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Antidepressants work, so why do we shame people for taking them? | Mark Brown

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

A new mega-analysis has found in favour of SSRIs. Time to give people who take them a break

British society just cannot get comfortable with the reality of medication for depression. Despite widespread use, they still attract disapproval. New research appears to strike a decisive blow against widely publicised claims that antidepressant medications such as Prozac, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) are no better than sugar pills for people with depression.

Elias Eriksson, professor of pharmacology at the University of Gothenburg and one of the authors of the new paper, said: “I think, once and for all, we’ve answered the SSRI question. SSRIs work. They may not work for every patient, but they work for most patients. And it’s a pity if their use is discouraged because of newspaper reports.”

Related: Man down: why do so many suffer depression in silence?

We are invested in the idea of a grand conspiracy … an industry dampening human responses to reality for profit

Related: Survey finds 40% of Australian women diagnosed with depression or anxiety

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Wellbeing in schools is being tossed aside in favour of exam elitism | Letter

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

My daughter took her own life after I failed to persuade her that getting top grades didn’t matter. Perhaps I failed because she could see that this wasn’t true

Last Thursday my clever 16-year-old daughter Rachel should have been getting her GCSE results. A picture taken at her school happens to illustrate one of your articles online; I recognise the children. But Rachel is not there.

Your coverage of the new GCSEs has rightly highlighted the error of focusing again on the brightest, most academic children, while doing a disservice to all of us by neglecting those who can excel at vocational qualifications.

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Survey finds 40% of Australian women diagnosed with depression or anxiety

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Jean Hailes women’s health survey finds women aged 18-35 have the highest anxiety scores, with social media being partly to blame

A survey of more than 10,000 Australian women found 40% have been professionally diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

The Jean Hailes Women’s Health survey 2017 released on Sunday, also found 60% did not meet the recommended 2.5 hours of weekly physical activity because for many they were “too tired” or it was too “hard” to find the time.

Related: What if women ruled the world?

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Google wants to know if you’re depressed. What could go wrong? | Arwa Mahdawi

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

The search engine now offers a tool which will allow US users to test if they’re clinically depressed. It’s hard not to have mixed feelings about the initiative

Healthcare in the US may be ridiculously expensive but, hey, at least there’s Doctor Google. Diagnosing yourself via Google is quick, free and often extremely alarming. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered that what I suspected might be a hangover is actually a very rare terminal illness. According to my various Google diagnoses I should be dead several times over by now, leading me to suspect that I may be a medical miracle.

I’m not the only one self-diagnosing via search. Around 72% of Americans look up health information online, according to a 2013 Pew study. And last year, Google reported that about 1% of the site’s searches relate to medical symptoms.

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To lose love is terrible, but to never have had it is worse still

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Children who are unloved by their parents often try to please them with the aim of winning their approval – a recipe for depression later in life

Earlier this month, I wrote a column suggesting that the only “true love” was that existing between parent and child. Several contributors to the comment thread remarked – quite rightly – that I was ignoring the fact that there were parents and children who did not love one another.

I know this can be the case, however rare, and it is a tragedy. An unloved child can barely survive – experiments with chimpanzees have shown that, even if they are well fed and sheltered, to be removed from their parent’s nurture is disastrous, and they will waste away and often die.

Related: Family life: My mother on the beach in Germany; The Laughing Policeman; and first-night dinner

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How I became homeless: three people’s stories

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

The number of families affected by homelessness is expected to double by 2041. We asked people to share their experiences

The number of families affected by homelessness is expected to more than double in the next two decades, with a further 200,000 households affected by 2041, according to a report.

Those sleeping rough will soar by fourfold to more than 40,000 in the same period, according to research by Heriot-Watt University, commissioned by Crisis, the homelessness charity.

Related: Number of homeless in Britain expected to double by 2041, Crisis warns

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

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

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

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

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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Man down: why do so many suffer depression in silence?

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

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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The human cost of the pressures of postdoctoral research

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

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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