Mental Health Awareness: The Caterpillar’s Advice

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It’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Except what most people seem to mean by this is the exact opposite of the term.

It should be called “Mental Ill-Health Week”, judging by my social media feed – which is full of posts brimming with sad stories of suffering and struggle.

I think it’s brilliant that there’s less social stigma – and this means that people feel they can reach out, ask for help where they couldn’t before.

I also realise that the many people on social media this week who are offering strategies and techniques to ‘stay mentally healthy’, and/or to provide coping strategies to those who are suffering are sincere and well-meaning.  (Before 2010 you would have found me doing the same)

These strategies range from going for a walk in nature during your lunch-break, to making sure you’re carving out enough time to meditate, or do yoga, or use the app on your phone to remain calm and mindful.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with any of these strategies. They’ll certainly ‘work’ some of the time for some people.  It’s just an innocent misunderstanding about where our experience is coming from.

Knife Crime: We Need a Different Solution

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Let’s face it, the current strategies aren’t working very well.

The number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales last year was the highest since records began in 1946, official figures show.

There were 285 killings by a knife or sharp instrument in the 12 months ending March 2018, Office for National Statistics analysis shows. The ONS says one in four (71) of all victims (285) were men aged 18-24. The figures show a 45% increase in the number of victims aged 16-24 and a 23% increase in those aged 25-34.

There were 132 people killed in London – the highest for 10 years if you exclude those killed in terror attacks

The figures on homicide do not generally vary hugely from year-to-year, which is why the steep increase in fatal stabbings to an all-time high is particularly striking.

It provides further evidence that knife crime is arguably the greatest law enforcement challenge facing the Home Office, police and communities across England and Wales.

Happy Blue Monday!

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Today is supposedly ‘Blue Monday’.  This is a name given to 21 January – claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. The concept was first publicised as part of a 2005 press release from holiday company Sky Travel, which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation.  Here’s the formula if you’re interested:

[W + (D – d)] x Tq

M x Na


d=monthly salary
T=time since Christmas
Q=time since failing our new year’s resolutions

(By the way, in case you hadn’t realised, 17 January was “International Ditch your New Year’s Resolutions Day!”)

M=low motivational levels
and Na=the feeling of a need to take action.