  • Mark Gould
  • An estimated 11 million people in the UK have a disability. But that should not be an obstacle to keeping fit or competing in anything from archery and powerlifting to skiing and wheelchair rugby.
Solid, see-through politics
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 17 2009
  • Simon Hoggart
  • Parliament loves navel gazing, but this was like the Spithead review. The committee on standards in public life began taking evidence into MPs' expenses. But first Alastair Campbell popped along to a committee to talk about the role of (his word, not mine) loonies in public life. To be fair, he included himself.
Vox pop
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 17 2009
  • Mark Gould
  • Caroline Owusu-Bennoah manages child and adolescent mental-health and learning-disability budgets at OxleasCaroline Owusu-Bennoah's job is about helping doctors make limited resources go further, not about making cuts. "If a small pot can be stretched to treat one extra patient or provide one extra service that gives me a sense of achievement."
Mental illness is still bad for your CV
  •, Wednesday June 17 2009
  • Jonathan Naess
  • Cheltenham borough council's unprecedented £1m claim against Christine Laird, described by some as "vindictive" and by John Rawson, the council's cabinet member responsible for finances, as "gormless", leaves both sides counting the cost.
Don't overlook adults' passion for learning
  • The Guardian, Tuesday June 16 2009
  • David Blunkett
  • There has never been a stronger case for adult learning. Businesses that fail to develop their staff are twice as likely to collapse. Firms seeking to reposition themselves for the economic upturn need to invest in their staff's flexibility, responsiveness and skills.
Council loses mental health claim against former chief executive
  •, Monday June 15 2009
  • Steven Morris
  • Local taxpayers were left with a bill of £1.6m today when a council lost a groundbreaking court battle against a former chief executive whom it accused of lying about her medical background. Cheltenham borough council claimed Christine Laird fraudulently or negligently withheld details of a history of depressive illness when she became its managing director.
Cheltenham borough council loses £1m lawsuit over former boss's illness
  •, Monday June 15 2009
  • Steven Morris
  • A local authority today lost a unique £1m case against its former chief executive after it accused her of lying about her medical background when she applied for the job. Cheltenham borough council accused Christine Laird of fraudulently or negligently withholding details of a history of depressive illness when she became its managing director. After a long and costly legal
No sign of self-pity after 16 years of pain
  • The Observer, Sunday June 14 2009
  • Rachel Cooke
  • This is a book that you will on, wanting it to succeed. Sixteen years ago, Abi Grant had a life that sounds highly enviable. A successful young television sketch show writer, her first musical had made it to the West End, where it ran for six months and was nominated for an Olivier Award. Then, one night, she was attacked in her London flat while she slept.
Feuding couples should 'split for children's sake'
  • The Observer, Sunday June 14 2009
  • Amelia Hill, social affairs correspondent
  • Parents who stay together for the sake of their children may be doing them more harm than good, according to new research. Children whose mothers and fathers remain married but frequently argue do worse at school than those from secure, lone-parent families.
Working in mental health
  •, Friday June 12 2009
  • Laura-Jane Filotrani
  • Question: I wonder can you help me with some info? I'm trying to move from teaching back into psychology, which was my undergraduate subject and in which I got a 2:1 in 2005. My goal is to make it onto an NHS clinical psychology doctorate course. I realise I am a long way off it as I've been out of the mental health loop for quite a while.
Elinor Goldschmied
  • The Guardian, Friday June 12 2009
  • Sonia Jackson
  • Elinor Goldschmied, who has died at the age of 98, was one of the pioneers of early childhood care and education, whose work has continued to exert a profound influence on theory and practice right up to the present day.
Attitudes to mental illness 'changing for the better'
  •, Friday June 12 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • Attitudes to mental illness are changing for the better but with some alarming exceptions, a new report out today claims. The report for the Department of Health (DoH) concludes that more people regard mental illnesses as an illness "like any other" than 15 years ago and that far fewer assume people with a mental illness are dangerous.
Carers Direct puts advice online
  • Kable, Thursday June 11 2009
  • GC News
  • Carers Direct provides advice on what support is available, including assessments and benefits. It includes information for carers on employment, social and emotional well being and physical and mental health, as well as accessing health and social care for the person they look after.
In the workfare state, poverty is always an individual failing
  • The Guardian, Thursday June 11 2009
  • Libby Brooks
  • It is hard to decide what to object to most, so opaque and randomly synthesised is the draft legislation in the welfare reform bill. Perhaps it should be the clause allowing for the abolition of the fundamental state safety net of income support, or the privatisation of back-to-work services that will benefit only shareholders.
Why it's never too late to exercise
  •, Thursday June 11 2009
  • Sam Murphy
  • Ask anyone to guess which age group is least likely to be meeting recommended physical activity guidelines, and they'll opt for children. So here's a statistic that may surprise you: in 2007, 72% of boys and 63% of girls aged 2-15 met the '60 minutes a day, every day' target.
The world has gone bonkers all over again
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Laura Barton
  • Perhaps not since it ruled the school playgrounds of the 1980s has the word "bonkers" enjoyed such a moment in the sun. But in recent weeks the word has bounded back into common parlance, thanks to the Dizzee Rascal single of the same name.
Stop 'bashing' NHS managers, says trusts' leader
  •, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Owen Bowcott
  • The "bashing" of health service managers and denigration of their pivotal leadership role must stop, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation urged today. In an impassioned speech, Steve Barnett attacked the "preposterous" idea that "managers get in the way of patient care".
Evolution of the new public health specialists
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Linda Jackson
  • The most dramatic day of Siobhan Grady's professional life started over a bowl of cereal. It was 7.30am when she received a phone call that would transform an ordinary morning into an extraordinary one. The 42-year-old head of children's health was planning a day of meetings in Torbay.

