Increase in number of food bank users in UK

The number of British residents left destitute and relying heavily on food banks has increased to 94%, a recent study conducted by The State of Hunger, a charity organisation aiming to support those in poverty has shown.

One in five users have no form of income coming into their households.

Due to an increase of poverty rates in the UK, as well as a decrease in benefit support, food banks across the UK have been left struggling with the increase in demand for not only food essentials but also basic toiletries too.

Craig Crosthwaite, coordinator of the North Ayrshire food bank said: “We have had one week where we couldn’t meet requests because we ran out of stock. To me, the miracle is the community have been giving and they respond to our call for donations.

We can never be sure what the demand is going to be, we have just entered a new project where we are cooking prepared meals and issuing that to people as well as tins of food. That will be another hundred households, a week, that are being helped with that.”

Food banks often have an excess quantity of pasta and soups but are often lacking in other essentials such as tinned meats and sweet snacks.

It is advised to consider these when donating to your local food banks, especially during the colder winter months.

One in Three Teenagers in the UK are Ashamed of their Body

A new study shows that one in three teenagers are ashamed of the appearance of their bodies.

Social media has been blamed for the issue as teenagers feel pressurised to have the “ideal” body that is often shown on social media apps like Instagram.

Almost a third of teenagers have changed their eating habits in order to fit the ideals seen on these platforms.

Body image issues can trigger many problems on a young mind such as: self harm, depression and also suicide.

NHS England has called for social media firms to pay a levy to help fund mental healthcare for under-18s, to reflect the harmful impact their content can have.

Glasgow University Spreads Awareness of Link Between Mental Health and Exercise

‘Hunt 4 Health’, an event created by a group of physiotherapy students, was held at Caledonian University this week.

The event was held to help express the low dangers of low exercise while at work and the impact it has on our health.

The students hosting the event expressed concern on what sedentary behaviour can do to our physical and mental well being as it is an all too common occurrence in today’s society to be sitting at our works for long periods of time without a great deal of movement.

Lauren O’Brien, a physiotherapy student at the event, said: “It is not hard to be active at work but people do tend to forget that they can do little things that can help them in the long run. Instead of taking the lift, people can take the stairs when possible. They can also park further away and walk the remaining distance to where ever they need to go. It is these small things that can make people feel and look fitter fairly quickly.”

At the event students discussed that sitting for long periods of time has been linked to high blood pressure, obesity, depression as well as loss of muscle mass and it has even been linked to cancer in some cases.

Those that attended the event were shown different stretches that they could do while sitting at a desk which could not only help with posture but also could strengthen the muscles and aid in circulating blood easier around the body.

Students at the event were told it is important for people to be aware of lifestyle changes that may not be benefiting them especially when we are sitting at work and college more than ever. They were told that it is often in these places where we tend to be sitting slouched but, with the changes demonstrated at the event, everyone can start to focus on being healthier.

Hunt 4 Health Photo Gallery

Children Suffering from Mental Health Problems are Staying in Adult Centres

Children are forced to stay in adult mental health facilities due to there not being enough age appropriate help centres for young people.

The issue has resulted in parents taking to the streets in protest and many believe that their children are living in hell while staying at these locations.

The number of youth centres dedicated to mental health in the UK and Ireland continue to deplete at an alarming rate and has even resulted in a doctor resigning in protest.

Ireland’s Mental Health Commission (MHC) published a report last year, that found children continue to be admitted to adult mental health facilities which are inappropriate to their needs.

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The History of Mental Health in the UK

In today’s day and age, many of us will suffer from mental health problems whether that be anxiety or depression and we can be guaranteed to meet with doctors who have clear understanding of our issues.

However, many years ago, those suffering from mental health problems have not always received the same level of care or even respect that we are used to today.

The term “mental health” was popularised in the 1900’s by physicians and former insane asylum patients. They wanted to reduce the stigma of mental illness as the term “illness” often resulted in prejudices against patients in asylums. It often resulted in those with mental health issues being segregated from those that were deemed well.

