GIRL’S PUBERTY & PERIODS

maximum-win-when-puberty-goes-right_o_4965805Girls of puberty age face discrimination in society so says the news again. Some banned from crossing river because of monthly periods. Interestingly, God put period in girls for reproductive cycle to be fruitful, multiply to replenish earth according to Bible. Functions of human body are God’s creation so people need proper education to learn to understand these female conditions. Modern times show deataile scientific knowledge on menstruation. So schoolchildren learn biology so know scientific explanation of periods. Period means a girl’s womb is prepared for child-birth each month. The girl’s body waits through ovulation cycle when egg is released to receive the seed/s to become pregnant and to have children. But since girls are too young to bear children and still in education they are not ready to give birth yet. So each month the egg from the fallopian tube is released waiting for conception in the womb. Since no pregnancy takes place, egg and womb linings are shed as the ‘period’ in preparation for repeat of this cycle each month. After birth a womb is still busy continuing monthly cycle until menopause when period stop. A natural of fertility cycle of girls is being used as religious discrimination against young innocent girls. The tradition of outhouse for periods exists in cultures all over the world to keep girls in a special hut.

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The concept of sacred ground of homes and rivers is used to put girls in special huts for exclusively the periods. Elderly women train girls in personal hygiene and after periods they go back to family compounds. The idea is found in Bible too so women are considered “unclean” from sacred spaces during periods. And must have purification baths and must abstain from intimacy during periods. In some places menstrual cups, pads or special cloth is used by women during periods. For those not going through the periods they are allowed to cook, clean and do chores. Those in periods cannot enter the family compounds until after periods. In places where a girl is safe, warm and nearby home period is time of “break and rest” for the girls. Those isolated in places exposed to elements is unsafe, cold, some are at risk from the elements and animals roaming around. Girl’s education is interrupted so do not go to school. If they to ask teachers to be excused from classroom to change in school toilet, i can be embarrassing to tell male teachers such details by girls. So it was concluded by some societies to exclude them during periods. Education is not continued and so school work lags behind when in the hut. No lessons or homework given for missed classes and some it is assumed must not touch other things to ‘contaminate’ it. This why girls in periods are banned from the homes and school still an issue in some places. Other issues of sanitation or washing of cloth or disposing of used pads in home is of concern too. Often a sight of blood is considered sacred to must not touch or taint home or certain holy places. It is necessary to educate people periods are like any normal health experience. Talking-To-Boys-About-Puberty-Periods-And-Girls

Homeschooling during period if this is possible can be set up by the schools to ensure education of these girls are not compromised. Homework can be given but this idea is not popular so girls are affected. The elders making laws need to understand value of a girl’s education often misconstrued as waste of time or money. They say, after all girl’s just end up in kitchen so less education thought as easy way to control girls. This issue has several underlying causes needing to be addressed for the human rights of girls to have periods without attack on their education. In addition the societies can learn from others in other parts of the world on how a girls’ periods does not interrupt education. To some extent social stigma is attached to periods so a natural mood swings and mood changes or pain responded to as ‘oh it’s that time again.’ On other occasions, even if girl is not in their periods is assumed they are always daily going through the periodic cycle. Girls not allowed to touch certain objects in extreme cases even the Bible considered too Holy if in period. Periods-in-Developing-Countries-Header-1Period matters need to be dealt with very carefully in harmony with views of community which associated, interprets lack of rain or good harvests as results of human actions and behaviours. The people who are aware notice changes in the girls during periods so may feel it is inappropriate to socialize in that state. It is awkward for some men unaware of real meaning of a girl’s monthly cycles. Whatever methods girls choose or are available to that society, the well-being of girls must be ensured. Organisations can support by donating their essential personal hygiene items too expensive to buy in some places. The disposal must be done discreetly so the used pads not dragged by dogs from local damp sites. These needs are beyond young girls to meet by own efforts. So discrimination against girls must be reconsidered to stop ‘gods’ harrassing girls to realise God  ALMIGHTY created girls in HIS IMAGE to reproduce on earth.

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Psalm 115:5 says gods have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes but not see so are just man-made idols in Habakkuk 2:18, 1 Kings 18 :26. God ALMIGHTY in the heavens demands veneration by people. Psalm 135:16 says gods have mouths but cannot speak, eyes but not see. A born again Christian believer in Christ is to practice WORSHIP of God only. Christ Shed His precious Blood to cleanse all people including girls in their periods. Believers cannot partake in any idolatry of gods or heathen practice if they claim to be saved. In the 21 century education available to bring an awareness and the relevant knowledge. This issue must be resolved properly to stop picking on the girls going through periods. It is not the fault of girls to put up with natural cycle tolerated monthly with no choice or any control over natural period issues.2-infographic-education God’s plans and purpose for girls is for birth of mankind so must be celebrated not punish girls for being in periods. In addition, a community’s actions are also known and seen by God who will hold decision makers accountable. So read Revelations 19:15 about God’s dealings with leaders in society. Isaiah 44:18 says gods know nothing, understand nothing their eyes do not see. They do not know or understand anything. God shuts their eyes so they cannot see; and so have no knowledge. Those who carry about their idols or pray to gods are like them. The Bible in Psalm 115:5 says those who are praying or praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, stone do not know Jehovah God. Children’s rights activists hit out at traditional leaders banning girls from crossing river while they are menstruating from going to school._99558170_b239af05-8ed2-4257-8153-64b56e998a53Yet Krobo girls in Somanya Ghana are dressed and taken to the riverside for Dipo bath rites. Any girl who dresses in this way is identified as ‘dipo-yo.’ On the Saturday morning the girls have ritual bath (aya-pa) at the riverside. The girl’s calabash contain sponge so proceeds to Srendor (stream) for spiritual bath. The chief priest is told when girl has period for the first time and grouped together with other girls. They are checked to be ensure they are virgins. After that they have a ritual bath in the river and are dressed beautifully in expensive kente, beads on head and around body. The point here is the Dipo god seems to not mind puberty girls in river they literally are bathed in. Later paraded in town to celebrate them by the whole town. This great source of tourism and hospitality attracts people from all over the world. Books are written about this practice. kroboIMG_20180112_103548But in the central region Ghana girls have been banned from crossing the River Ofin by traditional leaders, who say they are enforcing what they call a “directive” from a river-god. Children have to cross the river to get to school in Kyekyewere, in Upper Denkyira East district in the Central Region of Ghana. This means girls cannot attend school while they are on their periods. It is not on period days: a second order from the river gods bans all girls from crossing river on Tuesdays.  Remember Jehovah created rivers and oceans so all are free to cross it. Unicef’s menstrual hygiene ambassador Shamima Muslim Alhassan told BBC directive violates girl’s right to education and freedom of movement.

