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It’s standing room only in English mental health facilities

In this post-modern era (and I never have been entirely sure what that means) it’s difficult to know, at least from the outside, what’s going on with mental health services in the NHS. In recent weeks I’ve written about a friend of mine who has lately been confined to a secure unit in North London…

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Conference alert: Psychological Therapies in the NHS

In 2007, the government issued its first ever commitment to enable universal access for anyone with depression and anxiety to NHS-funded psychological therapies. The then Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced funding for a national programme, which has since been well underway. So how has the government investment in the mental health of our nation fared?…

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Neurocognitive impairment or just bad memories?

Just recently, there have been a few occasions on which I’ve had cause to wonder whether I’m headed squarely for dementia – being absolutely certain I’d forgotten my keys and then being surprised to find I had remembered them after all (better than the other way round), and the increasingly common disappearance of a word…

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A crisis of character in the Western world

I have a friend who has recently been ‘committed’. In the psychiatric sense. To a mental hospital. Perhaps rather arrogantly, I didn’t imagine I would ever be in this position – how could anyone I would befriend ever be locked away for mental illness? I discovered this just a few days ago. She called from…

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A good kind of crossing boundaries

Those of you who are therapists and/or patients of therapists will likely be aware that, in the normal course of things, it’s not a great idea to cross boundaries – as in, slap someone without permission (violating a physical boundary) or engage in emotional blackmail (violating an emotional boundary). But this month, the Mental Health…

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The value of art in expanding our minds

  You may have noticed there’s a lot of emphasis on science these days, but a recent study by neurophysicians at the Memory Clinic at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto demonstrates the value, endurance and mysterious role of art in enriching human lives. The lead author, Dr Luis Fornazzari, reports the case of Mary Hecht,…

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Face-to-face beats Facebook, hands down

  You kind of know it in your heart, don’t you. Spending too much time communing with your computer can’t be good for you. But who would have guessed that, even when the communing involves engaging with a large number of like-minded people (and I’ve heard it said that the population of Facebook makes it…

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Focus on Ritalin

This week, the annual Care Quality Commission (CQC) Report on Controlled Drugs revealed that the number of prescriptions for Ritalin, the drug commonly used for treating children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has risen by 56% in the last five years. That is to say, in 2007 GPs in England wrote 420,000 prescriptions for…

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