Childhood bullying affects adult life

ImageResearch has revealed that childhood bullying in school can still affect the individual in their 50’s. The study conducted by Kings College London found that children who were bullied in school are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and poor physical health when they were 50 and over than those who were not bullied.

Professor Louise Arseneault, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, said: “We need to move away from any perception that bullying is just an inevitable part of growing up. Teachers, parents and policy-makers should be aware that what happens in the school playground can have long-term repercussions for children.”

That is where the problem lies. Schools claim to have a bullying policy but they are not aware of any bullying that happens and do not look into the long term effects. Bullying is a serious issue and something very close to my heart. It is such a traumatic and painful experience for any child who is being bullied and the long term effects of it is often overlooked. This study really rings true to me as from personal experience, I completely can relate.

Anyone of authority trying to tackle the issue of bullying must therefore take on board the impact of long-term psychological effects. If this was the case, then I do feel like the psychological long term effects of bullying would be minimised in adulthood, otherwise the consequences of bullying could be even more damaging for future generations. The way bullying and cyberbullying is tackled in this country should be thoroughly reviewed. We need to  ensure that children who are being bullied or have been bullied receive the psychological support they need.

Waiting Times In Eating Disorder Treatment

I wrote a post about this a few months ago but as a media volunteer for Beat, I took part in their waiting times survey about my experiences and today it has been revealed that a large amount of people have waited for treatment for more than six months. The charity are now calling  on the government to do more to help people with eating disorders.

Susan Ringwood, the chief executive of Beat says “Eating disorders are fatal in up to 20% of cases. That’s the highest death rate of any mental illness. We know that when people have to wait a long time for treatment, their illness can get worse. In the most serious cases, people’s lives can be lost. We were shocked to find that 26% of the people we spoke to had waited more than six months. We want clear waiting times to be set, so people can know when their treatment is going to start.”

Waiting lists for any treatment does really get to me because it is as if they want the sufferer to get more ill. I understand why there are waiting lists but for eating disorder treatment, it can be even more difficult for the sufferer and their family and for some, the waiting list is around 8 months to a year and by then, the sufferer may get severely ill.

After being discharged from one unit, I had to wait a year to get assessed for another one and I was not getting any better whilst waiting. In fact, I got severely worse to the point where I just wanted to die and could not even function anymore. Even drinking water seemed like a scary concept. When you do eventually get help after waiting for a long time, you just feel like you are past help, which explains why it is so hard to get better. The longer you leave a patient waiting, the harder it is to get better. All the sufferer wants is help whether they admit it or not.

Care minister Norman Lamb says this has to be a “very urgent priority”. He says “In mental health, we don’t even know how long people are waiting, That’s why this survey is of great value, because it demonstrates the seriousness of the problem. I want to get to a point where, by 2015, we introduce access standards, so that people know how long they should be expected to wait as a maximum” but he admits that he does not know whether he will achieve that yet but will try.

Another thing I would like to point out is that eating disorders are mental illnesses but some specialist units focus merely on monitoring the weight, behaviours and the intake and of course that is the main issue that does need to be dealt with first but some units, not all, do not provide proper psychological help straight away. They just give you a few antidepressants and that is it. I feel like if I get my head sorted out first, then perhaps I would do better in terms of recovery. But, of course they put you on a waiting list and more waiting lists and more waiting lists. I do not understand how I can get better if proper therapy is not put in place. Eating means nothing if you are not mentally better.

I think treatment should be offered at the first sign of an eating disorder. As soon as a patient shows signs of an eating disorder, they should put in place a therapist, a dietitian, a psychiatrist, a nurse – everything they will need in order for the patient to get better. When you have eating disorder, all you need is the right support and sometimes I feel like I am not getting that which does hinder my chances of recovery.

Conservative Party Conference 2013: Cameron “We are the party of the future”

Ending the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today was David Cameron’s quite optimistic speech as he claimed that the Conservatives “are the party of the future”.

He asked voters to release him from the Coalition in order to “finish the job” and of course, using the quite overused Tory phrase, he did say he wants to “clean up the mess that Labour left” but not just clean the mess and be done with it. He said he did not come into politics to fix what went wrong but to build something right.

He said his ambition was to make Britain “a land of opportunity for all” because of course they are the party for “hardworking people”. The speech was focused mainly on the economy and welfare. He said his ambition is to cut taxes. “We’re Tories. We believe in low taxes. And believe me – we will keep on cutting the taxes of hard-working people.”

He pledged that anyone under 25 is not going to be able to claim housing or unemployment benefits under an all-Conservative government. Instead, he said young people should be forced to “earn or learn”.

He said the economy was finally “turning the corner” after the recession however, he did admit the job was not over and the Conservatives want to move on from “clearing up the mess” Labour have left to “build something better in its place”. He said he wanted his party to be given the chance to “finish the job we’ve started”.