Who would be in your A-Team? (We love it when a plan comes together)
  •, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Ben Child
  • For most children of the 80s, the A-Team is the definition of perfect telly: fun and disposable, a great instant high, much like the Snickers chocolate bars Mr T these days finds himself promoting. The storylines were always beautifully formulaic:
Stronger, leaner, fitter ...
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Andrew Cole
  • After the feast comes the famine. Everyone now seems agreed that the good years are coming to an end in the NHS and, following two more years of healthy increases, the prospects from 2011 onwards are grim. In fact the closer you look, the grimmer those prospects appear to get.
Jobs at risk as NHS faces cuts to meet £15bn shortfall
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Owen Bowcott
  • The health service faces an "unprecedented" £15bn shortfall which is likely to trigger job losses and service reorganisation as it is forced to get to grips with the "most severe contraction in finances it is ever likely to face", NHS leaders will warn tomorrow.
Expert view
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Karl Emmerson, deputy director, Institute for Fiscal StudiesPublic spending allocations look very, very tight from April 2011. Once you take debt interest and other factors into account, total public spending may have to fall by 2.3% a year. At the moment the NHS is responsible for 18% of all public spending. So it seems inevitable it will get squeezed.
'Public wellbeing': the new approach to mental health
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • Any announcement about a change to mental health strategy will attract considerable scrutiny. So one that intends to draw together service delivery and the more nebulous concept of wellbeing is certain to raise eyebrows. Nevertheless, the announcement of New Horizons, the government's replacement for the national service framework (NSF) for mental health
Control orders need controlling
  •, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Kate Allen
  • Yesterday I met Mahmoud Abu Rideh, a Palestinian refugee who has been subject to a control order since 2005. Prior to this, since 2001, he was imprisoned without charge or trial in Belmarsh high-security prison and Broadmoor mental institution. His treatment has driven him to the point where he is fully prepared to take his own life.
Being sociable is good for your health – if you're a baboon
  •, Wednesday June 10 2009
  • Alok Jha, science correspondent
  • Baboons that live in close social groups are healthier and have longer-lived children, according to scientists. The research supports the idea that close human groups are good for mental and physical wellbeing and sheds light on when group-living might have evolved among our ancestors.
Increasing the likelihood of tragedy
  •, Tuesday June 9 2009
  • Frances Crook
  • Jack Straw has given his statement to the House of Commons on the Dano Sonnex and Nigel Farmer case. Dano Sonnex was on recall from release on licence at the time that he murdered the two French students, Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez.
Local councils 'failing young people with autism'
  •, Tuesday June 9 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • Local councils are failing young people with autism by not providing adequate support to help with the transition from school to adult life, leaving many vulnerable and in some cases with mentalhealth problems, a report published today claims.
Block of ages
  • The Guardian, Tuesday June 9 2009
  • Peter Kingston
  • Older victims of the recession struggling to get back into work would no doubt scoff at the suggestion that age discrimination poses any problems for people in their 20s. But it is being argued that there is one sphere in which turning 25 puts you at a serious disadvantage. "Educationally, ageism begins at 25," says Professor John Field
Carers need the same rights as those on maternity leave
  •, Monday June 8 2009
  • Mike Tomlinson
  • Feckless – it was a word Jane frequently used in conjunction with me and DIY. She did all our decorating, gardening and handiwork. So it seems a little rich that I write some words on caring.
Susan Boyle is great for the learning disability cause
  •, Monday June 8 2009
  • Ciara Evans
  • As someone with a learning disability, it's been great to see Susan Boyle getting so far on a talent show. You rarely see people with a learning disability in the media, and in the last few weeks Boyle has rarely been out of it. But, like anyone who is put in the media spotlight, she has found it hard to deal with her new fame and growing media attention.
Family under the microscope
  • The Guardian, Saturday June 6 2009
  • Oliver James
  • The temptation to prop the nipper in front of Teletubbies and finally read Saturday's Family section on Wednesday is both understandable and, if the alternative is screaming at the little lovely out of exhaustion, probably preferable. But the truth is that few of us parents are aware of just how bad television is for their brain
Summertime blues
  • The Guardian, Saturday June 6 2009
  • Joanna Briscoe
  • Patrick Gale produces finely observed confections with an undertow of trouble that appeal to the chattering classes. Surface pleasures are lightly weighted with issues (disability, sexuality, mentalhealth), while a tendency towards melancholic self-examination provides ballast to the conversations
The rhythm of his thoughts
  • The Guardian, Saturday June 6 2009
  • Aida Edemariam
  • Walking is the steady hum behind so much of our literature that we tend to take it for granted. Sometimes it literally provides the rhythm. Rebecca Solnit, in her book Wanderlust: A History of Walking, argues that Coleridge stopped writing blank verse when he stopped taking long walks.
Alex Gordon
  • The Guardian, Friday June 5 2009
  • Margaret and Anne Gordon
  • Our father Alex Gordon, who has died aged 79, was a Glaswegian socialist whose life's work was in Kettering, Northamptonshire. In the course of 40 years there, he served as a councillor, minority leader, a committee chairman and mayor of the town.
CfH to pick up pace in south
  • Kable, Friday June 5 2009
  • GC News
  • Connelly told the annual conference of the Association for Informatics Professionals in Health and Social Care (Assist) that there are no interdependencies between community health trusts and acute trusts. As a result, CfH "will licence a product as fast as we can" for community trusts.
So what if nice people take drugs?
  •, Friday June 5 2009
  • Seth Freedman
  • Yesterday afternoon, I met Release's spokeswoman Claudia Rubin outside Old Street station in London. In a perfect piece of vehicular choreography, the first bus to veer past us at the roundabout bore the slogan "Nice People Take Drugs", the phrase Rubin coined for Release's latest campaign to kickstart a drug-policy debate.
'Ego' charities urged to merge
  • The Guardian, Friday June 5 2009
