Tag Archives: This

This is what the blood donor service does after an attack – and how you can help | Jane Green

I was overwhelmed by how generously the people of Manchester responded to this horrific attack. Both our blood donor centres in Manchester had queues outside the doors before they even opened. Our national call centre was taking about 1,000 calls an hour by 10am, from people who wanted to help save lives by donating blood.

The response was driven by well-intentioned social media posts from the public. The desire to help was incredible. However we already had enough blood to supply the hospitals treating the victims, and we did not appeal for extra donors. We plan ahead to build in reserves to deal with major incidents. We hope that people who want to help will now become regular donors, because that is how they can best help us save lives when there is a tragedy.

Many people wanted to donate to help that day, but when you donate blood, it is not taken straight to a patient. We need time to test it and process it. The different components such as platelets and red blood cells need to be separated out. Typically, your blood donation will only reach a patient two or three weeks after you donate. The blood used to treat the Manchester victims would have been donated several weeks earlier, and those donors would have been from across the country.

Hospitals order blood from us in advance, without the need for blood to be brought in for each patient. We supply hospitals through our regional stock-holding units (what people refer to as “blood banks”) mainly through routine deliveries. Over Monday night we made 21 deliveries of blood to hospitals in Manchester, including 15 “blue light” emergency deliveries, delivering 346 units of red blood cells. We were able to meet all the hospitals’ requests, and our stocks remained good. We don’t know exactly how this blood was used, and much of the blood from the routine deliveries would have gone to patients not affected by the attack. But this was an exceptionally high level of local emergency demand and many of those precious donations would have been transfused into attack victims.

Trauma patients require more than just red blood cells. They also need platelets to help their blood clot, and other more specialised products: O-negative blood is especially important in emergencies because it can be given to anyone when time is short and you don’t have time to test for blood groups. We always need new O-negative donors because their blood is so valuable.

As Tuesday morning progressed, people began queueing to donate. Some had friends or family members caught up in the incident. We were worried they might be confused or upset about why there was no capacity or urgent need for them to donate that day.


We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, because we need more black and Asian donors

We tried to spread the message about how people could best help across social media and through the press. I was working at Plymouth Grove donor centre, next to Manchester Royal Infirmary, where many victims were being treated, and I spoke to many people face to face. We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, which was moving and very important – because we need more black and Asian donors. Patients benefit from closely matched blood, which will often come from donors of the same ethnicity.

Our message is that blood can best save lives in a tragedy when our stocks are already good through regular donations. Thanks to our loyal army of nearly 900,000 active donors, many of whom give blood three or four times a year, we can do that. But every year many of these donors have to drop out because of age, ill health and many other reasons. We need nearly 200,000 people to register as new donors every year.

If people have been inspired to donate for the first time, please go online, make an appointment, and donate. Blood saves lives, and your donation will help other people in urgent need, and make sure we are again ready for any major incident.

This is what the blood donor service does after an attack – and how you can help | Jane Green

I was overwhelmed by how generously the people of Manchester responded to this horrific attack. Both our blood donor centres in Manchester had queues outside the doors before they even opened. Our national call centre was taking about 1,000 calls an hour by 10am, from people who wanted to help save lives by donating blood.

The response was driven by well-intentioned social media posts from the public. The desire to help was incredible. However we already had enough blood to supply the hospitals treating the victims, and we did not appeal for extra donors. We plan ahead to build in reserves to deal with major incidents. We hope that people who want to help will now become regular donors, because that is how they can best help us save lives when there is a tragedy.

Many people wanted to donate to help that day, but when you donate blood, it is not taken straight to a patient. We need time to test it and process it. The different components such as platelets and red blood cells need to be separated out. Typically, your blood donation will only reach a patient two or three weeks after you donate. The blood used to treat the Manchester victims would have been donated several weeks earlier, and those donors would have been from across the country.