He touched on a number of issues other issues including Scottish Referendum, the NHS, HS2 and Education. Referring to young people, he said if they fail English and Maths GCSE, they will need to do it all again and again and again until they pass because “there’s not a job in the world where you don’t need to spell and add up properly.”

This speech was a round up of what we have heard within the past few days from the conference. There were no new policies. The speech was about their mission and what Cameron hopes to bring in the future. It was not the best speech he has given and probably won’t be what people are going to talk about in the next few days as much as they did about Ed Miliband’s speech last week because Ed basically overshadowed the whole conference.

However, Cameron reminded people about what Conservatives are all about in this speech; that they are the party for “hardworking people” who want to get on but also made it clear that the economic recovery is happening but is taking time and for people to hang in there and trust them.

Conservative Party Conference 2013: Osborne “We have a serious plan for a grown-up country”

At his speech today in the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Chancellor George Osborne set out what he called a “serious plan for a grown-up country”.

Sporting a new haircut and speaking in a rather mature and serious tone, he said Britain’s economy was turning a corner, but admitted that cutting the deficit was a big concern. He said the “battle to turn Britain around, is not even close to being over. We are going to finish what we have started.”

He said his aim was to achieve a financial ‘surplus’ in the next parliament and to grow capital spending in line with GDP.

The big plan was of course his help to work scheme – which will put the long-term unemployed into work before they receive any benefits. No work, no benefits. He said: “No one will be ignored or left without help but no one will get something for nothing” which of course is a typical Conservative aim unlike Labour.

“Help to work – and in return work for the dole. Because a fair welfare system is fair to those who need it and fair to those who pay for it too” he told conference.

A political speech would not be complete or even normal without a few jokes and some digs at other parties. Making the conference laugh, he took a swipe at both the Liberal Democrats and Labour, including the Miliband brothers. He described Ed and David as “the greatest sibling rivalry since the Bible. Cain and not-very-able.”

He hit back at Labour’s plan to tackle the “cost of living” crisis. He said: “What matters most for living standards are jobs and low mortgage rates and lower taxes.” He then added: “without a credible economic plan, you simply don’t have a living standards plan.”

He said that the Conservatives had done more than any other party for small business owners and added: “We are nothing, if we are not the party for small business.”

His speech was rather positive although it was not as enthusiastic as Ed Balls’ speech at the Labour Conference last week. Osborne was thinking to the future instead of wallowing in past mistakes. He still has a lot to prove and still has a long way to go to win over the public to his policies. He and David Cameron hope to, as the Tories always say, “clean up the mess” that Labour have left. Sticking to the same tune like they always do. Is Osborne out of touch or is the mess that Labour left actually the problem of this economic slowdown?

The ‘mental patient’ costumes is the reason why people are scared to talk about mental illness

Today’s big news is the one about Asda selling ‘mental patient’ fancy dress costume for Halloween. Tesco and Amazon have been too, which is now taken off sale following public criticism.

This is absolutely disgraceful. This is exactly why people are ashamed to talk about mental health because it does not have a decent connotation attached to it. It is seen as a horrible thing, a shameful thing, which can explain why people are still adamant to talk about it.

When people think about the mentally ill, they think ‘crazy’ ‘messed up’ ‘loony’ ‘psycho’. They are often seen as violent. Why? The mentally ill can be victims of violence. People judge without knowing the reasons. I have met a lot of people in mental health units and not one seemed ‘crazy’ to me. In fact, they were the most understanding and warm people I have ever met. That was probably due to the fact that I could relate to them but that is besides the point.

You could be walking down the street passing someone who suffers from depression but they could look absolutely normal. People who have mental health issues are not crazy and people really need to understand that.

Yes, we often hear the word ‘stigma’ and you are probably sick of it but it is true. There is still a stigma attached to mental health and unfortunately I think that stigma will not go away anytime soon because of the likes of Asda, Tesco and Amazon.

People are slowly starting to understand it a bit more which is great but there needs to be more done about this stigma. It took me a while to be open about my problems and one of the reasons why I am slowly opening up my mental health problems is because I want to help break that stigma and also help and inspire people along the way. I was ashamed before because I thought people would judge me but after speaking to others and mental health specialists about it, they have made me realise that there is nothing to be ashamed of.

People who suffer from mental health problems are often weary about what people will think. I wrote an article for Time To Change about talking about mental health in the Islamic community, which will be published very soon. This is because it is something I am facing currently. In my culture, the mentally ill is often seen as someone who is not worthy of anything. They are seen as an insignificant, crazy and scary person, which is also the case in the wider society.

Hiding my problems has not helped me with getting better. In fact, when you hide your problems, it gets worse. I want to see a change in the way we talk about mental health. The attitude to it completely disgusts me. I will not say I faced any discrimination at work or at a place of study but I know people who have and this needs to change.

