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In brief: Care failings, smartphones, and mental health training at work

Image of lady holding smartphone
Paul Hanaoka | Unsplash

​Trigger warning: The following story regards loss of life and may be triggering for some.

Top story Vulnerable woman loses life due to care failings

Laura Winham, a 38-year-old woman diagnosed with schizophrenia, was tragically found dead in her home by her older brother, where she had been for three years.

Her family had little contact with her due to the difficulty of her condition, but they believed she was receiving appropriate support for her illness.

The family became suspicious when they received no contact from Laura and she stopped replying to them reaching out for an extended period of time.

It is believed that Laura died in November 2017, a few weeks after police had visited her flat over a report that she had been self-neglecting, not purchasing food, and was unaware of how to access care services.

In 2016, Laura had her disability living allowance stopped by the Department for Work and Pensions as she failed to respond to their letters telling her to re-apply for its replacement, while her gas was also cut off.

Despite the difficulty in contacted her, no determined attempts to establish Laura's wellbeing were made.

Nicky, Laura's sister, labelled the lack of attempts from social care, mental health services and social landlords as "turning a blind eye" to the situation.

“Everybody who was in contact with Laura and had a duty to her at some stage simply wiped their hands of her and forgot her. She was abandoned and left to die,” said Nicky.

“No one should have to suffer the way Laura did due to the lack of support given to her mental health. We now must live with the devastating sadness of what has happened, and we are sharing our story because we do not want any other families to suffer in this way.”

Smartphones can be used for monitoring thinking difficulties associated with depression

New research from King’s College London and the University of Sussex has found that smartphones can be used effectively for self-reporting and objectively assessing thinking difficulties for people managing depression.

The study was conducted on 508 people from the UK, Spain and the Netherlands and participants were assessed every three months for a maximum of two years. Read more >

Parents’ mental health in Scotland deteriorating due to rising prices

A survey from youth mental health charity steam4 has found that 64% of parents in Scotland are experiencing worsening mental health because of rising costs. A further 80% reported feeling “overwhelmed”.

Contributing to these feelings is the finding that over half of families in Scotland can no longer afford outings together. Read more >

Poor literacy skills associated with poor mental health worldwide

New research from the University of East Anglia has revealed that people with poor literacy suffer from worse mental health internationally.

19 studies from around the world that measured mental health and literacy skills were reviewed –including studies based in the US, China, Nepal, Thailand, Iran, India, Ghana, Pakistan, and Brazil – comprising over 2 million participants.

Overall, it was found that people with lower literacy skills were significantly more likely to suffer from mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Read more >

Mental health first aid training in the workplace proposed in parliament

Conservative MP Dean Russel proposed a new law to parliament requiring businesses to provide mental health first aid training, with the hope being that people will spot the signs of mental health issues earlier.

The suggestion has been criticised as another plaster over the cracks of mental illness from the current government.

Critics have highlighted the uselessness of spotting mental health issues when public services are so chronically underfunded that they can’t provide any meaningful help. Read more >


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