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The first legally approved HIV self testing kit has gone sale in the UK.

The BioSURE HIV Self Test will enable people to test themselves when and where they like, with a 99.7 per cent accuracy rate.

An estimated 26,000 people in the UK have HIV but are unaware of it, making them unknowingly responsible for the majority of onwards transmissions.

Due to developments in treatments available, HIV is now a manageable disease but late diagnosis can have a devastating impact on health and life expectancy.

The self test kit uses a small amount of blood from a finger prick sample to detect the presence of HIV antibodies and offers a result in just 15 minutes.

BioSure founder Brigette Bard said its launch is a significant step towards normalising HIV testing. [The Telegraph. 27.4.15]
Sexualised images of women in advertising and social media are leading to an increase in emotional problems among young girls, new figures suggest.

Girls aged between 11 and 13 are now more likely to worry, lack confidence or feel nervous than they were five years ago because they feel under pressure.

The rise in girls suffering from emotional problems may be linked to stress brought on by seeing images of women portrayed as sex objects on Facebook, Twitter and other websites, researchers from University College London believe.

Their survey of 1,600 pupils in Years 7 and 8 showed that an increase in time spent on social media and the pressure to perform academically could have contributed to the rise.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, compared the mental health of schoolchildren in 2014 with a sample from 2009.

The girls and boys were asked to identify how often they worry, feel unhappy, get nervous, lose confidence, feel scared or suffer from headaches and sickness.

It found that there are now an average of three girls in every 2014 class feeling sad or nervous, compared to just one or two in a 2009 class.

The number of schoolgirls likely to suffer emotional problems also rose from 13 per cent in the 2009 study to 20 per cent – one in five – in 2014.

Lead author Dr Elian Fink said: ‘Five years is a relatively short period of time, so we were surprised to see such a sharp spike in emotional problems among girls.’

Co-author Dr Miranda Wolpert said: ‘This study highlights the significant and growing emotional problems reported by young girls today.

‘We can’t say for sure why problems are increasing, but there are many factors that could contribute.

‘These include increasing stresses on girls and young women, ranging from academic pressure to their increasing sexualisation and objectification amplified by social media.’

The classes sampled in the research were not nationally representative, as 38 per cent of the children in the study were from ethnic minority backgrounds, compared with a national average of 20 per cent.

But the study is the latest of many that shows anxiety is increasing among schoolgirls.

Official figures released last month showed that one in five girls of primary school age has been on a diet.

Research by the Government Equalities Office found that as young girls progress through school, their body image deteriorates rapidly.

The Body Confidence Progress Report 2015 states that poor body image is a ‘public health problem’ and an ‘equalities issue’ that can limit the opportunities available to women and girls. [Daily Mail. 20.4.15]
...We go through trials every day, and it doesn't take surviving a hurricane or personal tragedy to incorporate gratitude into your day-to-day routine. The characteristics that define one who can handle adversity are the same characteristics that define who will have a happy, healthy and productive life.

Faith: The belief in something bigger than you are, whether it's family, a higher power. a God or a cause.

Hope: The knowledge that no matter how bleak things are at the present, there's a belief it will get better: “The Power of Hope”.

Love: Whether an individual, family or group, feelings of love towards and from others can enrich your life in countless ways.

Gratitude: Being thankful for the things you have, rather than being bitter about what you don’t have.

...Gratitude is something that can be learned, practiced and developed, yielding a sense of well-being, optimism and happiness. What's more, when children see a thankful parent, they are more likely to become thankful children.

Starting today, implement these suggestions into your daily life:

• Each morning before you get out of bed, think of the things within your life that you're grateful for -- it could be the spouse by your side, the child in the next room, the pet in the kitchen. It could be the sun shining through the window, the legs you stand on or the eyes you use to view the world. Do this every single morning, making it a ritual. I guarantee, if you do this you will start your morning off on a positive note and this sets the standard for a positive day.

• We all have bad days because life is not perfect. Bad things happen all the time. When life gives you a blow, rather than ruminating on your bad luck, take the time to write down the current things you're grateful for. Seeing these in writing, and even the act of writing, can be calming and cathartic.

• Be grateful for life's challenges because it's those very challenges that serve as lessons and allow us to grow. View each challenge as a way to learn and build a better life.

• Be thankful for what you have. Envy will suck the life out of you. Instead of wishing you had the mansion, the hired help, the fancy sports car or the designer clothes, give thanks for what you do have. Consumerism is not the path to happiness. There will always be those who have more, just like there will always be others who have less. Be grateful that you have enough.

• Finally, help others. Every time you see someone less fortunate lend a hand, even if it’s only a smile and a word of encouragement.

...Life is a gift. Freedom is a gift. Employment is a gift. Friends and loved ones are gifts. Your very breath at this moment is a gift. Viewing life with grateful eyes gives insight that life owes you nothing...

[Psychology Today]
• In 2013, 80,000 children and young people in the UK were clinically depressed; 10% of these were under 10 years of age.*
• They also found that 290,000 children and young people in the UK had a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and one in three of these was under 10.
The Department for Education recognises that ‘in order to help their pupils succeed; schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy…. Ofsted has highlighted that children and young people themselves say that they want to learn how to keep themselves emotionally healthy. Moreover schools have a duty to promote the wellbeing of their students.**

…time to defuse the ticking bomb?

Available Now:

Evening sessions on young people’s pressures for your parents and stress management sessions for your children/young people doing SATS, GCSE’s and A-Levels.

PSHEeducation is my business. It is all about children and young people being equipped to deal with the modern world.
What can I offer you?

• Experience: qualified class teacher of 10 years (QTS), long term PSHE lead teacher, post-graduate qualification in PSHE provision
• Bespoke Sessions: for your children, young people, staff and parents – whole school packages to small groups
• Value for money: free initial consultation, no hidden extra’s
• Quality: consistently positive feedback on all aspects of my work (see my testimonials)
• A wide range of subjects: Stress Management, Cyber Safety, Sex and Relationships, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Drugs and Alcohol, Self-Awareness.

Where can you find out more?

Feel free to email, call me or book a meeting to discuss your needs. Go to my other pages to learn more about me, my work and what people think of me.

*Source: Nuffield Foundation (2013) Social trends and mental health: Introducing the main findings. London: Nuffield Foundation. 
**Source: Public Health England and the Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition ‘Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing
Today there is a report out about loneliness suggesting loneliness contributes to health problems and affects mortality. The report says there is an increasing problem of loneliness and that it should be tackled by creating maps to show where older people are more likely to be at risk. This BBC News report out today once again highlights the problems of loneliness and is closely linked to their report on 2.4.15 discussing the implications of loneliness on emotional health across all ages.
"The emotional problems associated with loneliness have long been acknowledged, but now there is evidence that being lonely has an impact on overall health. Researchers found that lonely people are more likely to be heavy drinkers, smokers and overweight."[For the full reports go to BBC News]