Labour leader Ed Miliband raised this issue in his party conference speech earlier this week and MP’s do occasionally come out about their own mental health problems, which is very admiring and allows others to be open about their problems too. I really think if this issue is often raised in Parliament, more people will start to talk about it.

We must accept the fact that mental health is something that is normal and should not to be hidden or kept secret, just because society thinks it should be. Asda may describe the stereotype of mental illness but know that mental illness is far from that.

Labour Party Conference 2013: Miliband “We’re Britain…we’re better than this.”

One Nation Labour was created by Ed Miliband exactly a year ago. Today, he brought it back.

At his speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton today, his main slogan was “Britain can do better than this….we are better this.” The way he tried to show that Labour can do better than this if they win the next general election is by pledging quite unique policies, such as freezing gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017. He said energy firms had been overcharging for too long and it was time to reset the market. “Your bills will be frozen, benefiting millions of families and millions of businesses. That’s what I mean by a government that fights for you. That’s what I mean when I say Britain can do better than this.”

This speech seemed to be something that Miliband wanted to stick to people’s minds. He wanted people to remember why he is the leader of the Labour Party and why Labour should be back in government. The way he did that was again, starting a slogan, a catchphrase, that he kept on repeating throughout the speech in hopes that people will listen. Once again, he had no script. Memorising his whole speech like last year, he spoke with enthusiasm and passion.

“Race to the top” was a phrase that he repeated many times after saying how the Tories are always failing and going down instead of up. He said “We’ve never believed in the race to the bottom. We believe in the race to the top.”

He stuck to what he believes about not going to war, referring to the chemical weapons debate in Syria.

After admitting that he was never someone who is “macho” on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, he did take quite a U-turn and almost tried to be macho at this speech. He said “Here’s the thing about David Cameron: He may be strong when it comes to the weak. But he’s always weak when it comes to the strong.” Claiming that Labour can do a better job than the Tories. he had a message for them.  He said “If they want to have a debate about leadership and character, be my guest.”

He quite rightly pointed out all the things that Cameron has done wrong in this Coalition. He told the conference that Cameron sided with the Murdoch’s, tobacco lobbyists and millionaires. He said Cameron introduced the bedroom tax but Labour will repeal.

He also talked about mental health stigma and why we should be able to talk about it openly. “It’s an afterthought in our health system,” he told the conference audience.  This is not a policy as such but he is absolutely right. Mental health issues is never talked about as often as it should be. It is something that matters. After receiving a letter from a 17 year old who suffers from anxiety and depression, he said we should be able to talk about this stuff as it does happen.

On the subject of health, he then went onto talk about the NHS.  “It is the same old story: We rescue the NHS. The Tories wreck it. We have to rescue it all over again. And we will.”

This speech was full of policies after polices. Like last year, he pledged to do many things, but the question is always this – Will he be able to deliver? Is this all talk to win voters or is Ed Miliband the future prime minister we all dream of?

Liberal Democrat Conference 2013: Clegg “I want us to stay in government.”

The Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Glasgow came to an end today after Nick Clegg’s rather confident and engaging speech. These last five days have been a great few days for Clegg and his party and today, his speech rounded the conference up remarkably well.

There was a theme to his speech. It was focused more on them trying to stay in government and how Lib Dems should be represented in government rather than on anything else, although he touched on many relative issues such as Syria and the EU.

He spoke with pride as he mentioned the legality of gay marriage and about the growing economy. He said “The country is growing stronger by the day. Stable, successful coalition. The recovery wouldn’t be happening without us.” However, he spoke about joining forces with either parties again and said  “Labour would wreck the recovery. The Conservatives would give us the wrong kind of recovery. Only the Liberal Democrats can finish the job and finish it in a way that is fair.”

One thing what he said that stood out to most people was that he identified his party as a party that is different to Labour and the Conservatives. “The Liberal Democrats are not some subset of the Labour or Tory parties. We have our own values, our own liberal beliefs”

He did not announce any new policies after yesterday’s big announcement on free lunches for all children in their first three years at school in England, to which perhaps he thought would be a great way to bring in more Lib Dem voters, as in more families.

He spoke about his own family. His personal beliefs. His education. His wife. How he likes to keep Westminister and his personal life private. How he sees Ed Miliband and David Cameron personally, not just politically.

This speech clearly showed that Clegg wants voters to see that they are not going anywhere. People thought that the Coalition would be a disaster but he said the Lib Dems have proved them wrong. They can in fact, handle a government and people need to have a bit more faith in them. The speech was about him as a leader, a prime minister to-be and not just a deputy.

He tried to show that the Lib Dems are not weak and that things are working the way that it should be and the Lib Dems are now at where they should have been before.

But was this enough? Has he won over voters or has he just made people interpret his bid to stay in government in a different way – such as if you do not vote for me this time round, then I will resign.