  • Patrick Butler
  • Too many charities are driven by the "ego and self interest" of their founders and managers at the expense of the people they were set up to serve, a thinktank says today. The report, by New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), says some good causes have spawned a surfeit of competing charities duplicating services, fundraising and resources.
An unhealthy state of psychiatry?
  •, Thursday June 4 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • Anyone who caught a glimpse of the Channel 4 news online article on the shortage of "suitable" psychiatrists in the NHS may well have been a tad startled when the government has long been talking up its increased investment in mental health services. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the UK is in the midst of a "catastrophic" shortage of British practitioners
Sticking together
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 3 2009
  • Small may be beautiful but, as members of the Sheffield Well Being Consortium are discovering, large can also have its attractions in the current economic climate. The Sheffield consortium consists of 44 mental health and well-being charities that have banded together to try to maximise their skills and financial muscle when bidding for contracts against larger competitors.
Despair is no excuse for violence against children
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 3 2009
  • Claudia Jones (Damned by despair, 6 May) argues that women who allow their partners to abuse their children do so "because they are in utter despair" due to the lack of love they have experienced in their lives, and that "unless we can understand that despair ... we will not be able to address seriously the problem of child abuse".
Focus on enterprise
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 3 2009
  • Patrick McCurry
  • Youth work charity, the Vine Trust brings an innovative approach to working with hard-to-teach young people. The Walsall-based organisation provides training and other services to disaffected young people, who are often not attending school and on the fringes of drugs culture.
Testing telehealth and telecare
  • Smart Healthcare, Wednesday June 3 2009
  • Cath Everett
  • In July last year, health minister Ivan Lewis launched the Department of Health's Whole Systems Demonstrator (WSD) programme. The aim was to evaluate the business case for telehealth and telecare, techniques on which governments are set to place increasing reliance.
We need more diverse doctors
  •, Wednesday June 3 2009
  • Luisa Dillner
  • If you'd rather see a woman doctor, you'll soon be spoilt for choice. By 2013 most GPs will be women and by 2017 they'll be flooding hospital medicine as well. A report published today by the Royal College of Physicians says that 60% of medical students and 40% of doctors are now women.
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 3 2009
  • Patrick McCurry
  • Plymouth-based Coasts has succeeded in winning several public sector contracts in the education sector, delivering mental health services. Earlier this year, the social enterprise was awarded two contracts delivering counselling and befriending services in schools and a third to support families affected by child protection issues.
Striking the balance
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 3 2009
  • Amelia Cookson
  • The Local Government Information Unit is holding an inquiry into justice in communities, with an all-party panel of MPs and peers. It has raised a number of problems with prisons and probation that draw parallels with social work.
Guilty silence of the countryside
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 3 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • Jeannie was just 18 and married for less than a year when her husband began beating her. For almost a decade, she lived in fear of a man she says was "controlling, vicious, and whose behaviour was psychopathic". He beat her regularly, putting her in hospital many times. Estranged from her family and with small children to bring up, Jeannie felt "totally isolated".
The comfort to be found in a community of outcasts
  • The Guardian, Wednesday June 3 2009
  • Clare Allan
  • Last weekend, while driving home from an early morning dog walk, I spotted a familiar figure sitting on a bench. Of all the many and varied places benches one may end up, a small triangular traffic island at the top of Holloway Road in north London seems one of the less auspicious.
ITV in the spotlight after 'exhausted' Susan Boyle checks into private clinic
  • The Guardian, Tuesday June 2 2009
  • Leigh Holmwood
  • The chief medical officer at a private clinic where Britain's Got Talent runner-up Susan Boyle is being assessed after she was admitted for exhaustion has voiced concerns about the level of care provided for contestants on reality television shows.
Carers rarely know their rights – the care green paper must change this
  •, Tuesday June 2 2009
  • Imelda Redmond
  • No care system in the world functions without the support of families. This vital relationship will continue to be relevant as the number of people needing care increases. However, the relationship between the individual, family and the state needs to change if we are to avoid heavy economic and personal costs to carers and their families.
Susan Boyle's brother: 'She'll bounce back'
  •, Tuesday June 2 2009
  • Leigh Holmwood
  • Britain's Got Talent runner-up Susan Boyle spent today being assessed at a private medical clinic in north London after she was admitted for exhaustion in a move that has prompted questions about the way reality TV stars are supported.
Anxious parent, anxious child – but therapy can help
  • BMJ Group, Tuesday June 2 2009
  • Children with a parent who has problems with anxiety are at high risk of getting an anxiety disorder themselves. But a small new study suggests that treating parent and child together may help. What do we know already? Everyone gets anxious from time to time, but when worry starts to take over your life, it's called anxiety disorder.
The media can't diagnose Susan Boyle – and we shouldn't try
  •, Monday June 1 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • So here we are again. Another day, another raft of stories about this year's reality TV talent sensation, Susan Boyle. Except, of course, that what is unfolding now is something different.
Susan Boyle admitted to Priory after losing Britain's Got Talent final
  •, Monday June 1 2009
  • Matthew Weaver, Leigh Holmwood and agencies
  • The amateur singer Susan Boyle was last night admitted to the Priory clinic following her surprise defeat in the final of Britain's Got Talent.
Man who died after police restraint 'covered with injuries'
  • The Guardian, Monday June 1 2009
  • Paul Lewis
  • The mother of a man with psychiatric problems who was pinned face down to the pavement by three police officers shortly before he died told an inquest today that when she viewed her son's body his face was covered with injuries.