It seems the gods are really powerful aren’t they? Sometimes I think that we need to ask for some form of accountability from these gods who continue to bar a lot of things from happening, to account for how they have used the tremendous power that we have given them.”

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PeriodTalk-Cloud-600River Ofin serves as boundary between Ashanti and Central Region. Central Regional Minister Kwamena Duncan given indications to coordinate with Ashanti regional minister to find solution. In Madagascar some females are told not to wash during periods and in Nepal some women are forced to sleep in huts away from the rest of the family. Girls in other cultures face this problem since education is becoming compulsory in many countries. Many cultures have myths and taboos around menstruation globally. This must be demystified and debunked to intervene on behalf of young girls to benefit from education. Kweggir Aggrey said if you educate a boy or man you educate an individual but if you educate a girl or woman, YOU EDUCATE A NATION. And behind every successful man is woman so men must listen to women at home, community or in corporate boardrooms for the greater good of society and girls. Stop harrassing young girls all over the world and study reproduction biology. Elijah told people to follow God only not any idols in the Mount Carmel contest by calling fire down to burn sacrifice of Yahweh the real true God. God proved to the people HE has greater power than the idols. Again Gideon was also told to cut down idol shrine grove to build new altar for God and sacrifice cow to God on the new altar. Almighty God does not share His Glory with idols so demands a complete total loyalty because HE IS A JEALOUS GOD. He wants to be the only one people worship not a bit of God and a bit of idols. So school girls must attend school daily in their period, given pads, personal hygiene kit, discreet changing rooms facilities and water to wash with.  

 

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GETTING RID OF SPIDERS

1. Squish it with a tissue

This is the easiest, and most common, way to kill a spider. Squish it in a tissue, and then throw it away in a trash/flush it down the toilet. Easy.

2. Step on it with boot

If the spider is bigger than like, oh, a dime, your best bet might be to get a large and heavy boot, put boot on, and SQUISH IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT.how-to-get-rid-of-spiders-in-bedroom-how-to-safely-get-rid-of-spiders-from-your-house-top-10-home-ideas-768x512

3. Place a cup over it

Maybe there’s a small pain in your heart every time you a kill a bug, because bugs are living things, too. So maybe you decided to corral the spider underneath a cup, and hope it can’t get any air (how do spiders breath?) and it slowly suffocates underneath your blue kitchen cup. BE SURE TO PUT THIS CUP IN THE DISHWASHER.

4. Call someone to help

Maybe you don’t want to kill the bug, but you want someone else to. Grab that cup, place it over the spider, and then wait until your significant other/a friend/the cable repair man comes over and you’re like “Hey, so I’ve got this spider underneath this cup…”

5. Vacuum it up Hoover

Do you not want to touch the spider whatsoever, but want to get rid of it ASAP? You know that vacuum you’ve got in your kitchen closet? Detach the hose, and suck that little sucker right up (and then give it an appropriate amount of time, so you know the spider is 100% dead, and empty your vacuum out).spider_chart

6. Spray it with Raid

Raid was invented to kill bugs so using a spray or two (or a whole can) of Raid on eight-legged beast should do the trick.

7. Spray with hairspray

Do you not have Raid, because last time you were at Target you were like, “Ugh, why is Raid so expensive? Something that kills spiders should be FREE!” If you don’t have Raid, hairspray usually does a pretty good job of immobilizing spiders. Not that I’ve killed a lot of spiders with expensive frizz-control hairspray before.

8. Douse it with water

Some spiders comes out of nowhere and if worried that it’ll get away before you can get a tissue/a shoe/Raid, all you’ve got is a cup of water. THROW THAT CUP OF WATER OVER THE SPIDER! SPIDERS CANNOT SWIM! Don’t do this, while sitting on your couch. That’s a bad idea.

9. Use paper & throw out

This one is hard. First, you need a piece of paper, and then you need to be brave enough to get close enough to the spider and hope and pray it makes it onto the piece of paper, and doesn’t scurry away in the opposite direction. Then you need to walk towards a window, once again hoping and praying that the spider doesn’t start crawling on the paper towards you, and maybe to your hand, and then up your arm, and oh boy. Actually, don’t try this one at home.

