WOMEN EARNING LESS PAY

1561_A4_Email_Poster.inddWomen are rewarded less for loyalty and are paid up to a quarter less than their male colleagues in the most male-dominated occupations according to an analysis of gender gaps. While the UK’s overall gender pay gap been steadily shrinking over the years, the median salary for men working full-time is still nine per cent higher for women. And so defenders cite the fact that women tend to do different and less well paid jobs than men, earning less on average. New figures from the Office for National Statistics show the big discrepancies in pay between men and women engaged in similar job. The unequal occupations in terms of pay are skilled trades roles with the pay gap standing at 24.8 per cent among these jobs.IMG_20180117_155822 Chief Executives and Senior Officials came in a close second with a gender pay gap of 24.7 per cent. Same jobs % pay gap for full-time workers different occupations found the Chief Executives and Senior Officials Managers and Directors Other Managers, Proprietors Professional Associate Professional and Technical Administrative, Secretarial Skilled Trades Caring Leisure, Services Sales and Customer Service Process PlantMachine Operatives Elementary 12.5% all receive much higher pay than their female counterparts. So no coincidence that these roles are the ones which are the most male-dominated 92 per cent of employed in skilled trade occupations are men. This is known as occupational crowding. Whether through personal choice or discrimination during hiring process, women are less likely to enter these heavily male-skewed occupations, thus affecting pay.IMG_20180117_155345

Women rewarded less for jobs

In addition to finding a wide range of discrepancies on an occupational level, the ONS analysis also found that women’s pay peaks earlier than men’s (45 compared to 48 for men in the private sector) and that the gap accelerates sharply when workers enter their 40s. While the ONS ascribe this acceleration to women taking career breaks to have children necessary to multiply and replenish the earth. The analysis found women are rewarded less for job loyalty than men are. For example, a woman who has been in the same job for between five and 10 years earns an average of 8.7 per cent more per hour than a woman who has just started the same job. A man in the same situation earns 13 per cent more than a man with no experience in the role.

Discrimination in pay gap

The goal of this analysis from the ONS was to ascertain how much of the gender pay gap could be explained by examining characteristics such as age, occupation and job tenure. In the end, this model could only only account for 36.1 per cent of the variation found in the data, indicating that there are a lot of other factors could be biased against women. The report states:

“The analysis would benefit from information on family structures, education and career breaks; without these the unexplained element is over-stated. “Factors such as the number of children, the age of children, whether parents have any caring responsibilities, the number of years spent in school and highest level of qualification achieved are likely to improve the estimation of men’s and women’s pay structures and consequently decrease unexplained element of pay gap. “As a result, unexplained element interpreted as a measure of discrimination, although it is possible that this plays a part.”

