HIV Testing Week

I never realised there was such a thing as HIV Testing Week until watching Sky News and an amazing interview with Ian Green of Terrence Higgins Trust and George a student – diagnosed in 2018.

What surprised me was the dimming of the spotlight on HIV/AIDS since it’s devastating emergence on the world’s stage in the early 80s. Ian was around at that time and said the information commercials were fit for purpose for the time, however, over recent years there has been little information for the younger generations.

Knowing that HIV/AIDS is not curable but with massive developments in science, learning and treatments, people can live a long life with HIV/AIDS and no longer pass it on to partners. But what shocked me was the lack of sexual health education for our young people. George explained he knew nothing about HIV/AIDS until he got it.

Whilst both Ian and George were positive about living with HIV/AIDS the fact that we aren’t talking about sexual health in schools, colleges and universities is shocking to me in the 21st Century.

People can only make good judgements and choices if they are given all the information available. Why do we feel it’s ok to ignore HIV/AIDS again?

Time to re-think Mother’s Day gift?

Mother’s Day 2020 saw an estimated spend of £784 million on flowers averaging £22 per bunch. A staggering amount of money.

I know I haven’t considered the impact of giving flowers. It’s just been an automatic action. However, after reading a feature over the weekend, I will definitely be thinking differently.

The majority of flowers we buy in the UK are mainly flown in from Netherlands and Kenya. Equating the air miles to CO2 volumes, the feature illustrated each average bunch of flowers = 32.3kg of CO2 – compared to the air miles in giving an Australian bottle of wine at 1.4kg of CO2.

Mind boggling stats but there is something we can do.

Arena Flowers is completely plastic free and for every bunch of flowers sold they will plant a tress – http://www.arenaflowers.com.

Flowers From the Farm is a not for profit that informs you of flower growers near you – http://www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk

Both enable flowers still to be given without such a massive impact on our environment. Now doesn’t that give a little glow for doing good in your gift giving?

CHILDRENS’ MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK – 1ST TO 5TH FEBRUARY 2021

Of course we need to be mindful of our young peoples’ mental health everyday but having a dedicated week focusses everyone to be more aware of what’s going on around them. Adults to be aware of any young people who might be struggling by noticing subtle changes and young people themselves finding the courage and strength to reach out.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge has released a video on YouTube – see below

Figures released recently have shown an upward trend with the arrival of Covid-19 and yo-yoing lockdowns, school closures and the impact this brings on support structures and integration.

Cambridge University released figures showing 1:9 children in 2017 experienced mental ill health. This has risen to 1:6 by the end of 2020.

Professor Ellen Townsend of the Self Harm Research Group at Nottingham University showed a three fold increase in young people experiencing anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders and suicidal idealation.

Domestic murders almost doubled according to the Met Police who investigated 22 domestic murders in 2020 up from 16 in 2019. Worryingly still was the increase in child murders by a parent up from 7 in 2019 to 12 last year.

NSPCC released data showing child abuse referrals were up 43% and domestic violence up 49%.

All of these stats are uncomfortable to hear. However, ignoring the issue drives down support for the children and increases stigma exponentially.

Starting conversations with our children, as with anyone, can be difficult. I-act training delivers multiple tools in their accredited training. Including a quote wall. A simple but effective tool:

In addition, lets keep our awareness in tune with silent suffering that might be going on around us.

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