People urged to protect butterflies this spring – and boost their mental health

People are being urged to take steps to help butterflies and moths this spring as part of a project which experts said could boost the mental health of those who take part. Boost The campaign by charity Butterfly Conservation to prevent further declines in species of butterflies and moths comes after research found last year’s lockdown saw an increase in the amount of people spending time in nature. The University of Cumbria study revealed 83% of respondents said they had taken time to notice butterflies and bees. A short amount of time spent in nature can alleviate stress and make people feel happier and more energised, according to…

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Muslim health professionals urge community to get vaccinated even whilst observing Ramadan

Mosques are preparing for Ramadan after the holy month had to be observed during coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions last year without the usual community prayer gatherings. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, begins with the first sighting of the new moon. It’s expected on 13 April this year in the UK, although this may change. Vaccinations Many Muslims abstain from all eating and drinking during daylight hours. But Muslim medical professionals have urged those fasting to still get vaccinated against coronavirus. Salman Waqar, from the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA), spoke to the PA news agency. He said Muslim scholars across the world have said vaccinations do…

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‘Intersecting forms of disadvantage’ explain varying coronavirus health outcomes

Varying coronavirus (Covid-19) health outcomes are the result of “intersecting forms of disadvantage”, including structural inequalities faced by certain communities, experts have said. Intersections A combination of political, economic, and social factors can have “exponential impacts” on certain groups. That’s according to a paper from the ethnicity subgroup of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage). A Sage meeting on 25 March considered the paper. It was published on 9 April. It follows the government-commissioned ‘Sewell Report’ on racial disparities which was published last week. Many experts criticised the report for failing to recognise the impact of institutional racism in British society. The ethnicity sub-group of Sage noted…

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Poverty takes up to 20 years of good health away from people in England and Wales

People living in the most deprived areas of England face a gap of almost two decades of life in good general health compared with those in the least deprived areas, new figures show. Office for National Statistics (ONS) data published on Monday shows healthy life expectancy at birth among men living in the most deprived areas was 52.3 years in 2017 to 2019, compared with 70.7 years among those living in the least deprived areas. This amounts to a difference of 18.4 years in “good” general health between these populations across their life course. Women in the most deprived areas could expect to live 51.4 years in “good”…

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Texas Gov. Lifts Pandemic Restrictions, Defying Public Health Experts, and Blames Migrants for COVID

Texas is the largest state to lift its mandate on face masks and fully reopen businesses, joining a growing movement in states governed by Republicans to ease pandemic restrictions even as experts warn it is too soon to do so, despite the accelerating pace of vaccinations in the United States. “This is completely politically motivated,” says Dr. Dona Murphey, a physician scientist and community organizer in Houston who is helping to lead a campaign demanding Texas reinstate the mask mandate. She says Republican Governor Greg Abbott is ending the state’s pandemic restrictions as “a maneuver to conceal failures” related to the Texas electrical grid, which went down during…

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Tories cover up ‘jaw-dropping’ cuts to health and social care spending when we need it most

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered this year’s much-anticipated budget on 3 March. Surprisingly – in a year in which Britain saw over 100,000 people die from coronavirus (Covid-19) – the chancellor didn’t mention plans for health and social care during his announcement. Meanwhile, Labour claims the government has quietly cut health and social care funding – a £9bn cut to the NHS England budget and a £30.1bn cut to the department for health and social care’s budget. “Jaw-dropping” cuts to health and social care funding Having called on the government to step up and provide for the nation’s struggling health service, shadow health and social care secretary Jonathan Ashworth said…

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Vaccine Apartheid: Marc Lamont Hill, Mitchell Plitnick on Israel’s “Indifference to Palestinian Health”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: As we continue our coverage of the pandemic, this is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh, as we turn to what some are calling “vaccine apartheid” in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Israel has had the fastest vaccination rollout in the entire world. Forty percent of Israelis have already been fully vaccinated. More than 8 million shots have been administered. Israel has also vaccinated Jewish residents living in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. But Palestinians have yet to even begin a public vaccination rollout. By one…

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Housing asylum seekers in barracks against health advice branded ‘moral failure’

A doctor has accused the Home Office of “moral failure” over the continued housing of asylum seekers at an ageing and virus-hit military barracks. Napier Barracks in Kent has been used as “emergency” accommodation since September last year, despite significant welfare concerns. But even before any residents had moved in, Public Health England (PHE) gave warnings that the dormitories on the military site were “not suitable” for use, according to court documents. In the months since it opened, coronavirus (Covid-19) has surged behind the barbed wire fences with at least 120 residents testing positive. Despite this, the Home Office has continued to defend its use of the Ministry…

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We’re in a mental health crisis, but England doesn’t have the services needed to support patients

Mental health systems in England and Wales face a string of problems, not least of which is privatisation. As part of our #ourlivesourstories series, The Canary has spoken to a number of experts who told us that there are many issues blocking supportive and accessible care. Like many countries across the world, the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has made problems with mental health in England and Wales much worse. But the NHS’s mental health services were already underfunded and overstretched. However, funding isn’t the only problem. The actual services themselves have been criticised at great length. The implications are grave – if patients feel dismissed and isolated, how is that…

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A BBC report completely disrespected Children’s Mental Health Week

The BBC has shown contempt for Children’s Mental Health Week. Because during one of its flagship news programmes, it repeated a piece of Tory propaganda. It did so without question – giving viewers the impression the government is spending £2bn on young people’s mental health. This seems completely untrue. The BBC: ‘look what the government is doing!’ This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is running from 1-7 February. Smack-bang in the middle of this, BBC News at Six did a segment on the topic. It was in relation to education during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. During host George Alagiah’s introduction to it, he claimed the Department of Health and…

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