Everything in moderation: including good advice

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.

It was also Eating Disorder Awareness Week last week, and amongst the tips for how to spot an eating disorder, I recalled some research on food labels published last year.

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Too easy an excuse

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.

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Genetics study findings signpost new lines of investigation for anorexia treatment

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.

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Resources for journalists who are interviewing people about sexual assault and trauma

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.

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