10. Ignore & hope it dies

No time like present to start symbiotic relationship with the spider! Whatever you do, DO NOT SET FIRE TO SPIDER INDOORS!!! It may crawl burning and spread the fire to set house on fire as recently happened in America. Pin the spider through with a fork or a kebab stick firmly while wearing gloves to be safe if poisonous and burn safely sealed in a container outside. If bitten some spiders must be preserved to show the medics to help identify type of spider for a correct antidote. So do not let fear overcome you to be frightened or panic to let anxiety set in and miss the spider.

11. Scream for help

This one will not actually do anything to spider but hope neighbours come to your aid.

SPARE THE ROD SPOIL CHILD

Smacking (actors)Smacking ban goes to public consultation. Plans to outlaw beating, slapping, kicking, smacking, spanking, whipping children in Wales are going out to a three-month consultation. The ministers said removing the defence of reasonable punishment would make it clear smacking is no longer acceptable. Charities including the NSPCC said this would bring Wales in line with dozens of other countries. But campaigners against the law fear it could criminalise ordinary parents. Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies, said: “As a parent of three boys myself, I know being a parent can sometimes be a challenging experience. “Our knowledge of what children need to grow and thrive has developed considerably over the last 20 years. We now know that physical punishment can have negative long-term impacts on a child’s life chances and we also know it is an ineffective punishment.”

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Discipline is meted out by using alternative methods like, “grounding” punishment which means the child stays at home so cannot meet up with friends to go to cinema, party, or sleep over. The child’s privileges like toys, games, computers, phones taken away or asked to stay alone isolated in their bedroom. Others sit in a corner alone for 5 minute to 15 minutes within sight of the adult to stay there based on their age  This helps calm a child down and diffuses tension but the child enjoys TV in bedroom or favourite toys, phone, computer, are taken away for a few days or months depending on what the child did. This happens often so some parents feel it is better than physically hitting them with a stick. Some do not have toys or own bedroom so parents find other ways like asking them to do chores they do not like to do to teach them a lesson. In other extreme cases the child may pay for items deliberately damaged in anger with pocket-money or mow the garden and lawn.

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Scotland became the first part of the UK to confirm plans to outlaw smacking children last year. Now ministers in Wales want parents to choose “positive and more effective methods.”Some people think carrots and sticks are choices that makes a difference depending on preference. The “rule of the thumb laws” made by Parliament allowed husband’s to beat their wives with a stick the size of their thumb. God help the woman whose husband has the biggest thumb, you will not want to rub the wrong way. The proposed law would not involve creating a new offence but would instead remove the defence to the existing offences of assault and battery. So, any adult looking after a child would no longer be able to use physical or corporal punishment against them. Physical punishment has already been outlawed in schools and childcare facilities but Mr Irranca-Davies said it was time “to ensure it is no longer acceptable anywhere.”

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The Welsh Government is now allowed to legislate in areas of parental discipline, under the new Wales Act. The consultation runs until 2 April. The Bible says correct the child in love and not in anger because God Corrects those HE LOVES. So explain to the child you are not in a bad mood or hate them. Discipline must be done in context and effective against their behaviour. Mixed messages from parents does not clearly teach them why it is wrong to do something being punished and educate them on the effects of their action on their reputation, others and their peers and society in general. Safely nip the bad behaviour in the bud before it grows out of hand and becomes toxic and destructive. A lot of adults missed out on proper discipline as God said train the child so when they grow they will not depart from it. Children need to understand that discipline corrects and challenges bad behaviour so is not a negative cruel wicked vitriol. God tell parents in Bible not to provoke their children to anger so are to raise children to have consideration for others.семейное-отношение-14317792

A recent TV documentary experimented the carrot and stick approach to see which was more effective. One group was harsh, relentless, no fun, almost military training style of elite soldiers. The other group observed a laissez faire approach, liberal, praising them, mingling appropriately. Both groups performed almost the same without any extra head start or advantage over the other. In extreme cases where a child’s life or others are at risk, a meaningful discipline method is age appropriate and does not ‘hurt’ physically or kill them as happens sometimes. The stress and despair of the parents must never be put upon or projected on to the children. Parents with any psychological problems must seek therapy and not vent their anger on the children by harsh punishment in anger. In extreme cases children’s hands are cut off as punishment for working too slowly or taking and eating food without first asking permission. Sometimes the health of children must be taken into account for suitable punishment. To stop lawlessness, recklessness of society children need discipline important for their future self-discipline to live peacefully with others in community. 1.1994526-1

In Ghana the High Court ruled against smacking so children write apology letters. The Ho Polytechnic Basic School has instituted the writing of apology letters to replace corporal punishment in the school. Pupils now write apology letters, after a written report on the misdemeanor. So what does it mean to “spare the rod and spoil the child? This phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child means modern-day methods imply that if parents refuse to discipline unruly child the child will grow accustomed too set in ways too late to their change bad behaviour. Proverbs 13:24 says whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who corrects them loves them. This is not a licence for aggression and abuse of children for the slightest reason. Children lack FRONTAL CORTEX so do not fully understand life. So take time to make simple easy to understand visual images with rules to REMIND children. This can prevent forgetting rules and children will comply if the know the reasons why they are disciplined. Patents must set good examples to children.