Hospitals order blood from us in advance, without the need for blood to be brought in for each patient. We supply hospitals through our regional stock-holding units (what people refer to as “blood banks”) mainly through routine deliveries. Over Monday night we made 21 deliveries of blood to hospitals in Manchester, including 15 “blue light” emergency deliveries, delivering 346 units of red blood cells. We were able to meet all the hospitals’ requests, and our stocks remained good. We don’t know exactly how this blood was used, and much of the blood from the routine deliveries would have gone to patients not affected by the attack. But this was an exceptionally high level of local emergency demand and many of those precious donations would have been transfused into attack victims.

Trauma patients require more than just red blood cells. They also need platelets to help their blood clot, and other more specialised products: O-negative blood is especially important in emergencies because it can be given to anyone when time is short and you don’t have time to test for blood groups. We always need new O-negative donors because their blood is so valuable.

As Tuesday morning progressed, people began queueing to donate. Some had friends or family members caught up in the incident. We were worried they might be confused or upset about why there was no capacity or urgent need for them to donate that day.


We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, because we need more black and Asian donors

We tried to spread the message about how people could best help across social media and through the press. I was working at Plymouth Grove donor centre, next to Manchester Royal Infirmary, where many victims were being treated, and I spoke to many people face to face. We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, which was moving and very important – because we need more black and Asian donors. Patients benefit from closely matched blood, which will often come from donors of the same ethnicity.

Our message is that blood can best save lives in a tragedy when our stocks are already good through regular donations. Thanks to our loyal army of nearly 900,000 active donors, many of whom give blood three or four times a year, we can do that. But every year many of these donors have to drop out because of age, ill health and many other reasons. We need nearly 200,000 people to register as new donors every year.

If people have been inspired to donate for the first time, please go online, make an appointment, and donate. Blood saves lives, and your donation will help other people in urgent need, and make sure we are again ready for any major incident.

This is what the blood donor service does after an attack – and how you can help | Jane Green

I was overwhelmed by how generously the people of Manchester responded to this horrific attack. Both our blood donor centres in Manchester had queues outside the doors before they even opened. Our national call centre was taking about 1,000 calls an hour by 10am, from people who wanted to help save lives by donating blood.

The response was driven by well-intentioned social media posts from the public. The desire to help was incredible. However we already had enough blood to supply the hospitals treating the victims, and we did not appeal for extra donors. We plan ahead to build in reserves to deal with major incidents. We hope that people who want to help will now become regular donors, because that is how they can best help us save lives when there is a tragedy.

Many people wanted to donate to help that day, but when you donate blood, it is not taken straight to a patient. We need time to test it and process it. The different components such as platelets and red blood cells need to be separated out. Typically, your blood donation will only reach a patient two or three weeks after you donate. The blood used to treat the Manchester victims would have been donated several weeks earlier, and those donors would have been from across the country.

Hospitals order blood from us in advance, without the need for blood to be brought in for each patient. We supply hospitals through our regional stock-holding units (what people refer to as “blood banks”) mainly through routine deliveries. Over Monday night we made 21 deliveries of blood to hospitals in Manchester, including 15 “blue light” emergency deliveries, delivering 346 units of red blood cells. We were able to meet all the hospitals’ requests, and our stocks remained good. We don’t know exactly how this blood was used, and much of the blood from the routine deliveries would have gone to patients not affected by the attack. But this was an exceptionally high level of local emergency demand and many of those precious donations would have been transfused into attack victims.

Trauma patients require more than just red blood cells. They also need platelets to help their blood clot, and other more specialised products: O-negative blood is especially important in emergencies because it can be given to anyone when time is short and you don’t have time to test for blood groups. We always need new O-negative donors because their blood is so valuable.

As Tuesday morning progressed, people began queueing to donate. Some had friends or family members caught up in the incident. We were worried they might be confused or upset about why there was no capacity or urgent need for them to donate that day.


