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You are cordially invited…

The Business Design Centre will be hosting an evening of music and entertainment in aid of three local charities, including Islington Mind, on Sunday 28th October 2018 from 2:00pm.

There will be light refreshments and raffle prizes.

There is a voluntary ticket donation of £5 and all proceeds go towards the charities. 

Click here for a leaflet.

Author: Philip Challinor
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Mind responds to introduction of new minister for suicide prevention

As part of World Mental Health Day, Theresa May announced the introduction of Jackie Doyle-Price who will be responsible for suicide prevention. Mind responds to this, highlighting what must be done to better support those of us with mental health problems.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “We welcome the introduction of a minister responsible for suicide prevention. We lose almost 4,500 people in England a year to suicide and, although not all are mental health related, many are, and every one is a tragedy.

“By introducing this role, the Government appears to be upholding its commitment to transform our over-stretched mental health services, as a key part of the picture is making sure services can prevent people with mental health problems reaching crisis point. The new minister and her taskforce will need to do all they can to make sure people at risk of suicide are able to access the services they need, when they need them, which includes marked improvements to patient safety, both during and after a hospital stay. We’re soon expecting a new long term plan for the NHS, which will set out how services will improve over the coming years.

“But it’s not just about mental health services, because the reasons for suicide are many and complicated. Life can be challenging and living with a mental health problem can make the ups and downs of day-to-day life that much harder to manage. Mind found that half of people with mental health problems have thought about or attempted suicide as a result of social issues such as housing issues, finances, benefit support, and employment.

“We need a benefits system that doesn’t drive people into poverty, support for employers to make sure they are looking after their workforces, access to housing that is fit for people to live in comfortably, and health and social care services that prevent people becoming unwell in the first place. It’s paramount that the government takes these issues into account and makes sure people get the right support to deal with difficult circumstances in life, reducing the chance of people of taking their own lives.

“Having a minister who can work across government departments is crucial in tackling the complicated issue of suicide. For the minister to really bring about positive change, any work by the minister and her taskforce must be done hand-in-hand with people who have direct experience of suicide.”

Source: National Mind

Author: Philip Challinor
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World Mental Health Day: Ex-footballer pushes for a “mental health revolution”

It started with a feeling of isolation, of not wanting to engage with the world. He didn’t want to answer emails, and hundreds of answerphone messages went unreturned.

Feeling as though the world was against him he didn’t want to leave home. Gripped by anxiety and a fear of impending doom there was a sense everything was about to fall apart and that he was powerless to do anything about it.

Nonetheless, if his world was going to collapse, it was going to collapse on his own terms.
That was in late 2014, when former footballer Clarke Carlisle came very close to ending his life.
“How can I sit here in front of you and say that four years ago, I put myself in front of a 10-ton lorry, at 60 miles an hour and I didn’t break a single bone in my body,” Carlisle told CNN Sport at his home in Preston.

Carlisle had intentionally stepped out in front of a lorry on a road near York, just before Christmas. After several weeks in hospital, he managed to recover from the collision — remarkably unscathed. He describes his survival as a “miracle.”

Full story: CNN

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Mind supports Mindful Business Charter

Three of the UK’s biggest banks and eight of the UK’s top law firms have joined together in an unprecedented alliance to change avoidable working practices that can cause mental health and wellbeing issues for employees.

The Mindful Business Charter, developed by Barclays alongside law firms Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, is the first time banks and their legal services providers have come together to reach a shared agenda for supporting mental health and wellbeing.

A signing event this week marks an important first step in adopting the charter by Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and law firms Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Eversheds Sutherland, Hogan Lovells and Simmons & Simmons.

All of the signatories have committed to a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for rest periods and considerate delegation of tasks. Performance against these principles will be monitored as part of relationship review meetings.

In signing, these organisations pledge to promote a culture of openness about mental wellbeing, ensure responsible business is included as an area of assessment during significant procurement processes and drive forward the actions and necessary change in support of the principles of the Charter.

Full story: National Mind

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Mental health services under-resourced, admits health secretary

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has conceded that mental health services have been under-resourced and undervalued as he announced the appointment of a minister for suicide prevention.

Jackie Doyle-Price, a health minister, will be given the new brief and tasked with ensuring that every local area has effective plans in place to stop unnecessary deaths, and investigating how technology can help identify those most at risk.

A report by Whitehall’s spending watchdog, released on Wednesday, found that even if current plans to spend an extra £1.4bn on the sector were delivered, there would be “significant unmet need” because of staff shortages, poor data and a lack of spending controls on NHS clinical commissioning groups.

Hancock said the National Audit Office report showed service provision was “still way off where we need to be” but improvements had been made.

“The truth is that, for an awfully long time, mental health has simply not had the same level of support – both in terms of resources, but also in terms of how we as a society talk about it – compared to physical health, and we want to change that,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

As well as having a minister for suicide prevention, the government wanted to ensure that “as we write the long-term plan for the future of the NHS, which we are writing at the moment, we make sure that mental health is a crucial component of that”.

Doyle-Price, whose new title will be minister for mental health, inequalities and suicide prevention, said she would put bereaved families at the heart of her strategy. She is believed to be the world’s first minister for suicide prevention.

Full story: Guardian

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Newly discharged mental health patients at much higher risk of death

People with mental health problems are at a hugely increased risk of dying from unnatural causes, including suicide, soon after they have been discharged from hospital, new research reveals.

Such patients are 38 times more likely to die of fatal poisoning and 90 times more likely to perish from a drugs overdose than the general population, according to a new study.

Experts say the difficulties some people with serious mental illness have in adjusting to life after a spell of inpatient care are likely to explain the higher death rate among that group of vulnerable patients.

They are at greatest risk of dying very soon after their discharge up until three months afterwards, according to new findings by a team led by Prof Roger Webb, an academic in Manchester University’s centre for mental health and safety.