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Afterwards, explain again why disciplined, ask for apology from the child, hug and tell child you love them as is done in the UK.  Children mimic and copy adults so some behaviours reflect on the environment and the actions of the adults who need to set better examples and not pick on children mirroring their behaviour. Parent child bonding must not be destroyed by aggressive discipline or lack of discipline. The Bible says those who love their children care enough to discipline them. Whoever spares the rod hates child, but loves child if diligent to discipline child. A lot of brat, rude, bad behaviour can be traced to children left to own devices who grow up as Dennis the menace to society and untouchable majesty the child doted on by parents who think their beloved children do no wrong. This sensitive matter means each side is equally passionate about their approach. The danger is social workers called because of discipline the law ‘criminalise’ parents for training children for their own good. Yet some grow up and freely hit by batons for undealt with childhood issues. Caring-Adult_woman-high-five-boy_web Bible says the if a child listens and is disciplined that child lives long and it is well with that child. So discipline is not to inflict punishment for cruelty but to train a child into an upstanding valuable member of society. The purpose of discipline is to teach a child to understand the human rules and laws of society to fit in as an adult. Therefore unbred child will find the world harder than the child carefully trained from home to be self- aware and have self discipline and self respect. The world is full of untrained adults who act like children and have to nannied and apprenticed when they should be leaders helping other. The chaos in society and communities is because some have festered unruly children never disciplined because of saying ” it hurts the parent too much to inflict pain” on a child. A trust worthy child is trained to fear God and respect fellow human beings and follow the golden rule. Vilifying parents for any form of discipline sends the wrong message to children who will grow up to make similar decisions in future.

COCONUT OIL SUPER FOOD?

CoconutsCoconut oil classified is considered a superfood according toCoconut oil is high in saturated fatSales of coconut oil are rocketing, propelled by celebrity endorsements and claims that drinking the stuff will cure everything from halitosis to digestive disorders. Actress Angelina Jolie-Pitt is said to have a tablespoon or so with breakfast most mornings, while model Miranda Kerr says she not only adds it to salads and smoothies, but she cooks with it and splashes it on her skin as well. The health claims that swirl around coconut oil are treated with a great deal of scepticism by scientists. Coconut oil is seen, in the scientific community, as an unhealthy fat. It is very high in saturated fat (86%), even more so than butter (51%) or lard (39%). The reason that foods rich in saturated fats are frowned on is because eating them causes a rise in blood levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein). LDL is known as “bad cholesterol” because high levels are linked with increased risk of heart disease. On the other hand, saturated fats – which are particularly bad for you – also tend to raise HDL, “good” cholesterol, which has the opposite effect. It is possible that a particular food can raise overall cholesterol levels, yet still be heart-friendly.

Cholesterol check

So is coconut oil a cholesterol-busting wonder food, as some claim, or is this all dangerous hype? Despite all the sound and fury that surrounds coconut oil there have been surprisingly few human studies carried out to test specific health claims. So for the current BBC2 series of Trust Me I’m a Doctor, we thought we should help organise a trial. The Trust Me team started by contacting Prof Kay-Tee Khaw and Prof Nita Forouhi, both eminent Cambridge academics. With their help we recruited 94 volunteers, aged 50-75 and with no history of diabetes or heart disease, and designed a study to assess what effect eating different types of fat would have on their cholesterol levels. We began by randomly allocating our volunteers to one of three groups. Every day for four weeks, the first was asked to eat 50g of extra virgin coconut oil – that’s about three tablespoons full.

Type of oil or fat Polyunsaturated (%) Monounsaturated (%) Saturated (%)
Coconut oil 2 6 86
Butter 3 21 51
Lard 11 45 39
Goose fat 11 56 27
Olive oil 10 76 14
Rapeseed oil 28 63 7
Sesame oil 41 40 14
Corn oil 54 27 12
Sunflower oil 65 20 10

The second group was asked to consume the same amount of extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely seen as being extremely healthy. And the third was asked to eat 50g of unsalted butter a day. Again, that adds up to just over three tablespoons. The volunteers were told that they could consume these fats in whatever way they pleased, as long as they did so every day for the whole four weeks. On the other hand others think that Coconut oil ‘as unhealthy as beef fat and butter’ so the Diet debate: Is butter back and is sat fat good? They were also warned that, because they were consuming an extra 450 calories a day, they might well put on some weight. Before our volunteers started on their new high-fat regime we took blood samples to get baseline measurements, focusing mainly on their levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and HDL (the “good” cholesterol) The importance of these two measures is that your heart attack risk is best calculated, not by looking at your total cholesterol score, but your total cholesterol divided by your HDL score. NHS Choices suggests that this figure should be below four. So what happened? As expected the butter eaters saw an average rise in their LDL levels of about 10%, which was almost matched by a 5% rise in their HDL levels Those consuming olive oil saw a small reduction, albeit a non-significant drop, in LDL cholesterol, and a 5% rise in HDL. So olive oil lived up to its heart-friendly reputation.Olive oil

Early Stages of Studies

But the big surprise was the coconut oil. Not only was there no rise in LDL levels, which was what we were expecting, but there was a particularly large rise in HDL, the “good” cholesterol, up by 15. On the face of it that would suggest that the people consuming the coconut oil had actually reduced their risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is seen as particularly healthy. I asked Prof Khaw, who was clearly surprised by these results, why she thought it had happened. “I have no real idea,” she candidly replied. “Perhaps it is because the main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid and lauric acid may have different biological impacts on blood lipids to other fatty acids. The evidence for that comes mainly from animals, so it was fascinating to see this effect in free-living humans.” So should we be hailing coconut oil as a health food? “I think decisions to eat particular oils depend on more than just the health effects” she said. “This is just one study and it would be irresponsible to suggest changing dietary advice based on one study, however well conducted.” This was a very short-term study and compared to olive oil, research on coconut oil is at an early stage. So the claims about coconut oil being a superfood are premature. But if, like me, you enjoy putting coconut in your curries, there seems no very good reason to stop.