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TRUMP IS LIKE MARMITE

20130431-marmiteThe first Amendment of US constitution freedom of speech has taken a whole new meaning starting directly from Trump to the global citizens. Trump is like Marmite deeply loved and adored by those who love him. On the other hand those who cannot stand him hate him with vitriol wants him impeached but have no grounds to stand on to use against him. Trump is offensive to many people with regard to utterances made about calling other nations “shit holes and banning some Muslims from going to America.” The decision to set up an American Embassy in Jerusalem has caused outrage and demonstrations. He wants to build walls in Mexico whose land is America taken by the Europeans. Whether one for or against Trump as a president of America the world is also compelled to take notice of him. Some wonder if he the right person in office. Considering the outburst on Twitter and the outrageous statements concerning the whole world. From cutting grants to refugees and nations that do not agree with policies to “America First” plans. It is interesting the longer Trump in office the worse the language used by him so people wonder if he is of sound mind or beginning of dementia. Unpredictable, impulsive, compulsive decisions made on Twitter bemuses other politicians. Trump bypassed the traditional political forum for debate for expected decision-making to announce policies.mblumenthal0105russia A current book Fire and Fury, revealing another side of concern to world about Trump. That book described Trump as “a child” always wanting immediate gratification.” This statement in book grabbed my attention because childlike qualities are required by God to qualify in His Kingdom. Children are typically naive so trusting and believe anything told. And children also repeat private conversations overheard from adults to the people causing confusion. And wars have been fought by adults as a result of the children’s compulsive, impulsive tell all unfiltered statements of adults. With regard to being child like there are so many children like,” Wolff explained. What they mean is a child want things for immediate gratification so it is all about them.” Whether day or night, convenient or not if possible child wants it now so has tantrums. Matthew_18-3matthew_18-3 (1)Children are used by God in Bible to do great things for whole nation. Jonathan wss used to save David in turn defeated Israel’s enemies killing Goliath. Joseph’s interpretation of dreams saved Egypt and world from 7 years famine and also became Prime Minister. Again, Daniel, Meshach and Abednego served foreign king in Babylon. In living history God bypassed traditional leadership to use “a child” to fulfil HIS PLANS. Samuel “a child” was called by God to deliver HIS MESSAGE to Prophet Eli and nation of Israel. Hophni and Phinehas did not Honour God or allow worshippers to first serve God’s portion of sacrifice. So they arrogantly went with a 3 pronged fork to take God’s portion. Consequently God woke “a child” Samuel to deliver a message children should not hear.6627ee97bc413caaf9183b923dfd299a--bible-illustrations-u-god John_Singleton_Copley_COS013Is it possible Trump’s childlike qualities are being used for such a time as this to do the things God said HE WILL DO? Only God Yahweh knows that answer. If one looks at end time signs and the wonders unfolding towards great Tribulation it is those “wars and rumours of wars” Jesus warned the world about. Could it be the stage is being set militarily for that big one, Armageddon. If so Israel is central core in the wheel of motions moving to gather all nations against Israel as Bible predicts in Ezekiel 38. Since Trump said his war head button is ‘bigger’ than that of North Korea, the nation’s are alert on what will happen next. As child, Samuel was used to deliver message to Israel so Trump can be used to trigger the plans of God concerning the whole world. Jesus-christ-HD-wallapers-with-children-Jesus-called-the-children-to-him..Become like little children to enter the kingdom of heavenThe Bible says people must pray to ask God shortens the evil days or NOBODY will be left alive on earth. It is not just America or Israel involved it is the whole world affected. So good to pray for leaders and peace of Jerusalem because God is going to send Jesus back to earth and join the people left on earth after Armageddon. It is necessary to watch and pray and read Revelations in Bible to see God’s message to whole world unfolding. Billy Graham said read the Bible and see prophecies predicted happening unfold in the world. God can use Trump’s childlike and unpredictable nature as the perfect person suited to do trigger events. And living history shows leaders often instigating wars or being provoked into war by the actions of the others like Alexander the great, Hitler Napoleon among others. Such leaders often have a compulsive, impulsive and child like personalities. Only God knows if Trump’s Marmite role either loved or loathed for God’s wrath plans to unfold. Whether Trump is childlike instrument of choice to fulfill God’s Wrath purpose, Jesus said the type of evil unfolding has not been seen before and will never be seen again after Armageddon. The most important thing is be saved and to have your life hidden in Christ Jesus in God.   Be on God’s side and belong to HIS Eternal Kingdom. Leaders come and go, but God’s WORDS stand forever so be in the know. Make informed Bible choices irrespective of whether you are Trump Marmite lover or just neutral person. If it comes to God’s decisions you cannot sit on the fence. It is the bigger picture of consequences unfolding that really matters. Whether Trump is leader or not God’s Wrath is unfolding on whole world through choices of standing with Israel or not. The Ultimate decision is in God’s HANDS to rescue the church in the rapture and unrestrained evil will continue. Pray and ask to reveal to you deeper plans through Jesus Name. 

REBUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Family gatherings stressful?

