• This Morning’s Emmy Kenny shares grief over father’s death: ‘My dad sadly lost his battle to psychosis’
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    The Independent

    This Morning’s Emmy Kenny shares grief over father’s death: ‘My dad sadly lost his battle to psychosis’

    This Morning’s resident psychologist Emma Kenny has opened up about the grief of losing her father to suicide in a heartbreaking video posted on social media.Kenny, who regularly addresses mental health issues on the ITV programme, explained her father had been struggling with psychosis for eight months and “sadly lost his battle” with the condition on Monday.“He took his own life,” the 45-year-old said in the video, “I found him but I was just about 30 seconds too late, I didn't get that chance".The TV psychologist had previously spoken out about her father’s illness with her fans and went on to thank them for their continued support.“My dad’s end does not define who he was,” Kenny continued. “Mental illness does not define you. He was the strongest, the most wonderful and most beautiful human being you could’ve ever met.”Kenny went on to criticise mental health services in the UK, saying she was “ashamed” of the care available to her father.“I’m sorry for any of you who are going through this,” she added, referring to the grief of losing someone through suicide, before proceeding to offer some advice to those with family members who are struggling with their mental health.“Just go that extra mile for somebody who’s in need,” she said. “It could feel relentless, frustrating, boring annoying, it can aggravate you when someone is constantly mentally unwell but they’re not doing it on purpose.”Kenny continued: “Notice that person who’s quiet in the office. Notice that individual whose mood seems to have changed. If somebody’s asked for attention, give it to them. “Thanks for all your support. I’m sorry it’s not a happy video. I know all of you would’ve wished for it to be a different outcome.”Kenny’s video has prompted a wave of support from fans, with thousands of people offering their condolences and thanking the psychologist for speaking out.> So sorry for your loss Emma, you are right the mental health service in this country is awful. I've been supporting a relative for the past year who has bipolar and sometimes it isn't easy but we are all has as the servicea just aren't there. Take care of yourself, thinking of u> > — Louise (@LouiseLacy) > > July 10, 2019“So sorry to hear this Emma,” wrote one person on Twitter. “It doesn’t define him as you say and we cannot control the outcome. You did your best and you father knew that. Sending lots of love and puppy love to you.”Another added: “Oh Emma, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Sending you lots of love and hugs your way. Mental health and suicide, particularly in men, must be tackled to become less taboo. Only then can we save lives. You’re in my thoughts.”If you have been affected by any issues mentioned in this article, you can contact The Samaritans for free on 116 123 or any of the following mental health organisations:mind.org.ukmentalhealth.org.uk

  • Epilepsy: What is the neurological disorder and how many people does it affect?
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    The Independent

    Epilepsy: What is the neurological disorder and how many people does it affect?

