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In brief: Adult content, heart disease, and air pollution

Top story Children commonly being exposed to pornography that normalises violence

A survey of 1000 16 to 21-year-olds has found that a quarter had first been exposed to porn at the age of 9, and half by the age of 13.

Social media sites are the most common primary source of pornography for respondents with 2 in 5 respondents using Twitter to access it.

Dedicated pornography sites came next, followed by Instagram, Snapchat and search engines.

The report comes at a time when the Online Safety Billwhich among its aims is to make the Internet safer for young people – is due to be debated in Parliament.

And the report suggests a lot needs to be done, both in terms of access to harmful content and its effects on younger generations.

38% said they had first come across pornography accidentally, while half of female respondents said that they expect aggression during sex, such as restricting breathing.

"It should not be the case that young children are stumbling across violent and misogynistic pornography on social-media sites," Dame Rachel de Souza, Children's Commissioner for England said.

"I truly believe we will look back in 20 years and be horrified by the content to which children were being exposed.

"Let me be absolutely clear - online pornography is not equivalent to a 'top-shelf' magazine.

"The adult content which parents may have accessed in their youth could be considered 'quaint' in comparison to today's world of online pornography."

Study reveals link between depression and heart disease in young adults

Research led by John Hopkins medicine has found that young adults who feel depressed are significantly more likely to have poor heart health, and are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The data was taken from 593,616 adults aged 18 to 49 who had taken part in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System – a self-report study from the US that was conducted between 2017 and 2020.

Survey shows that many find the workplace the best space for discussing mental health

A survey of 5000 adults across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland has found that 27% of full-time employees find work the most comfortable space to discuss mental health.

Other places found to be comfortable for discussing mental health include local cafes (21%), the pub (17%), the gym (17%), and the library (9%).

Worryingly, 65% of retirees reported never making space to discuss mental health – a significantly larger proportion than full-time (26%) and part-time (36%) employees.

Canadian government to delay assisted dying for people with mental illness

The Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti has introduced a bill to delay the expansion of assisted dying to people with mental illness by a year until March 2024.

The proposal has been made to allow the government time to consider a final report on the expansion, which is reviewing the safety of the Medical Assistance in Dying law.

Advocacy group Dying with Dignity has said that the delay will extend some people’s suffering making this a disappointing decision.

However, the Justice Minister has said “we want to be sure, we want to be safe.”

Study finds strong link between UK air pollution and mental illness

Researchers have found that relatively low levels of pollution are enough to significantly increase the risk of developing anxiety or depression.

The study examined 389,185 UK adults over 11 years, with those who lived in high-pollution areas being more likely to develop anxiety or depression, even in areas with air quality within official limits.

The researchers, from the University of Oxford, Beijing and Imperial College London, have called for stricter regulations for air pollution control.

Frontline Covid nurses more likely to suffer mental health challenges

A survey conducted by the University of Dundee and Edinburgh Napier University has found increasing levels of burnout among critical care nurses who treated people with Covid compared with a similar pre-pandemic study.

Dr Janice Rattray, Chief Investigator from the University of Dundee, said:

“These results are concerning as burnout is contagious, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress do not always resolve on their own. The NHS needs to prioritise the well-being of these nurses.

“Failure to address staff wellbeing is likely to have negative consequences for staff recruitment and retention, patient safety and quality of care.”


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