We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, because we need more black and Asian donors

We tried to spread the message about how people could best help across social media and through the press. I was working at Plymouth Grove donor centre, next to Manchester Royal Infirmary, where many victims were being treated, and I spoke to many people face to face. We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, which was moving and very important – because we need more black and Asian donors. Patients benefit from closely matched blood, which will often come from donors of the same ethnicity.

Our message is that blood can best save lives in a tragedy when our stocks are already good through regular donations. Thanks to our loyal army of nearly 900,000 active donors, many of whom give blood three or four times a year, we can do that. But every year many of these donors have to drop out because of age, ill health and many other reasons. We need nearly 200,000 people to register as new donors every year.

If people have been inspired to donate for the first time, please go online, make an appointment, and donate. Blood saves lives, and your donation will help other people in urgent need, and make sure we are again ready for any major incident.

This is what the blood donor service does after an attack – and how you can help | Jane Green

I was overwhelmed by how generously the people of Manchester responded to this horrific attack. Both our blood donor centres in Manchester had queues outside the doors before they even opened. Our national call centre was taking about 1,000 calls an hour by 10am, from people who wanted to help save lives by donating blood.

The response was driven by well-intentioned social media posts from the public. The desire to help was incredible. However we already had enough blood to supply the hospitals treating the victims, and we did not appeal for extra donors. We plan ahead to build in reserves to deal with major incidents. We hope that people who want to help will now become regular donors, because that is how they can best help us save lives when there is a tragedy.

Many people wanted to donate to help that day, but when you donate blood, it is not taken straight to a patient. We need time to test it and process it. The different components such as platelets and red blood cells need to be separated out. Typically, your blood donation will only reach a patient two or three weeks after you donate. The blood used to treat the Manchester victims would have been donated several weeks earlier, and those donors would have been from across the country.

Hospitals order blood from us in advance, without the need for blood to be brought in for each patient. We supply hospitals through our regional stock-holding units (what people refer to as “blood banks”) mainly through routine deliveries. Over Monday night we made 21 deliveries of blood to hospitals in Manchester, including 15 “blue light” emergency deliveries, delivering 346 units of red blood cells. We were able to meet all the hospitals’ requests, and our stocks remained good. We don’t know exactly how this blood was used, and much of the blood from the routine deliveries would have gone to patients not affected by the attack. But this was an exceptionally high level of local emergency demand and many of those precious donations would have been transfused into attack victims.

Trauma patients require more than just red blood cells. They also need platelets to help their blood clot, and other more specialised products: O-negative blood is especially important in emergencies because it can be given to anyone when time is short and you don’t have time to test for blood groups. We always need new O-negative donors because their blood is so valuable.

As Tuesday morning progressed, people began queueing to donate. Some had friends or family members caught up in the incident. We were worried they might be confused or upset about why there was no capacity or urgent need for them to donate that day.


We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, because we need more black and Asian donors

We tried to spread the message about how people could best help across social media and through the press. I was working at Plymouth Grove donor centre, next to Manchester Royal Infirmary, where many victims were being treated, and I spoke to many people face to face. We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, which was moving and very important – because we need more black and Asian donors. Patients benefit from closely matched blood, which will often come from donors of the same ethnicity.

Our message is that blood can best save lives in a tragedy when our stocks are already good through regular donations. Thanks to our loyal army of nearly 900,000 active donors, many of whom give blood three or four times a year, we can do that. But every year many of these donors have to drop out because of age, ill health and many other reasons. We need nearly 200,000 people to register as new donors every year.

If people have been inspired to donate for the first time, please go online, make an appointment, and donate. Blood saves lives, and your donation will help other people in urgent need, and make sure we are again ready for any major incident.

This is what the blood donor service does after an attack – and how you can help | Jane Green

I was overwhelmed by how generously the people of Manchester responded to this horrific attack. Both our blood donor centres in Manchester had queues outside the doors before they even opened. Our national call centre was taking about 1,000 calls an hour by 10am, from people who wanted to help save lives by donating blood.

