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‘Just go for a run’: testing everyday advice for my depression | Martha Mills

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

If you say you’re depressed, people are quick to dispense wisdom on how to deal with it. Martha Mills decided to take them literally, and try them out for herself

So, it turns out I’m getting better at depression. That isn’t to say I’ve stopped suffering it, or that it is any less debilitating when it sneaks up after a two-year hiatus and pile-drives me into a blistering agony of mental carpet burns topped with a patronising tousle of the bed-hair, like a nostalgic school bully. No, what’s “better” about me is spotting it and moving quicker through the self-blame method of diagnosis.

We all have down days, and that’s what you hope these are. Only they stopped being a day or two of feeling blue that can be whiled away with the distraction of a conspiratorial sofa and questionable DVD collection, and have merged into weeks since you were last able to feel anything but disappointment on waking up, and the choice between showering or just smelling like a tramp’s undercarriage has gone beyond struggle into pure resignation.

Related: How to actually talk to a woman wearing headphones | Martha Mills

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NHS prescribed record number of antidepressants last year

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Data prompts debate about whether rise shows drugs are handed out too freely or whether more people are getting help

The NHS prescribed a record number of antidepressants last year, fuelling an upward trend that has seen the number of pills given to patients more than double over the last decade.

The figures raised questions over whether the rise shows doctors are handing out the drugs out too freely or whether it means more people are getting help to tackle their anxiety, depression and panic attacks.

Related: How long should you stay on antidepressants?

Related: Young people and antidepressants: share your experiences

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‘Without this, I would have killed myself’: gardening helps heal refugees’ trauma

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

An NHS-run therapeutic gardening project in London is helping to alleviate symptoms of severe mental health problems

It was around a year after Fatu Mangeh* arrived in the UK that she considered taking her own life.

In 2002 she fled the civil war in Sierra Leone where she had been raped and tortured – scars are still visible on her hands 15 years later. Her parents were killed and the only family she had left was her two-year-old daughter. She was lured to the UK by a man who promised to marry her but abandoned her, leaving her destitute and with no support. Wandering the streets, she came across a woman from Sierra Leone who offered to help; she took her to the Home Office to claim asylum and registered her with a GP.

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Chasing social media shares harms public trust in science – so stop it

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Not all research is created equal. There needs to be more clarity in the media about where study findings have come from

Last month US TV channel CNBC published an online news story based on a study which it said showed that Instagram is “most likely to cause young people to feel depressed and lonely” out of the major social apps. But the “study” is actually a survey which fails to provide substantive evidence that Instagram is the worst for mental health, or that there is even a relationship between social media use and depression or loneliness. It was another enticing – but misleading – headline.

Over the next days the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), which published the report in conjunction with the Young Health Movement charity, retweeted and shared news stories like CNBC’s. The society’s report was featured by most national media outlets, and although some pointed out that it was based on a survey, others presented it in a way that could be construed as scientific research. In any case, most included a statement about Instagram being damaging to mental health in the title in a way that made the findings appear more conclusive than the report suggests.

Related: Why we can’t trust academic journals to tell the scientific truth

Related: It’s time for academics to take back control of research journals

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Ant McPartlin has no reason to apologise. His addiction is not his fault | Chris Owen

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

The TV star says he feels he’s let people down. But after spending time in rehab I know how important it is that addiction is seen as an illness, not as self-inflicted

The weekend brought the news that Ant McPartlin, one half of Ant and Dec – PJ of PJ and Duncan fame – has checked into rehab for addiction problems with alcohol and drugs. He’s to spend a couple of months in recovery, where – hopefully – he’ll come out armed with the knowledge of how he became unwell in the first place, and how he can keep himself safe and sober in the long term.

Related: Ant McPartlin speaks out about depression and addiction

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Number of under-18s on antidepressants in England rises by 12%

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Data shows over 166,000 were given such medication between April 2015 and June 2016, including 537 aged six or under

Tens of thousands of young people in England, including children as young as six, are being prescribed antidepressants by their doctors. The figures have prompted concern that medics may be overprescribing strong medication because of stretched and underfunded mental health services.

Data obtained by the Guardian shows that 166,510 under-18s, including 10,595 seven-to-12-year-olds and 537 aged six or younger, were given medication typically used to treat depression and anxiety between April 2015 and June 2016. The figures, released by NHS England under the Freedom of Information Act, show a 12% rise in the numbers taking the drugs over the same time period.