The new series of Trust Me I’m a Doctorcontinues on BBC2 at 20:30 GMT on Wednesday 10 January and will be available on iPlayer afterwards.

DEPRESSED MUMS SINGING

Mum singing to babySinging speeds up’ recovery from post-natal depression. Singing helps mothers recover from post-natal or post partum depression more quickly study suggests. Researchers found women who took part in group singing sessions with their babies experienced much faster improvement in their symptoms than those who did not. The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, looked at 134 mothers with post-natal depression. Early recovery is seen to be crucial to limit effects on mother and baby. Post-natal depression is estimated to affect one in eight new mothers. And previous studies have indicated singing can help improve the mental health of older people and those with dementia, but this is the first controlled study of its effect on post-natal depression. The women were placed into three groups:Mother and baby music group
  • one took part in group singing
  • another took part in in creative play sessions
  • a third group received their usual care, which could include family support, antidepressants or mindfulness

The singing workshops saw the mothers learning lullabies and songs from around the world with their babies and creating new songs together about motherhood. And those with moderate to severe symptoms of post-natal depression reported a much faster improvement than mothers in the usual care and play groups. All the groups improved over the 10 weeks, but in the first six weeks, singing group already reported an average 35% decrease in depressive symptoms. The Principal investigator Dr Rosie Perkins said the study, although small, was significant because it was important to tackle the symptoms as quickly as possible. “Post-natal depression is debilitating for the mothers and their families. As research indicates some women think accessible singing with their baby helps speed up recovery at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives,” she said. The lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt at University College London, said singing is another useful therapy to offer women. babies with musical instrumentsMany mothers have concerns about taking depression medication whilst breast-feeding and uptake of psychological therapies with new mothers is relatively low,” she said. “These results are really exciting as suggests something as simple as referring mothers to this community activities could support their recovery.” Dr Trudi Seneviratne, who chairs the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Perinatal Faculty, said: “It’s exciting to hear about the growing evidence base for novel psychosocial interventions like singing to facilitate a more rapid recovery for women with post-natal depression. “I look forward to more work in this area in the future, as it will be enjoyed by both mothers and their babies.”Since the study, Breathe Arts Health Research has started running singing workshops in partnership with the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for women with post-natal depression across the south London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. Community and socialising helps overcome isolation and loneliness of new mothers. The feel good factor of singing with the babies is definitely a win- win situation lifting the mood and going out of the home helps to lift their spirit too. Isolated mothers can organise own singing sessions with friends in communities and their babies benefit too from a calm, happy, relaxed mother. If child raising is recognised or considered as a valid hardwork and to celebrate mothers and carers the world will become a better and safer place. So families must be prioritised and to help mother’s like Finland pays both parents to raise their children. Depression is caused by loneliness, pressure, stress of modern living without extended family support and children become depressed too. So it is good news to help mother’s and also to improve motherhood as an honourable collaboration with God’s idea to multiply to replenish the earth.

THE CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

The authors conferred, and they decided that there would be a special clause added to the list of symptoms of depression. None of this applies, they said, if you have lost somebody you love in the past year. In that situation, all these symptoms are natural, and not a disorder. It was called “the grief exception”, and it seemed to resolve the problem. Then, as the years and decades passed, doctors on the frontline started to come back with another question. All over the world, they were being encouraged to tell patients that depression is, in fact, just the result of a spontaneous chemical imbalance in your brain it is produced by low serotonin, or a natural lack of some other chemical. It’s not caused by your life it’s caused by your broken brain. Some of the doctors began to ask how this fitted with the grief exception. If you agree that the symptoms of depression are a logical and understandable response to one set of life circumstances losing a loved one might they not be an understandable response to other situations? What about if you lose your job? What if you are stuck in a job that you hate for the next 40 years? What about if you are alone and friendless?1296x728_depression_and_memory_lossDrug companies would fund huge numbers of studies and then only release the ones that showed success. The grief exception seemed to have blasted a hole in the claim that the causes of depression are sealed away in your skull. It suggested that there are causes out here, in the world, and they needed to be investigated and solved there. This was a debate that mainstream psychiatry (with some exceptions) did not want to have. So, they responded in a simple way – by whittling away the grief exception. With each new edition of the manual they reduced the period of grief that you were allowed before being labelled mentally ill – down to a few months and then, finally, to nothing at all. Now, if your baby dies at 10am, your doctor can diagnose you with a mental illness at 10.01am and start drugging you straight away. Dr Joanne Cacciatore, of Arizona State University, became a leading expert on the grief exception after her own baby, Cheyenne, died during childbirth. She had seen many grieving people being told that they were mentally ill for showing distress. 0084254001422867528_461504_600x458_actualno

