Gay activist claims she was spiritually abused by evangelical churches

Jayne Ozanne to warn C of E general synod over high rate of suicide, depression and self-harm among LGBTI Christians

A leading gay activist in the Church of England who says she endured “spiritual abuse” because of her sexuality is urging the church to ensure the safety of LGBTI Christians.

Jayne Ozanne, whose experience in a charismatic evangelical church led to a breakdown, has warned that the high rate of suicide, self-harm and depression among LGBTI Christians will continue unabated unless spiritual abuse is tackled.

Related: Most C of E bishops scared to publicly back gay clergy, says vicar

Related: Church of England in turmoil as synod rejects report on same-sex relationships

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Grenfell wasn’t an isolated tragedy. Poverty destroys many lives in Britain | Kamran Ahmed

Working as a junior psychiatrist, I saw first-hand how policies that fail to protect the disadvantaged lead to ill-health, stress and reduced life expectancy

A tragedy as gut-wrenching as Grenfell Tower has scarcely been seen during peace time in the UK. The negligence and cruelty of the decisions that caused it have sparked justifiable outrage. Concerns raised by residents were ignored and there are allegations that dangerous materials were used to cut costs and make the building look nice for the rich folk. People understandably take to the streets to protest and seek justice.

Related: The Grenfell Tower tragedy should see off austerity. But don’t hold your breath | Patrick Butler

Poverty is a cause and consequence of accidents and ill-health

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For students, the Queen’s speech should be a call to action | Malia Bouattia

On mental health, EU citizens’ rights and counter-extremism, there is an opportunity for student campaigners to make a real difference

The Queen’s speech was a dream come true for no one – except perhaps foxes, who will be relieved that there was no further mention of hunting. But for students, it was a mixed bag.

The speech was light on detail and heavy on Brexit. For the 84% of voting students who were opposed to leaving the EU, the future it outlined is exactly what we didn’t want. But there were silver linings: the announcement of plans to abolish letting agent fees and to bring forward legislation protecting victims of domestic violence, for instance. There are also plans to tackle the gender pay gap.

Related: NUS president Malia Bouattia: ‘Political activists are being demonised’

Related: Three steps to building a successful student campaign

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NHS and police failings led to brutal murder of grandmother – report

Nicola Edgington, who had previously murdered her own mother, killed Sally Hodkin after series of failings

A series of failings by the NHS and police led to a psychiatric patient brutally murdering a grandmother, a report has concluded.

Nicola Edgington almost decapitated Sally Hodkin, 58, with a butcher’s knife in Bexleyheath, south-east London, in 2011, six years after killing her own mother.

Related: Police ‘missed chance to carry out checks on woman who went on to kill’

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What I wish I could tell my boss: ‘You saved my life when I was suicidal’

The teacher: I am now a manager myself, and I never forget that a boss has the ability to change lives

To say I was feeling low would be an understatement. A dramatic and unforeseen turn of events transformed my happy life into a trauma overnight. Depression felt like my life was crumbling, the ground ripped from beneath my feet.

In desperate need for stability I threw myself into work with a new-found intensity. I was often the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night. Work gave me purpose, but my sense of self became entwined in work – perhaps it wasn’t healthy, but pride in my work boosted my sense of worth and esteem.

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Why I won’t be the Lib Dems’ next leader | Norman Lamb

Some voices in the party say I want a hard Brexit. I don’t – what I want is an end to the gross inequality that has made me angrier than ever

Liberal Democrats are faced with electing a new leader after Tim Farron’s resignation last week. I have come to the conclusion that I will not be putting myself forward as a candidate for that vacancy. That might seem strange given the support and encouragement I have received from party members – indeed, from many people outside the Lib Dems.

Related: Tim Farron quits as Lib Dem leader

Related: Shunting people with mental illness across the country is utterly inhumane

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Elevated rate of autism symptoms found in children with Tourette syndrome

Around one in five children with Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements and vocalizations, met criteria for autism in a study headed by UC San Francisco. But this prevalence may be more a reflection of similarity in symptoms than actual autism, according to the study’s researchers.

