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.
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.
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.
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.
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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
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
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.
At Suicide Crisis we build personal connections so people trust us when they need to call someone at 3am
It took just minutes for a deeply traumatic experience in March 2012 to fracture my life. I experienced such terror during those moments that I couldn’t sit with my back to a door for weeks. I was convinced that someone would come in and harm me. The event replayed constantly in my mind. I couldn’t escape. I was in the grip of severe post-traumatic stress disorder and within days I was at the point of suicide.
I called my out of hours GP and was referred to a mental health crisis and home treatment team, but I found it hard to connect with the number of different people involved in my care. Their methods were very practical. They would tell me to distract myself when I felt suicidal. But what I wanted was emotional support from a team who knew and understood me as an individual. The clinical distance of psychiatric staff left me feeling detached and alone
Related: Losing my husband inspired me to tackle farming’s suicide problem
One of our clients says he carries us in his pocket. He feels that we are always with him
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Retailer to host fortnightly ‘Frazzled Cafes’ in 11 stores at which people can share their stories
Marks & Spencer is to host mental health drop-ins in its store cafes as part of an initiative designed to soothe stressed shoppers.
The Frazzled Cafe project is fronted by the comedian and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax. The fortnightly sessions, which will be hosted by trained volunteers in restaurants that have closed for the day, will initially be held in 11 stores with more locations to be added in the coming months. The branches taking part include three in London as well as outlets in Nottingham, Leeds and Newcastle.
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There’s a furore over how much he’s played in his first few weeks as president. But evidence shows that being outdoors could be the best way for him to stay calm and sane
Scrolling through Twitter last night, I wondered why I felt so well. Not smug, just mystified by a mental and physical glow that made me strangely impervious to the toxic aspects of social media.
Related: Warning: living in a city could seriously damage your health | Florence Williams
Sergeant and two detention officers found not guilty over death of Orchard after he was restrained at Exeter police station
Three Devon and Cornwall police staff have been cleared by a jury at Bristol crown court of the manslaughter of a man with mental health issues who collapsed while in custody after a heavy webbing belt was placed around his face.
Thomas Orchard suffered a cardiac arrest and brain damage after the belt was held across his face for more than five minutes.
Related: ‘He was really really let down’: Thomas Orchard’s family speak out
The invisible nature of mental health problems underlies the discrimination many people face – and makes it easier to cut their benefits
People with mental health issues are being expected to “prove it” as never before. Whether, as individuals, being assessed for disability benefits or, collectively, campaigning for services and adequate welfare provision, the pressure to demonstrate genuine need, to prove that one is “really disabled”, to quote the Tory MP George Freeman, is greater than ever.
The invisible nature of mental health problems, the fact that they do not show up on an x-ray, that no blood test can diagnose depression, underlies much of the discrimination people with mental health issues face. Humans are strongly predisposed to believe in what they can see. For many people, it is hard to accept that severe anxiety, for example, might incapacitate someone from leaving their house as genuinely as if they were suffering from a physical paralysis. The fact that the problem cannot be seen makes it easier to dismiss. They could, if they really wanted to; they’re just not trying hard enough; everyone gets stressed sometimes, and so on. Of course, the help a person with anxiety needs to enable them to leave the house will be different from that of a person with a physical disability, but that doesn’t make the need any less real.
Regulator concerned for safety of patients at risk of suicide or self-harm at Priory hospital, which treated stars including Amy Winehouse
A private mental healthcare clinic that treated celebrity patients such as Lily Allen, Johnny Depp and Amy Winehouse has been ordered to make improvements amid concerns for the safety of patients at risk of suicide or self-harm.
The Priory hospital is based in a Grade II-listed building in Roehampton, south-west London.
Related: Child deaths in Priory hospitals provoke calls to cancel NHS contract
Related: US-owned Acadia Healthcare buys the Priory for £1.28bn
Family of man with mental illness who died after being restrained in custody say situation was ‘clearly a medical crisis, not a criminal one’
The ordeal began for Thomas Orchard’s mother, Alison, as she strolled beside a river in Devon in October 2012. She took a call from her son’s social worker saying he had missed an appointment for a mental health assessment.
Related: Thomas Orchard death: police cleared of manslaughter
Superficially the UK leads the world on disability rights, but colossal cuts are undermining the progress made over the last few decades
On Monday, disabled representatives from disability organisations across England, Scotland and Wales presented reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva. It is now eight years since the UK ratified the UNCRPD with cross-party support and this is the committee’s first full examination of the UK’s performance.
So how are we doing? The government is fond of claiming that the UK is a “world leader” on disability rights. Superficially, this claim remains fairly accurate. We have the most comprehensive and proactive equality law anywhere in the world; social care legislation and practice that embodies the principle of choice and control; a social security system that claims to recognise the extra costs of disability; and law and regulations to advance accessibility. It is important to remind ourselves of what disabled people have achieved over the past 30-40 years of disability rights activism, as we have charted our journey from objects of care and charity to becoming active, contributing citizens. But any assessment of progress cannot be confined solely to what we now have, or where we were in the past. And judging by the UK’s direction of travel, the government’s claim of world leadership quickly unravels: we are seeing big cuts to services and watering down of rights and opportunities of disabled people.