She told me this debate reveals a key problem with how we talk about depression, anxiety and other forms of suffering: we don’t, she said, “consider context.” We act like human distress can be assessed solely on a checklist that can be separated out from our lives, and labelled as brain diseases. If we started to take people’s actual lives into account when we treat depression and anxiety, Joanne explained, it would require “an entire system overhaul”. She told me that when “you have a person with extreme human distress, [we need to] stop treating the symptoms. The symptoms are a messenger of a deeper problem. Let’s get to the deeper problem.” I was a teenager when I swallowed my first antidepressant. I was standing in the weak English sunshine, outside a pharmacy in a shopping centre in London. The tablet was white and small, and as I swallowed, it felt like a chemical kiss. That morning I had gone to see my doctor and I had told him crouched, embarrassed that pain was leaking out of me uncontrollably, like a bad smell, and I had felt this way for several years. In reply, he told me a story. There is a chemical called serotonin that makes people feel good, he said, and some people are naturally lacking it in their brains. You are clearly one of those people. There are now, thankfully, new drugs that will restore your serotonin level to that of a normal person. Take them, and you will be well. At last, I understood what had been happening to me, and why. However, a few months into my drugging, something odd happened.do-you-be-able-yo-explain-the-real-causes-of-diseases-from-genetic-5-638

The pain started to seep through again. Before long, I felt as bad as I had at the start. I went back to my doctor, and he told me that I was clearly on too low a dose. And so, 20 milligrams became 30 milligrams; the white pill became blue. I felt better for several months. And then the pain came back through once more. My dose kept being jacked up, until I was on 80mg, where it stayed for many years, with only a few short breaks. And still the pain broke back through. I started to research my book, Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, because I was puzzled by two mysteries. Why was I still depressed when I was doing everything I had been told to do? I had identified the low serotonin in my brain, and I was boosting my serotonin levels – yet I still felt awful. But there was a deeper mystery still. Why were so many other people across the western world feeling like me? Around one in five US adults are taking at least one drug for a psychiatric problem. In Britain, antidepressant prescriptions have doubled in a decade, to the point where now one in 11 of us drug ourselves to deal with these feelings. What has been causing depression and its twin, anxiety, to spiral in this way? I began to ask myself: could it really be that in our separate heads, all of us had brain chemistries that spontaneously malfunctioning at the same time?07depressionTo find the answers, I ended up going on a 40,000-mile journey across the world and back. I talked to the leading social scientists investigating these questions, and to people who have been overcoming depression in unexpected ways – from an Amish village in Indiana, to a Brazilian city that banned advertising and a laboratory in Baltimore conducting a startling wave of experiments. From these people, I learned the best scientific evidence about what really causes depression and anxiety. They taught me that it is not what we have been told it is up to now. I found there is evidence that seven specific factors in the way we are living today are causing depression and anxiety to rise alongside two real biological factors (such as your genes) that can combine with these forces to make it worse. Once I learned this, I was able to see that a very different set of solutions to my depression and to our depression waiting for me all along. To understand this different way of thinking, though, I had to first investigate the old story, the one that had given me so much relief at first. Professor Irving Kirsch at Harvard University is the Sherlock Holmes of chemical antidepressants the man who has scrutinised the evidence about giving drugs to depressed and anxious people most closely in the world. In the 1990s, he prescribed chemical antidepressants to his patients with confidence. asian-man-yawning-and-sleepy-at-work-4k-resolution_emg5iw6cqx_thumbnail-full01He knew the published scientific evidence, and it was clear: it showed that 70% of people who took them got significantly better. He began to investigate this further, and put in a freedom of information request to get the data that the drug companies had been privately gathering into these drugs. He was confident that he would find all sorts of other positive effects but then he bumped into something peculiar. We all know that when you take selfies, you take 30 pictures, throw away the 29 where you look bleary-eyed or double-chinned, and pick out the best one to be your Tinder profile picture. It turned out that the drug companies who fund almost all research into these drugs were taking this approach to studying chemical antidepressants. They would fund huge numbers of studies, throw away all the ones that suggested the drugs had very limited effects, and then only release the ones that showed success. To give one example: in one trial, the drug was given to 245 patients, but the drug company published the results for only 27 of them. Those 27 patients happened to be the ones the drug seemed to work for. Suddenly, Professor Kirsch realised that the 70% figure couldn’t be right155771072

It turns out that between 65 and 80% of people on antidepressants are depressed again within a year. I had thought that I was freakish for remaining depressed while on these drugs. In fact, Kirsch explained to me in Massachusetts, I was totally typical. These drugs are having a positive effect for some people but they clearly can’t be the main solution for the majority of us, because we’re still depressed even when we take them. At the moment, we offer depressed people a menu with only one option on it. I certainly don’t want to take anything off the menu but I realised, as I spent time with him, that we would have to expand the menu. This led Professor Kirsch to ask a more basic question, one he was surprised to be asking. How do we know depression is even caused by low serotonin at all? When he began to dig, it turned out that the evidence was strikingly shaky. Professor Andrew Scull of Princeton, writing in the Lancet, explained that attributing depression to spontaneously low serotonin is “deeply misleading and unscientific”. Dr David Healy told me: “There was never any basis for it, ever. It was just marketing copy.”

A doctor writing a prescription

I didn’t want to hear this. Once you settle into a story about your pain, you are extremely reluctant to challenge it. It was like a leash I had put on my distress to keep it under some control. I feared that if I messed with the story I had lived with for so long, the pain would run wild, like an unchained animal. Yet the scientific evidence was showing me something clear, and I couldn’t ignore it. So, what is really going on? When I interviewed social scientists all over the world from São Paulo to Sydney, from Los Angeles to London I started to see an unexpected picture emerge. We all know that every human being has basic physical needs: for food, for water, for shelter, for clean air. It turns out that, in the same way, all humans have certain basic psychological needs. We need to feel we belong. We need to feel valued. We need to feel we’re good at something. We need to feel we have a secure future. And there is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many perhaps most people. I kept learning that, in very different ways, we have become disconnected from things we really need, and this deep disconnection is driving this epidemic of depression and anxiety all around us. Let’s look at one of those causes, and one of the solutions we can begin to see if we understand it differently. There is strong evidence that human beings need to feel their lives are meaningful that they are doing something with purpose that makes a difference. It’s a natural psychological need. But between 2011 and 2012, the polling company Gallup conducted the most detailed study ever carried out of how people feel about the thing we spend most of our waking lives doing paid work.