Researchers tested 535 children and adults with Tourette’s for autism, using a self-reporting test called the Social Responsiveness Scale. Among the 294 children tested, 22.8 percent reached the cutoff for autism, versus 8.7 percent of the 241 adults. In contrast, autism is estimated to affect between 0.3 and 2.9 percent of the general population, according to studies cited in the paper.

The Social Responsiveness Scale Second Edition is a 65-item quantitative measure of autism symptoms that assesses the ability to engage in “emotionally appropriate reciprocal social interactions.” It evaluates levels of social awareness, social cognition, social communication, social motivation, and restrictive interests and repetitive behavior. Its threshold for autism compares favorably with the diagnostic gold standard, the Autism Diagnostic Interview, the researchers noted.

The study is publishing on June 22, 2017, in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

OCD, ADHD Frequent Co-Occurrences

The researchers wanted to examine autism symptoms in patients with Tourette’s, including those whose diagnosis was coupled with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conditions that frequently co-occur. Tourette’s, OCD and ADHD have been shown to share common symptoms and genetic relationships in a recent study by the same researchers.

“Assessing autism symptom patterns in a large Tourette’s sample may be helpful in determining whether some of this overlap is due to symptoms found in both disorders, rather than an overlapping etiology,” said first author Sabrina Darrow, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at UCSF.

“Our results suggest that although autism diagnoses were higher in individuals with Tourette’s, some of the increase may be due to autism-like symptoms, especially repetitive behaviors that are more strongly related to obsessive-compulsive disorder.”

The researchers found that the highest scores on the Social Responsiveness Scale, which met autism criteria, were found in participants with Tourette’s and either OCD or ADHD. Among those with Tourette’s who met the cutoff for autism, 83 percent also met criteria for OCD, the researchers found, noting that high scores were especially evident in the part of the autism test that measures restrictive interests and repetitive behavior.

Wide Gulf Between Adults, Kids with Autism Diagnosis.

A potentially compelling argument against the surprisingly high rates of autism found in this sample was the wide discrepancy between children and adults who met the diagnostic criteria. Tourette’s is usually diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 9; symptoms most often peak in the early teens and start to abate in the early twenties, with continued improvement in early adulthood.

“Children were more than twice as likely to meet the cutoff than adults, indicating that as tics recede, so do symptoms of autism. In contrast, autism is usually lifelong,” said Darrow.

“Previous studies have shown that children with mood and anxiety disorders also have higher rates of autism symptoms, based on the Social Responsiveness Scale,” said senior author Carol Mathews, MD, who did the research while a professor of psychiatry at UCSF. She currently is adjunct professor of psychiatry at UCSF and professor of psychiatry at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Psychiatric Impairment Possible Factor in Diagnosis

“This suggests that some of the increase may reflect underlying psychiatric impairment rather than being specific for autism. Some of the children in the study probably have autism, others have symptoms that mimic autism, but are not really due to autism. These symptoms are called phenocopies.”

Tourette’s affects between one and 10 in 1,000 children according to the National Institutes of Health. Like autism, it is significantly more prevalent in males. Common tics include repetitive throat clearing, blinking or grimacing. Most people do not require medication to suppress their symptoms, but treatment may be recommended for co-occurring ADHD and OCD.

 

My friend’s suicide, bureaucracy and cuts: why I quit as an NHS manager

I was driven to the brink by the poor care my friend received. I finally left over pointless tasks

The first time I thought I should leave the NHS and never return was at my friend’s inquest. After struggling with mental health issues for many years he had taken his own life. At his inquest, I learnt that in the period leading up to his suicide his mental health appointments had all been with support workers and he had not once seen a qualified mental health nurse. I also discovered that his last five appointments had been with four different members of staff. The coroner asked about the level of the service he had received. The manager of the service cited difficulties with a large geographical patch and described the service he received as usual practice. As an NHS manager myself, I could see it may have been usual practice, but it was far from good enough.

