Displaying items by tag: Mental Health
'Toxic culture' of abuse at NHS hospital
An undercover reporter worked inside the Edenfield Centre caring for people held under the Mental Health Act who are at serious risk of harming themselves or others. With a hidden camera, he filmed staff swearing at patients, taunting and mocking them in vulnerable situations - when they were undressing - and joking about their self-harm. Patients were being unnecessarily restrained as well as being slapped or pinched by staff on some occasions. Some female staff acted in a sexualised way towards male patients. Ten patients were being held in small seclusion rooms, designed for short-term isolation to prevent immediate harm, for days, weeks or even months, with only brief breaks. Patient observations, a crucial safety measure, were being regularly missed, and records falsified. Seven members of staff were seen sleeping on shift. A consultant psychiatrist said the footage showed a ‘toxic culture’ among staff of ‘corruption, perversion, aggression, hostility, and lack of boundaries’, which were undermining patient recovery.
Global: break the chains
Lockdown, confinement, violence, and isolation is the daily reality for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities around the world. Many are locked in sheds, cages, or tethered to trees and are forced to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate in the same tiny area, sometimes for years at a time. Why? Simply because they have a psychosocial disability (mental health condition). This inhumane practice called ‘shackling’ occurs because of the widespread stigma surrounding mental health, and a lack of access to adequate support services, both for those with disabilities and for their families. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children - some as young as ten - have been shackled at least once in their lives in over sixty countries. In 2020 #BreakTheChains published a ground-breaking report exposing the global scale of chaining, and in Kenya, achieved a ruling which found that this practice was inhumane and held the people responsible to account.
Lessons from university student deaths
A second-year history student at Cambridge University died in March 2022, three other students died in May, and another in June. The history student was ‘on course to finish as one of the most accomplished students in his year’. The coroner said there was ‘absolutely no indication that he was struggling’. He had had no contact with college counselling services, and his GP confirmed there were no mental health issues. Prof Graham Virgo said that after the fourth death they approached the NHS and public health agencies to investigate and review what had happened and what lessons could be learned. He said, ‘There was no common cause behind these student deaths, but after reflecting on the review, we have considered various aspects of our practice and implemented training in suicide prevention.’ Across the UK there is an increase in the number of young adults experiencing mental ill health. Pray for the bereaved families.
Autistic man ‘loneliest in the hospital'
A BBC investigation found that 100 people with learning disabilities have been held in specialist hospitals for twenty years or more, including Tony Hickmott whose parents are fighting to get him rehoused in the community. A support worker at the hospital said he was the loneliest man there. He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2001 and expected to be treated for nine months and then return home. He was declared fit for discharge by psychiatrists in 2013 but at the age of 44 Tony is still waiting for a home to be found with the level of care for his special needs. In 2015, the Government promised ‘homes not hospitals’ in its Transforming Care programme but repeatedly misses targets to close hospitals with excessive restraint, overuse of medication, lack of qualified, competent staff and violence on many wards. Pray for people to be moved close to home, back in their community with the right care and independence.
Mental health deaths
The number of deaths of people treated under the Mental Health Act in England rose during the coronavirus pandemic. The Care Quality Commission's findings come amid concerns over staff shortages in psychiatric units. 490 people died while detained under the act in the year to March 2021, 324 of them for non-Covid reasons. The average overall figure between 2012 and 2019 was 273. Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt warned that shortages of doctors and nurses were now compromising patient safety ‘in every part of the NHS’. Mr Hunt, who now chairs the Commons health and social care committee, said ‘We still put far too many people into secure accommodation when they haven't committed any crime, just because it's the only option left.’
Yemen: rising severe mental health problems
Now in its seventh year, the crisis in Yemen is no longer headline news. But the conflict continues to have a devastating impact on people’s wellbeing, and on their mental health in particular. In Hajjah, Doctors Without Borders teams have found a high need for mental health services. The range of conditions that they treat is very large; there are people suffering from anxiety and insomnia, psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. They regularly see patients following suicide attempts: such an attempt might be provoked by a variety of circumstances. Severe symptoms of psychosis can manifest as auditory hallucinations which tell the patient to hurt him or herself, or a patient might be suffering from severe depression. Lack of awareness leads to stigma, discrimination, and segregation, and this leads to people hiding their conditions. Yemen’s conflict has also reduced access to healthcare, education, and food, as well as restricting freedom of movement.
Church schools help pupils with mental health issues
Oxford Diocese has launched a contemplative toolkit in response to the growing mental health crisis among young people. It is a time of daily reflection founded on ancient pathways and practices of meditation and prayer that have resourced, benefited, and healed Christians for generations. The increase in the use of digital technology and social media is placing young people in danger of becoming less connected with their families and communities and leads to increased mental health issues as self-worth is measured against online profile popularity. A quarter of a million children struggle with their mental health as a result of the pandemic. When the whole of education seems to be about targets, results and pressure, this toolkit gives students the chance just to be, rather than do. It complements the Prayer Spaces in Schools programme, enabling prayer and reflection into school life for the year. It also enables pupils to run the sessions themselves and share reflections with their peers.
Warning of ‘tsunami’ of school-anxiety cases
There are no official data on absence due to school anxiety. Many affected pupils are labelled truants, but support groups are being flooded with calls. An education lawyer says the pandemic has made an unprecedented crisis even worse. Children with school anxiety may experience physical symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea and headaches before school or have immobilising anxiety, panic attacks or something that seems like a tantrum. They may even threaten to harm themselves if parents make them go to school, yet their parents can be threatened with fines and court action. Fran Morgan helps families with this problem and said it is not about refusal, a child that won't do something: It is about a child that physically can't. Parent groups are warning of a ‘tsunami’ of crippling school-anxiety cases leading to debilitating absence from education. The education department said it was investing £17m in school mental health.
The Good Childhood Report
The Children’s Society said modern life continues to erode young people’s happiness and children deserve drastic changes. 306,000 10- to 15-year-olds are unhappy with their lives: in 2010 it was 173,000. ¼ million children did not cope with changes during the pandemic. 1 in 7 girls and 1 in 8 boys are unhappy with their looks, and 1 in 9 children are unhappy with school. Society is tragically failing our children. At school they are pressurised to wear make-up and have the right figure. Children unhappy with their lives at 14 are most likely to have mental health issues by age 17, including self-harm and suicide attempts. Pray for those suffering with mental health issues to come up out of the pit into the light of life.
Covid: young people’s mental health
Covid-related pupil absence in England has hit a new high since students returned to school in March. Over 640,000 English pupils were not in school due to Covid last week; only 62,000 were confirmed or suspected Covid cases. Gavin Williamson plans to replace the present bubble system with a new increased testing regime so that pupils would only be sent home if they tested positive. Also the mental health impact of the pandemic could have lasting repercussions for young people leaving education to take their first steps on the career ladder, with over one in four 18- to 24-year-olds believing poor mental health will affect their ability to find a job. Research found that while the UK’s public health crisis has eased and the economy is recovering, over 20% of that age group are still reporting poor mental health. Pray for pupils in higher education to receive proactive support to thrive before any further damage is done.