March 2009

  • Case study

7 Mar 2009: Frontman Keith Flint reveals how extroversion helps his act

  • Ambition in the age of discourtesy

4 Mar 2009: Harry Phibbs: Yes, researchers say anger is good for promotion. But it's not the shouty temper-tantrum type; channelled anger is the way to go

  • Treatment lottery restricts hi-tech treatment for depression

3 Mar 2009: Programme's designers say only nine of 152 primary care trusts in England have implemented guidance to offer computer-based therapy

  • Calm? Why should I be calm?

3 Mar 2009: Julian Baggini: There's far too much emphasis on being happy these days. Anger is vital too. It could even, say scientists, help our careers

  • Tears for fears

3 Mar 2009: Educational psychologists are seeing a marked increase in referrals for school phobia, says Louise Tickle

February 2009

  • Iraq hero Johnson Beharry attacks government over troops' trauma treatment

28 Feb 2009: Victoria Cross winner hits out at 'disgrace' of veterans not getting treatment they need

  • Living without Hamish

28 Feb 2009: Julia Donaldson was always worried about her eldest son, Hamish. Then, at the age of 25, he killed himself

  • Family under the microscope

28 Feb 2009: How we react to stress is largely set in childhood - but it can be changed

  • I like my gurus delivered in a cardboard box

27 Feb 2009: Online shopping has turned me into self-help addict, says Clare Allan

  • Psychologists find gene that helps you look on the bright side of life

25 Feb 2009: Those unlucky enough to lack the 'brightside gene' are more likely to suffer from mental health problems

  • Reconnecting with the world

25 Feb 2009: A Manchester drop-in centre is providing a solution to the alienation of homeless people with mental health problems. Helen Carter reports

  • Treating offenders with mental health issues 'would save £700m'

23 Feb 2009: A Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health report claims the government can save £700m a year by investing properly in prisoner diversion services

  • Mental health is strongest taboo, says research

20 Feb 2009: Coming out as being gay is easier than admitting to a mental health condition, study shows

  • Escaped killer dies in train accident

18 Feb 2009: Paul Caesar was hit by a train at Balham station after going on the run from a secure unit in Springfield Hospital – the latest in a string of security breaches

  • Can the Yorkshire Ripper be rehabilitated?

18 Feb 2009: After reports that Peter Sutcliffe could be moved to a medium security prison, does the enormity of his crimes make rehabilitation impossible?

  • Wanted: more foster homes

18 Feb 2009: An estimated 8,000 more foster carers are needed and there also needs more money invested in training

  • Silver surfing offers new lease of life

18 Feb 2009: The Hackney Silver Surfers are testament to the benefits of friendship and social interaction for mental health writes Joy Ogden

  • In active pursuit of mental wellbeing

18 Feb 2009: More GPs are prescribing exercise to combat depression, according to Mental Health Foundation survey

  • 'Homage to catatonia'

18 Feb 2009: It's traumatic enough to be 'sectioned' once. But imagine being confined to secure units on five occasions

  • On the promotion trail

18 Feb 2009: Shabnam Sardar has a mission: to promote mental health and wellbeing issues. But this means convincing the government to pay for it

  • Re-made woman - Jodie Gascoigne

18 Feb 2009: A homeless young mother 7 years ago, Jodie Gascoigne now runs a cleaning agency employing two dozen people

  • Fit for purpose

18 Feb 2009: Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme will establish a whole new stratum of psychology services in primary care trusts all across England

  • Community and culture are the cornerstones

18 Feb 2009: Hackney's Mellow organisation is trying to help black and minority ethnic men recover from mental health problems

  • Back in the saddle

18 Feb 2009: A range of government schemes are helping people with long-term mental problems get back to work

  • Vital first steps

18 Feb 2009: The early years in a child's life are vital for its long-term mental health, writes Louise Hunt

  • Off the scale: Measuring wellbeing

18 Feb 2009: The UK ranks 13th out of 22 on the combined measures of social and personal wellbeing

  • The best medicine

18 Feb 2009: Phil Hope, minister at the Department of Health, discusses New Horizons, a new strategy for mental health

  • Introduction

18 Feb 2009: Mental illness costs the economy £110bn a year in treatment costs and lost productivity

  • Preventative measures

18 Feb 2009: Catherine Jackson discusses the conclusions of a government report that advocates investment in "mental wellbeing" in the workplace

  • Trainee psychiatrists charged £750 to query exam results

17 Feb 2009: Doctors shocked by high cost of complaining after two-thirds fail

  • Newsreader John Suchet reveals heartbreak about wife's Alzheimer's

17 Feb 2009: Presenter is latest public figure to talk about dementia but is it right to detail a living loved one's illness so publicly?

  • Cannabis side-effects highlighted in multimillion-pound 'Talk to Frank' ad

16 Feb 2009: Ad agency Mother behind campaign targeted at teenagers in the wake of drug being reclassified as class B. By Mark Sweney

  • Young offenders' health needs 'unmet'

12 Feb 2009: NHS failing young people in custody with mental health or drug problems, say inspectors, raising the risk of reoffending

  • Taking care of teachers' mental health benefits the entire school

10 Feb 2009: Janette Owen on improving teacher's wellbeing

  • Hanged inmate was failed by prison staff, says coroner

10 Feb 2009: Inquest jury decides that the death of a mentally ill inmate at a privately run prison could have been avoided

  • So you're working with mental health problems?