As I drove home from the inquest my head was spinning with dissonant thoughts and questions. I was angry and upset. I was concerned for the service manager. I was furious with government cuts. I was worrying about the service I managed. I needed the noise in my head to stop. I found myself contemplating killing myself. I did not sleep that night. I knew I was unwell and so the next day I saw my GP. I needed three months off work for severe depression and anxiety. I had excellent talking therapy via my GP surgery and my counsellor continued to support me through and beyond my return to work.

Related: The NHS sets leaders up to fail – and then recruits more in the same mould

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‘Little brain’ plays a major role in schizophrenia

In a new study, Norwegian researchers have documented that the cerebellum is among the most affected brain regions in schizophrenia. Compared to healthy individuals, cerebellar volume was smaller in patients with schizophrenia. The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, is the largest brain imaging study to date on the cerebellum in schizophrenia, with important implications for our understanding of the disorder.

Although the cerebellum (latin for “little brain”) occupies only about 20% of the human brain, it actually contains about 70% of all its neurons. This brain structure has traditionally been thought of as responsible for body movement and coordination, and has therefore often been ignored in research on the biological basis of psychological functions and mental disorders.

The current study included brain scans from 2300 participants from 14 international sites. The researchers used sophisticated tools that allowed them to analyze both the volume and shape of the brain.

Surprisingly, the results showed that the cerebellum is among the brain regions with the strongest and most consistent differences in schizophrenia. On a group level, patients had smaller cerebellar volumes compared with healthy individuals. “These findings clearly show that the cerebellum plays a major role in schizophrenia,” says lead author Torgeir Moberget.

Most mental disorders emerge during childhood and adolescence, and a better understanding of the causes may give better patient care. “To develop treatments that could reverse or even prevent the disease we need to understand why some people are at risk of developing these serious illnesses in the first place,” says senior author Lars T. Westlye.

The large sets of data allowed the researchers to identify very nuanced differences in brain volume in patients when compared with healthy controls. “It is important to emphasize that the brain differences we see in schizophrenia are generally very subtle. This is one reason why large collaborative studies are so important,” Moberget says. “When we saw the same pattern repeated across many groups of patients and controls from different countries, the findings became much more convincing.”

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Materials provided by University of Oslo, Faculty of Medicine. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

 

One in 6 women with learning disabilities has attempted suicide

A new study by the University of Toronto found that the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts was much higher for women who had been diagnosed with learning disabilities (16.6%) compared to women who had not (3.3%). Men with learning disabilities also were more likely to have attempted suicide compared to men without learning disorders (7.7% vs 2.1%).

“Learning disabilities such as dyslexia cast a very long shadow. Adults with learning disabilities still had 46% higher odds of having attempted suicide than their peers without learning problems, even when we took into account a wide range of other risk factors including lifetime history of depression and substance abuse, ADHD, early adversities, age, race, sex, income and education” reported lead author Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair at University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Director of Institute for Life Course and Aging.

“When we focused only on individuals in the survey with learning disorders, we found that people who had been exposed to chronic parental domestic violence had double the odds of suicide attempts” said co-author Samara Z. Carroll, a recent University of Toronto social work graduate.

Parental domestic violence was defined as “chronic” if it had occurred more than 10 times before the respondent was age 16. “The cross-sectional nature of this study prohibits our ability to determine causality. The relationship between chronic parental domestic violence and suicide attempts could flow in either direction. We speculate that parental violent conflict could be an indicator of poor childhood circumstances (disorganized household, lack of social supports, low socioeconomic status, lack of reading in the home, etc.) which may increase the likelihood of learning disabilities. The higher stress levels in these homes may undermine children’s ability to focus or ask for help, thereby impairing learning. Alternatively, a child’s scholastic underperformance may cause parental conflict, which may escalate into domestic violence” stated Carroll.