    As one of the most common neurological disorders in the world, epilepsy affects approximately 50 million people across the globe.Despite its prevalence, there may be a lot of information you don't know about the condition, such as possible causes of it and how it can be diagnosed.Last week, 20-year-old Disney Channel actor Cameron Boyce died at his home in Los Angeles.On Tuesday, his family told People magazine that the 20-year-old’s "tragic passing was due to a seizure as a result of an ongoing medical condition, and that condition was epilepsy”.Here's everything you need to know about epilepsy and how many people it affects: What is epilepsy?Epilepsy is a neurological, life-long condition which affects the brain.It's the fourth most common neurological disorder, the Epilepsy Foundation states, and affects people of all ages.When an individual has epilepsy, they may be prone to experiencing frequent, unpredictable seizures.These seizures happen when a sudden burst of electrical activity occurs in the brain, Epilepsy Action outlines.While electrical activity is always happening in the brain, an unexpected burst can temporarily cause the brain to stop working as it should. What are the different types of epileptic seizures?There are several different kinds of epileptic seizures, Epilepsy Action outlines.These include the following: * Focal seizures * Tonic-clonic seizures * Absence seizures * Myoclonic seizures * Tonic seizures * Atonic seizuresFor more information on how various epileptic seizures differ, click here. How many people does it affect?Epilepsy affects one in 100 people in the UK, Epilepsy Action states.Approximately 87 people in the country are diagnosed with the condition every day.According to the Epilepsy Society, one in 20 people are likely to have a one-off epileptic seizure at some point in their lifetime.However, this does not necessarily mean that they have epilepsy.While epilepsy can develop at any age, it tends to be more common in young children or older people, the Epilepsy Foundation outlines. What causes epilepsy?While doctors are unable to pinpoint what causes epilepsy in more than half of cases, there are several possible causes of the neurological condition, Epilepsy Action explains.This causes include experiencing a stroke, a previous brain condition such as meningitis, suffering a head injury and any problems that occurred during childbirth. How is it diagnosed?If you experience a seizure, your GP is likely to refer you to a specialist, the NHS explains.This specialist is likely to be a neurologist, who can assess how your seizure was connected to your brain's activity.Epilepsy isn't always diagnosed quickly, as other conditions such as migraines and panic attacks can have similar symptoms.Furthermore, you probably won't be diagnosed with epilepsy unless you've experienced more than one seizure, as some people who experience one epileptic seizure may not necessarily have the long-term condition.The tests carried out to determine whether or not you have epilepsy may include an electroencephalogram, during which small sensors are attached to your scalp, and a brain scan. How is it treated?People with epilepsy are prescribed specific medicines from their doctor, Epilepsy Action states.While the medicines, which are sometimes called anti-epileptic drugs, doesn't cure the condition, it may reduce the number of seizures you experience.If anti-epileptic drugs don't work, then doctors may suggest undergoing brain surgery or a type of surgery called vagus nerve stimulation.When vagus nerve stimulation is conducted, mild pulses of electrical energy are sent to the brain through the vagus nerve, the Epilepsy Foundation states. This process prevents seizures. What is Purple Day?Purple Day, which falls on the same date every year, is a day which aims to raise awareness of epilepsy on a global scale and to break down any taboos surrounding the topic.The day was created by Cassidy Megan, a nine-year-old Canadian girl with epilepsy.The first Purple Day event was held in 2008, with the help of the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia.On the day, people are encouraged to wear purple clothing to show their support.The colour purple is commonly associated with epilepsy because of the plant lavender's ability to relax the central nervous system.Having been diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of seven, Megan wants to people with epilepsy know "that they aren't alone".Purple Day is now celebrated around the world in more than 100 countries.For information on what to do if you see someone having an epileptic seizure, click here.

  • Coco Gauff's parents send inspiring message to 15-year-old daughter
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    The Independent

    Coco Gauff's parents send inspiring message to 15-year-old daughter

    Cori "Coco" Gauff's parents have expressed their pride in their daughter on Instagram following the 15-year-old's fourth-round defeat at the Wimbledon Championships.No matter who goes home with the top prizes at this year's Wimbledon, one of the biggest talking points of the entire tournament is unquestionably the trajectory of teenage tennis player Gauff.Having entered the competition as a wildcard, the tennis star proceeded to knock out five-time Wimbledon women's singles champion Venus Williams in the first round.The teenager was eventually beaten by former world number one Simona Halep in the fourth round, receiving praise from high-profile celebrities including former US first lady Michelle Obama.Following Gauff's departure from Wimbledon, her parents, Corey and Candi Gauff, shared heartfelt messages on Instagram detailing the pride they feel in their daughter's performance at her first Grand Slam.> View this post on Instagram> > So proud of you!!!! You did great. The BEST IS YET TO COME!!!! Ok cocogauff> > A post shared by Candi Gauff (@candigauff) on Jul 8, 2019 at 8:35am PDT"So proud of you!!!! You did great," Gauff's mother's message reads. "The BEST IS YET TO COME!!!!"The former track and field star athlete shared a black-and-white photograph of Gauff taken as she celebrated her third-round victory against Polona Hercog, during which she came back from a set down to win the match.> View this post on Instagram> > I am proud of you @cocogauff ! Thank you everyone for your support! dreamBIG> > A post shared by Corey Gauff (@coreygauff) on Jul 9, 2019 at 2:18pm PDTCorey Gauff stated that he is "proud" in his daughter, using the hashtag "dreamBIG".The former college basketball player shared a selection of photographs taken during the tournament.Several people have praised Corey and Candi Gauff for the support they showed their teenage daughter during the most significant moment in her tennis career."Congratulations to Coco and the two people that have moulded her into the lovely young lady and spectacular athlete that she is today!!" one person commented on Instagram."I applaud you and your wife being present. It really does matter and it's wonderful to see," another added.To read all about the top feminist moments at this year's Wimbledon Championships, click here.For all the latest news on Wimbledon, click here.

