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Zero suicide: zero insight

A healthcare conference will take place shortly to discuss an aspiration to achieve zero suicide (1). Of course no one would deny that this is a worthy aim. The programme reminds us that: The Prime Minister has announced £2 million in funding for the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) over the next 2 years. The funding …

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Mental health and discrimination at work

According to Ruby Wax, (entertainer and mental health campaigner): If you become mentally ill, don’t – whatever you do – tell your boss (1). I know what she means but we need to take a closer look at what the Law says about discrimination at work. I am basing this post on what I have …

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IAPT Manual, 2018: Newspeak confronts reality

The IAPT Manual, 2018: The new IAPT Manual from NHS England (1) presents the Newspeak version of the expanding Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service. Duplicity is inevitable when non-medical interventions are forced to present themselves as medical. Otherwise, they would presumably not be funded as part of the National Health Service. Medical terminology …

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Biomedical chimeras

The UK Department of Health and Social Care has funded King’s College, London, to develop a ‘bioresource’ of 40,000 people who have (or have been in the past) diagnosed with an anxiety or depressive disorder (1). These diagnoses apparently apply to one quarter to one third of the entire population. One purpose of the project …

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Co-production: Who is co-producing what?

MIND recently commissioned a report from NEF (the New Economics Foundation) reviewing the evidence on co-production in ‘mental health’ (1). The NEF’s principles cannot be faulted. Co-production is about being equal partners in designing and delivering services, working in reciprocal relationships with professionals, and removing the distinction between professionals and recipients. They contrast this approach …

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At last – the final solution for all mental health problems!

The solution is apparently simple and parsimonious and universally applicable.1 At first glance, the proposed new therapy has much in its favour. It seems to be a form of facilitated problem-solving. The therapist prompts a person to talk about their problem, to clarify their goals, and to expand their awareness of what might be causing it. It …

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The fantastic aim of preventing ‘mental health problems’

The Mental Health Foundation(MHF) believesthat mental health problems are preventable.1 What is a mental health problem? In a summary of ‘fundamental facts’, the MHF adopts the discourse of symptoms, disorders, and diseases.2 In an earlier MHF document3, an inquiry into the long-term future of mental health services, one would have expected to find a more considered …

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Addiction to medicalisation

The intention to include “gaming disorder” in the draft revision of the WHO 11th International Classification of Diseases has created quite a furore from punters, the games industry, and commentators. Apparently, 1%-6% of adolescents and young people may be “afflicted” by gaming addiction. According to a BBC report1, Dr Richard Graham of the Nightingale Hospital (a …

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A chip off the old block

A child who has ‘made it’ in the world might want to forget the parents who no longer match its self-image, even demonstrating a blind spot about its heredity. There is, however, nothing secretive about the fact that clinical psychology was born out of an alliance of convenience with an older and more established profession. …

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Could do better!

The role of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is to handle complaints that have not been satisfactorily resolved by the NHS itself. On 19th March 2018 it issued a report giving illustrative examples with lessons for how mental health services could do better: It is our role to ensure NHS organisations learn from these …

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IAPT for physical health conditions: the way forward?

NHS news on the 14 May 20181 is certainly arresting. It announced early results from a Cambridgeshire and Peterborough trial of an IAPT service “to integrate mental and physical treatments.” For people with diabetes, cardiovascular or respiratory illnesses there was a three-quarters reduction in inpatient hospital attendance and a two-thirds drop in Accident and Emergency admissions. …

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The new NICE Guidelines on ‘Depression’.

NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, is about to publish new guidelines on the ‘treatment of depression’. A consultation paper on the proposals has already been sent out. Publication, intended for January 2018, has been postponed following criticism by service-user organisations and politicians1,2. The controversy this update has generated illustrates very well …

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The Survivor Researcher Network (SRN)

The National Survivor User Network (NSUN), a charity, is currently hosting a survivor researcher network (SRN) comprised of prominent academics and service user consultants who have been active in researching on or collaborating with service users. It also aims to foster the development of service user-led studies. Quite understandably, it is helpful to form a …

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Statutory regulation of practitioner psychologists

The UK Department of Health recently sent out a consultation document called Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation (DoH, 2017), and invited interested parties to complete a questionnaire to comment on proposed changes to regulatory procedures for all the health professions. It has yet to publish its recommendations. This blog explores what statutory regulation can achieve, if …

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The launch of the Power, Threat, Meaning Framework

I have been receiving emails from Time to Change telling me it’s O.K. to talk about mental health wherever I am. That’s a relief because I want to give a brief response to the launch of the Power, Threat, Meaning Framework (PTMF) which I attended in January 2018 in London. It’s the result of several …

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What is the concept of mental health?

This is a simple question but the answer is far from clear. If the question refers to mental ill-health (rather than health), most people would probably take it to mean being stressed, anxious, depressed, or to be suffering from a ‘psychiatric disorder’. Logically, to be mentally healthy should mean the opposite of being mentally unhealthy, …

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The mental health conspiracy

Why a new blog on mental health? I have spent my career working as a mental health professional and have been disappointed that the public understanding of what is at stake has changed so little. Governments attempt to grapple with rising evidence of “mental ill-health” but do so with the primitive idea that the problem …

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