Three pregnant refugees and nearly 50 others denied medical transfers from Nauru

20/08/2017 Ben Doherty 0

Asylum seekers and refugees awaiting surgeries, abortions and other treatment prevented from having overseas transfers by Nauru hospital committee

Nearly 50 refugees and asylum seekers held on Nauru – including at least three women seeking to terminate a pregnancy – are being refused, or not considered for, overseas medical treatment, in defiance of doctors’ recommendations.

Three pregnant refugee women on Nauru have asked to terminate their pregnancies, for cultural, familial and health reasons. Doctors’ requests for them to be transferred overseas for the procedure have been rejected. Terminations are illegal on Nauru, a devoutly Christian country.

Related: Australia’s offshore detention centres ‘terrible’, says architect of system

Related: ‘It’s time to act’: Liberal MP calls for Australia to take refugees from Manus and Nauru

Related: Border force doctor knew of Manus asylum seeker’s deteriorating health before death

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How we feel about Freud: Susie Orbach and Frederick Crews debate his legacy

Crews, an academic, thinks psychoanalysis is an unscientific jumble of ideas, while psychoanalyst Orbach would prefer not to throw the baby out with the patriarchal bias

For a century or more, Sigmund Freud has cast a long shadow not just over the field of psychoanalysis but over the entire way we think of ourselves as human beings. His theory of the unconscious and his work on dreams, in particular, retain a firm grip on the western imagination, shaping the realms of literature and art, politics and everyday conversation, as well as the way patients are analysed in the consulting room. Since Freud’s death in 1939, however, a growing number of dissenting voices have questioned his legacy and distanced themselves from his ideas. Now Freud is viewed less as a great medical scientist than as a powerful storyteller of the human mind whose texts, though lacking in empirical evidence, should be celebrated for their literary value.

The following debate, conducted through emails, was prompted by the forthcoming publication of Frederick Crews’s book Freud: The Making of an Illusion, which draws on new research materials to raise fresh questions about Freud’s competence and integrity.

There is nothing formulaic about the conversation in the consulting room. It’s a space of exploration

Related: The astrologer and the astronomer

Freud was a sick man who tried to saddle the whole human race with his anxious fantasies

Related: Cold War Freud and Freud: An Intellectual Biography review – the politics of psychoanalysis

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How we feel about Freud: Susie Orbach and Frederick Crews debate his legacy

Crews, an academic, thinks psychoanalysis is an unscientific jumble of ideas, while psychoanalyst Orbach would prefer not to throw the baby out with the patriarchal bias

For a century or more, Sigmund Freud has cast a long shadow not just over the field of psychoanalysis but over the entire way we think of ourselves as human beings. His theory of the unconscious and his work on dreams, in particular, retain a firm grip on the western imagination, shaping the realms of literature and art, politics and everyday conversation, as well as the way patients are analysed in the consulting room. Since Freud’s death in 1939, however, a growing number of dissenting voices have questioned his legacy and distanced themselves from his ideas. Now Freud is viewed less as a great medical scientist than as a powerful storyteller of the human mind whose texts, though lacking in empirical evidence, should be celebrated for their literary value.

The following debate, conducted through emails, was prompted by the forthcoming publication of Frederick Crews’s book Freud: The Making of an Illusion, which draws on new research materials to raise fresh questions about Freud’s competence and integrity.

There is nothing formulaic about the conversation in the consulting room. It’s a space of exploration

Related: The astrologer and the astronomer

Freud was a sick man who tried to saddle the whole human race with his anxious fantasies

Related: Cold War Freud and Freud: An Intellectual Biography review – the politics of psychoanalysis

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School exclusion ‘linked to long-term mental health problems’ – study

19/08/2017 Jamie Doward 0

Research shows that exclusions can amplify pupils’ psychological distress and encourage behaviour it intends to punish

Excluding children from school may lead to long-term psychiatric problems and psychological distress, a major new study has shown.

The research by the University of Exeter also finds that poor mental health can lead to school exclusion.

Related: Can a new technique stem England’s rising tide of school exclusions?

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What I’m really thinking: the disappointed counsellor

19/08/2017 Anonymous 0

While in the final year of my training, undertaking a placement in a mental health service, I saw how stretched these support services are

I put four years of my life and £12,000 of my hard-earned savings into training to be a counsellor. I sacrificed my time, relationships and mental health so I could give my all to this exhausting and emotionally draining course, which included spending two years in personal therapy.

While in the final year of my training, undertaking a placement in a mental health service, I was exposed to how stretched these support services are. Despite still being a trainee, I saw clients who were suicidal, psychotic and seeking help for borderline personality disorders. I was not trained to help these clients, but I didn’t have a choice. They had to see me or go back on the waiting list for six months. Staff did their best to support me but they were so stretched, I was left to cope with difficult situations by myself.

Related: What I’m really thinking: the burned-out businessman

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Severe birth trauma has left me terrified of having another child

17/08/2017 Anonymous 0

Normally associated with soldiers, post-traumatic stress disorder affects 20,000 new mothers in the UK each year

I have revisited the day my daughter was born more times than I can remember. Almost every night since it happened, the trauma I experienced creeps back. Yet the medics involved will not have given that day a fleeting thought. It feels like an insulting paradox, that such a life-changing moment for one person is but an everyday event for another.

