‘Our pupils would have been on the scrapheap’: the school for bullied children

Every year, 16,000 children leave school because of bullying. Hannah Letters was one of them. She talks about how she got back on track

The bullying started when Hannah Letters was 11. “I struggled with the transition to secondary school and found it hard to make friends.” Her classmates made snide comments about her appearance. When her mother was diagnosed with cancer, the comments got worse. She was sent messages on social media, telling her that no one liked her. “One of the girls turned and said to me, ‘If you had looked after your mother better, she wouldn’t have got cancer.’ I had such low self-esteem by then, anything she said I believed. I started to blame myself.”

By the time she was 13, Letters was self-harming. The bullies were constantly on her mind and she would wake up screaming from nightmares. She wasn’t happy with the response she got from her school, and “each time my mother or I complained, the bullying got worse”. When the bullies physically attacked her, it was the last straw for Letters’ mother. She took her off the school roll. That meant her school was absolved of its legal responsibility to provide her with an education. She became yet another statistic: one of the 16,000 children aged 11 to 15 who, each year, “self-exclude” from school due to bullying.

By then, Letters was a wreck and could not contemplate starting a new school. “I felt worthless, stupid, ugly and fat – I didn’t see the point in being alive. I had no motivation to learn.” more

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Mental illness, Addiction and Digital Infidelity

Fifty years ago, I was six years old.  My family, like many families of the day, subscribed to Life magazine.  On the cover of the magazine for the week of September 16, 1966 was a picture of Sophia Loren.  The Hollywood starlet was portrayed wearing a black see-through lacy dress that covered all the necessary parts, and covered all the necessary standards for 1966.  But the picture left an image upon my brain that I can easily recall to this day.

Fifty years later, digital pornographic images are now easily accessible.  The Internet has made it possible for thousands of images and videos to be accessed within seconds.  The Internet has made it available for instant digital infidelity to occur.  Such images and encounters can easily be accessed on any smartphone, tablet, and computer.  more

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Why, as a woman, I love watching porn

Porn is that age-old subject that seems to endlessly divide people – most notably women. Some call it misogynistic and out-dated, others can’t get enough of it.

Myself? I love a bit of porn. And not your ‘feminised’ version either, but your bog standard, easily available, Red Tube smut. It turns me on — both with a partner and on my own.

There is still a stigma attached to women watching porn, with much of the criticism aimed at the banal narratives of your average skin flick – we’re ‘supposed’ to enjoy things which are more mentally arousing.  more

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Video gamers react to the WHO adding ‘gaming disorder’ to its mental health conditions

The potential risks of playing too many video games have been debated since arcades, home consoles and computers began going mainstream in the 1970s and 80s. But the World Health Organization announced on Monday that it is labeling “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition for the first time, and has included the term in its updated International Classification of Disease being published this year.

WHO doesn’t give a specific window for whether four hours, 12 or 24 counts as too much time gaming. It warns that the digital distraction becomes a disorder when “increasing priority [is] given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities,” and if the person continues to play or escalates how much they play despite negative consequences, such as interfering with their work or education, dissolving their relationships and hurting their personal health.  more

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The Mental Health Crisis is upon the Internet Generation

PublicDomainPictures / PixabayMy student Julie and I recently conducted a study on the mental health outcomes associated with being separated from family during the college years (such as by going to college out of state, which is, of course, very common). The findings were complex – and I won’t bore you with nuances here. But I will provide you with one headline that struck me: In our sample of over 200 college students, 59% reported having been diagnosed at some point with some psychological disorder. Note: This is not 59% reporting that they sometimes feel anxious or depressed. This question very explicitly asked if they had been diagnosed with a disorder.

Think about that.

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