Sadly, according to a new study, many families the first argument starts just after 10.13 on Christmas morning – with four or five more before the day is over! This can happen in families who don’t see each other very often and are then all together at Christmas. Christmas is a big focus, but other times like Easter or weddings, funerals and other family get-togethers can bring about pressure points erupt into family arguments. And the little things that trigger rows can be simple perhaps even the preparation of lunch, when a cook is trying to prepare a delicious meal and resents doing all the work or the other family members interfering too much. Couples often get into arguments because one or both has had too much to drink. Its particularly difficult where there are stepchildren. A couple may have different ideas about how to bring them up, and big decisions of how much to spend on the Christmas presents can cause disagreements.Six ways to stay close when your children leave home

Blended Family Matters

Blended families with step children can be part of the challenges faced during a Christmas festivity. If you have children from a previous relationship and your partner does not, you might disagree over the children’s behaviour. Or, if your partner does have children who are with the other parent for a big occasion like Christmas or a holiday, the presence of your children can cause resentment. The disciplinary lifestyles can be different and each parent may be softer in dealing with own child. It is good to be self conscious and aware of a child’s needs to treat them equally well.

Repairing family relationships

In the cold light of January try to make up with the family members you have fallen out with, even if you think it’s not your fault or that they might not react well. Pluck up courage and talk to them, face to face if possible, or by telephone or letter. Here are a few tips.My secret to feeling great at 56? Just do it!

  • Don’t restart the argument, wait until the person you need to talk to is in a good mood and then tell them that it is so nice when you do get on together that you would like it to be like that more of the time.
  • Tell them how much you regret the argument, that you are sorry if you upset them and that you love or care about them. It takes courage to say you are sorry.
  • Tread sensitively, no angry voices or unkind words, and make the person feel listened to and hopefully they might respond in a similar manner.
  • Ask what they need from you and say what you need from them.
  • If they don’t feel the same way, avoid another row and say, ‘I just wanted you to know that I am sorry we argued.’
  • Don’t be afraid to go to counselling if things seem really bad, it could make you happier in the long run.
  • Finally, make it your January resolution to think about how you would like life to be different, whether that includes drinking or spending a little less, or to have better relationships with the ones you love.”
  • DIY hair care tips for when you’re starting to go grey
  • Share the work

    babyhk20/11/2016

    Some people like cooking but if all avalanche on you over Xmas I have had to be honest so.I keep Xmas day for my husband and children as I explain i can only cook and cope with so many .Boxing Day is a running buffet which I top up with mainly cold food or things I can cook in 20 mins that just need throwing in the oven. I get decorations together and others sort out the tree . If anyone wants special food or find them something missing ot can shop for it.

    Be Close to kids who left home

    Yes it’s the end of an era, but your children moving out can sometimes bring you closer than ever. Keep in touch with each other daily. It easy if you know how. Meet up regularly if possible and Skype, telephone, visit.

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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.  

 

EXPRESS MARRIAGE TRENDS

Sophy on her wedding day in traditional attireWith Valentine day approaching people are looking for love and romance for a form relationships. So couples celebrate established meaningful, love fulfilling a family bond. Others also ready to settle down prepare and advertise for love in new ways using social media, Facebook post and was married six days later. The marriage took place quite quickly than the normal traditional longer process of a family searching and taking years for the marriage to be finalised. CHIDIMMA AMEDU, did exactly that advertising for love and marriage on Facebook. He found a beautiful wife who said, ‘he is the most handsome man I’ve ever met and I liked him instantly.” Those who use Facebook come across pretty strange posts in their time. But this time however the random friends requests, being added to groups you did not ask to join, and tags allows “friends” to marry. Others clog up timeline with posts or photos you don’t necessarily want. But a Nigerian man took it to a whole new level posted unusual advert. Chidimma Amedu put up a post on 30 December, asking women interested in being his wife to reply, he told the BBC.Chidimma Amedu on his wedding day

