mental health


A phone used to be a helpline. Now it’s a device used to film people in distress

17 March 2015 17:14

A pal recently told me a story. It was about a friend of theirs who had been travelling on a train last summer, one of those old fashioned trains, with the… Continue reading

Lib Dem health

Lib Dems are promising to revolutionise mental health care. This is opportunism, pure and simple

16 March 2015 17:40

Given their record in government, any sane person would regard a pledge by the Liberal Democrats with a healthy dose of cynicism. Their latest hobby-horse is mental health; it has… Continue reading


Jon Snow’s right: skunk is dangerous, but it’s impossible to buy anything else

26 February 2015 13:49

Channel 4 is due to air its pseudo-scientific ‘Jon Snow stoned’ show The Cannabis Trials (or Drugs and How Not To Enjoy Them). Presumably intended to reignite national conversation about the government’s antiquated… Continue reading

(Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty)

Why are the Lib Dems spending so much time talking about mental health?

26 February 2015 13:03

Nick Clegg is to hold an hour-long phone-in next week on mental health. The Deputy Prime Minister will host the session himself on LBC on Monday. This is part of… Continue reading


The crisis of masculinity won’t be solved with antidepressants

23 February 2015 15:50

There was much discussion recently about the rise in male suicide rates, after official figures published last week showed they were at their highest level since 2001. But one aspect of… Continue reading

A father and son making a toy car in a workshop circa 1950. Photo: Getty Images.

Teenage fathers and mental health: a true story unfairly reported

20 February 2015 13:34

There’s a difference between something being true, and something being fair, as I’m sure you realise. I’m going to look at a story that is, on the face of it,… Continue reading


Hyperbole about the dangers of ‘skunk’ won’t help those at risk – but a change in the law might

16 February 2015 13:58

Can I write an entire blog post about one sentence? I’d certainly like to. The sentence in question is ‘The potent form of the drug, known as ‘skunk’, is so… Continue reading

Theresa May. Image: Getty

Theresa May’s moral mission: Home Secretary to stop sick children being locked up

15 December 2014 9:11

Theresa May will announce changes the Mental Health Act this week that mean mentally ill teenagers are never held in police cells when they should be in a hospital bed.… Continue reading


Good Samaritans or sinister surveillance? The app that tries to stop suicide

30 October 2014 17:01

According to an email I received earlier this afternoon, I should be worried about the mental state of someone I know. An alert popped up in my inbox from an… Continue reading

On left, David Cameron, with health secretary Jeremy Hunt on the right, in December 2013 (Photo: WPA Pool/Getty)

Call them crazy – the foolhardy new incentives for dementia diagnoses

22 October 2014 16:00

Remember this time last year, when Jeremy Hunt decried the ‘national shame’ of neglected old people suffering from undiagnosed dementia? The health secretary lamented that fewer than half of dementia… Continue reading

Nick Clegg speaks on Wednesday at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow (Photo: Getty)

Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats focus on keeping Tory-facing seats

8 October 2014 14:52

listen to ‘Podcast: Nick Clegg's speech’ on audioBoom There were no rabbits in Nick Clegg’s speech today. Instead, there was just an unerring emphasis on the Liberal Democrats’ message that… Continue reading

Norman Lamb

Lib Dems to announce mental health policy ‘red line’

7 October 2014 9:03

The Lib Dems haven’t really announced many enormous policies so far at their party conference. Yesterday’s speech from Vince Cable was more notable for its loyalty than it was for… Continue reading


When did suicide cease to be morally repugnant?

15 August 2014 15:37

The great Theodore Dalrymple once came up with the theory that there is a fixed level of righteous indignation in any society. As soon as we become more relaxed about… Continue reading

Unemployment Figures Set To Rise Further In UK

Mental health and benefits: ministers get the wrong end of the stick

13 July 2014 17:19

Every so often when ministers are considering a policy, they send a little kite up to see how it’s received. Sometimes it gets hit by a lightning bolt of fury… Continue reading

Royal Sussex County Hospital, UK

Mental health: Government’s commitment doesn’t match its rhetoric

24 June 2014 16:53

Professor Sue Bailey, the outgoing President of the Royal College of Psychiatry, has described mental health services in England as a ‘car crash’. Although the language may be alarmist Professor… Continue reading


Spastics, cretins and the political correctness of the right

23 June 2014 16:25

Ruth Richards, head of communications at Mind, has written a response to my criticism of the pointlessness of politically correct descriptions of the mentally ill and handicapped. As you would… Continue reading

Labour Leader Ed Miliband Speech In Essex

Ed Miliband must be careful when he talks about suicide

29 May 2014 16:19

Jim Waterson’s BuzzFeed interview with Ed Miliband is well worth a read. But the opening paragraph stands out in particular: ‘Ed Miliband was in Nottingham last Tuesday when a man… Continue reading

Tony Benn Joins Remebrance Ceremony For 204 Dead Soldiers

The ghost of Tony Benn stalked PMQs

19 March 2014 15:45

Tony Benn, the most divisive left-wing figure since the war, united the house today. David Cameron paid tribute to him as an orator, diarist and campaigner. Ed Miliband praised his… Continue reading

mentalhealthcop Police inspector's Twitter suspended

Why the police silenced one of the best officers in Britain

18 February 2014 17:45

West Midlands Police’s announcement that it had ordered the closure of the blog and Twitter account of Inspector Michael Brown – ‘the mental health cop’ – has caused astonishment and anger… Continue reading

The Spectator has been campaigning for the rights of mental health patients since 1828. Here is a selection of what we've written.

The Spectator – campaigning for the rights of the insane since 1828

7 February 2014 12:08

Talking to Barbara Taylor about her new madness memoir this week, it’s clear that Britain does not have a glorious history when it comes to dealing with mad people. But… Continue reading

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Lore Segal's novel 'Half the Kingdom' is an ambitious but ultimately unrewarding novel about dementia patients.

Losing Your Mind – The Novel That Induces Insanity

28 August 2013 10:30

Nobody wants to go mad. We try to live healthy lives so that we won’t die slowly of lung cancer or quickly from a heart attack. But what we let… Continue reading

Peter Hook (second from right) pictured with the other members of Joy Division.

The first Division – Peter Hook’s Unknown Pleasures

16 May 2013 10:53

A good book about popular music will always give you a new appreciation of the records. Joy Division bassist Peter Hook’s Unknown Pleasures, just published in paperback by Simon & Schuster,… Continue reading

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Heavy Snow Fall Hits Southern England

The Gamal by Ciarán Collins – review

23 April 2013 10:15

My editor told me to read this book and write this review. Six hundred words, he said. Just like the psychiatrist Dr. Quinn instructed Charlie, the protagonist of said book,… Continue reading


Barwell wins bill battle against mental health discrimination

11 February 2013 16:11

Gavin Barwell’s bill to end discrimination against those suffering from mental illnesses received its third reading in the House of Lords this afternoon, which means it is just a small… Continue reading

A woman, suffering from Alzheimer's dese

The straightforward solution for mental health treatment

25 July 2012 16:45

Yesterday Nick Clegg published an ‘implementation framework’ for the government’s  mental health strategy. This follows his announcement in February 2011 of a ‘No Health without Mental Health’ policy, which has… Continue reading