Mental health

The Last Asylum

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In a culture where mental illness still carries much stigma Barbara Taylor’s memoir is an important book about pain and treatment.

Taylor, a biographer of Mary Wollstonecraft, describes her agonising journey of mental collapse. In the 1980s she began psychoanalysis in order to seek help for her anxiety, depression, insomnia and drinking.

She was admitted to Friern mental asylum — the largest asylum in Europe which closed its doors in 1993, a year after Taylor was discharged.

The Selfish Capitalist

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Oliver James, Vermilion, Oliver James

Gordon Brown's drive to get people off benefits includes establishing a programme aimed at those with chronic depression. They will be given cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for six to 16 weeks, after which they are expected to be job ready. Former New Labour advisor Derek Draper described CBT with characteristic compassion: "It would make people more employable and better parents, thereby increasing productivity, cutting the benefits bill and reducing antisocial behaviour."

Mental Health: Much More Than a 'State of Mind'

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Last month the British Medical Association (BMA) released a shocking report which found that as many as one in ten children and young people between the ages of one and 16 are suffering from a serious mental health problem.

These range from sleep and eating disorders through to severe obsessive and depressive conditions.

So what is going on? Why are so many more children suffering from mental health problems today? The report itself contains many of the answers and reads like a catalogue of the inequalities still rife in Blair's Britain - poverty, racism, the stigmatisation of mental health problems and woefully inadequate services.


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