  • Meghan Markle attends polo with baby Archie to support Prince Harry
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    The Independent

    Meghan Markle attends polo with baby Archie to support Prince Harry

    The Duchess of Sussex has been spotted with her son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at a charity polo match.In his third public outing, Archie is pictured in his mother's arms at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day, held at Billingbear Polo Club in Berkshire on Wednesday.The duchess and her two-month-old son were in attendance at the event to support the Duke of Sussex, who took part in the polo match in an effort to win the Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Polo Trophy.Meghan opted for a casual look at the sports day, donning a khaki green short-sleeved dress, gold-rimmed sunglasses and wearing her hair down.The charity polo match took place less than a week after Archie was christened at the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday 6 July.Also in attendance at the charity polo match were the Duchess of Cambridge and her three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.The royals watched as the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex competed against one another, Prince William with the King Power Air Asia team and Prince Harry with the Tarmac team.The aim of the polo event is to raise money and awareness for charitable organisations supported by the dukes.It is held in memory of the late Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died last October in a helicopter crash.Following Archie's christening on Saturday, Buckingham Palace released two photographs of the baby with his family.The images were taken by photographer Chris Allerton, who also photographed Prince Harry and Meghan at their royal wedding reception in May 2018.In the pictures, Archie wears a replica of the Royal Christening Robe, a garment which has been worn by several members of the royal family.On Thursday 4 July, Meghan made a surprise appearance at the Wimbledon Championships.The royal was photographed in the Royal Box on Centre Court, watching as her close friend Serena Williams defeated Kaja Juvan in her second-round match.The duchess wore a gold necklace with a small "A" charm hanging from it, in an apparent nod to her son.The delicate piece of jewellery was reportedly designed by Sydney-based jeweller Verse Fine Jewellery.

  • Kanye West says the term ‘crazy’ will not be used as ‘loosely in future’
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    The Independent

    Kanye West says the term ‘crazy’ will not be used as ‘loosely in future’

    Kanye West has spoken about the importance of understanding mental health conditions, stating that the term “crazy” will not be used “loosely in future”.The rapper revealed he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder when promoting his 2018 album Ye, describing it as a “superpower” in his song "Yikes".In a new interview with Forbes magazine, the father-of-four discussed his condition and the way in which people discuss mental health.“‘Crazy’ is a word that’s not gonna be used loosely in the future,” West told the publication.“Understand that this is actually a condition that people can end up in, be born into, driven into and go in and out. And there’s a lot of people that have been called that ‘C’ word that have ended up on this cover,” he added in reference to his position as the cover star of the magazine.Earlier this year, the fashion designer said that his bipolar symptoms can lead him to feel “hyper-paranoid” about his surroundings.Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition which can lead to extreme mood swings, the NHS explains. Symptoms can include periods depression and phases of mania.In an interview with David Letterman for the Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman in May, West detailed his experiences of "ramping up" due to his mental health condition, saying that doing so can make him feel better able to express his personality.“What I want to say about the bipolar thing is because it has the word ‘bi’ in it, it has the idea of, like, split personality. Well, that works for me because I’m a Gemini, but when you ramp up, it expresses your personality more,” he said.West isn’t the only celebrity to have spoken about how their mental health conditions helps them to see the world from a different prospective.Earlier this year, teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg explained how the “gift” of living with Asperger syndrome helps her “see things from outside the box” when it comes to climate change.Also in his interview with Forbes, West opened up about his design process and inspiration behind his footwear line, Yeezy, which he launched with Nike in 2009.Citing former Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as his idol, the designer said: “I am a product guy at my core.“To make products that make people feel an immense amount of joy and solve issues and problems in their life, that’s the problem-solving that I love to do.”West added that his childhood obsession with the Lamborghini Countach (his father took him to an auto show featuring the sports car), has meant that there is a “little bit of Lamborghini” in everything he does.“Yeezy is the Lamborghini of shoes,” he noted.The designer, who is married to entrepreneur Kim Kardashian-West, first flexed his design muscles when he created a shoe for the Japanese apparel company A Bathing Ape in 2007, which featured a teddy bear logo which similarly appeared on many of the singer’s early album covers.As a result, West said that the opportunity resulted in him forging numerous friends in the industry including Hedi Slimane, the former creative director of Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent.“You’re going to do something really strong in shoes,” he recalled Slimane once telling him.Opening up about his relationship with his wife of four years, West said that given the couple’s busy work schedules, they often swap ideas about their businesses during “bedtime true-crime story meetings”, which involves the reality star watching police procedurals while West shows her his design concepts.“He pushes people to do their best and pushes people even outside of their comfort zone, which really helps people grow,” Kardashian West said of West’s work ethic.