Adults with learning disabilities who had been sexually abused in childhood also had twice the odds of having ever attempted suicide and those with a history of major depression had seven times the risk. Both childhood sexual abuse and depression are well-established risk factor for suicidal behaviors in the general population.

The study examined a nationally representative sample of 21,744 community-dwelling Canadians, of whom 745 reported they had been diagnosed with learning disabilities. Data were drawn from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health.

“The disturbingly high prevalence of suicide attempts among people with learning disabilities underline the importance of health professionals screening patients with learning disabilities for mental illness and suicidal thoughts.” said Wook Yang, a co-author and doctoral student in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Fuller-Thomson also noted “our findings of the strong link between learning disabilities and suicide attempts provide an additional reason to prioritize the early detection and timely provision of effective educational interventions for children with dyslexia and other learning problems. In addition to the benefits of these treatment for improving learning skills and academic success, it is possible that they may also decrease long-term suicide risk. It is unacceptable that many children with learning disabilities languish for years on waiting-lists for needed educational interventions.”

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Materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

 

Depressed patients more likely to be prescribed opioids

A new study shows that patients with low back pain who were depressed were more likely to be prescribed opioids and receive higher doses. Understanding these prescribing patterns sheds new light on the current opioid epidemic and may help determine whether efforts to control prescription opioid abuse are effective.

“Our findings show that these drugs are more often prescribed to low back pain patients who also have symptoms of depression and there is strong evidence that depressed patients are at greater risk for misuse and overdose of opioids,” said John Markman, M.D., director of the Department of Neurosurgery’s Translational Pain Research Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and senior author of the study which appears in PAIN Reports, a journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain.

Low back pain is a leading cause of disability in the U.S., the most common condition for which opioids are a prescribed treatment.

Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a federally-compiled set of large-scale surveys of families and individuals, their medical providers, and employers across the U.S., the researchers compiled opioid prescription data from 2004-2009. This period is important because it coincides with a steep rise the prescription rates of opioids to treat lower back pain. The timeframe of the study also immediately preceded the introduction on a new generation of drugs designed to deter abuse and the implementation of a wide range of policies to address the opioid epidemic and will serve as an important benchmark to evaluate the impact of these efforts.

The researchers found that individuals with low back pain who were positively screened for depression were more than twice as likely to be prescribed an opioid and received more than twice the typical dose of the drug over the course of a year.

The study also points out the need for researchers to more fully understand the risks and benefits associated with prescribing opioids and other forms of pain medications to individuals with low back pain and depression. Low back pain is also the condition most often studied to approve new pain medications.

“Excluding depressed patients may lead clinicians who rely on these studies to underestimate the risks of opioids when they are prescribed for low back pain in routine practice,” said Markman.

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Materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Broken heart: Physical stress is a risk factor

The loss of a loved one, a dispute with your neighbour, infections or a fall — mental and physical stress can be triggers of a broken heart (broken heart syndrome). What is more, physical stress seems to be more dangerous than emotional stress, a study of the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) shows.

A disease that causes similar conditions to, but is not, a heart attack lies behind a broken heart. Unlike in a heart attack, the coronary vessels are not occluded. Nevertheless, a part of the heart beats poorly, patients become breathless and experience chest pains. Why and exactly how this disease, also known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, occurs has not yet been explained. It is known, however, that it most commonly occurs in women in their post-menopause years and can be triggered by both emotionally demanding events and acute physical stress. Even good news and happy incidents cause heartbreak.

Physical stresses worsen prognosis

As a result of the DZHK study, the trigger “physical stress” is gaining focus. The study was able to confirm that infections, accidents or similar, i.e., everything that puts the body under stress, are often the triggers of a Takotsubo cardiomyopathy in men. By contrast, in women, it is emotional stress. Now, new findings show that physical stress as a trigger considerably worsens the prognosis in both women and men.

