Totnes, the Devon town that I grew up in, is in the papers. The last few times it has hit the news it has been for refusing to allow chain cafes to join the High Street, or for painting a pedestrian crossing in rainbow colours for Pride. Sadly this time the news is not about the fantastic local cafes, or even the weird Elizabethan market on Tuesdays, but the high proportion of people who are anti-vaxx and think covid is a conspiracy theory.Continue reading
I’m linking to an article here from a little while back which I wrote for Prospect Magazine about how I think exams are bad for young people’s mental health.
This is still relevant now with England lagging behind other nations in cancelling exams next year.
It’s hard to know exactly how we’re going to come out of lockdown, despite the rumours and the guesses. It’s certainly a complex challenge to negotiate, but in the midst of this dilemma a group of several experts from education, child development, psychology, and child psychiatry are trying to make sure that children’s wellbeing is put front and centre.
The group’s initiative is called Play First, and they want to make sure that children’s need to play is prioritised as much as their need to catch up academically, as they return to school. They’ve written a letter to MP Gavin Williamson with some practical advice on how to achieve this safely (like children taking turns to play in small groups) along with a clear summary of the evidence that their views are based on.Continue reading
We’re in such an odd time now, with frightening things unfolding at the same time that other things feel nearly normal.Continue reading
There’s been some interesting pieces written about coronavirus recently, from Ashley Fulwood’s advice for people experiencing OCD on how not to let the news be a trigger, to Dr Jo Daniels’ piece on how to prevent anxiety about the virus from spiralling out of control.
If mental health is a spectrum, how do we give advice that doesn’t inadvertently harm people at the pointy end of it? Good advice can tip into something harmful if worries around it get out of control.Continue reading
This is a first world problem, the stress that a happy event can bring about. But good things can be stressful too.Continue reading
Last Saturday’s front page Guardian was grim. “Revealed: just 1.5% of rape cases lead to summons.”
This refers to the number of reported rapes that result in a summons. The stat is worse than it was when, ten years ago, I was first involved in a piece of research which tried to better understand the huge attrition rate in rape cases.
At that time the stats were bad, only 6% of reported rapes went on to a successful prosecution. Today, those stats are even worse.Continue reading
Anorexia nervosa is a condition with serious emotional and physical consequences. Emotional consequences include deep distress, isolation, and loss of pleasure in things that once were loved. Physical consequences can be long-term and severe, and in the worst case anorexia can be fatal. There are some treatments that help, but not everyone, and the problem remains in need of innovative interventions for the people experiencing the disorder and their families.
A new study just published in Nature Genetics brings hope of some new ways of approaching the disorder. Researchers have found eight genetic variations which are associated with greater risk of anorexia.Continue reading
I’m lucky enough to be in Lausanne at the World Conference of Science Journalists this week, on a panel about interviewing people who have experienced bullying, harassment, and sexual assault. It’s a responsible issue to be talking about and there’s lots of information to share.
This blog pulls together some resources for journalists who are interviewing people who have experienced something traumatic, and in particular sexual assault. Links are embedded throughout. I hope it’s useful.Continue reading
There’s been a lot of debate about how relevant a leader’s personal morality and behaviour is, in the current run up to the current Tory party leadership election. What does the evidence on leadership say?Continue reading