  • Kristin Davis tears up recalling racism faced by her adopted children every day
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    The Independent

    Kristin Davis tears up recalling racism faced by her adopted children every day

    Kristin Davis has spoken out about being a white mother to two black children, adding that her white privilege means she will never be able to “fully understand” the hardships they face.In a tearful interview with actor Jada Pinkett Smith and her mother Adrienne Banfield Norris as part of their Red Table Talk series, the Sex and the City star said,“I don’t know how every person of colour has gotten through this [racism]. I don’t understand how you could take this every day.”The 54-year-old has a baby son, whose name has not yet been revealed, who she adopted in 2018 and a daughter, Gemma Rose, who she adopted in 2011 and is seven years old. Davis was resolute about her view of white privilege during the interview, adding: “This is what I want to say, from a white person adopting [black children]: you absolutely do not fully understand. There’s no doubt. There’s no way you could.“It’s one thing to be watching [racism] happening to other people and it’s another thing when it’s your child. And you haven’t personally been through it. It’s a big issue."> View this post on Instagram> > Repost @redtabletalk. ・・・ Jada, Gammy, and KristinDavis are bringing it all to the table. Join us today as they open up about interracial adoption, motherhood, and love. Only on Facebook Watch.> > A post shared by iamkristindavis (@iamkristindavis) on Jul 8, 2019 at 10:29am PDT

  • Parents should play online video games with children, says online safety group
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    The Independent

    Parents should play online video games with children, says online safety group

    Parents should play online games with their children to better understand the risks and benefits this entails, according to an online safety group.New research published by online safety experts Internet Matters on Monday reveals that most parents do not feel confident dealing with the issues surrounding online gaming, despite more than three-quarters of children playing online video games. Their findings indicate that more than half of parents (55 per cent) worry that strangers will approach their children via online gaming platforms, while more than a third (38 per cent) are unsure who their children are playing with online. The report, titled Parenting Generation Game, encourages parents to understand the benefits that gaming can offer, with 62 per cent of those polled acknowledging that playing online games can help develop a child’s problem solving skills.In light of the findings, the London-based, non-profit organisation has produced a series of online resources for parents to provide them with information about the advantages and disadvantages of online gaming – and encourages them to join in with their children. The online guidance also includes suggestions for video games suitable for all the family to play.Andy Robertson, Internet Matters’ gaming expert, added that the range of games on offer is huge.Robertson stated that by getting involved with online gaming with children, parents will be able to “help capitalise on the benefits” and “celebrate” their gaming successes.Internet Matters chief executive Carolyn Bunting said that parents who regularly get involved with their children's activities online are "better placed to lead them through some of the issues they may face.“We’re encouraging parents to do something that may well go against their nature and have a go – get involved. With an overwhelming majority of children playing online games now, it has become part and parcel of growing up in the digital age.”Despite the new initiative, concerns have been raised that video games can be addictive, with an onus placed on developers to do more to protect users, especially young people. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into addictive technologies, which intends to look at video games and their usage of loot boxes: paid-for packs of in-game items which some believe could be used as a gateway into gambling for young people. The news comes after new research revealed that one in four children have experienced a form of online abuse in the past 12 months.Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, conducted a study with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to identify concerns the nation has about using the Internet.Their findings, which were published in Ofcom’s first annual Online Nation report in May, showed that 23 per cent of children have been cyberbullied in the last year, while 39 per cent have been subjected to offensive language online.

  • Two thirds of parents and grandparents think childhoods are getting worse, study finds
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    The Independent

    Two thirds of parents and grandparents think childhoods are getting worse, study finds