Related: Antidepressants prescribed far more in deprived English coastal towns

Related: Antidepressant prescriptions in England double in a decade

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Women can still have it all. Can’t they? | Victoria Coren Mitchell

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Over tea and muffins, I was almost convinced of the case for tighter apron strings. Oh, crumbs!

Last week was a significant one for me because I nearly changed my mind about something. And who ever does that? I didn’t change my mind (nobody ever does, about anything) but I did have – I think – a small insight. I won’t say “epiphany”. Not least because I find it hard to pronounce. But I will say insight.

It came about over a cup of tea with a friend, whom I won’t name for fear that people will find her on Twitter and shout at her. Let’s just call her @elspeth157. I’m joking. We’ll call her Janet.

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Model Adwoa Aboah: ‘In 2017, there is more than one way to be beautiful ​and cool’

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

The in-demand face of Gap and Versace is changing the rules of how to make it big in fashion. She talks about authenticity, her depression – and why her shaved head was a two fingers to the industry

Adwoa Aboah is ridiculously beautiful, but that is not what makes her the most in-demand model of the moment. Sure, the razor-sharp cheekbones and the blown-glass lips don’t do her prospects any harm. But there is something in her gaze to camera that makes her beauty seem as if it’s not the most compelling thing about her. It is this that has raised Aboah – face of a new Gap campaign, muse to Donatella Versace, booked for the catwalk by everyone from Christian Dior and Chanel to Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang – above the modelling rank and file.

My first appointment with Aboah is cancelled because she hasn’t yet got out of bed. So far, so supermodel. But when we finally speak, it becomes clear that this Linda Evangelista moment is about as far as Aboah goes in terms of conformity to the modelling tradition of aloof, enigmatic beauty. After our interview, she has a busy day ahead. First, a meeting with Dr Lauren Hazzouri, a psychologist specialising in young women’s mental health. After that, it’s off to Gurls Talk, the online platform she founded to enable discussion about mental health, body image and sexuality, to plan an upcoming event. Forget castings and go-sees: Aboah is changing the rules of how a modern model makes it big.

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‘I can stop and breathe’: the people taking ketamine for depression

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

It has a reputation as a party drug, but some patients say it has transformed their lives after no other treatments helped

When depression takes hold of Helen it feels like she is drowning in a pool of water, unable to swim up to the world above. The 36-year-old former nurse has had mental health problems most of her life. No drugs, hospital stays or therapies have been able to help.

Then one day, during yet another spell in hospital, her consultant told her about a psychiatrist treating patients with ketamine. The psychiatrist in question visited her to discuss using the drug. He warned there were no guarantees, but it had helped some patients.

Related: Ketamine could help thousands with severe depression, doctors say

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Depression, opportunity and that life abroad – podcasts of the week

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Rowan Slaney brings you three podcasts that chime with three significant events from her ‘teenageish’ years

• Don’t forget to subscribe for your weekly dose of podcast gold

Hear here is here. Hooray! Now, first things first. An incredible number of people have subscribed to this column. What a joy that there are so many of you who love the medium as much I do. If you’ve emailed in with your recommendations, I promise I’ll listen to them – I’ve made an excel spreadsheet and everything – but there have just been so many, it’s incredible.

Please keep them coming in, I want to listen to all the podcasts I can fit into my ears. If you haven’t subscribed yet, come and join us. It’s great fun.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a podcast about mental health would be, well, a bit of a downer. In fact, it could be the type of podcast that people who live with depression, and those around them, might want to avoid. But then you probably haven’t listened to John Moe.

John isn’t a therapist or a counsellor or a psychiatrist or any sort of mental health professional. He’s actually a writer and radio presenter, and a long-term sufferer of depression. He’s also quite a funny guy, and that’s what makes The Hilarious World of Depression special.

The BitterSweet Life is a great example of an immersive podcast experience and of excellent storytelling. My favourite episodes are those where Tiffany and Katy record outside in the plazas of Rome, or visit different churches to find Caravaggio paintings. The splash of water from the fountains, customers chattering in Italian in the bakery, the screaming swallows overhead. I feel transported to Rome, and with very itchy feet, every time I listen to these episodes.

Secondly, the story of Katy’s year was an ongoing narrative that I invested in so much that I had to hold back tears in the episode when Katy was due to leave. The podcast shifts a little in content and feel when Katy returns to Seattle, obviously due to the changed circumstances. However, I continue to listen as I enjoy the relationship between the two friends. The episodes where they record WhatsApp messages to each other in the aftermath of the election of Trump, I thought, was a stroke of storytelling genius.

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