9 Feb 2009: Applicants face a no-win situation as long as stigma remains among employers, writes Clare Allan

  • Eyes meet

8 Feb 2009: A horrific childhood led to Ruth Dee developing multiple personality disorder, she talks to Louise Carpenter

  • My nightmare in Shanghai

6 Feb 2009: First person: A year after she moved to China to take up a teaching post, a mental breakdown left Lucy Hill penniless and barefoot on the streets

  • Our prisons are inhumane

4 Feb 2009: Juliet Lyon: In UK prisons, those with mental health problems are doubly punished, since resources to help them are woefully inadequate

  • Electronic files could threaten my privacy

4 Feb 2009: I recently received a letter informing me that records would henceforth be held not in paper files but on 'a secure, fully backed up London-wide data centre', writes Clare Allan

  • 'Prisons are not hospitals'

4 Feb 2009: Report condemns damaging practice of people with mental health problems being put behind bars. Mary O'Hara reports

  • Look beyond number one

3 Feb 2009: Richard Layard: Schools should take the lead in helping our young people to find a sense of purpose

  • Children paying price for adults' pursuit of success, says report

2 Feb 2009: Controversial inquiry by Children's Society says increase of women who juggle motherhood with careers is harming the wellbeing of children

  • Are our children really in crisis, or the victims of parents' anxiety?

1 Feb 2009: Evidence suggests constant panic about child wellbeing may do more harm than good

  • Parents who argue 'harm their children'

1 Feb 2009: Major new study emphasises importance of united front in supporting children's wellbeing

  • Children should be allowed to be sad

1 Feb 2009: Lisa Miller and Margaret Rustin: We expect the young to be happy while subjecting them to our concerns. No wonder they are so anxious

  • Once were warriors

1 Feb 2009: After the horrors of war, many servicemen and women find themselves facing another battle: post-traumatic stress

Week Ending 18th January

The pain when a stranger moves into the home you've been forced to leave
  • The Observer, Sunday January 18 2009
  • Andrew Moody
  • Paul McHugh began the new year with the prospect of his home going under the hammer after he had experiencing the trauma of repossession. The 40-year-old self-employed window cleaner is set to lose his former council house in Castleford, West Yorkshire, on Wednesday, when bailiffs repossess it.
Mad, Bad and Sad
  • The Guardian, Saturday January 17 2009
  • John Dugdale
  • Exhilaratingly covering two centuries of developments on both sides of the Atlantic, this ambitious study deftly combines a series of profiles of leading mind doctors - from Pinel, who pioneered talking therapy during the French Revolution, to Lacan and Laing
Be glad to be sad
  •, Saturday January 17 2009
  • Emily Hill
  • Good news for people who always fail to see the silver lining on clouds. A report in this month's New Scientist, suggests that a tendency to get down when life beats you up can be good for you.
The truth behind prison suicides
  •, Friday January 16 2009
  • Erwin James
  • "There is never any room for complacency in our work to prevent these deaths," said justice minister Shahid Malik in response to the fall in the number of people in prison taking their own lives in 2008. The drop from an average of 91 self-inflicted deaths per year over the previous three years to just 61 last year is noteworthy.
NHS 'personal budget' for patients outlined
  •, Friday January 16 2009
  • John Carvel
  • NHS patients in England will be given cash payments to buy physiotherapy, home nursing and other healthcare services under powers included in a health bill published by the government today. Ministers have not yet worked out the full detail of how the scheme will work or how much of the NHS's £100bn budget will be handed over to individual patients.
Patients to receive own budgets under NHS reform
  •, Friday January 16 2009
  • Press Association
  • Patients are to be given control over some of their own healthcare budgets under new plans unveiled by the government today. The new health bill will enable patients to receive direct payments to spend on health services of their choice.
Drug-free help for postnatal depression
  •, Friday January 16 2009
  • Sarah Boseley, health editor
  • Postnatal depression, which affects 13% of mothers and can lead to suicide, could be treated without drugs and even prevented, new research suggests today.
Heavy going
  • The Guardian, Friday January 16 2009
  • Emine Saner
  • Julie Worboys, 49 Five years ago, Julie Worboys gave up her job as a warden for a sheltered housing estate to look after her husband, who is disabled. "It was quite an energetic job, but when I stopped I think that's when the extra weight went on,"
Drug-free help for postnatal depression
  •, Friday January 16 2009
  • Sarah Boseley, health editor
  • Postnatal depression, which affects 13% of mothers and can lead to suicide, could be treated without drugs and even prevented, new research suggests today. While depression following the birth of a baby can have a serious effect on the new mother, it can also prove detrimental to her partner, on the development of the infant and the wellbeing of any other children.