My labour didn’t go to plan. I experienced a searing white-hot pain when my drug-free water birth ended in an episiotomy without painkillers. I was terrified when dozens of medical staff rushed back and forth with equipment talking in urgent, hushed tones about a falling heart beat. Above all, I felt powerless, a total loss of control, and that I had no value as I lay naked on my back with strangers’ hands and faces around my exposed groin. As a result, I suffered birth trauma and developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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We need to talk about male suicide – and not just when celebrities suffer | Richard Taylor

15/08/2017 Richard Taylor 0

Our society fears seeing men as vulnerable or weak, which makes the stigma around suicidal feelings even worse for those seeking help

I was doing what everyone does with their phones when they’re bored – refreshing social media feeds to the point where minutes turn to hours and suddenly it’s 3am and you’re eating cereal – when I saw Chester Bennington’s name trending. I scanned for facts hoping that his reported suicide was another sick example of fake news being spread on social media.

Related: Male suicide: Gender should not be a death sentence | Simon Gunning

We’re being told to do an awful lot of waiting when we frankly don’t have much time to waste

Related: The bold new fight to eradicate suicide

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Edinburgh festival shows examine mental health – with sticky tape and silliness

14/08/2017 Lyn Gardner 0

After the recent fringe hits Every Brilliant Thing and Fake It ’Til You Make It, a new crop of theatre productions are taking startling approaches to exploring mental illness

At the 2014 Edinburgh fringe, the trailblazing Every Brilliant Thing – written by Duncan Macmillan and performed by Jonny Donahoe – talked to us about depression in a refreshingly warm, open and honest way. A year later, Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn’s Fake It ’Til You Make It tackled the taboo subject of male depression and was one of a number of fringe shows exploring mental distress. This year there are so many that a new award has been introduced for shows about mental illness. Talking about it, particularly depression, is the new coming out. As Viki Browne says at the end of her show Help!: “Don’t keep it a secret.”

Related: Edinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommend

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why do men suffer depression in silence?

13/08/2017 Kevin Braddock 0

When Kevin Braddock hit rockbottom, he had every intention of killing himself. He recounts what happened next – and reveals why so few men ask for help

It was a Monday when Robin Williams killed himself three years ago – Monday 11 August 2014. His death was shocking even if in hindsight it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the world’s funniest man might also be the most sorrowful, too – a person despairing to the point of ending it all.

It’s a date I remember well, because I’d spent the previous day trying to do the same thing. I was in the psychiatric ward of the Berlin hospital which I’d been manhandled into by friends the day before, and I was waiting to see the doctor who’d asked me to promise that I wouldn’t kill myself.

Facebook allowed me to ask for help, but any recovering I’ve done has been social in the original sense of the word

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Are smartphones really making our children sad?

US psychologist Jean Twenge, who has claimed that social media is having a malign affect on the young, answers critics who accuse her of crying wolf

Last week, the children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, launched a campaign to help parents regulate internet and smartphone use at home. She suggested that the overconsumption of social media was a problem akin to that of junk-food diets. “None of us, as parents, would want our children to eat junk food all the time – double cheeseburger, chips, every day, every meal,” she said. “For those same reasons, we shouldn’t want our children to do the same with their online time.”

Related: Irresistible: Why We Can’t Stop Checking, Scrolling, Clicking and Watching – review

Many tech-connected people in Silicon Valley restrict their own children’s screen use – so they know its effects.

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Mental health and the media: when privacy trumps getting the story | Andrew Stafford

13/08/2017 Andrew Stafford 0

At what point, when the initial story is over, do news outlets and social media need to continue to stalk, hound and dig for every tiny detail?

For five days over late August and early September in 2016, a strange case gripped the Australian media. A family of five abruptly went missing from their rural property east of Melbourne. They left their house unlocked and all potential trace elements behind: phones, credit cards and identification documents. Keys were left in the ignitions of the remaining cars.

The alarm was sounded by one of the three adult children, about 24 hours after their disappearance, when he disembarked from what turned out to be an ill-fated road trip near Bathurst in central New South Wales, about 800km from their home. The two remaining daughters were quickly located after they stole a vehicle to escape; one of them later turned up in the back of a man’s ute – to the shock of the driver. Their mother was found the following day, wandering the streets of Yass, near Canberra; two days later, the father was discovered, safe but dehydrated, on the outskirts of the north-eastern Victorian town of Wangaratta.

Related: Julia Gillard: the stigma around mental health nearly cost Australia its greatest leader

OMG, can we please talk about the [name withheld] family mystery? Someone needs to call Sarah Koenig, seriously, this is the weirdest story. Can Sarah Koenig please make season three of Serial about this?

I, for one, would prefer multiple skull fractures to the feeling of deep clinical depression

Related: Mental health experts criticise new Netflix film about anorexic girl

Related: Sarah Wilson on living with anxiety: there’s no sugarcoating mental illness

On reading the article or book in question, he has to face the fact that the journalist – who seemed so friendly and sympathetic, so keen to understand him fully, so remarkably attuned to his vision of things – never had the slightest intention of collaborating with him on his story but always intended to write a story of his own.