For this purpose, DZHK researchers analysed the data of 84 patients who were monitored for over four years and examined how the different triggers affected the long-term progress of the disease. “For a long time, it was thought that the disease was harmless, since the heart function usually recovered again after three months at the latest,” explains Dr. Ibrahim El-Battrawy, who works at the University Medical Centre Mannheim and is the principle investigator of the study and a DZHK young scientist at the Medical Faculty Mannheim of the University of Heidelberg. “Yet serious secondary diseases can indeed still occur months later and up to four percent of patients even die following a Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.”

More heart attacks and life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias

During admission to hospital, all patients were asked whether they were suffering from high emotional or acute physical stress in the last one to two weeks. “We also determined that the group with emotional stress complained more about chest pains, whereas the group with acute diseases predominantly suffered from dyspnoea,” reports El-Battrawy. The crucial finding, however, was what was revealed over the long term: serious complications such as life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, repeat heart failure, stroke, heart attack and recurrent Takotsubo cardiomyopathy occurred more frequently if physical stress was the trigger of the broken heart syndrome. Moreover, this patient group had a higher risk of death.

Monitor patients closely

“Our study shows that physical stress is a risk factor for a poor disease progress and it contributes to further limiting the high-risk patient group,” concludes El-Battrawy. “The study also emphasizes how important it is to monitor patients over the short and long term. No matter what the trigger, patients should be monitored just as closely as heart attack patients and should have regular check-ups following discharge from the hospital.”

In other studies, the scientist already demonstrated that the cardiac disease progressed better in patients with diabetes than in patients who do not suffer from this metabolic disease; whereas cancer worsened the prognosis. According to El-Battrawy, a systematic review using a questionnaire on the triggers of a broken heart and existing primary diseases would thus be useful to better assess the progress of the disease and adjust the treatment to the patient.

 

Ant McPartlin has no reason to apologise. His addiction is not his fault | Chris Owen

The TV star says he feels he’s let people down. But after spending time in rehab I know how important it is that addiction is seen as an illness, not as self-inflicted

The weekend brought the news that Ant McPartlin, one half of Ant and Dec – PJ of PJ and Duncan fame – has checked into rehab for addiction problems with alcohol and drugs. He’s to spend a couple of months in recovery, where – hopefully – he’ll come out armed with the knowledge of how he became unwell in the first place, and how he can keep himself safe and sober in the long term.

Related: Ant McPartlin speaks out about depression and addiction

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As a psychologist for NHS staff I saw how hospital work takes its toll

I was struck by their terrible experiences – the doctor who kept seeing a dead child and the person with an alcohol problem

When I began working as a psychologist at a large London teaching hospital I was fascinated and – a little overwhelmed – by the challenge of developing a new psychology service. I was employed solely for the 5,000 staff working in the hospital. Absolutely anyone could come and see me for psychological support, from the porters to the medical consultants. And they did. Over a 12-year period I saw many NHS staff.

Sometimes they were sent by managers who were worried about them. About their behaviour or their distress or the impact of a very traumatic event they had witnessed, for example. Others referred themselves in secret and hoped that no one would know they were coming. When they left they were always polite and thanked me but usually said that they hoped they would never see me again.

It sometimes felt like there was hope that staff could disappear for a bit and emerge intact and ready to work

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Number of under-18s on antidepressants in England rises by 12%

Data shows over 166,000 were given such medication between April 2015 and June 2016, including 537 aged six or under

Tens of thousands of young people in England, including children as young as six, are being prescribed antidepressants by their doctors. The figures have prompted concern that medics may be overprescribing strong medication because of stretched and underfunded mental health services.

Data obtained by the Guardian shows that 166,510 under-18s, including 10,595 seven-to-12-year-olds and 537 aged six or younger, were given medication typically used to treat depression and anxiety between April 2015 and June 2016. The figures, released by NHS England under the Freedom of Information Act, show a 12% rise in the numbers taking the drugs over the same time period.

Related: Antidepressants prescribed far more in deprived English coastal towns

Related: Antidepressant prescriptions in England double in a decade

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