The truth behind prison suicides
  •, Friday January 16 2009
  • Erwin James
  • "There is never any room for complacency in our work to prevent these deaths," said justice minister Shahid Malik in response to the fall in the number of people in prison taking their own lives in 2008. The drop from an average of 91 self-inflicted deaths per year over the previous three years to just 61 last year is noteworthy.
Patients to receive own budgets under NHS reform
  •, Friday January 16 2009
  • Press Association
  • Patients are to be given control over some of their own healthcare budgets under new plans unveiled by the government today. The new health bill will enable patients to receive direct payments to spend on health services of their choice. Lord Darzi, who will unveil the plans, first trailed the idea last year in his report on the future of the NHS.
NHS 'personal budget' for patients outlined
  •, Friday January 16 2009
  • John Carvel
  • NHS patients in England will be given cash payments to buy physiotherapy, home nursing and other healthcare services under powers included in a health bill published by the government today. Ministers have not yet worked out the full detail of how the scheme will work or how much of the NHS's £100bn budget will be handed over to individual patients.
Television Personalities
  • The Guardian, Thursday January 15 2009
  • Betty Clarke
  • Dan Tracey has battled mental-health problems, fought addiction and survived a three-month stretch on a prison ship moored in Portsmouth. Now, 30 years after forming inspirational indie band Television Personalities, he is finding it tricky just to climb on stage.
Searching for enlightenment
  •, Thursday January 15 2009
  • Ed Halliwell
  • Business initiatives trumpeted as selfless efforts to boost human welfare understandably evoke cynicism. The conflict between the profit motive and talk of employee wellbeing seems too tense to be soothed by a few in-house yoga classes, the traditional giant cheques handed out at local schools, or office recycling schemes.
My brilliant survival guide
  • The Guardian, Wednesday January 14 2009
  • Clare Allan
  • Two days after you read these words, an era will come to an end. It's an era more significant, to me at least, than the end of the second millennium, the end of George Bush, or the passing of Harold Pinter, monumental though these events are.
Star treatment of drug addiction
  • The Guardian, Wednesday January 14 2009
  • Anna Bawden
  • There may not be an obvious connection between Frank Sinatra, Leonardo DiCaprio and psychiatry, but a series of screenings at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London hopes to use psychoanalysis to look at the depiction of drug addiction in film.
Clips from films in the Institute of Psychoanalysis season
  •, Wednesday January 14 2009
  • The Man With The Golden Arm, 1955 Frank Sinatra plays card shark and heroin addict Frankie Machine. Saul Bass's title sequence for the film is widely considered classic Basketball Diaries, 1995 Leonardo di Caprio's first major film role was based on a true story of a high school basketball player's descent into the abyss
Statistical significance
  •, Wednesday January 14 2009
  • Ally Fogg
  • In 2007, the blogger Chameleon interviewed Professor Liz Kelly, one of Britain's leading feminist academics and director of the child and woman abuse studies unit at London Metropolitian University. Kelly described how one of her first studies into child abuse found that one in two women reported some instance of "intimate intrusion" before the age of 18.
Councils feel the pressure as recession deepens
  •, Tuesday January 13 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • The recession is hitting local councils hard with "huge" increases in the number of people turning to them for help with problems ranging from housing to mental health services, according to a survey by the Local Government Association (LGA).
In numbers Autism facts
  • The Guardian, Monday January 12 2009
  • · Autism is a complex developmental disability involving a biological abnormality in the functioning of the brain. It is not a learning disability or a mental health problem, although people with autism may also be affected by those conditions.
Disorder linked to high levels of testosterone in womb
  • The Guardian, Monday January 12 2009
  • Sarah Boseley
  • A prenatal screening test for autism comes closer today as new research is published that links high levels of the male hormone testosterone in the womb of pregnant women to autistic traits in their children.
Captain Oates' Left Sock
  • The Guardian, Monday January 12 2009
  • Lyn Gardner
  • Mr Carter says that his wife suffocated their baby. Fergy is a musician who can't stand the noise of the orchestra and can't make up his mind about anything. Molly just wants the doctor to tell her when she will be able to go home. Dorothy is practically catatonic.