    A children’s charity has warned that a “childhood crisis” could be on the way due to government cuts to services such as family crisis support to child protection.Action for Children – a UK children's charity committed to helping vulnerable children and young people, and their families – conducted a survey of 5,000 young people and adults about their thoughts on childhood.The poll, conducted in collaboration with YouGov, found that that two thirds of parents (60 per cent) and grandparents (62 per cent) felt childhoods were getting worse, and a third of children (34 per cent) agreed.All of the participant’s said bullying, both online and offline, was the main problem, followed by pressure to fit in, which has intensified in the age of social media.Furthermore, 91 per cent of children surveyed said they also worried about "adult issues", including Brexit, poverty and homelessness, and terrorism.The environment and inequality were also on their minds.Julie Bentley, chief executive of the charity, said: "The country is sleepwalking into a crisis in childhood and, far from being carefree, our children are buckling under the weight of unprecedented social pressures, global turmoil and a void in Government policy which should keep them well and safe."Our research shows children worry about poverty, homelessness and terrorism and the vulnerable children we work with every day are facing traumas like domestic abuse or neglect, going hungry or struggling with their mental health, without the support they desperately need."As a result of the findings, Action for Children, has launched a campaign called “Choose Childhood” which calls on the Government to establish a National Childhood Strategy.Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show the number of children living in poverty in the UK had risen to 4.1 million in 2017/18.Similarly, funding for children's services was cut by 3bn, or 29 per cent, from 2010/11 to 2017/18.Bentley called on the next prime minister to “wake up” to the growing crisis and provide adequate funding to “urgently needed services to keep children safe from harm”.In response to the findings, Damian Hinds, education secretary, said the UK government is making steps to address the concerns of young people by “identifying mental health problems and providing support in schools, encouraging young people to gain resilience and skills through activities such as sport and music, and teaching young people in school how to navigate the online world safely and constructively”.Hinds also explained that the government is currently developing a new Youth Charter, which aims to combat serious violence and knife crime, and concerns about the environment and climate change.Earlier this year, a report revealed that there had been a surge in children being detained in mental health hospitals for several months.The Children’s Commissioner for England said too many children were being admitted to hospital unnecessarily and spending months and years of their childhood in institutions when they do not need to be there.Figures published by Anne Longfield and her team showed the number of children with a learning disability or autism identified in a mental health hospital in England more than doubled in two years, to 250 youngsters in February 2019.

  • Simon Pegg discusses his alcohol addiction and depression: 'I don’t think you ever really lose your demons'
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    The Independent

    Simon Pegg discusses his alcohol addiction and depression: 'I don’t think you ever really lose your demons'

    Simon Pegg has talked about suffering from depression and overcoming alcohol addiction, revealing that he believes it’s impossible to completely “lose your demons”.Last year, the actor opened up about his struggle with alcoholism while filming the 2006 film Mission: Impossible III and how he had to take out court orders to stop the news being made public.In a new interview with GQ Hype, the Shaun of the Dead actor said that he has come to understand how depression and addiction can affect your life.“What I have come to realise from back then is that depression is always there,” he told the publication.“No matter what I did. I don’t think you ever really lose your demons. You just try to find a way to keep them in their place.”The actor continued to say that drugs like alcohol shouldn't be relied upon as a long-term solution.“At some point the effects wear off and you need more and more. And so with something like alcohol, you just end up being drunk all the time,” he added.“It’s where that line comes from in The World’s End where Nick Frost’s character asks me, ‘How do know when you are drunk if you are never sober?’ And an opportunity came up for me to turn everything around and that’s what happened.”The actor revealed that the lowest moment during his battle with addiction was during the San Diego Comic-Con in 2010 while promoting his sci-film film, Paul.Despite having vowed to abstain from alcohol at the time, Pegg said he felt it might improve his low mood during the trip.The Spaced star continued: “I got to the point where I was sitting on the sidewalk in downtown San Diego having lost my phone and eating pizza and it was just so bleak.“When I got home, [his wife] Maureen just knew I had been drinking and it was bad. I knew then I needed to get help.”Following the experience, Pegg sought treatment at The Priory and stopped drinking alcohol altogether.“What I found was that as soon as I stopped, things started to go my way,” he said.“It’s a strange thing and I have had conversations with other people about this, that when you quit drinking the universe starts to give back to you a little bit. Maybe it’s because I figured out why I was drinking, which was to combat the depression and so I was able to get on top of what was the real issue.”Pegg added that his recovery made him when you realise that “you don’t need to get drunk because you don’t need to escape from things".“By actually confronting it, my reward has been these last 10 years.”During the interview, the notoriously private star also revealed his reasons for discussing his mental health problems last year.“I think I was just ready to talk about it, you know?” he said.“Before then, I hadn’t really been prepared to give that much of myself over. It isn’t something I think should be seen as shameful. It’s something that a lot of people suffer with.”The 49-year-old said that as a result of his admission, he received messages of support from fans who thanked him for his honesty.“I had from a lot of people who said, ‘Thank you for saying that, because I felt that way too.’ And that’s what I would have hoped for,” he added.If you have been affected by any issues mentioned in this article, you can contact The Samaritans for free on 116 123 or any of the following mental health organisations:mind.org.uknhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealthmentalhealth.org.uksamaritans.organxietyuk.org.ukSimon Pegg’s full interview with GQ Hype can be read here.