The response was driven by well-intentioned social media posts from the public. The desire to help was incredible. However we already had enough blood to supply the hospitals treating the victims, and we did not appeal for extra donors. We plan ahead to build in reserves to deal with major incidents. We hope that people who want to help will now become regular donors, because that is how they can best help us save lives when there is a tragedy.

Many people wanted to donate to help that day, but when you donate blood, it is not taken straight to a patient. We need time to test it and process it. The different components such as platelets and red blood cells need to be separated out. Typically, your blood donation will only reach a patient two or three weeks after you donate. The blood used to treat the Manchester victims would have been donated several weeks earlier, and those donors would have been from across the country.

Hospitals order blood from us in advance, without the need for blood to be brought in for each patient. We supply hospitals through our regional stock-holding units (what people refer to as “blood banks”) mainly through routine deliveries. Over Monday night we made 21 deliveries of blood to hospitals in Manchester, including 15 “blue light” emergency deliveries, delivering 346 units of red blood cells. We were able to meet all the hospitals’ requests, and our stocks remained good. We don’t know exactly how this blood was used, and much of the blood from the routine deliveries would have gone to patients not affected by the attack. But this was an exceptionally high level of local emergency demand and many of those precious donations would have been transfused into attack victims.

Trauma patients require more than just red blood cells. They also need platelets to help their blood clot, and other more specialised products: O-negative blood is especially important in emergencies because it can be given to anyone when time is short and you don’t have time to test for blood groups. We always need new O-negative donors because their blood is so valuable.

As Tuesday morning progressed, people began queueing to donate. Some had friends or family members caught up in the incident. We were worried they might be confused or upset about why there was no capacity or urgent need for them to donate that day.


We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, because we need more black and Asian donors

We tried to spread the message about how people could best help across social media and through the press. I was working at Plymouth Grove donor centre, next to Manchester Royal Infirmary, where many victims were being treated, and I spoke to many people face to face. We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, which was moving and very important – because we need more black and Asian donors. Patients benefit from closely matched blood, which will often come from donors of the same ethnicity.

Our message is that blood can best save lives in a tragedy when our stocks are already good through regular donations. Thanks to our loyal army of nearly 900,000 active donors, many of whom give blood three or four times a year, we can do that. But every year many of these donors have to drop out because of age, ill health and many other reasons. We need nearly 200,000 people to register as new donors every year.

If people have been inspired to donate for the first time, please go online, make an appointment, and donate. Blood saves lives, and your donation will help other people in urgent need, and make sure we are again ready for any major incident.

This is what the blood donor service does after an attack – and how you can help | Jane Green

I was overwhelmed by how generously the people of Manchester responded to this horrific attack. Both our blood donor centres in Manchester had queues outside the doors before they even opened. Our national call centre was taking about 1,000 calls an hour by 10am, from people who wanted to help save lives by donating blood.

The response was driven by well-intentioned social media posts from the public. The desire to help was incredible. However we already had enough blood to supply the hospitals treating the victims, and we did not appeal for extra donors. We plan ahead to build in reserves to deal with major incidents. We hope that people who want to help will now become regular donors, because that is how they can best help us save lives when there is a tragedy.

Many people wanted to donate to help that day, but when you donate blood, it is not taken straight to a patient. We need time to test it and process it. The different components such as platelets and red blood cells need to be separated out. Typically, your blood donation will only reach a patient two or three weeks after you donate. The blood used to treat the Manchester victims would have been donated several weeks earlier, and those donors would have been from across the country.

Hospitals order blood from us in advance, without the need for blood to be brought in for each patient. We supply hospitals through our regional stock-holding units (what people refer to as “blood banks”) mainly through routine deliveries. Over Monday night we made 21 deliveries of blood to hospitals in Manchester, including 15 “blue light” emergency deliveries, delivering 346 units of red blood cells. We were able to meet all the hospitals’ requests, and our stocks remained good. We don’t know exactly how this blood was used, and much of the blood from the routine deliveries would have gone to patients not affected by the attack. But this was an exceptionally high level of local emergency demand and many of those precious donations would have been transfused into attack victims.

