ItGetsBrighter.org

We highly recommend the fantastic video blog page It Gets Brighter, featuring "short video messages of hope from those living with a mental health issue, and those who support them".

It Gets Brighter links to dozens of videos from around the world and from a wide variety of social backgrounds (including some famous faces you might know) offering candid thoughts and honest descriptions of their past and current mental health and advice to others.

You can also create your own videos direct through the site to connect to other users, message those offering support or in need of support themselves, and engage with a host of fantastic partners, charities and sponsors specialising in a related field.

We cannot recommend this site highly enough, so please be sure to check it out.

Link: It Gets Brighter

Telegraph: Pupils shared "inappropriate" pictures on Snapchat and were "groomed" on school iPads

The Telegraph has published a shocking article detailing how misuse of technology has found its way into the classroom.

Pupils shared "inappropriate" photographs on Snapchat and were groomed by paedophiles during lessons on school iPads, it has emerged, after the school head wrote to parents.

One underage girl watched footage of a man performing a sex act via Skype during a lesson on the tablet computer given to all students.

An inappropriate picture was also found on two pupils' Snapchat accounts at Honywood Community Science School in Coggeshall, Essex.

Simon Mason, the school's head, wrote to parents expressing his concern and said that the iPads, which were handed out to all 1,200 pupils, would be upgraded in a bid to prevent further security beaches.

He said one "learner" ignored guidance about befriending strangers online and had been "coerced into sending inappropriate images to someone whose only rationale for 'meeting' the learner on line was to exploit them".

To read the full article, please click here.

Guardian: Top 10 books that explore mental health

Madeleine Kuderick’s top 10 books that explore mental health issues

It can be easier to talk about tough topics from the safety of a fictional character. Here are 10 of the best teen ‘parachutes in disguise’ reads chosen by Madeleine Kuderick, author of Kiss of Broken Glass which is based on her daughter’s experience of self-harm.

I think books are parachutes in disguise. Once you read them, you can tiptoe out onto the ledge, open your mouth, and leap into the scariest, deepest, I-can’t-even-see-the-bottom kinds of conversations.

And the reason you can take that plunge is because it’s easier to talk about tough topics from the safety of a fictional character. You can do it without fear, without flinching, without ever having to reveal that character might actually be you. This is how young adult books save lives. They open mouths, hearts and minds and let readers share the stories they’ve been aching to tell – stories about mental illness, suicide, self-harm, bullying, addiction, abuse, and more. 

And it’s in the telling, that the healing begins. When I was writing Kiss of Broken Glass, a story dealing with self-harm based loosely on my daughter’s experiences, I shared the early drafts of the manuscript with her. Before sharing the manuscript, I’d asked my daughter many times to talk about her struggles, to explain what drew her into cutting, and to help me understand. But she refused to open up, wouldn’t share a single glimpse, and instead kept silent. That is, until she read the manuscript. Then suddenly, she was a waterfall of words, telling me everything she thought might be going on inside the fictional character’s head. As I sat there listening, swallowing back the lump in my throat, I knew I was hearing my daughter’s own experiences – all her pain, anxiety, triggers, and triumphs – spoken honestly and heart wrenchingly for the very first time.

A book did that. Books are doing that every day.

Here are ten powerful, authentic, and fearless titles that are doing that right now:

1. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
2. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
4. These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar
5. Looking for Alaska by John Green
6. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
7. The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
8. Crazy by Linda Vigen Phillips
9. Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
10. Stop Pretending by Sonya Sones

(for the full article, click here)

Guardian: Top 10 teen books to save your life

Jennifer Niven's top 10 teen books to save your life (via: The Guardian)

Jennifer Niven wrote All the Bright Places knowing that at one time or another every teenager needs to know that it gets better, help is out there, high school isn’t forever, and life is long and vast and full of joy. So here are her top 10 lovely, tough, honest, and ultimately life-affirming YA books.

What I love most about books is they remind us we’re not alone. When I was an only child transplanted to landlocked Indiana from the shores of southern Maryland in the United States – a torture akin to, say, moving to Mars – I discovered Judy Blume. In Maryland, I had danced and painted and written stories. I didn’t play team sports and I wasn’t blond and petite and a cheerleader like the girls at my Indiana school. I never learned to cartwheel because I didn’t like being upside down.

Judy Blume’s characters, more than my own parents, knew how I felt, what I thought, what I feared. In high school, I graduated to the Brontë sisters, whose dark, dramatic longing spoke to my ongoing sense of displacement.

Books reach into the darkest, loneliest parts of us and remind us it’s okay. I wrote All the Bright Places because I once knew and loved a boy. And then I lost him, and it changed my life. But I wasn’t sure anyone would understand me if I talked about it, so I wrote about it instead, knowing there are others like him, like me, who need to know that it gets better, help is out there, high school isn’t forever, and life is long and vast and full of joy. Whether dealing with loss, mental illness, suicide, addiction, bullying, self-harm, rape, or the feeling of not fitting in, young adult authors are addressing the deepest, darkest issues, and reminding us what it means to live.

Here are ten lovely, tough, honest, and ultimately life-affirming books:

1. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
2. The Outsiders by SE Hinton
3. Fat Kid Rules the World by KL Going
4. Saving Daisy by Phil Earle
5. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
6. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
7. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
8. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
9. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
10. Wonder by RJ Palacio

(for full article, click here)

BBC: 'Mental health help 'needed in schools'

The BBC has also published another article highlighting the desperate need for external mental health assistance in schools.

In Scrubbing Up this week, child psychiatrist Dr Raphael Kelvin - who led the project - says if we're to really support children with mental health problems, we need to more aid - including in the classroom.

There are at least 850,000 children in the UK with a diagnosed mental health condition and the figure may well be rising.

Yet 75% do not receive the support they are entitled to and need. We are, albeit unwittingly, condemning thousands of the country's most vulnerable children to years of distress and lost opportunities. Why?

On the one hand, many mental health services for children and young people are underdeveloped and often underfunded.

But there's another key problem. Many healthcare professionals, teachers, police, volunteers and others who come into contact with them, do not know what a mental health condition looks like or how to approach the issue.

BBC: 'Children's mental health is parents' greatest concern'

The BBC have published a fascinating article highlighting how a child's mental health is now their parent's number one health concern.

Some 40% of 2,267 parents surveyed by Action for Children said their children's emotional well-being was a primary concern. Among mothers, this rose to 47%, according to the charity's analysis of data collected by YouGov last year.

Some 32% of the parents surveyed said their children's diet and weight was a concern, while 21% worried about serious illnesses like cancer, 20% feared long-term health conditions like asthma or diabetes and 10% worried about allergies and food intolerance.

The differences between the fears of mothers and fathers was most marked on mental health.