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Can even moderate drinking increase the risk of cancer?

Nov 2nd, 2017 by

New research argues that just a small glass of wine a day increases the risk and that ‘responsible drinking’ targets are misleading

Alcohol may be a social lubricant but WHO and Public Health England say it can cause cancer. Last week the alcohol industry was accused of downplaying the link between alcohol and the increased risk of seven cancers: mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver, breast, rectum and colon. A research paper in Drug and Alcohol Review found that “responsible drinking” information funded by the alcohol industry tends to push the message that only heavy drinking increases the risk of these cancers. But the paper says the risk starts with low levels of drinking, even though the risk itself is low. So is the recommended number of alcohol units a week – 14 – too high?

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‘Something dark within me’: Cara Delevingne on her teenage depression

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Model and actor tells magazine her depression as a teenager left her feeling alienated and suicidal

The model and actor Cara Delevingne has said the depression she suffered as a teenager left her feeling alienated and suicidal.

Delevingne, one of the most recognisable faces in the world – she has fronted campaigns for Chanel and Burberry – spoke about how she was often mistaken for a boy when she was younger.

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Anonymous ‘honesty’ websites: safety experts tell parents to be vigilant

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Proliferation of anonymous feedback apps such as Sarahah is prompting concerns about cyberbullying among schoolchildren

Online safety experts have warned parents to be vigilant about teenagers’ use of anonymous feedback apps that allow users to leave unnamed comments about others, amid new concerns over cyberbullying.

As policymakers analyse the roots of teenage depression, in response to research published last week indicating that 24% of 14-year-old girls and 9% of boys are depressed, the role of social media has come under scrutiny, particularly the soaring popularity of “honesty” sites.

Related: Mental health data shows stark difference between girls and boys

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Mental health data shows stark difference between girls and boys

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

There is a discrepancy between emotional problems perceived by parents and the feelings expressed by their children

A snapshot view of NHS and other data on child and adolescent mental health reveals a stark difference along gender lines.

Related: Stress and social media fuel mental health crisis among girls

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I’m lucky. I can afford private mental health treatment. What about those who can’t? | Deborah Orr

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Experts know how to help me, and thousands of others. But the NHS just doesn’t have the money

Almost one in 10 14-year-old boys have symptoms of anxiety and depression. Which is awful. But almost a quarter of 14-year-old girls have such symptoms. That is such a sad and miserable statistic that one barely knows where to start. The worst thing of all is that it isn’t really surprising. There is so much in this world of ours for a teenage girl to feel worried and hopeless about – not least that the advertising of such sensitivity can easily attract the sneering epithet “snowflake”.

Related: Carrie Fisher showed the way. I want to acknowledge my own mental struggles | Deborah Orr

Related: I took my first antidepressant this week. The effects were frightening | Deborah Orr

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Do we really need therapy?

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Research suggests self-help exercises could be better for you than cognitive behavioural therapy

‘Researchers say you might as well be your own therapist,” the website Quartz proclaimed recently, in light of a new study that found a vanishingly small difference between seeing a cognitive behavioural therapist and just doing various self-help exercises on your own. Naturally, this sort of thing is liable to make therapists angry. (The correct response is to nod compassionately and ask: “Now, why do you think that makes you so angry?”) As Mark Brown noted in this paper, we should be wary of any finding that seems to suggest governments could save money by telling people to sort themselves out. But the self-help route has another limitation worth bearing in mind: what makes you so confident you even know what your problems really are?

Typically, self-help works like this: you’re troubled by some issue – procrastination, commitment-phobia, depression – so you seek a book to fix it, just as you’d seek a spanner or screwdriver if the legs on your kitchen table started wobbling. But minds aren’t like wobbly tables. There’s no reason to assume – actually, there’s much reason to doubt – that we’re in touch with our deepest anxieties and hang-ups. Rather than productivity techniques, maybe you need to face the fact that your job provides no meaning. Maybe accusing yourself of “commitment-phobia” is how you rationalise the subconscious awareness that your partner doesn’t love you. Maybe your depression is best understood not as the result of “automatic thoughts”, but as a sign that you’re living life to serve your parents’ agenda, instead of your own.

Related: Common sense isn’t always that sensible

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One in four girls have depression by the time they hit 14, study reveals

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Data from government-funded research prompts fresh questions about effect of social media and school stresses on young people’s mental health

One in four girls is clinically depressed by the time they turn 14, according to research that has sparked new fears that Britain’s teenagers are suffering from an epidemic of poor mental health.

A government-funded study has found that 24% of 14-year-old girls and 9% of boys the same age have depression. Their symptoms include feeling miserable, tired and lonely and hating themselves.

Related: Judge attacks mental health provision after approving care plan for suicidal girl

Related: Suicide is at record level among students at UK universities, study finds

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Alastair Campbell on madness and power: ‘I don’t mind that I’m psychologically flawed’

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

In the latest of his political diaries, Labour’s former spin doctor reveals how the drama of the Blair-Brown years almost cost him his sanity – and his marriage

Alastair Campbell’s latest volume of diaries brings to mind the sign that used to be a ubiquitous feature of the 1980s workplace: “You don’t have to be mad to work here … But it helps!” To my knowledge, no Westminster wag has ever hung one in No 10. From Campbell’s account of government during the transition from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown, however, it would not have been out of place.

As a mental health campaigner, Campbell has always been open about his ongoing episodes of depression. But the mental health issues his new diaries reveal go well beyond the occasional black dog, reaching a torrid climax in 2006 during a walk with his partner, Fiona Millar, across Hampstead Heath. The couple were in total crisis, constantly rowing, confronting what looked like the end of their 27-year-relationship. When another argument erupted as they walked, Campbell lost it and began punching himself in the face.

Related: ‘What do we do now?’: the New Labour landslide, 20 years on

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Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths, global disease study reveals

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Study compiling data from every country finds people are living longer but millions are eating wrong foods for their health

Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths around the world, according to the most comprehensive study ever carried out on the subject.

Millions of people are eating the wrong sorts of food for good health. Eating a diet that is low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and fish oils and high in salt raises the risk of an early death, according to the huge and ongoing study Global Burden of Disease.

Related: Factory farming in Asia creating global health risks, report warns

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Suicides peak in middle age. So why do we call it a young person’s tragedy? |

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

To really understand this phenomenon would mean abandoning our narrative of the race yet to be run, and looking directly at the dark side of British life

While we most often think of suicide as a tragedy of the young; it’s their parents’ generation who seem most at risk.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its annual summary of data on deaths by suicide in the UK recently – in the run-up to World Suicide Prevention Day – and the data shows that in 2016 people aged between 40 and 44 had the highest prevalence of suicide, a rate of 15.1 deaths per 100,000 people. Split by gender, the highest prevalence was for men aged 40 to 44 (23.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2016) and women between the ages 50 and 54 (6.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2016).

Related: The bold new fight to eradicate suicide

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

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