Trauma patients require more than just red blood cells. They also need platelets to help their blood clot, and other more specialised products: O-negative blood is especially important in emergencies because it can be given to anyone when time is short and you don’t have time to test for blood groups. We always need new O-negative donors because their blood is so valuable.

As Tuesday morning progressed, people began queueing to donate. Some had friends or family members caught up in the incident. We were worried they might be confused or upset about why there was no capacity or urgent need for them to donate that day.


We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, because we need more black and Asian donors

We tried to spread the message about how people could best help across social media and through the press. I was working at Plymouth Grove donor centre, next to Manchester Royal Infirmary, where many victims were being treated, and I spoke to many people face to face. We were inspired to see the diversity of people coming forward, which was moving and very important – because we need more black and Asian donors. Patients benefit from closely matched blood, which will often come from donors of the same ethnicity.

Our message is that blood can best save lives in a tragedy when our stocks are already good through regular donations. Thanks to our loyal army of nearly 900,000 active donors, many of whom give blood three or four times a year, we can do that. But every year many of these donors have to drop out because of age, ill health and many other reasons. We need nearly 200,000 people to register as new donors every year.

If people have been inspired to donate for the first time, please go online, make an appointment, and donate. Blood saves lives, and your donation will help other people in urgent need, and make sure we are again ready for any major incident.

Spice ruins lives and costs taxpayers a fortune. It doesn’t have to be this way | David Nutt

Last year I wrote to the health and home secretaries with suggestions on how antidotes for spice could be developed. Their replies revealed a complete lack of appreciation of the magnitude of the synthetic cannabinoid problem and lack of interest in the idea of an antidote.

Spice-induced “zombie” outbreaks in New York and in Manchester have hit the headlines in the past year. Use of these new damaging and powerful forms of synthetic cannabinoids is rife in our prisons and by homeless people, with estimates of up to 50 deaths last year. They can produce extremely strong psychotic states often with very violent behaviour. Sometimes a frozen unconscious state results. Either of these outcomes are health emergencies that consume vast amounts of police, prison officer and health professionals time, and so waste a huge amount of public money.

Spice is a generic term for the hundreds of synthetic versions of cannabis that are used instead of herbal cannabis. The first synthetic cannabinoids were made in the 1970s as potential medicines, but initial human testing found them to be so unpleasant and potent in their actions that none were marketed. Since then they have been sold as legal alternatives to cannabis, and called spice.

The problems with spice are multiple. The first is lack of any quality control: the amount of synthetic cannabinoid in each unit is not known. Second, these substances have little, if any, safety data. Third, many of them are much more potent than traditional cannabis, up to a hundred times more potent in the test tube and have never been tested in animals – let alone humans – so there is no data on real-world safety.

Most are not detectable by current testing processes which is why prisoners prefer them. This high potency means they are very profitable drugs. A spice solution costing a few pounds can be soaked into a single A4 sheet of paper, which, when dried, can be cut up into about 100 units, each of which will give a decent “hit” at £5 each.

The government’s response has been to ban these drugs in a series of amendments to the misuse of drugs act. So now all synthetic cannabinoids are illegal. But, as with other drugs, banning spice doesn’t stop its use. Heroin has been illegal for 50 years yet deaths reached an all-time peak in England and Wales last year.

So what should the government do about spice? First, it must recognise that this problem is not going to be dealt with by simplistic approaches such as more bans or more severe sentencing of users. We should understand that the authorities’ focus on herbal cannabis use is the main reason for spice emerging in the UK. So we should stop testing for cannabis in prisoners and others to encourage a move by users back to herbal cannabis.

The Manchester police commissioner has now publicly wondered if the problem has been exacerbated by the Psychoactive Substances Act which has taken synthetic cannabinoids out of “head shops” and into the underground marketplace. Perhaps we should develop a harm reduction strategy by allowing the sale of safer versions of synthetic cannabinoids, or even cannabis itself, back in head shops?

