Speaking to The Big issue, the classicist said austerity is pushing people into illness
Famed scholar Mary Beard is clear on how we should tackle what she calls an “anxiety epidemic” in the UK.
Speaking to The Big Issue ahead of the return of pop culture show Front Row Late, she pointed out that spiralling mental illness figures must be considered alongside austerity and underfunded services in order to see the full picture.
The classicist asked if “you can talk about anxiety and mental health issues without thinking about all the other things people are suffering”.
She continued: “We have an anxiety epidemic and talk about those things very differently now, but it is not that anxiety didn’t exist.
“There is a rather basic, self-evident point, which is that people who haven’t got enough money to live on are anxious. I can remember what it is like if you put your card into the machine and it says, “Bugger off, you haven’t got any money.”
She also gently warned against placing all responsibility for the planet’s future on young environmental activists.
“It is very easy to think that the next generation will do it,” she said.” I remember one Cambridge meeting where we were choosing an early-career candidate and they all looked brilliant. The chair wisely said, don’t worry, we all looked like that once.
“There is a lot about the way this country is heading that worries me a great deal. But we are a collaborative species. Some of the things we are seeing at the moment I hope are a blip.”
Read the full interview in this week’s Big Issue, available from your local vendor or in the Big Issue shop.
Teenagers have created a series of booklets and posters to help promote mental health across Dundee.
Pupils at the High School of Dundee worked with staff from the charity Feeling Strong.
Founded by Brook Marshall the charity aims to help young people in Dundee who have suffered a mental health challenge to reach their full potential.
This is achieved by delivering services co-produced by, and delivered by, young people.
Brook visited the school to help youngsters work on an art and design department project on health and well being.
The pupils created documents, booklets and posters examining and giving guidance on issues such as body image, bullying, stress and anxiety.
Art and design teacher Andrea Ross, who led the project, said: “Our goal was to create resources which would help young people to access engaging, yet practical advice about their mental health and well being.
“We were delighted to see our pupils approach this project with inspirational maturity.”
The work recently went on show at the school and a booklet featuring some of the pupils’ artwork is being sold to raise funds for the charity.
Brook said: “I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for young people to engage with the subject in a very empowering way.”
Copies of the booklet supporting the charity can be obtained for a minimum £5 donation from Andrea Ross.
Essex-born student Chloe Sheridan, who studies in Dundee, shared her emotional tweet charting her mental health battle
A nursing student has revealed how she went from having suicidal thoughts to training to become a mental health nurse in an inspiring post.
Chloe Sheridan was admitted into a psychiatric ward for the first time three years ago, she said in a tweet which has gone viral.
The Essex-born student said she felt lost, hopeless and consumed by the idea of ending her life at that time, reports the Daily Record.
But the tweet ended with the revelation that she was now returning to a psychiatric ward – this time as a student mental health nurse.
She also shared two photos – the first showed her looking downcast and teary-eyed in a grey hoodie as she prepared to go into hospital as a psychiatric patient.
The second pic showed her beaming and looking professional in her grey nurses scrubs.
She posted: “Three years ago today I was taken into a psychiatric ward for the 1st time.
“I was lost, hopeless, consumed by the idea of ending my life.
“Today I walk into a psychiatric ward as a student mental health nurse for my first day of placement.
“Things change, they don’t stay hard forever.”
And Chloe’s life-affirming tweet quickly racked up support and likes as her story went viral across the platform.
Her tweet has garnered up almost 20,000 retweets and over 130,000 likes since it was posted.
Thousands more replied with messages thanking Chloe for her honesty.
One wrote: “From someone who struggles daily with Mental Health issues and needs the help/support MH workers provide, a massive thank you for your decision to work with others who need that help.
“You will be an asset to all you work with and I wish you all the best.”
Another said: “This is amazing!! Best tweet I’ve seen for ages. So glad you managed to get through it and your first hand experience and understanding will be invaluable. Best of luck in your career – I’m sure you’ll be fantastic!!”One posted: “Literally in the same position as you. 4 years ago I was in hospital for taking an overdose and seeing no way out of my hell of a life. I’m now a student mental health nurse and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
And another added: “I feel this. I was in and out of hospitals with mental health issues and struggled for a long time. This is brilliant! well done!! 4 years ago I was in sectioned in hospital and this year, 5 years later I will qualify as a mental health nurse! I can’t speak for anyone else, but using my experience and illness to do this truly gave me my spark back.”
A Fife director is hoping to release a new film with a focus on coping with depression over the festive season in time for Christmas 2019.
‘Cold’, which has been written and produced by Kirkcaldy film maker Gavin Hugh, is being filmed in locations across Kirkcaldy, Stirling, Edinburgh and Aviemore, with two days of filming already in the can.
It is a huge personal undertaking for Gavin, who has previously worked for STV and Sky News and has been running his own Kirkcaldy-based video production business, MidgieBite Media, since late 2017 while also working part time at the Scottish Parliament as an assistant to Dundee City East MSP Shona Robison.
However, with the production funded through goodwill and his own pocket so far, Gavin and his team plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign early this year to help finish the film and release it in winter 2019.
“For a lot of us, Christmas is a happy time of year where we can celebrate and put all of our troubles to one side but for people suffering with depression it can be incredibly difficult to do that,” Gavin explained.
“We focus on how the pressure of trying to take part in the festivities and putting on a brave face just isn’t something that can be easily switched on and off in time with the days on a calendar.
“Taking care of your own mental health is easy to overlook. I’ve had my own issues with anxiety over the years, and some of the people that I’m closest to in my life have suffered from depression.
“Mental health issues can be challenging not just for the individual but for the people around them who are trying to offer support.
“As this film is drawing on a lot of personal experiences, it’s really important for me that our film gives an honest portrayal of these issues.
“While there’s an increasing awareness of mental health issues in mainstream society, we’re really hoping that the film can help encourage people to still be mindful of them at this time of year.”
Gavin has been involved in a lot of local film projects over the years, particularly with horror filmmakers Hex Media, and has recently been working closely with Robbie Davidson on his upcoming World War Two epic ‘Dick Dynamite’.
Most of the primary cast for Cold are Fifers, including Andrew Gourlay, Hana Mackenzie, Craig Seath and Iain Leslie, as are most of the technical crew.
Lead actress Rowan Birkett, a friend of Gavin’s from student days at Stirling University, has been travelling up from Ambleside in England to take part, while Dundee is also represented in Grant R Keelan, a city-based photographer who acts in the film as well as working in the technical team.
“It’s genuinely been great to work with so many talented local artists,” he added.
More details about the crowdfunding campaign will be announced in due course, and the plan is to hold a premiere of the new film in Kirkcaldy later in the year.