A dolls’ house with shutters on the windows and tendrils of ivy painted on the walls stands opposite a dressing table adorned with stickers, trinkets and coloured hair-clips. The room’s occupant is gesturing with sparkly nails, giving a tour of the premises and explaining how she picked out her own furniture and fittings from Ikea when she first arrived. This is Josephine Schneider’s House – a grand, 13-roomed residence built in 1906 in a leafy suburb of Copenhagen, funded by a Danish philanthropist of the same name to care for children who don’t have parents or whose parents can’t look after them. Our nine-year-old tour guide has lived at Josephine Schneider’s House for two years. “I like it here,” she tells me. “I get to play with the bigger girls – they’re 13 – and we all got to go to Majorca this summer.” An annual “family” holiday is a Josephine Schneider’s tradition, along with … [Read more...] about The Copenhagen house that’s probably the best children’s home in the world
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What is mental illness? There are dozens of different kinds of mental illness, from common disorders that affect tens of millions of people such as depression and anxiety, to rarer afflictions like paraphilia (sexual compulsion) and trichotillomania (a compulsion to remove hair). The “bible” of mental illness, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (its fifth iteration, DSM-5, was published in 2013), groups them under about 20 subheadings* (see below). Mental illness is not sadness, insanity or rage (though it can involve these in some of its forms); it is not binary or exclusive, but complex and universal. Another way to think of it is as a spectrum, a continuum that we all sit on. At one end is mental health, where we are thriving, fulfilled and at ease. In the middle reaches, people can be described as coping, surviving or struggling. At the far end sit the range of mental illnesses. Most us move back and forth along this line our entire lives. How … [Read more...] about Mental illness: is there really a global epidemic?
Government lawyers are seeking to block compensation payments to people who developed the devastating sleep disorder, narcolepsy, as a result of a faulty swine flu vaccine. The Pandemrix vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was given to 6 million people in Britain and millions more across Europe during the 2009-10 swine flu pandemic, but was withdrawn when doctors noticed a rise in narcolepsy cases among those who received the jab. In June, a 12-year-old boy was awarded £120,000 by a court that ruled he had been left severely disabled by narcolepsy caused by Pandemrix. The win ended a three-year battle with the government that argued his illness was not serious enough to warrant compensation. Narcolepsy is a permanent condition that can cause people to fall asleep dozens of times a day, even when they are in mid-conversation. Some suffer from night terrors and a problem with muscular control called cataplexy that can lead them to collapse on the spot. The boy, who remains … [Read more...] about Narcolepsy cases linked to flu vaccine subject to new compensation dispute