There has been a move lately towards some kind of greater acceptance of psychedelic drugs. Travelling in the opposite direction, however, is cannabis. As this story shows, increasingly it is acknowledged that it carries potential dangers—including psychosis—especially for frequent users. Lots of people, especially young people starting out on their journey, venturing into a bewildering, unfair, uncertain adult world, think cannabis is the answer, or an answer. But maybe it might be more helpful to engage with the question. Yes, the world is messed up. This does not mean you need to be, too. Talk to someone. There is help.
The risks of heavy cannabis for mental health are serious enough to warrant global public health campaigns, according to international drugs experts who said young people were particularly vulnerable.
The warning from scientists in the UK, US, Europe and Australia reflects a growing consensus that frequent use of the drug can increase the risk of psychosis in vulnerable people, and comes as the UN prepares to convene a special session on the global drugs problem for the first time since 1998. The meeting in New York next week aims to unify countries in their efforts to tackle issues around illicit drug use.
While the vast majority of people who smoke cannabis will not develop psychotic disorders, those who do can have their lives ruined. Psychosis is defined by hallucinations, delusions and irrational behaviour, and while most patients recover from the episodes, some go on to develop schizophrenia. The risk is higher among patients who continue with heavy cannabis use.
• Relatedly, a story in Parent Herald highlights the findings by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) on the links between mental health, longevity and smoking: people with mental health problems have significantly lower life expectancies than the general population and much of this can be attributed to smoking.
Mental health goals may not be met, audit office warns
A government pledge to bring mental health services up to the standards of those for physical ailments will struggle to be met, the government’s official spending watchdog has concluded.
The National Audit Office has examined the Department of Health’s strategy for bringing a “parity of esteem” to ensure that patients do not have to wait longer for mental health therapies. New waiting time targets for those seeking help with mental illnesses were supposed to be introduced at the start of this month.
Although it is five years since the government first drew up the ambition, a report by auditors has found that the DH does not yet have a grip on how much the policy will cost.
The report found the department and NHS England have made available £120m of additional funding over the two years 2014-15 and 2015-16.
However, most of the cost of implementing the new access and waiting time standards will be met from clinical commissioning groups’ existing budgets – at a time when the NHS is under increasing financial pressure.
The findings have emerged as more people are seeking mental health treatment from the NHS.
Lawsuit: Sperm donor lied about mental health
WDSU New Orleans
He was handsome and healthy, with several degrees and a genius-level IQ. On paper, Donor 9623 embodied the best genetics had to offer. At least 36 children were born using his donated sperm. According to a lawsuit filed by three families, it took almost 14 years before the donor's true identity was revealed: A schizophrenic college dropout with a felony conviction.
Families that used his sperm are suing the Georgia-based sperm bank Xytex Cryo International, saying it should have done a better job of vetting its sperm donors.
Grandmother benches, smartphone apps and other mental health boosts from around the world
World Economic Forum
More than 10% of the total disease burden in low and middle income countries (LAMIC) is due to mental health disorders, yet they receive less than 1% of many of these countries’ health budgets. A striking example of this is in Zimbabwe, where only 12 psychiatrists serve a national population of 15.3 million.
Considering this huge under-investment, a key question is how to provide support for people suffering from mental ill health when resources are scarce.
These five collaborative, low-cost care packages - delivered by lay people who are trained and supervised by professionals - all have the potential to close the treatment gap, and improve the mental health of hundreds of thousands of people.
Education, trauma counseling key to helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon
Catholic News Service
The more than 1.06 million Syrians who remain in neighboring Lebanon face continuing struggles with war trauma, dwindling funds, and a very uncertain and often dangerous future.
"They have internalized the violence and loss in the conflict in Syria. Perhaps they saw loved ones killed, their houses destroyed in front of their eyes, or even being uprooted from their country has caused trauma," Monette Kraitem, a Lebanese psychologist working the Catholic charitable agency Caritas, told Catholic News Service.
She and fellow Caritas psychologist Christelle Ltief have so far helped 1,500 Syrian refugee children and women sheltering in this part of the Bekaa Valley to process the pain at the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center in the nearby town of Taalabaya.
"We try to help the children deal with their trauma by expressing their feelings" through "play, art and music therapy, relaxation and respiration techniques, and individual and group therapy, where children can say how they feel without being judged," Ltief told CNS.
Why Pakistan needs to embrace Arts Therapy
In the past decade, the field of Art Therapy has gained strong ground in the West and is being taught at the university level, offering graduate and post-graduate programs. In Pakistan, however, the awareness is gradually increasing among masses and the future looks promising. Asim Amjad, Samina Jamshed, Ufaq Ehsan and Shazia Mohamad are some of the iconic Pakistani Art Therapists who often arrange Art Therapy workshops and seminars for kids throughout the country.
Why do people have affairs?
The School of Life
Do you tend towards clingy neediness? Or cold aloofness? Relationships tiptoe along the knife edge of each person's need for closeness at times, and distance at others. When it gets out of kilter, the spectre of an affair looms (Dumas said marriage is a heavy burden that requires two people to carry it, and sometimes three). This new 3-minute film from The School of Life explains: "A lot of the reason why people have affairs isn’t to do with random excess horniness. It’s do to with issues of closeness and distance."
We need to talk about mental health
The most striking result that emerges from surveys of mental health at work is the awkwardness. For all the progress made in taking the stigma out of mental health problems, a large number of people just do not want to talk about it.
would not feel able to talk to their manager if they had a mental health problem
A survey last year for Time to Change, a programme run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, found that 28 per cent of people in England would feel uncomfortable asking someone close to them about their mental health problems. Why? Because it would make the other person feel uncomfortable, they would not know what to say or because they would not feel able to help.
The same embarrassment surrounds surrounds mental health at work, one focus of the “wellbeing” category of the Responsible Business Awards. In another survey conducted for Mind by YouGov in 2014, 31 per cent said they would not feel able to talk to their manager if diagnosed with a mental health problem. Some 33 per cent said that if they told their boss that they were stressed at work, they felt their ability to do the job would be questioned.
11 things to do daily
A good roundup of pretty obvious things we could be doing to feel better. It's common sense...yet not all that common,
When it comes to taking care of ourselves, we often focus more on our physical body. However, maintaining your mind is just as important, and there are things we should be doing everyday to improve our mental health. Just like our body needs to get into a routine, so does our brain, and taking the steps to ensure our optimal mental health can have us feeling just as healthy as eating a good kale salad.