Men need a drink to open up? What a dangerously self-fulfilling belief| Tom Usher

With suicide such a problem among young men, it’s time to dismantle the stereotype that men must cling to our pints like torches in the labyrinthø

Let’s be honest with each other, lads – and by lads I mean everyone who is reading this article, regardless of gender but still being called a lad by me, because I’m setting up a question in the next sentence that is primarily aimed at a gender often referred to in the UK as “lads”. How many times do you hang out with your mates in a group when you’re not drinking?

Well there’s midweek five-a-side isn’t there, with all the seething heat of competition, thinly veiled ignominy of loss and anywhere between eight and 16 scything, ligament-jarring tackles a game that it brings. Or there’s just hanging out playing PlayStation, with all the seething heat of competition, thinly veiled ignominy of loss and so on and so forth.

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Mental health care of people in prison | Letters

The prison and courts bill has its second reading in parliament tomorow. For the first time, the purpose of prisons will be enshrined in law. We support the Royal College of Psychiatrists in urging the government to ensure prisons meet the mental and physical health needs of prisoners. Almost a quarter of the prison population suffers from personality disorders, bipolar disorder or depression. Prisoners will eventually return to the community. When they are released, any untreated mental illness is released with them. Prisons must be clearly responsible for tackling the mental disorders, which if left untreated, could cause prisoners to reoffend. The prison and courts bill is an opportunity to prevent prison suicide, reduce reoffending and foster rehabilitation. We urge the government not to waste it.
Norman Lamb MP Lib Dem health lead, Richard Burgon MP Shadow secretary of state for Justice, Dan Poulter MP Former health minister (Conservative), Kate Green MP Vice-chair, all-party parliamentary group on penal affairs (Labour), Johnny Mercer MP Vice-chair, APPG on mental health (Conservative)

• There are several reasons which couldhelp the governmentto explain why England and Wales have the highest imprisonment rate in western Europe (Report, 15 March). There is shocking deprivation in many cities and ever-rising homelessness. The single adult unemployment benefit is £73.10 a week; it has reduced in value since 1979 and has not been increased since April 2015. That £73.10 a week is incapable of providing a healthy diet and other necessities for a woman during the development of a child in her womb. Poor maternal nutrition and low birth weight have, since 1972, been called he strongest predictor of poor learning ability, school performance, behavioral disorders and crime by the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty

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Don’t stick your head in the sand – how to prepare for old age

As we live longer, the numbers of people needing care is also soaring. So what help can those trying to access a creaking, cash-starved system expect?

When I was 16, I spent two months in Italy with my maternal grandparents – then both 88. My grandmother had fallen over some months previously and was bedridden, but my grandfather was still active, physically and mentally; we would regularly play Scopa – an Italian card game – together. His memory rendered him unbeatable.

The family would take it in turns to attend to my grandmother; the more senior adults doing the more serious jobs such as cleaning her, with me doing the softer jobs: combing her hair, giving her a manicure, applying lip salve. When she was very sick, my young cousins and I took it in turns to do the nights. The community nurse, Sabino, visited daily, taking coffee with us in between administering medications. Thirty years later, we are still friends with him. Both grandparents died aged 89, cared for almost exclusively at home (at the very end, my grandfather went to hospital) and by the family.

Related: Paying for care at home: how to negotiate the minefield

Get cancer and your care is paid for. Get dementia and it’s a different story

There are now more than nine million carers in England looking after family members

Related: English social care system for elderly facing ‘complete collapse’

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Male construction workers at greatest risk of suicide, study finds

Figures for deaths in England suggest highest risk among women is for those employed in culture, media and sport

Men working in the construction industry and women employed in culture, media and sport, healthcare and primary school teaching are at the highest risk of suicide, official figures for England suggest.


Related: Strong link between disadvantage and suicide, says Samaritans

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How can I ever work again after the trauma of whistleblowing?

I felt I had no choice but to expose fraud at work, but was bullied and ignored. Now I have lost all hope in work

Twice a week we publish problems that will feature in a forthcoming Dear Jeremy advice column in the Saturday Guardian so that readers can offer their own advice and suggestions. We then print the best of your comments alongside Jeremy’s own insights.

Six years ago I was a whistleblower at my workplace. I worked there for three years, but from my first day I noticed daily cover-ups, misuse of position and daily cash fraud.

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Money earmarked for mental health diverted to balance NHS books

Letter from finance chief Paul Baumann says contingency of £800m will be used to offset hospital overspends

Ministers have been accused of breaking their promises on mental health after £800m earmarked to improve services was diverted to shore up hospitals’ finances.

A leading mental health charity and the Labour party said redirecting the money would hit patient care and hinder the drive, backed by Theresa May, to improve care for people with serious mental health problems.

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Have you been affected by combat stress?