But to deal with the current epidemic of use we need urgently to develop cannabis antagonists as antidotes to spice for use by health professionals.

The success of naloxone as an antidote for heroin overdose is now well recognised to save lives, and is given to opioid users and their friends for this reason. Several antagonists at the cannabis receptor are known and one, rimonabant, has extensive safety data in humans. It was licensed in Europe a decade ago as a treatment to stop weight gain after people stopped smoking. However post-marketing surveillance found that in some people rimonabant was associated with an increase in depressive reactions, sometimes with suicidal thinking (though not suicides). This led to it being taken off the market for having too low a benefit-risk ratio for this medical indication. But for spice reversal these considerations do not apply – it would only be used once to reverse a bad reaction, and hopefully keep people from harming themselves or others.

The other approach is to develop the herbal antidote THCV. This is made in the cannabis plant alongside d9THC and many other cannabinoids. It has recently been shown to have antagonist actions against the psychosis produced by d9THC and so would almost certainly attenuate spice intoxication. Sadly, just a few months ago, the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs refused to make it available for this purpose on the spurious grounds that a note in a 1974 paper said that when given intravenously in high doses it was a little like d9THC.

Surely it is time for government to push to develop such an antidote to spice if not for humane and health reasons then for economic ones?

How to Take Care of Combination Skin This Season

Have you ever paid close attention to certain faces that have oily skin in some areas and dry skin in other areas? If your own skin is characterized by oily as well as dry areas, then you might have a combination skin type. Usually, people with combination skin find it tricky to figure out how to take care of their skin properly. It can feel like quite the balancing act when trying to address the oily and dry areas of your skin. Once you achieve this, the mystery to having great skin will be unlocked in much easier ways than you may have thought.

What is combination skin and how is it caused?

To put it simply, someone with combination skin has both skin that is oily in the area called T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) while also having dryness in other areas. Even if you have oily skin only around your nose and center of your forehead but dry skin over cheeks and jaw area, then you are also said to have a combination skin.

The predominant factor that is responsible for combination skin is the genetics. It is inherited similarly as you would your hair color, eye color, skin color, and the body type from your parents.  Usually the people who have combination skin have more active oil glands on their nose, forehead, and chin which lead to clogged pores in these areas.

The other factors that play a key role in causing combination skin are lifestyle, nutrition, and skincare products. The wrong products for this skin type contain skin-aggravating ingredients that dry out certain areas of your face, while exacerbating oil production in other parts that were already oily. These ingredients are harmful sulfates and alcohols that prompt the skin to produce more oil in the T-zone area which, in turn, produces the symptoms of combination skin.

Important Tips to Follow For Treating Combination Skin

Treating the combination skin requires a dual approach of skincare in which different areas of skin are treated individually along with suitable products. Apart from these steps, there are also some natural ways that help greatly in treating combination skin:

  • Use a gentle but effective cleanser

The skin of your face is the most exposed part of your body. As the day closes in, your skin gets covered with dirt, excess oils, and impurities. So a right cleanser is the one that effectively removes dirt, impurities, and makeup without making skin feel tight, dry, or greasy. It is important to retain the softness rather than causing it to be tightened and aggravated. This is one of the best approaches to gentle skincare for having a natural glow on your face.

  • Balance your skin with a toner

Skin experts recommend using a hydrating, soothing, and non-irritating toner that should consist of skin-revitalizing ingredients and antioxidants. A toner of such quality really helps in effectively nourishing the dry skin and reduces oiliness at the same time.

Apply a gentle and non-abrasive exfoliant in order to gently and effectively exfoliate the combination skin. Products that contain BHA exfoliant are good in helping shed the dead skin without abrasion. It doesn’t require any scrubs or cleansing brushes to unclog pores. Lessen oily skin and gently smooth existing  rough, dry, and flaky skin to revive a healthy glow.