In 1948, the NHS found themselves responsible for at least 100 asylums that all had their own rules and treatments for their patients in their care.

The average asylum had populations in the thousands but it was not uncommon for some asylums such as Whittingham in Lancashire to have as many as 4,oo0 patients at a given time.

Those living in asylums often had to deal with cramped and dirty conditions where the treatment are considered barbaric for today’s standards. These treatments included electro-convulsive therapy and lobotomies. These treatments did work for some patients but they also painted a painful picture of a place where no one wanted to end up.

Sufferers would often be confined to padded cells and made to wear straitjackets and where manual labour was deemed as therapy but patients also got the chance to do some sports and get some fresh air. However, it did not take long for ministers to realise that a change was overdue.

In the early 1950’s, it was noted that around half of NHS beds were taken up by the “mentally deficient” and the spending money needed to care for them was getting too much. In West Yorkshire, it took over 35% of their total budget.

The large and infamous hospitals that many are familiar with today were built during the Victorian times and around this time of realisation, it was also made aware that many of the foundations for these buildings were crumbling and would cost far too much to repair.

A 1957 report from the Percy Commission (created in 1954 by the Conservative Government) called for mental health to be regarded in the same was as a physical illness.

By the mid to late 1950’s, hospitals had an open door policy and academics all over the UK were acknowledging that most people suffered with mental health issues to some degree at some point in their lives.

New and more effective drugs were also been created to keep up with the pace of positive change. Psychiatry were changing its punishing treatments for more positive ones.

Unfortunately, an inquiry was made in 1971 into Whittingham hospital which uncovered patient neglect and fraud. It was almost as if the positive changes that took place two decades earlier did not happen.

The 1983 Mental Health act was created and placed legal controls on certain treatments such as surgery and mood-altering drugs. Due to this act, people became more aware that those suffering from mental health problems were not doomed to a life of uncertainty but had the chance to recover and lead normal lives.

In 2000, a draft Mental Health Bill introduced compulsory treatment under community supervision. Those that had dangerous and severe personality disorders had been considered untreatable but were covered by proposals. It was not until 2007 that it became law.

Sadly, those with mental health issues today, especially young people, still get stigmatised. Luckily, charities and health acts are constantly being updated and continue to fight these unfair beliefs that often latch onto those who need help with their mental health and well-being.

Teens with Mental Health Issues are Rising in the US

Most teenagers living in the US are suffering from mental health problems and the numbers are increasing each year.

Anxiety and depression are on the rise for young people living in the States and many can see these issues within their peers.

There are other concerns that teenagers are not voicing issues with bullying and any issues that they may have bottled up which has been proven can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.

Although teenagers have reported that pressure to do well in school, look a certain way to be deemed attractive on social media as well as other normal stresses of growing up plays a vital role in mental health, what causes these circumstances have yet to be nailed properly.

Just like the UK, the main problem with this topic is that it is not discussed as often as many would like it to be.

The right education would benefit the young on how to deal with their mental health and who they can speak to whenever they have any doubts about themselves or others around them.

Teenagers kept in temporary mental health units for over a year

More than half of young people have reported that they are staying in mental health units for longer than the recommended stay of six months.

According to campaigners and the young people’s parents, these long stays are damaging the mental health of young people further.

Psychiatric intensive care units (PICUs) are acute hospital wards which admit people who have reached crisis point. Patients may be suicidal, violent or experiencing psychotic episodes.

Ferndene hospital in Northumberland runs one of the only PICUs in the country with an outstanding rating from the regulator the Care and Quality Commission.

They are focusing on equipping young people with the skills they need and they hold meetings with everyone to ensure that the children who are there do not stay their longer than they need to.

An NHS spokesperson said: “At least 20 additional PICU beds have been commissioned, and while transformation won’t happen overnight, this work is starting to make a difference.”