The proposal

“Am of age to and I am ready to say I do and am wasting no time. “Send in your applications – the most qualified will be married on January 6, 2018. Application closes 12 midnight 31/12/2017 he posted. He followed up with subsequent posts. ‘Am serious about this oh and don’t say you did not see it on time Good luck.’ He received a couple of responses, but one from Sophy Ijeoma is someone special who caught his attention. She wrote in her reply “Am interested, just DM me… lols,” her post read. At first, she thought it was a joke and she simply replied to keep thread flowing. A direct message from him to her inbox, followed by a Facebook call, would change her life’s trajectory. Chidimma placed the advert initially as a joke but became optimistic when Sophy said she was interested. So two days after their first conversation, he travelled some 500km (300 miles) from his home in the northern city of Abuja, to Enugu in the east where she lived. She had been waiting for him outside a retail store and in true fairy-tale style, “it was love at first sight”, she recalled. “He is the most handsome man I’ve ever met and I liked him instantly.”The couple on their wedding day in Igbo attire

After 2 hours of awkward conversation, he asked her to go to meet an uncle who incidentally is also resident in Enugu. So he asked what was going through her mind at the time, she said she thought it was all a bit of a joke but was excited about it and thought Chidimma was also quite an interesting character. “We got to the uncle’s house and he said: ‘Uncle, meet the woman I want to marry.'” Like Chidimma his family don’t seem to hang about when it comes to getting things done because uncle gave his approval. The couple are friends on Facebook for over a year but never spoken to each other before the advert. Getting family backing for your choice of spouse is an essential part of Igbo culture. Whereas picking your future wife from dozens of respondents to a Facebook marriage advert and marrying her in six days is decidedly not. At this point in their day-old relationship, it was beginning to dawn on Sophy that this fellow was not playing, but how do you commit to marrying someone you only just me. She would not comment on whether they had even shared as much as a kiss at that point, but maintained she was captivated by how focused, determined her new fiancé was. “When I saw him for the first time, I definitely found him attractive, but what I didn’t know was how serious he was about marrying me. “It was after we met the uncle and his wife, I realised that this could actually happen and I wanted it.”A family member felicitate with the couple

The engagement

It was now her turn to worry about how she was going to get the approval of her family to marry a guy she had just met on Facebook. But they had momentum going for them. Having met and fallen in love at first sight, or first message, if you like, and getting Chidimma’s uncle’s approval, couple decided to complete the cycle by visiting Sophy’s family the same day. Approval from the family is essential in Igbo tradition and Sophy recounted how she relayed information to her mother. Her dad passed away, and her mum said she did not have a final word in terms of giving approval for her to be married, so up to Sophy’s elder brother to give his blessings. It appears the odds firmly in their favour as Sophy’s brother gave his blessings too. So after a few questions from her brother it became official. Chidimma and Sophy were engaged to be married in six days.The happy couple cutting their cake

On the rebound?

Last year Chidimma was engaged to another woman and the wedding was scheduled for December, but then that relationship fell apart in March leaving him dejected. As December approached, the disappointment of not being able to fulfil his dream of getting married made him put up the post, he said. In wedding it was a blend of old and new “I had the desire to get married, had date in mind, but no bride, decided to place an advert as a joke, but I was open and up for it.”  Asked whether she knew about earlier engagement and her thoughts on how this seemingly rushed marriage might be seen as a rebound, Sophy dismissed any suggestions that her relationship was not well thought through. “I don’t care about that when you see what you want, you go for it.” They are friends on Facebook for more than a year, but had never met or spoken to each other until the advert. Am interested just DM me… lols” was all it took for the union to be formed. Sophy admitted her friends were sceptical about the whole thing, while some are still in disbelief, but as she said: “When you see the one, you will know he is the one.” And they got married on 6 January in a traditional Igbo ceremony, and posted photos of wedding day on Facebook of course to the amusement of the social media community. Chidimma put up a post saying people may have thought he had been joking but clearly wasn’t. And as expected there was mixed reactions, but mainly a lot of support for the couple. They hope to have a church wedding in April and honeymoon somewhere nice.

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