Sunday, 18 October 2015

This week in Mental Health... 18th October 2015

Today I'm introducing a new feature on the blog. I look out for, read and often share on social media mental health related stories every day. So why not incorporate them into my blog?

Every Sunday I'll be posting a list of some of the biggest and best articles and blog posts on mental illness, recovery, self harm and positive mental health.

Check out this week's selection below:

1) Brandon Marshall, “The Way People Talk About Mental Health Is Crazy”
Gun violence in America is often attributed to mental illness. Brandon Marshall refutes this, and points out that the public discourse on mental illness is seriously damaging.

Huffington Post 12th October
“Between 2001-10, there were close to 120,000 gun-related homicides. The facts surrounding these tragedies are clear: mental illness is not the cause. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, only about 4 percent of violence in the U.S. can be attributed to people with a mental disorder. In a recent study, the American Psychological Association concluded that the vast majority of people who are violent do not suffer from mental illnesses; conversely, the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent.”

2) An Open Letter to a Person With Mental Illness, Rachel Griffin
Rachel Griffin is a mental health campaigner from New York and a Huffington Post contributor. She pens an open letter to those with mental illness.

Huffington Post 13th October
“Dear Person With Mental Illness,
You are not a monster. You are a valuable, unique, wonderful human being who deserves everything grand that this life has to offer. Come out of the shadows and stand proudly in who you are.
You are not damaged. You are whole, regardless of having a mental illness. I like you the way you are. I wouldn't change you. I see you differently than you see yourself. I am not afraid of you or your illness... I am amazed by you. I am amazed by your courage, willpower, gifts and talents. I accept you, and your worlds of light and darkness.”

3) University of Limerick to clear counselling waiting list
Great news on the Irish front this week, as University of Limerick announce that they will proactively tackle the growing number of students on the counselling waiting list. If only other third level institutes would follow suit...

Irish Examiner 13th October
“The University of Limerick (UL) has implemented new measures to combat the growing number of students on waiting lists to receive counselling.
The institution, which is responding to the huge demand for on-campus counselling services, has allocated extra funds to clear the waiting list for this service by the end of the year.
This additional resource means it can employ the services of another full-time counsellor, which translates into 20 extra sessions a week.”

4) Mental health budget 'scandalously low'
Despite the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland putting out a statement on the low mental health budget before Budget Day, and despite there being additional funds put into the sector, it remains seriously underfunded.

Irish Health 11th October
“The proportion of the health budget that is spent on mental health remains ‘scandalously low', psychiatrists have insisted.
According to the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland (CPI), the budget for mental health has reduced from 13% of the entire health budget in the 1980s to 6.2% in 2015. In the UK, it is 12%.
The recommendation in the Government's own mental health strategy document, A Vision for Change, which was published back in 2006, recommended that Ireland's mental health budget should gradually build up to 8.24% of the entire health budget, ‘but the time frame foreseen for this is past', the CPI noted.”

5) Christina, “We Need to Talk”
Topshop brought out a new product this week - temporary scars. Is it a step too far? Are they glorifying self harm? Christina thinks so.

Christina Writes 13th October

“Today, one of my Facebook friends posted a link to a petition to take a certain Topshop product off the shelves. The item in question was a design by Lucie Davis, a Central St. Martins student whose “self-love” collection includes golden removable tattoos of scars. Topshop markets this as “celebrating imperfections rather than hiding them,” and “flaws worth fighting for.”

I really shouldn’t need to explain why plastering fake scars and stitches onto your body outside of a zombie costume is not a good idea, but it seems like I do. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that their intentions may have been positive, but the outcome has been seen by many (myself included--and I've never struggled with cutting, burning and the like) as insensitive, potentially triggering, and a way to commercialize off of a very serious issue. Whether they are aware of the implications of their product or not, Lucie and Topshop have jumped on the Mental Illness Fashion train. Rumor has it Urban Outfitters saved them a seat.”


  1. I agree with Christina why do Topshop think this is a good idea? I love the temporary tattoos which are fake silver and gold bracelets they are pretty and lovely in the sun. But these? Really. I hope that she manages them to take notice and get them off the shelves. Thank you for sharing xx

    1. I LOVE the transferable tattoos too. They were so much fun in the summer. But this is definitely a step too far x

  2. As someone who does suffer from high levels of anxiety and depression I finally came forward and shared my experience with depression yesterday and feel that more people like us should stand forward and highlight mental health issues.

    1. I read your story yesterday Ana, was a very honest piece x

  3. An interesting collection of articles, I'll have a read of them before bed. As quoted from Christina, I'm very shocked Topshop have 'jumped on the Mental Illness Fashion train'. It's unbelievable the things people do to try and make a profit!

    1. It is isn't it Catriona! I'm hoping they'll pull the pieces

  4. Wow Topshop! Really?! Just because you celebrate something and strive for it to be accepted doesn't means everyone else has to join in in such a crass way. The Huffington Letter is very powerful, thanks for sharing x

    1. You're very welcome Aby! Glad you liked the pieces x

  5. Great addition to the blog Zoe. Delighted to hear UL are getting proactive and doing something about the waiting lists, they're atrocious!
    Cant believe Topshop though... Like really????? x

    1. They're so bad in most colleges Kellie, but the attitude has been that it's not their problem in the past. Hopefully UL's decision will inspire change nationwide x

  6. wow, I am shocked at Topshop to be honest. Nice to know that they just have profits in mind

    1. I know Michelle! Joining a long list of brands like Urban Outiftters and Tesco that have done similar offensive products x

  7. Great idea for a post to share - I hope to goodness that TopShop were just thinking of Halloween and zombies otherwise it is disgraceful. Kaz x

    1. True Kaz, I hadn't thought it could be for Halloween and zombies actually x