  • Apply a suitable moisturizer

Choose a moisturizer that targets your dry patches of skin and mattes the oily areas of your face. A gel-based moisturizer or a gel-cream moisturizer usually works well. Such a moisturizer is important in helping calm skin, lessen excess oil on the surface, and improve dry areas including around the eyes.

  • Protect your face from sun damage

All the skin types are sensitive towards sun rays – some only a little while others are extremely sensitive. One of the effective ways to counter this is to apply a generous amount of broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more every day. This is also one of many steps in skincare that can help reduce the early signs of aging. Ideally, you need to apply a nourishing serum or booster over the dry areas and then apply the ultra-light sunscreen over the oily areas.

Conclusion

Your combination skin might be a cause of worry for you but, due diligence on your part in specifically treating different areas of your skin is key. The above mentioned tips can go a long way in treating combination skin. Apart from these, the natural ways like regular exercise, healthy diet, and disciplined fitness regime are also extremely helpful in treating skin problems.  

robin

How mental health problems affect relationships: ‘They’re scared that this time you might die’

Anonymous
Last night I had a dream about my eldest son who’s just turned 11. Because of my mental illness, I have not been able to speak to or see my three boys for eight months now. In the dream I’m hangin’ with my eldest, shooting the breeze as we’ve done many a time, but this time I notice a difference; his voice has broken, and with this realisation my heart broke, too.

This dream is analogous of all those golden moments of childhood I have missed in their lives, that can never be relived, moments that seem even more precious when it comes to my eldest, as he rapidly approaches adolescence. The dream also feels analogous of everything I’ve lost as a result of mental illness; my marriage, career, liberty (sectioned twice), self-respect and societal approval.

What really frightens me about my mental illness is the way it suddenly grabs me and leads me to do things that I, when feeling stable, just would never want to do. Like right now I love my boys and mum so much I cannot believe I’d want to never see them again and devastate them through taking my own life. Yet out of the corner of my eye, I can see the omnipresent scar on my left wrist that is a constant reminder of how my mental health can construct a vast distance between me and my values.

Anonymous, 21
I have bipolar disorder, a highly stigmatised diagnosis. One of the hardest things to deal with is knowing you’re hurting people around you. After taking an overdose, lying in A&E with someone who loves you and feeling the guilt and horror of what you’ve done. They’re scared that this time you might die, but the urge was so strong you couldn’t stop yourself from doing it. Even when you know you are loved, you still wish to die. I have an illness. I wrote this poem in art therapy.

Today you are possible of great things,

Things of beauty, of purpose and of wonder.

Your voice is of importance, your body is of splendour.

Today you are tasked with only being fair to yourself and your soul, and to be fair to yourself and your soul is to be kind.

Kindness is all that you deserve.

Today you are you, and that is a magical thing, no one else will ever be you.

You are strong, you are mesmerising, you are intelligent, you are divine.

Today you are loved, as you should be, and as you always will be.

Anonymous
Go me: a poem about mental health, from a mother’s perspective

I am the world’s greatest mum

My teenage daughter is perfect

Good grades, no shouting, no drinking, no boys, no worries

I’m expert at giving lifts, coordinating activities, supporting vegetarianism, saying no to piercings, organising cultural excursions and understanding UCAS points

I’ve got this covered. Go me!

I am the world’s most understanding mum

I can support this exam stress

Distant, withdrawn, eating less, sleeping more, staying in

I am an expert at finding French tutors, arranging extra physics, breathing exercises, pep talks and staying positive

One of life’s challenges. Go me!

I am the world’s most bewildered mum

I don’t know why this is happening

School dropout, counselling, anger, a handful of pills, some minor cuts

I am expert at managing panic attacks, investigating colleges, negotiating the NHS and weird piercings

But I’m up for this. Go me!