Newly-discharged patients with psychological or psychiatric conditions are also 32 times more likely to kill themselves than people who have not been admitted, they found.

They are also 41 times more likely to die as a result of intentional self-poisoning and 15 times more likely to die any unnatural death.

“The post-discharge period represents a particularly risky transition because people are returning to living in the community and often in the same or similar circumstances to the point at which they were so ill that they needed to be admitted to an inpatient unit,” said Webb.

“This may be an especially daunting experience for people when they experience discharge from an inpatient unit for the first time.”

Full story: Guardian

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Call to increase funding for relationship support

Ruby Wax – comedian, author, and Relate President – is spearheading a campaign calling on the government to increase funding for relationship support services, such as counselling.

This comes as a poll on Relate’s website of over 2000 people found that 35% of respondents said they had sought relationship counselling in the past, but either didn’t go ahead or dropped out early due to the cost. This rose to 41% for those on a household income of £24,999 or less. 

In total 87% of respondents felt they would benefit from attending relationship counselling with their partner, despite many not being able to afford it.

A separate YouGov survey from Relate and BACP of over 5000 UK adults found that a fifth (21%) of respondents on low household incomes said mental health issues were placing pressure on their relationship; this is compared to 12% on higher incomes.

Respondents on low incomes were also more likely to say money worries, debt, housing, and physical health conditions were placing a strain on their relationship. The research found that 94% of the general public agreed that strong and healthy relationships are important for physical and mental well-being. Over two thirds (68%) said that relationship counselling should be available to everyone who needs it, regardless of their income and ability to pay.

Relate’s President, Ruby Wax said: “As our research shows, low income families are likely to experience additional strains on their relationships because of financial pressures but are less able to afford counselling. This is a social justice issue, which is why Relate and BACP are calling on the government to invest in relationships. Without support, distressed relationships can have devastating consequences, leading to homelessness, domestic abuse, mental health issues, and poor life chances for our kids. Please sign our petition today.”

Full story: Mental Health Today

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Antidepressant withdrawal “hits millions”

Millions of people get bad side-effects trying to cut down on or come off antidepressants, a large review says.

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence review suggests half of patients have withdrawal symptoms and for half of these the symptoms will be severe.

Patients should be properly warned, it says. The guidance says symptoms are usually mild and clear up in a week.

But it’s not uncommon for side-effects to last for weeks, months or longer.

The review authors, Dr James Davies, from the University of Roehampton, and Prof John Read, from the University of East London, say about four million people in England may experience symptoms when withdrawing from antidepressants, and about 1.8 million may experience these as severe.

This might include:

  • anxiety
  • sleep problems
  • hallucinations

They looked at 24 pieces of research, involving more than 5,000 patients, to reach their conclusions, published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviours.

Full story: BBC News

Author: Philip Challinor
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Loneliness among over-50s “is looming public health concern”

Soaring numbers of over-50s in England will suffer from loneliness in the coming years as a result of widowhood, ill-health and money problems, according to a new analysis.

More than two million people of that age will be lonely by 2025-26, a 49% increase on the 1.36m who were socially isolated in 2015-16, according to projections by Age UK.

While the proportion of the population who say they “often” feel lonely will not change from one in 12, the number of those affected will rise as a result of the increase in numbers of people over 50.

The findings come as the government finalises its strategy to combat loneliness, which charities, councils and health experts say has increased in recent years as a result of lengthening lifespans, cuts to social care services and families becoming more spread geographically.

Age UK warns that the problem is a looming “major public health concern, because if loneliness is not addressed it can become chronic, seriously affecting people’s health and wellbeing”. Lonely people are more likely to report mental and physical ill-health.

“Loneliness can blight your life just as badly if you are 18, 38 or 78. But our analysis found that different life events tend to trigger the problem depending on your age,” said Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director.

“It makes sense to target help at people going through the kinds of challenging experiences that put people at risk, whether you are in your youth and leaving college; in mid life and going through a divorce; or in later life, having recently been bereaved.”

Its analysis of findings in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing identified over-50s as a group particularly at risk of loneliness and the likely triggers for that. For example, widowers are more than five times as likely to report feeling “often lonely” as peers who are in a relationship. Having someone to open up to about their lives is often a predictor of loneliness, the charity found.

Full story: Guardian

Author: Philip Challinor
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How London’s knife crime epidemic has created a crisis in youth mental health

Tom Isaac, a youth worker who heads up a service called Oasis Youth, which works with stabbing victims at a paediatrics unit in South London, says the rise in stabbings across the capital in recent years has created a surge in mental health need among the young people involved.

“There are also a lot of young people who have had to witness murders of teenagers right outside their block. Imagine the trauma of living there and growing up there, and what that does to your psyche. All of them need safety, support and counselling to help them process what they’ve gone through.”

Isaac says that over recent years, he has seen thresholds for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) increase, making it harder to get young people the support they need.

“Several years ago, you might have been able to get a young person some level of CAMHs support if they had mental health issues that were noticeable but not yet suicidal or dangerous, such as anger issues, depression or really low moods. But now it has to hit quite a big crisis point to get any help,” he says.

“We can’t get young people the support unless they’re already ‘high risk’ – so already at the point where they are hurting themselves or hurting others.”

Charlie Howard, clinical psychologist and founder of MAC-UK, a London-based charity that reaches out to offer mental health services to young people involved in violent crime, says the rise in knife crime is producing a generation of young people who are “traumatised, but not talking about it”.

She says the link between mental health and youth violence or gang involvement is “bi-directional”, explaining that while already existing mental health issues make a young person more vulnerable to being groomed or pulled into a gang, that mental fragility rises significantly as they see more violence.

Full story: The Independent

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