Week Ending 11th January

'For me, acting is tortuous'
  • The Observer, Sunday January 11 2009
  • Lynn Hirschberg
  • When he was 12 years old, Philip Seymour Hoffman saw a local production of All My Sons near his home in Rochester, New York, and it was, for him, one of those rare, life-altering events where, at an impressionable age, you catch a glimpse of another reality, a world that you never imagined possible.
One flew into the cuckoo's nest
  • The Observer, Sunday January 11 2009
  • Alexander Linklater
  • To produce her first book, Self-Made Man, lesbian author Norah Vincent embarked on an adventure in "immersion journalism", spending a year disguised as a man. She emerged with a bestselling account of American masculinity and some unresolved mental-health issues.
Ministers failing to abolish mixed-sex wards, claim Tories
  •, Friday January 9 2009
  • Andrew Sparrow and agencies
  • Ministers were today accused of failing to honour promises to abolish mixed-sex wards in NHS hospitals. The shadow health secretary, Andrew Lansley, published figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act which revealed that many trusts are unable to fully meet government guidelines on eliminating mixed-sex accommodation for patients.
Tearaway teenagers prone to depression and divorce as adults
  •, Friday January 9 2009
  • Anthea Lipsett
  • Tearaway teenagers identified by teachers as misbehaving at school are more likely to go on to experience difficulties in their adult lives, including depression and divorce, a major study has found.
'The media is too extreme about our lives'
  • The Guardian, Thursday January 8 2009
  • Imogen Peebles, 14, lives in Camden, north London, which has one of the lowest reported levels of drug and alcohol misuse in the country. "Me and my friends often go to Hampstead Heath for picnics and sometimes we'll go to Oxford Street or Brent Cross as well. We go to the cafe too, and no one ever stops us.
The masters of the universe who cannot live with failure
  •, Thursday January 8 2009
  • Andrew Clark in New York
  • One day, they have it all. The next morning, they don't. Sudden, dramatic slumps in fortunes caused by the credit crunch can take a tragic toll on high-flying businessmen accustomed to a life of success. Germany's fifth richest man, the billionaire industrialist Adolf Merckle, this week threw himself under a train in an act blamed by his family on the "desperate situation"
Radio review
  • The Guardian, Thursday January 8 2009
  • Elisabeth Mahoney
  • Claudia Hammond has one of the finest radio voices. It's crisp, clear and entirely engaging, even when she's reading, and yet just as importantly it doesn't hog the limelight. Quite simply, you listen to what she says rather than how she says it. When dealing with an important, thorny topic such as mentalhealth issues - the subject of State of Mind (Radio 4)
Beyond retail therapy
  • The Guardian, Thursday January 8 2009
  • Editorial
  • To shop or not to shop, that is the question. For Gordon Brown, spending is the route to salvation, and hence he has indulged in a costly VAT cut. The Conservatives have been eyeing expensive goodies of their own, in the form of the chunky tax reductions for savers that David Cameron proposed on Monday.
My life is blighted by misfortune
  • The Guardian, Thursday January 8 2009
  • I am a 38-year-old man who, two years ago, was made redundant. Shortly after, my parents suffered severe deteriorations in health; one died six months ago and the surviving one has been left with dementia and mobility problems. I have no siblings, so am solely responsible for managing the care needs of my surviving parent.
More friends and emotional security - how northern children top the happiness league
  • The Guardian, Thursday January 8 2009
  • Polly Curtis, education editor
  • Teenagers in the north of England are emotionally more secure than those anywhere else in the country and are the most likely to report that they have more than one best friend by the age of 15, according to a major study of children's happiness that lays to rest the adage that life is grim up north.
'I'm basically always happy ... always giggling'
  • The Guardian, Thursday January 8 2009
  • Louise Bagot, 16, lives in Liverpool, where teenagers in the report by Ofsted and the Department for Children study are said to have some of the best friendships in the country. "My friends are like my family. I can trust them with anything. I ring them up and ramble together 16 conversations at the same time.
Love potions could soon help soothe the pains of romance
  •, Wednesday January 7 2009
  • Ian Sample, Science correspondent
  • Marriage counsellors may soon be taking a more Shakespearean approach to solving troubles of the heart, by administering love potions to boost couples' feelings for one another, according to a leading scientist.
Javad Nurbakhsh
  • The Guardian, Wednesday January 7 2009
  • Leonard Lewisohn
  • The master of a branch of the Nimatullahi order of Sufism in Iran, Dr Javad Nurbakhsh not only furthered the cause of his religion, but was also one of the country's leading psychiatrists.
Spending is no remedy for mental health credit crisis
  • The Guardian, Wednesday January 7 2009
  • Clare Allan
  • The impact of the financial crisis on those with mental health problems is likely to be considerable. One in three people with serious mental health problems are in debt, and they are also approximately three times more likely than average to be in debt. The reasons for this are manifold, ranging from the pressures of living on a low income
Straight talking
  • The Guardian, Wednesday January 7 2009
  • Fay Wertheimer
  • For Reece (not his real name), the bullying persists, but three years of group work at Support4Progress (S4P) and study for his counselling certificates have given the gentle 14-year-old the understanding and strength to rise above any name-calling and to advise schoolmates experiencing similar problems.
Inner-London teenagers least likely to take drugs
  •, Wednesday January 7 2009
  • Polly Curtis, education editor
  • Inner-London teenagers are the least likely in the country to take drugs and drink alcohol, with schoolchildren in many rural areas more at risk from substance abuse, a major study of children's happiness shows.
The issue of brain tissue
  •, Wednesday January 7 2009
  • James Ironside
  • Vital research on human brain diseases is currently being hampered by a shortage of tissue samples. Tissue is needed both from patients suffering from brain diseases, and from those who do not, because researchers need to look at the differences between them.
Doubts cast on 'memory clinics'
  • The Guardian, Wednesday January 7 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • When care services minister Phil Hope announced last month that "memory clinics" offering ongoing support for people with dementia would soon be a feature of every town, it was greeted as a welcome precursor to the national dementia strategy scheduled for publication later this month.
It's a miracle that only one in 10 young people are depressed. There's a lot to be miserable about now
  • The Guardian, Tuesday January 6 2009
  • Michele Hanson
  • The Prince's Trust has discovered that one in 10 16- to 25-year-olds feel that life is meaningless, about a quarter of young people questioned are depressed and nearly a half regularly stressed. Nothing new there then. Perk up Trust, don't be alarmed. This is what young persons are meant to do: feel confused, depressed, slighted, rebellious and pointless.
Everybody needs good neighbours
  •, Tuesday January 6 2009
  • Kevin Harris
  • Could "meaningful social interaction" make all the difference to local quality of life? Whether it's hugging hoodies, challenging antisocial behaviour, promoting participation in sport, or measuring how we get on with people from different backgrounds, politicians have got the message that interaction matters.
Toxins are all in the mind
  • The Guardian, Tuesday January 6 2009
  • Hadley Freeman
  • With timing as beautiful as its conclusion is obvious, the charity Sense About Science has announced, with a triumphant calloo callay, that detox paraphernalia, which sprout up every January as reliably as overoptimistic gym memberships, are as medically effective as medieval blood-letting cures.
Depression among the young at alarming level, says charity
  • The Guardian, Monday January 5 2009
  • Mary O'Hara
  • A significant number of young people are depressed or struggling to cope and the situation is likely to worsen as recession takes hold, according to a report by the Prince's Trust. One in 10 16- to 25-year-olds polled by the charity for its Youth Index study said they felt that life was meaningless
A case for intervention
  •, Monday January 5 2009
  • John Kraemer and Larry Gostin
  • By any reasonable measure, Zimbabwe's president has committed crimes against humanity justifying an international response If the Bush doctrine justified the use of armed force to prevent harm to westerners, then the Obama doctrine should be to use the force of international law to stop crimes against humanity or grave, man-made humanitarian disasters.
China cracks down on 'vulgar' websites
  •, Monday January 5 2009
  • Tania Branigan in Beijing
  • Chinese officials today launched a crackdown on "vulgar" websites including Google and the country's leading search engine, Baidu. Officials named 19 sites they said had failed to censor inappropriate content despite warnings or that had not done so swiftly enough, "harming" young people's physical and mental health.
Making life worth living
  •, Monday January 5 2009
  • Rowenna Davis
  • A new report from the Prince's Trust claims that one in 10 British young people think that life is not worth living. Of the 2,004 young people polled as part of the Trust's online survey, 12% said that life was meaningless, and over a quarter claimed that they were "often" or "always" depressed