I am the world’s most exhausted mum

I love her to death

Major overdose, psychiatrist, cardiac ward, cutting, minor overdose, more cutting

I am expert at bandaging cuts, hiding razor blades, 999 calls, police statements, social services, riding in ambulances, fighting for support, staying up all night, dispensing pills

But we’re still here and stronger. So go us

Helen, Manchester, 35
Fourteen years ago, I found my flatmate (and close friend) almost unconscious, with an empty bottle of pills next to her bed. I got her to the hospital. I stayed all night, until she was released in the morning. It was horrible. What came next was worse. At the hospital I asked the doctor what I should do the next day. He drew a blank. My other flatmate and I had no idea how to react. We were angry, we blamed her, we thought she was selfish. We treated her like a stranger. I went to my GP, who suggested we focus on ourselves because finals were coming up. Within a week, we just left her – went to our respective homes to study, claiming that we needed peace and quiet away from university.

I’ve never forgiven myself for that response, or forgotten how awful it was when she quietly confronted me about lying to her. In the end we both apologised, cried a lot, and made peace. It took me a few years, though, to fully accept that she wasn’t selfish or to blame. I hope that today’s 21-year-olds already know that, and that their doctors are giving better advice. By removing the stigma around mental health, and by educating people in how to support their friends and family, perhaps we can prevent other people being judged and abandoned.

Anonymous, early 40s

A poem dedicated to friends past, hopefully to return.


A poem dedicated to old friends, hopefully to return.

In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.
In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.
In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.

Fifth Bristol university student takes own life this academic year

A third-year languages student is understood to have killed herself in the fifth case this year of suspected suicide involving students at the University of Bristol.

Elsa Scaburri, who was studying for a degree in French and Italian, was halfway through her year abroad. According to a statement released by the university, she died last week near her home, which is understood to be in Wiltshire.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned. A University of Bristol spokesperson said: “We were very saddened to hear that one of our third-year students, Elsa Scaburri, sadly died near her home last week.

“We understand from her family that Elsa took her own life, although it will be for the coroner to determine the cause of death.

“Elsa was halfway through a year abroad as part of her French and Italian degree. The university offers its condolences to her family and friends and our thoughts are with them at this very sad time.”

Her death will once again raise concerns about mental health among students and the capacity of universities to address growing demand for support.

Three Bristol students – philosophy student Miranda Williams, 19, history student Daniel Green, 18, and Kim Long, 18, who was studying law, died late last year in their first term at university. Final-year neuroscience student Lara Nosiru, 23, also studying at Bristol and originally from Essex, was found dead in Avon Gorge in January.

Following last year’s deaths, the university said it did not believe there was a link between any of the incidents and insisted annual figures did not show any trends. In the last academic year Bristol had one death by suicide; there were none the year before that, and one the previous year.

A review has been under way at Bristol to find out how best to support students with mental health needs. The number of staff in support services has been increased and additional funding has been put into the system to meet growing demand.

A Guardian investigation last year revealed that the number of students seeking counselling at university has risen by 50% in the past five years. And a report in September by the Higher Education Policy Institute thinktank said some institutions needed to triple their spending on mental health services to meet increased demand.

Students have a lower suicide rate than the general population, but it appears to have grown. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2014 there were 130 deaths by suicide of full-time students aged 18 and over in England and Wales. This compares with 112 in 2011, and 75 in 2007. The increase can be explained in part by the growing university population, which has doubled since 1997 and now stands at 2 million.

“The welfare of our students and staff continues to be our highest priority and it is distressing for all members of the university community that one of our students has died,” the University of Bristol spokesperson said. “We would urge any students affected by this tragic incident to seek support from university services, friends or family.

“In the context of increasing national concerns about student mental health we have been working with our staff and students to review how best to support all students including those with enduring mental health difficulties.

“We have increased staffing levels in our support services and have committed to invest an additional £1m per year to provide wellbeing support for students in each academic school. We will also be signing the Time to Change pledge to help reduce the stigma of discussing mental health issues.”

In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Hotlines in other countries can be found here