There’s been a run of programmes about different sorts of mental health problem recently, and different ways of helping. I had a week where I watched lots of them: Louis Theroux on experiences of postnatal depression and psychosis, Alistair Campbell on depression, Nadiya Hussain on anxiety and David Harewood on psychosis.
Just as mental health is a spectrum, so is its coverage. The purpose and filming practices of these programmes are in stark contrast to reality TV shows that have also been in the news lately, in relation to their effects on participant mental health: Jeremy Kyle’s show in particular, but also Love Island.
Leadership has been splashed all over the papers this long weekend, in various contexts, one of them being the ever-increasing numbers putting their hand up to be considered in the running for leader of the Tory party and the top job in government.
A study published last week by UCL Institute of Education and the Nuffield Foundation found that over the last 25 years children aged 5-7 have 45 minutes less break time than before, and 11-16 year olds have 65 minutes less.
The erosion of playtime is unsurprising, given the increasing focus on exam results and school league tables over the last 25 years. I imagine it’s just a case of teachers trying to fit more and more into the school day.
I watched Eighth Grade last week. It’s a cracker of a film – and it has Enya in the soundtrack (personal teenage fave). One of the things I liked so much was how brilliantly it captures the awkwardness that I remember from a lot of situations you have to endure as a teenager. There’s a great example of this in a pool party that the main character goes to – and the whispered phone call she makes to her dad to come and get her.
When I was 17 I was living at home and going to Sixth Form in Devon. My friend Soph had passed her driving test and a carload of us used to go round the country lanes at night in her mum’s car listening to Velvet Pants by Propellerheads. Then we’d all go and get a take-away pizza. Smells of that era that take me right back include Lynx, Archers, CK One and Paco Rabane. Top nostalgic tastes are Pernod & Black (thanks to Han who loved it), scampi fries and cheesy chips.
Last week results from a survey of over 8000 teachers carried out by the National Education Union were released during their annual conference.
The survey included four questions about mental health, asking teachers if they thought there had been an increase in mental health problems since 2017, what provision they had to support young people with mental health problems, what prevents them from supporting children with mental health problems fully, and what mental health training they had had.
The views of the teachers are interesting by themselves, but how do their opinions compare to other sources of evidence Continue reading →
New year is expectation-tastic with its contradictory pressures of having a stonking New Year’s Eve, and then a sanctimonious fresh start on New Year’s Day.The fantasy is that suddenly, all those things we wanted to be but fell short of last year will suddenly click into place.
In my 20s the focus was mostly on plans for the night of New Year’s Eve. I once spent a New Year on my own. It was great. I made myself spaghetti and wrote a short story. It was good because I had the choice though. Like most things, if you can decide to do something it feels better than if the situation is inescapable. I was alone but I didn’t feel lonely, and I had the luxury of knowing that if I did I could probably run out into the night and find a friend at short notice. Continue reading →
The death of the high street is everywhere at the moment. House of Fraser is in trouble, and its Birmingham branch, formerly Rackham’s, is one of the stores to close. The Exeter branch, formerly the artist known as Dingles, will stay open, though for how long is hard to tell.
I have a nostalgic fondness for department stores. They remind me of going with my mum to have a toasted teacake in the shop cafe as a treat when I was little. Those moments felt really special, oddly grown up, to be in a cafe just us two. The toasted tea cakes always had a lot of butter on, and the loos had a dated picture of a posing woman on the door and those funny sanitary towel bags on top of the cistern which I was too young to know what to do with, but which I admired for their funny Victorian lady on the front. Continue reading →