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Jega Aravinthan on the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill

19 Sep, 12 | by BMJ Group

“Those that the gods would destroy they first make mad” is a quotation misattributed to Eupirides and is a historical example of the negative connotations and stigma experienced by individuals with mental health problems. These have been perpetuated through the centuries and continue to be enshrined in current UK legislation, which restricts the ability of individuals with mental health problems to undertake certain activities. This includes ineligibility for jury service if the individual is receiving treatment for their mental health (e.g. antidepressant medication or psychological counselling), and removal of a company director or a member of parliament from their position if they are detained for more than six months under the Mental Health Act. This is clearly discriminatory as there are no equivalent provisions for those suffering from incapacitating physical health conditions. The Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill aims to repeal these outdated pieces of legislation and help reduce the stigma and discrimination that is pervasive in the lives of many individuals with mental health problems. more…

Chris Naylor: Effective chronic care means recognising the importance of mental health

9 Feb, 12 | by BMJ Group

The interaction between physical and mental health has been attracting increasing attention across the political spectrum. Last year, the government recognised the importance of the issue with its mental health strategy “No health without mental health.” And more recently, Andy Burnham chose integration of mental and physical health care as the subject of his first major speech since returning to the health portfolio. more…

Guy Rughani: Thou Art therapeutic

15 Jun, 11 | by BMJ

Guy Rughani“My parents called the police and had me sectioned. I thought: ‘I’m going to paint.’”

David is a participant in “Thou Art,” a project which explores the effects of community-based art therapies on the wellbeing of mental health patients. Led by Olivia Sagan of the University of the Arts London, the project is a collaboration with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Arts Council England, and the South London and Maudsley Charitable Trust. On Friday 10 June at London’s Tate Modern, the group screened a documentary of selected clips from the project, with one clear message: Art is therapeutic. more…

Retelling the asylums. Harriet Vickers on “The Knitting Circle”

2 Mar, 11 | by BMJ Group

Harriet Vickers

Years of experiences and memories have gone into Julie McNamara’s play The Knitting Circle. Examining the long stay hospitals of the 80s and 90s, through the lives of patients and healthcare workers who inhabited them, the piece takes us through the transition from institution to community care. McNamara is still working on the play, it’s “in progress,” but last week the doors of the Soho Theatre studio were opened up, for three nights, to air the piece so far. more…

Vidhya Alakeson on parity for US mental health patients

9 Oct, 08 | by BMJ Group

Buried in last week’s legislation to bail out Wall Street was a small but important victory for healthcare in America. At the same time as passing a $700 billion rescue package for the financial sector last Friday, the US House of Representatives also passed a bill on mental health parity. Rumour has it that parity was added to the bail-out bill as a sweetener for reluctant House members. more…

Birte Twisselmann: It’s good to talk

8 Oct, 08 | by BMJ

Birte Twisselmann Cracking up, to be broadcast this coming Sunday on BBC2, will be the second television programme to be broadcast in the context of the BBC’s Headroom campaign for mental health and wellbeing (bbc.co.uk/headroom). I had a preview at a screening organised by the Royal Society of Medicine. The documentary provided a moving insight into journalist and former government spin doctor Alastair Campbell’s depressive breakdown in 1986, and subsequent recovery. more…

Bruno Rushforth: The jailer

29 Sep, 08 | by BMJ Group

Bruno Rushforth Who’d be a psychiatrist? The emotional burden of caring for patients presenting in real distress; trying to negotiate a way forward when dealing with someone with a skewed sense of reality; potentially life and death risk assessments on a daily basis; general lampooning from medical colleagues… No wonder psychiatry’s not such a popular choice among UK medical graduates. more…

Aliya Razaaq on learning about dementia

25 Sep, 08 | by BMJ Group

Baroness Warnock, one of Britain’s leading ethical experts recently talked of the “right to die” of patients with dementia. She called for more research into the illness, in order to establish whether patients with dementia were mentally competent. Thus when they reached a certain point in their illness, they could make a decision of whether they wanted to be “helped to die.” more…

Julian Sheather: Is Prozac destroying the arts?

23 Jun, 08 | by BMJ

Julian SheatherDo art and misery share a bed? Although we might expect art to entertain and even, at a push, to improve its audience, artists themselves are surely supposed to suffer. It is part of the job spec. more…

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