Week Ending 28th December

My body & soul
  • The Observer, Sunday December 28 2008
  • 1. Are you healthy? I have to look after my body, eat well and rest well, and when I'm training hard my immune system is quite suppressed, so I have to be careful. 2. Do you worry about your weight? I'm not climbing mountains like the road guys, where every extra bit of weight you carry counts against you.
Your letters
  • The Observer, Sunday December 28 2008
  • In "A man condemned by psychobabble" (Comment, last week), Nick Cohen appears to dismiss the whole of psychology as an unreliable science and the practice of psychology as a disreputable profession in general.
From rotten Egg to the wonder of Woolies: 2008's heroes and zeros
  • The Observer, Sunday December 28 2008
  • It's been a year of bad news and financial disasters which have provided plenty of opportunities for people and companies to show whether they are heroes or zeros.
  • 2008 in review: Showbiz
The Guardian, Saturday December 27 2008
  • Hadley Freeman
  • Close up, the celebrity world may look merely like a selection of random incidents, strung together by egotism, intoxication and immaturity.
  • Hanging in shame
  •, Tuesday December 23 2008
Afua Hirsch
  • It's fair to say that, compared to other forms of capital punishment practised in Britain over the years boiling alive, disembowelling, quartering and gibbeting in chains, to name a few hanging was one of the less sadistic options.
  • 'The Iraqi psyche may be scarred for decades'
  • The Guardian, Tuesday December 23 2008
  • Dr Hassan, one of an estimated 70 specialists trained in psychiatry nationwide, says the mental healthhealth system throughout the Saddam years landscape in Iraq is far worse than when he left. The doctor, who fled his job at a central Baghdad hospital two years ago after gunmen threatened to kill him and his family, said psychiatry was an underdeveloped arm of a neglected
Lonely this Christmas amid holiday cheer
  •, Tuesday December 23 2008
  • Clare Allan
  • For those dependent on support from mental health services, life can sometimes feel like a negative version of the calendar of other people's lives. Weekends, for example, provide for many a break from the world of work, a chance to relax, catch up on sleep and spend time with friends and family. But many service users dread weekends, especially when things are difficult.

Week Ending 21st December

Recession could raise risk of suicide
  •, Thursday December 18 2008
  • Mary O'Hara
  • The deepening financial crisis is likely to have a detrimental affect on mental health and could lead to an increase in suicide rates, the Samaritans warned today. An analysis of previous recessions for the charity, by Professor Stephen Platt of Edinburgh University, has suggested a correllation between economic downturns and the level of suicides nationwide.
Body in suitcase: The chaos of James Hughes's family life
  •, Wednesday December 17 2008
  • Steven Morris
  • To neighbours and friends, Heather Wardle seemed an excellent mother. Her two smallest boys were always neatly turned out, she was supportive of her teenage son, Daniel Kirby, and doted on her eldest boy, 21-year-old James Hughes. But behind the closed doors of the small council house she shared with her partner, Brian Kirby, there was chaos.
Body in suitcase inquest: welfare of disabled man had been raised with social services
  • The Guardian, Wednesday December 17 2008
  • Steven Morris
  • Serious concerns about the health of James Hughes, the severely disabled man whose emaciated corpse was found crammed into a suitcase at his family home, had been raised with social workers, it emerged at his inquest yesterday. But by the time a social worker actually saw his mother, Heather Wardle, four months later, Hughes was almost certainly dead.
Testing times
  • The Guardian, Wednesday December 17 2008
  • John Carvel
  • From today, the NHS in England should no longer be portrayed as a nationalised industry run by ministers from Whitehall. Monitor, the independent regulator of foundation trusts, is announcing that Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals will become a self-governing foundation on January 1
Ex-addicts frowned upon by employers
  • The Guardian, Wednesday December 17 2008
  • Saba Salman
  • Prejudice against former drug addicts, and a lack of support for firms prepared to hire them, could scupper government reforms to encourage them off benefits and into work.
The Beverley Hills of Surrey
  • The Guardian, Wednesday December 17 2008
  • Debbie Andalo
  • What they said about Elmbridge "The Beverly Hills of Surrey." Daily Mail. "Residents of Elmbridge have the best quality of life in Great Britain." Halifax quality of life survey 2008.
Most NHS trusts now stand alone, says regulator
  •, Tuesday December 16 2008
  • John Carvel
  • The majority of NHS trusts have achieved self-governing status, with all hospitals in England set to become independent of government control within three years, the regulator of foundation trusts has told the Guardian
Prison campaigner intended to take own life, coroner rules
  •, Tuesday December 16 2008
  • Eric Allison
  • A coroner has ruled that prison campaigner Pauline Campbell intended to take her own life when she took a fatal dose of anti-depressants earlier this year. Campbell, who protested outside prisons where women had died, began her direct action campaign after her only child, Sarah, met her death at Styal prison, Cheshire, aged 18.
Body in suitcase: Carers 'taken in by mother's lies'
  •, Tuesday December 16 2008
  • Steven Morris
  • Carers who worked closely with James Hughes, the disabled man whose decomposing and emaciated body was found crammed into a suitcase in the garden of the family home, today told how they had been taken in by his mother's "lies"
All NHS hospitals to be 'independent within three years'
  •, Tuesday December 16 2008
  • John Carvel, social affairs editor
  • All NHS hospitals in England are set to become independent from government control within three years, the regulator of foundation trusts has told SocietyGuardian.
Government plan to raise aspirations of millions of children
  • The Guardian, Monday December 15 2008
  • Patrick Wintour and Allegra Stratton
  • The government today outlines plans for major public service reforms to lift the aspirations of Britain's least ambitious 2.4 million children, predominantly white working-class boys in northern cities.