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They found that 13% of people say they are “engaged” in their work they find it meaningful and look forward to it. 63% say they are “not engaged”, which is defined as “sleepwalking through their workday so 24% are “actively disengaged”they hate it. Antidepressant prescriptions have doubled over the last decade. Most depressed and anxious people I know, I realised, are in the 87% who don’t like their work. I started to dig around to see if there is any evidence that this might be related to depression. It turned out that a breakthrough had been made in answering this question in the 1970s, by an Australian scientist called Michael Marmot. He wanted to investigate what causes stress in the workplace and believed he’d found the perfect lab in which to discover the answer: the British civil service, based in Whitehall. This small army of bureaucrats was divided into 19 different layers, from the permanent secretary at the top, down to the typists. What he wanted to know, at first, was: who’s more likely to have a stress-related heart attack the big boss at the top, or somebody below him? Everybody told him: you’re wasting your time. Obviously, the boss is going to be more stressed because he’s got more responsibility. But when Marmot published his results, he revealed the truth to be the exact opposite. The lower an employee ranked in the hierarchy, the higher their stress levels and likelihood of having a heart attack. Now he wanted to know: why? And that’s when, after two more years studying civil servants, he discovered the biggest factor. It turns out if you have no control over your work, you are far more likely to become stressed and crucially, depressed humans have an innate need to feel what is done day-to-day, is meaningful. When you are controlled, you can’t create meaning out of your work. Suddenly, the depression of many of my friends, even those in fancy jobs who spend most of waking hours feeling controlled and unappreciated started to look not at problem with their brains but a problem with environments. DSjrsX3W4AAzwwADiscovered, many causes of depression in my journey about finding the reasons why we feel so bad. The core was about finding out how we can feel better how we can find real and lasting antidepressants that work for most of us, beyond only the packs of pills we have been offered as often the sole item on the menu for the depressed and anxious. I kept thinking about what Dr Cacciatore said deal with the deeper problems are causing all this distress. I found the beginnings of an answer to the epidemic of meaningless work in Baltimore. Meredith Mitchell used to wake up every morning with her heart racing with anxiety. She dreaded her office job. So she took a bold step – one that lots of people thought was crazy. Her husband, Josh, and their friends had worked for years in a bike store, where they were ordered around and constantly felt insecure, Most of them were depressed. One day, they decided to set up their own bike store, but they wanted to run it differently. Instead of having one guy at the top giving orders would run it as a democratic co-operative. This meant they would make decisions collectively, they would share out the best and worst jobs and they would all, together, be the boss. It would be like a busy democratic tribe. When I went to their store Baltimore Bicycle Works the staff explained how, in this different environment, their persistent depression and anxiety had largely lifted. It’s not that their individual tasks had changed much. They fixed bikes before; they fix bikes now. But they had dealt with the unmet psychological needs that were making them feel so bad by giving themselves autonomy and control over their work.f6gu4kjvmomhwypo9ytj.jpg

Josh had seen for himself that depressions are very often, as he put it, “rational reactions to the situation, not some kind of biological break”. He told me there is no need to run businesses anywhere in the old humiliating, depressing way we could move together, as a culture, to workers controlling their own workplaces. With each of the nine causes of depression and anxiety I learned about, I kept being taught facts and arguments that forced me to think differently. Professor John Cacioppo of Chicago University taught me being acutely lonely is as stressful as being punched in the face by a stranger and massively increases your risk of depression. Dr Vincent Felitti in San Diego showed me that surviving severe childhood trauma makes you 3,100% likely to suffer depression as an adult. Professor Michael Chandler in Vancouver explained to me that if a community feels it has no control over big decisions affecting it, the suicide rate will shoot up. This new evidence forces us to seek out a very different kind of solution to our despair crisis. One person in particular helped me to unlock how to think about this. In the early days of the 21st century, a South African psychiatrist named Derek Summerfeld went to Cambodia, at a time when antidepressants were first being introduced there. He began to explain the concept to the doctors he met. They listened patiently and then told him they didn’t need these new antidepressants, because they already had anti-depressants that work. He assumed they were talking about some kind of herbal remedy. He asked them to explain, and they told him about a rice farmer they knew whose left leg was blown off by a landmine. He was fitted with a new limb, but he felt constantly anxious about the future, and was filled with despair. The doctors sat with him, and talked through his troubles so post partum requires help.