The case of Marine A has highlighted how stress can affect soldiers on active duty. If you or anyone you know has been affected by PTSD or mental health issues, we’d like to hear from you. Share your experiences

In 2011 the British army were deployed in two major conflicts, Iraq and Afghanistan. The intense fighting experienced by soldiers on the frontline in places like Helmand province in Afghanistan were well-documented. However the psychological impact of troops returning time and time again to the frontline is less well known.

Though Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been understood as a condition of war for a longtime, it can often go under-reported. Charities such as The Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and Combat Stress have gone a long way towards supporting soldiers with PTSD and other mental health issues, however the condition can still carry a stigma, which may prevent those on active duty and even soldiers who have retired, from reporting it.

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Noise-cancelling headphones: the secret survival tool for modern life

Headphones that block out sound were first invented for airplane pilots on long flights and have for some become a vital part of daily life

There’s one thing other than my wallet and my travel card I wouldn’t be without in a big city, and it’s my headphones. But I don’t actually listen to music that much: I just activate the noise-cancelling feature, and leave it at that.

No sound plays into my ears – instead a quiet fills my head, as if the sounds of the world have been turned down. Until I got noise-cancelling headphones, I had no idea how loud the city always was, and just how hungry I’d been for silence.

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City-dwellers are prone to depression – are high-rises to blame?

Residents of high-rise blocks tend to suffer from more stress, mental health difficulties and neurosis

Prof Colin Ellard was walking past the rows of new-build towers that dominate the west of central Toronto when he had a sudden realisation. “I was struck by how dark, sombre and sad these new urban canyons made me feel,” he says.

Ellard, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo in Canada who studies the impact of places on the brain and body, wanted to know why he felt like that – and if others felt the same.

Related: Can prefab homes solve UK’s housing crisis?

Related: London’s changing skyline: planned tall buildings ‘almost double in two years’

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I hate restraining mental health patients but often it’s the only option

Sarah needed medication but could not see that she was unwell. Restraint in her case was planned and not some awful mistake

People imagine mental health nurses like me as kind and gentle, as mother figures in uniform. What they don’t see is the harm we do to our patients: we lock them away, we restrain them and we take away their freedom. We do this in line with the law and we firmly believe we are doing the right thing. We are not “nice”, but when I look at my colleagues, I see strong, selfless, determined heroes.

I wish I could offer service users something better: a peaceful outdoor space, their own room, something less clinical than easy wipe armchairs. Most of them do not even agree that they are unwell and this deeply felt sense of injustice permeates the ward.

Related: End humiliating restraint of mentally ill people, say charities

Related: We need safe, compassionate mental health care | Norman Lamb

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TV dramas should not portray suicide methods, say MPs

Select committee also calls for news media to stop raising awareness of methods, which puts vulnerable people at risk

Greater restrictions should be placed on the portrayal of suicide in TV dramas to prevent encouraging copycats, say MPs.

In a report on the government’s suicide prevention strategy, the House of Commons health select committee, chaired by the Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, raises fears that irresponsible media coverage has a damaging effect on vulnerable people.

Related: After my suicide crisis I set up a centre to give others a safety net | Joy Hibbins

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Marian ‘Billy’ Lindkvist obituary

Creator of the Sesame approach to drama and movement in therapy

Marian “Billy” Lindkvist, who has died aged 97, was a pioneer in the use of drama and movement in therapy. The method she created, known as the Sesame approach, involves the use of touch, story enactment, improvisation and non-verbal communication to help people with various cognitive and mental health conditions.

Developed by Billy in the 1960s in conjunction with sympathetic actors and health professionals, Sesame acquired its own institute in 1971, responsible over the years for training hundreds of people in its disciplines, which have been successfully taken into hospitals, day centres and community settings. Billy was for many years director of the Sesame Institute in London, as well as a teacher on its course, which evolved into the MA in drama and movement therapy currently taught at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

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Many young men feel hopeless – is it a surprise they turn to gambling? | Harrison Jones

With such poor prospects in jobs, housing and savings, it’s little wonder young men turn to a heavily advertised, supposedly masculine form of escape

Men of my age often feel trapped between one group of people telling us to “man up” and another suggesting that our plight is less grave than that of others. Indeed, many will probably shrug when they learn that a new study suggests that a quarter of men between 18 and 24 have a gambling problem. Yet it does not take a genius to see a link between gambling and millennial males’ current place in society. We are a group lacking hope – and gambling is just one symptom.

My demographic is gambling for a number of reasons – some of them innocent – but economics and mental health are crucial. Of course, the cause of minority groups are generally more pressing than that of millennial men – we should not feel uneasy about asking not to be forgotten, while advocating other progressive issues. It is coherent to champion both.

16% of young men think that no matter how hard they try, their life will amount to nothing

Related: Revealed: the 30-year economic betrayal dragging down Generation Y’s income

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