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Do friends make you happier than family?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Friendships are less judgmental and and more likely to be positive. Having good friends can even make you healthier

Do you believe that blood is thicker than water? That your family relationships are more important than friends? Well, think again. Research from Michigan State University suggests that friends may make you happier and healthier than your relatives.

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Can mindfulness reduce fear of labour and postpartum depression?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Anxiety about labour – and what might come afterwards – causes stress for expectant mothers and increases risk in childbirth. But there could be a natural solution

Many women feel anxious about giving birth. Fear of the unknown and over-sharing by others (“I felt I was ripped apart,” one mother told my antenatal group) can make labour daunting. Being frightened of childbirth can prolong labour – by an average of 47 minutes, but it feels longer – increase the need for pain relief, make a caesarean section more likely and raise the risk of postpartum depression. Last month, a small, randomised controlled trial added to the evidence that teaching mindfulness to pregnant women could reduce these risks.

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Is it safe to take magic mushrooms?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

Psilocybin mushrooms have been found to have minimal harmful effects and could potentially benefit those with depression. But they remain illegal, and there is a big risk if you eat the wrong type

Magic mushrooms are the safest “recreational” drug to take and those who take them are the most sensible and well prepared, according to the 2017 Global Drug Survey. Out of almost 10,000 people who took them, only 0.2% needed emergency medical treatment. But magic mushrooms, or psilocybin mushrooms, contain a compound that has been a class A drug under the UK Misuse of Drugs Act since 1971 – like heroin and crack cocaine.

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Are people who think they can multitask deluding themselves?

Jul 2nd, 2017 by

We’ve all tried to juggle several things at once. So does it work, or is it better to concentrate on just one task at a time?

You may be reading this while on a conference call, pushing your child on a swing – or both. But is multitasking really a good idea, or does it make us do everything more slowly and less well than if we were concentrating on one task at a time?

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13 Reasons Why ‘not helpful’, suicide prevention summit told

May 2nd, 2017 by

Lifeline chief says Netflix series risks presenting suicide as ‘legitimate choice’ and crosses line with depiction of means

The controversial new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why is “not helpful”, says Australia’s national suicide prevention charity as it strives to reach a cross-sector response to the issue.

Representatives from industries including finance, agribusiness, retail and sport joined suicide prevention experts and academics for the inaugural National Stop Suicide Summit in Sydney on Monday, hosted by Lifeline Australia.

How do you attack the loneliness of modern life that makes people feel this way?

Related: Yes, we jail too many Indigenous Australians – but what happens next is worse | Megan Williams

Related: Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and the trouble with dramatising suicide

Related: 13 Reasons Why: New Zealand bans under-18s from watching suicide drama without adult

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Therapy ‘has long-term benefits for mothers with depression’

May 2nd, 2017 by

CBT has positive effects on mental health, financial empowerment and parenting skills, long-term study shows

Cognitive behavioural therapy has significant positive effects on a mother’s mental health, income, employment and parenting skills even seven years after the birth of the child, according to the first study of its kind.

The international research project into the impact of depression on pregnant mothers and their babies, led by Professor Sonia Bhalotra from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, could have major implications for public policy.

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Burnout, depression and anxiety – why the NHS has a problem with staff health

May 2nd, 2017 by

Despite efforts from NHS England to improve the wellbeing of its staff, progress has been inconsistent and employee ill-health remains widespread

When Laura-Jane Smith took time out of her clinical training for a PhD, she found she was constantly unhappy, and suffered from palpitations, nausea, severe headaches, and breathlessness among other physical symptoms.

The hospital doctor’s days were dominated by negative thoughts. She recalls: “I once walked for 30 minutes with ‘I hate my life. I hate my life’ on a loop of internal monologue that I feared had no end.” Eventually, Smith was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and ended up leaving the PhD.

Related: Has the public sector lost the human touch?

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If we want to improve mental health, first we need to tackle poverty | Dawn Foster

May 2nd, 2017 by

Prince Harry’s intervention on mental health is welcome, but removing stigma alone is not enough – the debate needs to look at the role of poverty

Mental health discourse welcomed an unexpected participant this month. Prince Harry, the fifth in line to the throne, spoke publicly about seeking counselling following his mother’s sudden death in his pre-teen years. Rightly, mental health charities praised his intervention, highlighting as it did that even extreme privilege cannot shelter us from depression, anxiety or any other psychiatric illness. Our bodies are fragile, and our minds equally so: this message is increasingly accepted as people with mental health problems, campaigners and medics alike have fought to end stigma by building a national conversation on mental health.

Removing the stigma around mental health is important but does little alone. Without services, treatment is still inadequate, and feeling less judged for your health issues means little if you’re faced with a lack of access to talking therapies and nonexistent community support. But the conversation on mental health also needs to examine how the structures of society cause and perpetuate poor mental health.

Related: On mental health, the royal family is doing more than our government | William Davies

Failing to address childhood mental health linked to poverty is like scrimping on a car repair only to crash into a wall

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Drugs didn’t work for my brother. Electroconvulsive therapy did | Andrew Mayers

May 2nd, 2017 by

Doctors tried everything in an effort to treat the depression that engulfed my brother. In the end, the only thing that did any good was ECT

The death certificate said heart attack. But anyone familiar with what my brother had been through over the last decade of his life knew the real cause of death: depression. A self-depleting torment that knew no rock bottom; a psychological tumour that consumed his personality.

Related: Electroconvulsive therapy on the rise again in England

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Bravery behind Bryony Gordon’s royal reflections

May 2nd, 2017 by

Every credit to the Telegraph writer for talking about her mental struggles – and, on the subject of struggles, it will be fascinating to see if a former MP, with no experience of journalism, is up to editing the Evening Standard

Bryony Gordon made only the most modest claims in her reflective Telegraph piece about that chat with Prince Harry. “I think this interview is special, not because it’s a scoop or an exclusive. I don’t think this interview is special because I happened to do it. I think it is special because, in Britain, we don’t talk about our feelings. We have bitten our lips, slapped on rictus grins, kept buggering on.

“It has always been a sign of strength and dignity to keep it all inside, and our royal family have always been the embodiment of that, God bless them. But Prince Harry just redefined strength and dignity for a new generation.”

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