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They realised that even with his new artificial limb, his old job working in the rice paddies was leaving him constantly stressed and in physical pain, and that was making him want to just stop living. So they had an idea. They believed that if he became a dairy farmer, he could live differently. So they bought him a cow. In the months and years that followed, his life changed. His depression which had been profound went away. “You see, doctor,” they told him, the cow was an “antidepressant.” To them, finding an antidepressant didn’t mean finding a way to change your brain chemistry. It meant finding a way to solve the problem that was causing the depression in the first place. We can do the same. Some of these solutions are things we can do as individuals, in our private lives. Some require bigger social shifts, which we can only achieve together, as citizens. But all of them require us to change our understanding of what depression and anxiety really are. This is radical, but it is not, I discovered, a maverick position. In its official statement for World Health Day in 2017, the United Nations reviewed the best evidence and concluded that “the dominant biomedical narrative of depression” is based on “biased and selective use of research outcomes” that “must be abandoned”. We need to move from “focusing on ‘chemical imbalances’”, they said, to focusing more on “power imbalances.de545d9acba05f4a7e96f64bd08ecffe

I learned all this, and what it means for us all, I started to long for the power to go back in time and speak to my teenage self on the day he was told a story about his depression that was going to send him off in the wrong direction for so many years. I wanted to tell him: “This pain you are feeling is not a pathology. It’s not crazy. It is a signal that your natural psychological needs are not being met. It is a form of grief – for yourself, and for the culture you live in going so wrong. I know how much it hurts. I know how deeply it cuts you. But you need to listen to this signal. We all need to listen to the people around us sending out this signal. It is telling you what is going wrong. It is telling you that you need to be connected in so many deep and stirring ways that you aren’t yet but you can be, one day.” If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life.

This is an edited extract from Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari, published by Bloomsbury on 11 January (£16.99). To order a copy for £14.44 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99. It will be available in audio at audible.co.uk

BAN HOMEWORK PETITION

Schoolboy launched petition for homework to be banned so he has ‘more time to socialise. Lee Sibley has said enough is enough and is demanding that his school, local MP, the PM and the Labour Leader back his petition to change the rules as Sarah Ward’s report titled: SCHOOLBOY LAUNCHES PETITION FOR HOMEWORK TO BE BANNED. The 15-year-old boy wants Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May to back his campaign to have homework scrapped so he has ‘more time to socialise.’ Lee Sibley has so far amassed 160 signatures for his petition calling on the two biggest party leaders to put aside their differences and ban homework in UK secondary schools.

The GCSE pupil wants the political rivals to look past their differences, and help make sure he has a spare evening to play outside. Lee, who is studying GCSE in Politics, History, English, Maths, Geography, and Science and does three or four hours homework each night. Lee has asked the fierce political rivals to support his cheeky petition. Lee says that the four hours of homework means he has less time to spend with his mum and his friends (Image: Glos Live / SWNS.com) Overworked teen has asked Jeremy Corbyn to back his plan to end homework. The Severn Vale School, pupil says too much homework and he would rather be playing badminton or tennis, or out fishing. “Students go to school about 30 hours a week and spend more hours doing homework. “They should be able to relax their brains and have a break, not work all the time. “I can’t socialise with my friends and family because of all this homework. “I haven’t been able to play tennis or badminton as much recently, or go fishing.” During his half-term break in October, Lee was given ten pieces of homework to do which he says is too much.

Lee raised the issue with his local MP Richard Graham on a school trip to the Houses of Parliament, but was told he should discuss it with the school. The petition is addressed to his local MP, the PM, Labour leader Jeremy Corbin and Severn Vale School head teacher Richard Johnson. Lee also asked the Prime Minister to back his campaign for no more homework.School says the homework is much-needed revision for his GCSEs. Lee, who has learning difficulties, muscle problems and hypermobile joints, lives in Hardwicke in Gloucestershire. Lee’s mum Nicky, 43, said: “When I got home from school, I couldn’t wait to get out and play. “Now they have stress and too much homework. Lee suffers from anxiety. “He gets very anxious about it. He is committed and willing to learn but sometimes it is too much.” Are millennials expecting no pain without gain but want good success and a good life. It is true all work without play makes Jack a dull boy but all play without work is not a wise either. So a balance is required to do work hard, play reasonably, safely and sensibly.reading-homework

A spokesman for Severn Vale School said: “We have extremely high expectations of our students as learners and expect them to take personal responsibility for their learning as well as benefiting from the expertise of our highly skilled staff. “Extensive academic research – from the Sutton Trust amongst others evidences regular completion of homework increases levels of both attainment and achievement across all subject areas.”Much homework for GCSE students is revision which is an ongoing process given the demands of the new GCSE subjects. “A recent feedback session with a panel of students from across the school showed that this is extremely popular.b7c5ff7bc3d9f57fa35d16b84af33772--homework-motivation-homework-folders

“We have two rooms available after school for students to complete homework in and these sessions are well attended and are open for all students to use.” Modern education is commercialised with many companies setting and marking exams. So results are from different boards with extensive details justifying cost of exams and fees. Years later, many graduate with an excellent academic knowledge but under employed. While the few in jobs relevant jobs are over tasked with too much work similar to homework overload. There is a misconception that any studies too simple, easy and straightforward is cheap and low standard. Hence the long years set aside for education and associated homework.4-PowerCuts-Dont-Stop-Homework-In-Gaza-Palestine

So employed people similarly take home work that should be done by two or more employees even during weekends. There is need to recognise that human well-being is far more important than the stress, pressure, panic attacks and lacking practical social skills. A win win situation is ensure academic achievement enhanced and enjoy healthy social interaction and integration. Overwhelming children not academically able is torture and does more harm than good. One academic size does not fit all so assessing genius gifted children with same league table exam is unfair on the ones unable to do so.homework-ban-education-582641

Billions of dollars earned by competitive exams is income generating source so children study for exams they pass but never get the desired universities restricted to privileged few. It means the stress, pressure becomes futile waste of time because there are too many candidates chasing few places. Some children are naturally more talented than others but a compulsory system of education demands all children sit the same exams. Or will not be able to meet the criteria for standards required to go to university to train into life’s calling. Talents, abilities still require training and the experiences necessary to quality in any chosen career and profession. And continues after employment for personal development to upgrade for promotion.