Mental Health Issues are Everywhere: an early-summer media summary

There's a lot of mental health in the media at the moment. Which is probably good, from an awareness-raising, taboo-removing point of view, but we have to be careful to remain aware that the news will add spin, TV programmes are designed to make a good watch and no-one can understand someone's life, illness or condition from a one-hour long snapshot. But it is good that people are talking, and thinking, about mental health in society. So what's going on?

Firstly; BBC3's documentary series 'Don't Call Me Crazy' -
This programme  follows the young people at the McGuinness Unit Adolescent Inpatient ward. It is an 'open' hospital, meaning most of the patients are staying their voluntarily in order to receive specialist care from psychologists, psychiatrists and nurses away from the community in which they may feel vulnerable. However, some of the young people there have been 'Sectioned' - detained in the hospital against their will under the Mental Health Act in order to have further assessment or receive treatment. From what I saw of the fist episode this series may be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it demonstrates a little bit more about real life with mental illnesses - demonstrating that they can be both invisible and devastating and increasing awareness about the diversity both within and between conditions. However, it does make these young people's lives open to ridicule and highlight the love of making others' lives into a simple spectacle.

Perhaps one of the best things about this particular unit though, is the ethos of young people and adolescents not as 'mini-adults' but as a separate subset that need different treatment, care and provision. The Invictus Trust, set up by the family of a teenage boy who took his life during treatment at an adult psychiatric centre in Cornwall, have been campaigning for a specialist unit for 13-25 year olds since his death. The unit, which will be the first of its kind in the country due to its covering of the transition between under and over 18 year olds, will have an ethos of helping young people to recover and return to the community. The expectation that over 18 year olds should be treated alongside adults, some of whom have been in psychiatric care for many years,  can be damaging for the suffering individuals. Have a look at the video from BBC Spotlight to find out more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vT3Td9cLao and visit the Invictus Trust's website: http://www.invictustrust.co.uk/.

Secondly; the story of convicted murderer Ian Brady has recently hit the news as he claims he used method acting to be classed as 'insane' and so transferred from prison to a secure hospital. Now however, he wishes to be returned to prison. Staff at the hospital claim he is mentally ill - a paranoid schizophrenic who has been attempting to kill himself via a hunger strike since 1999. Staff have been allowed to force-feed him under the Mental Health Act. However, Brady's legal team claim he has a personality disorder but is not mentally ill and so should be returned to prison. This case demonstrates the incredible complexity in psychiatry and mental health diagnosis in the legal sphere, especially when regarding such brutal crimes.

Thirdly; the BBC publishes yet another article on the subject of 'what actually is mental illness?' http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/0/22028518 - it is very important these issues stay at the forefront of our attention- but I'm beginning to wonder if new approaches are needed to really change the status quo...

And finally; Amy Winehouse's brother has spoken out about Amy's battle with the eating disorder bulimia (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/jun/23/amy-winehouse-bulimia-killed-her-says-brother) - claiming it had weakened her body enough to make her highly susceptible to the negative effects of substance misuse. The Amy Winehouse Foundation is therefore supporting one of very few eating disorder charities - Beat - allowing it to set up an online forum to support those affected further. http://www.b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/press-releases/amy-winehouse-foundation-supports-beat/

Overall - it is good that mental health issues are everywhere this summer, but it is terrible that they have to be, and it is as important as always to ensure we are thinking, talking and acting in the right way.


scared. so scared.

Psychologeek is about to take her first *ever* psychology exam. AHHHHH. Wish me luck! (Dedicated to my biggest fan)


'Relaxed Theatre'

Great to see the world changing for people who a little bit different and not the other way around for once!


The next chapter for the DSM...

Big news, the National Institute of Mental Health in American, the world's biggest mental health research funder has withdrawn support from DSM category research, with the DSM-5 being launched in just two weeks!


Epigenetics and the Brain

The possible power of discovering more about the link between epigenetics and mental illness is huge - take a look at this!


Reblogging a blog

This blog is brilliant. This man tells the truth like many others wouldn't dare. It is simply inspiring.
I want to see his show so badly.


Quick updates on mental wealth stuff:

Hi all!

I've been gone for forever, but I promised info about mental health week here in Cambridge -

Well here you go, published on the Cambridge Student Psychology Journal:

And here's the video summarising the week:

Look after your mental health!


The Invictus Trust

Today I signed an amazing e-petition to help the Invictus Trust - a mental health charity based in Cornwall. Set up by the amazing family of a popular teenager who sadly took his life as a consequence of his battle with mental health problems, the trust has huge aims. Cornwall's suicide rate has been higher than the national average since 1993, and yet the mental health care, especially for young people, is shockingly low-key. The nearest centre for people with acute mental health problems who need specialist care is in Plymouth. Plymouth is in Devon. Instead, young people are put into wings of hospitals where the care is focused on adults. Whether psychiatry and anti-depressants are ever the answer is an utterly separate debate, but the fact that young people, and especially teenagers must be treated differently is just plain obvious. The Invictus Trust is campaigning to have a centre built in Cornwall, for young people ages 13-24, who need specialist care for mental health issues. The centre will have special equipment, facilities, trained psychologists, access to a range of talking therapies, art therapy and music therapy. Unlike the centres families are currently forced to use, the new centre will focus on positivity, recovery and health not illness. It's an incredible cause, and though the plans have been drawn up by the local authorities - funding is needed from the NHS trust. Please sign up and make a difference, for this family and for families across Cornwall.

and find out more:


Zingy the Keepon Pro

The world fell in love with EDF's 'Zingy' mascot - with calls for official toys to be released and the adverts being played and replayed all over youtube. 

But who is 'Zingy'? Turns out he is based on the 'Keepon Pro' - a robot designed to help social interaction in children with autism and other developmental disorders. 

I don't know if it's really lovely or really sad that the adorable blob is being used as marketing for an energy company, but I know that I just fell more in love with that little flame!