Related: Thank you, Sinéad O’Connor, for showing the messy reality of mental illness | Paris Lees

Related: The secret life of a clickbait creator: lousy content, dodgy ads, demoralised staff

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A-level pupils feel the stress of sitting new, untested exams

As results day looms, students complain that changes were rushed in, with errors in papers and inadequate revision materials available

Students awaiting their A-level results next week have described the stress of sitting new, untested qualifications this summer for which many felt ill prepared, with no past papers, no mark schemes and no clarity about grade boundaries.

Many complained that the changes, introduced by the Tories, had been “rushed in”, with teachers and students struggling to master demanding new syllabuses, aided by few revision materials. The pressure was compounded by the fact that the new qualifications are solely assessed on end-of-year exams, rather than coursework and AS-levels halfway through.

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My brother is awful to my parents and we think he has mental health issues

11/08/2017 Guardian Staff 0

He has had serious mood swings for most of his adult life, but my parents are scared to confront him in case he stops them seeing their grandchildren

I am concerned about how my brother treats my parents. He is 39, has a family of his own and is apparently a good dad, but he is controlling, moody and insular. His sulks and mood swings have become unbearable and my parents never know what mood he will be in when he visits. Increasingly, he is spiteful, abrupt, ungrateful and rude. My parents are the most loving, giving parents and there has never been an incident to trigger his behaviour. He has had serious mood swings for most of his adult life and hasn’t spoken to me for 20 years. My parents are scared to confront him in case he reacts and prevents them from seeing their grandchildren. My mother tried speaking to him during his last stay, but there is absolutely no reasoning with him and he shuts down and backs away. He is now not speaking to either of them and has told them they are not welcome at his home. We are sure he has mental health issues, but there is no way he will ask for help. How can this ever get better?

• When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Private Lives asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments that appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed.

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Why we fell for clean eating

11/08/2017 Bee Wilson 0

The oh-so-Instagrammable food movement has been thoroughly debunked – but it shows no signs of going away. The real question is why we were so desperate to believe it. By Bee Wilson

In the spring of 2014, Jordan Younger noticed that her hair was falling out in clumps. “Not cool” was her reaction. At the time, Younger, 23, believed herself to be eating the healthiest of all possible diets. She was a “gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free, grain-free, legume-free, plant-based raw vegan”. As The Blonde Vegan, Younger was a “wellness” blogger in New York City, one of thousands on Instagram (where she had 70,000 followers) rallying under the hashtag #eatclean. Although she had no qualifications as a nutritionist, Younger had sold more than 40,000 copies of her own $25, five-day “cleanse” programme – a formula for an all-raw, plant-based diet majoring on green juice.

But the “clean” diet that Younger was selling as the route to health was making its creator sick. Far from being super-healthy, she was suffering from a serious eating disorder: orthorexia, an obsession with consuming only foods that are pure and perfect. Younger’s raw vegan diet had caused her periods to stop and given her skin an orange tinge from all the sweet potato and carrots she consumed (the only carbohydrates she permitted herself). Eventually, she sought psychological help, and began to slowly widen the repertoire of foods she would allow herself to eat, starting with fish. She recognised that the problem was not her veganism, per se, but the particularly rigid and restrictive diet regime she had imposed on herself.

Related: No diet, no detox: how to relearn the art of eating | Bee Wilson

Related: The sugar conspiracy | Ian Leslie

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The human cost of the pressures of postdoctoral research

10/08/2017 Pete Etchells 0

A paper on conformal algebra has recently caused a stir on social media. Not because of the science, but rather the heartfelt plea in the acknowledgements

Every scientist knows how difficult it is to get a research paper published; reviewers may take exception to the way a study might have been run, or the way the data are analysed, or how the results have been interpreted. It’s part of the process, and hopefully, the end point is a more scientifically useful paper, something that adds new meaning to a research discipline.

When Oliver Rosten sent a new paper to the Journal of High Energy Physics (JHEP), ultimately it wasn’t rejected because of the science – this was deemed sound. It was because of the acknowledgement:

Related: For academics with depression, the student feedback process is hell

Related: Studying a PhD: don’t suffer in silence

I think the first phrase is too much: I guess there were more basic problems in Dolan’s life than the pressure put by physics work. Certainly people, say in businness [sic], behave more brutally than in academia. The second phrase could be OK but a bit out of place: in a scientific paper we discuss about science, not about life.

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There is no shame in suffering mental pain | Letters

09/08/2017 Letters 0

When we can think of our suffering as part of being human, and not a fault in ourselves, going on living becomes a possibility, and not a curse, says Yair Klein

Thank you for Giles Fraser’s insightful piece on suicide (It is dangerous to think of suicide as heroic – or cowardly, 8 August).

What does take fortitude, though, is facing the reasons for wanting to kill yourself, such as mental pain, profound grief, overwhelming debt, unsustainable rejection etc – and the shame it is thought they bring with them, which we can feel puts us beyond self-acceptance and the reach of others.

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