Mental health

A win for teenagers' rights

The Court of Appeal have overruled the Bell v Tavistock judgement. This is good news for young trans people under 18. It means that they are no longer legally obliged to get permission from the court to receive puberty blockers. It is also good news for other young people whose ability to make choices about medical treatments rests on “Gillick competency”. “Gillick competency” is based on a legal case in 1985 in which Victoria Gillick was defeated in her attempt to rescind NHS guidance which allowed under 18s to access contraception without parental approval. The original Bell v Tavistock...

Heavy-handed policing

Suicide prevention situations are often very tricky - but as a recent incident at Wood Green shows, heavy-handed policing does not help.

A video of the incident has gone viral on social media. A passenger had made it known that they wanted to end their life, and staff and bystanders went into...

"This is about the kind of world we want to live in"

Ali Treacher is a care worker, Unite the Union activist and workplace rep, and Secretary of the Care and Support Workers Organise! network (CaSWO!) She is also a supporter of Anti-Capitalist Resistance. She spoke to us about care workers' fight. CaSWO! has been meeting throughout the last year, since the start of the pandemic, after a Unison-organised call which brought together care workers around issues like workplace health and safety and PPE. The initial focus was basically offering each other solidarity and advice and sharing information. Government guidelines were so vague that we had to...

Win on disability rights

Disabled people’s organisations have scored an important victory as the government has announced that local councils will no longer be excused from meeting their social care obligations. A year ago, the Coronavirus Act included provisions for councils to apply for “easements”, under which they would not have to provide assessment and care under the Care Act. Eight councils had used this provision, including — shamefully — two Labour councils. But campaigners had objected throughout the year and their pressure has finally been rewarded. This follows the withdrawal late last year of the...

Women's Fightback: More services, fewer jails!

The government has announced a £150m plan to create 500 new prison places for women. It says that the extra places are needed because an extra 20,000 police officers will lead to more female arrests. Prisons are filled with people whose lives have been made especially difficult by the brutality of capitalism: the poor, the homeless, those with mental health and addiction, those who experience racism. Two-thirds of women in prison are survivors of domestic abuse. Over half experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse during their childhood. Coercive and abusive relationships can serve to...

Activist agenda: Student Uyghur solidarity; Safe and Equal budget day protest

Students at SOAS university in London passed a Uyghur solidarity motion by an 86% majority at an online union general meeting on 22 February. The Ugyhur Solidarity Campaign will be urging other student unions to do similar. ND Labour is supporting Safe and Equal’s Budget Day online protests (3 March) demanding full sick and isolation pay for all. Some neurodivergent people are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, especially those with mental ill-health and/or learning disabilities and those who live in care homes. • All links and info on these and other campaigns, and suggested words for...

New research on mental health

New research into the mental-health toll of the pandemic suggests a divergent effect depending on social status and income. A small minority (8.5% in the study) report improved mental well-being. A larger minority (28.5%) report worsening mental health. The worst off suffer the most. Richard Bentall and his co-workers report: “the economic threats associated with the pandemic were most linked with [mental illness] symptoms, whereas exposure to the virus seemed to have little effect”. They warn, though, that very few of the people they studied had Covid so badly as to be hospitalised, and the...

Women's Fightback: Pandemic hits women's mental health

New studies indicate that the pandemic has caused a crisis in mental health in women and girls.  CARE spoke to 6,200 women and 4,000 men in nearly 40 countries around the world. They found 27% of women had reported increased mental health challenges. This compared to 10% of men. They identified increased unpaid work in the home and worries about food, work and health care. Women were almost twice as likely to report that accessing quality healthcare services that they needed had been harder during the pandemic. CARE identified three key areas of difference between the genders during the...

Responses to the pandemic: equality or insanity?

Agitation for increased funding for mental health services continues, with various research papers highlighting or predicting high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mental health services are in desperate need of resources. It remains unclear whether this coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions, specifically, really have made a difference to the mental illness pandemic that was already blighting the lives of billions globally long before Covid-19 came into being. For instance, a survey from UCL headlined that 18% of...

The pandemic from further back

Since the start of the pandemic there have been almost daily warnings of the effects that this natural disaster will have on our mental health. The impending mental health crisis has even been given a name: the “shadow pandemic”. However, beneath the headlines, there is surprisingly little hard evidence. Many surveys have found people increased levels of stress and anxiety, but that is not the same as mental illness. Some papers have predicted a big spike in mental illness based on patterns from previous natural disasters and economic crises. However the workings of the human mind are complex...

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