  • Cheryl confesses to 'dying inside' at height of fame due to anxiety
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    The Independent

    Cheryl confesses to 'dying inside' at height of fame due to anxiety

    Former Girls Aloud singer Cheryl has spoken about her battle with anxiety and how she often felt like she was “dying inside” at the height of her fame. In an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks on Sunday, Cheryl also discussed her concerns about social media and the impact of online trolls on her wellbeing. “I would walk out to a wall of paparazzi and put on a smile but inside I was dying,” the singer told hosts Kate Thistleton and Cel Spellman.The 36-year-old criticised the ‘facade’ of a perfect life that many people present through social media, stating that it was a problem and something she is guilty of having done in previous years. “I think what happens then is everyone is looking around like, ‘why does everyone seem so good and having a good time in a happy place and I feel rubbish?’ And that’s not helpful,” said the former X-Factor judge.”So if people would just be a bit more open and honest with how they’re feeling, I think we could all help each other.”Cheryl went on to lambast online trolls, stating: “They’re not OK.“If someone has the time and the mental capacity to want to go on an article and write a sentence about somebody, you’ve got to be quite an angry sad person.“You can’t believe people think those things about you, you can’t believe people feel those things about you.”The singer added that she now believes negative comments are more “a reflection than it is a truth” and that they reveal more about the person writing it than the person who it’s directed towards. “These people don’t know you. They have no idea about you as a person or what’s really going on.”The ‘Love Made Me Do It’ singer admitted that she found the online criticism hardest in her teens and early twenties. “You can’t believe people think those things about you, you can’t believe people feel those things about you,” she said. In April this year, Cheryl admitted that she had been undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) following years of self-loathing. Before giving birth to her son, Bear, in 2017, the pop singer admitted that she didn’t feel content with her life and so decided to turn to a therapist for help.Her experience helped her to “actively undo” all the negative thought patterns and self-talk she had become familiar with. “I would talk to myself so nastily: ‘You silly cow. You stupid b***h.’ No one could make me feel worse about myself than I did, and that was a massive problem,” she said. During the interview, the Newcastle-born star spoke about her experiences of therapy.“I struggled for so many years with anxiety and in my own head,” she said. ”I didn’t want that to be happening when I was trying to focus on raising a child.“It felt like my responsibilities shifted and my priorities changed and I needed to be settled in my own head to be able to give him the best that I could possibly give him.”

  • How to combat hay fever symptoms during summer
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    The Independent

    How to combat hay fever symptoms during summer

    As temperatures continue to fluctuate this summer – with Britain recording its hottest day of the year at the end of June – hay fever sufferers may struggle to spend time outdoors without their symptoms flaring up. For the unlucky individuals afflicted with sneezing fits, runny noses and itchy eyes every year, it can be incredibly frustrating having to endure the debilitating symptoms. However, there are precautions that you can take to keep your symptoms at bay, or at least reduce their severity. Here are some top tips for combatting hay fever this year: Track pollen countPollen count varies day by day depending on the weather.When you check the weather forecast, the information provided will include the daily pollen count.According to Allergy UK, the pollen count tends to be higher on days that are warmer and dryer, and lower on days that are cooler and wetter. This is because rain typically washes pollen from the air.If the day ahead is set to be particularly warm and dry, try to limit your time spent outdoors. Keep cleanWhen you do venture outside, pollen can become attached to your hair and clothes. In order to avoid your hay fever symptoms playing havoc after a day spent outdoors, make sure that you shower and wash your hair after arriving home.You should also change your clothing as soon as possible.When pollen counts are recorded as being high, it’s important to remember not to dry your clothes outdoors. Avoid grassy areasAnyone who suffers from hay fever knows that grassy areas can cause your symptoms to spike.While it may be impossible to avoid grassy areas altogether, if you know that you’re particularly affected by grass it may be worth avoiding large grassy spaces or doing activities such as camping, as advised by Dr Mary Harding.If you’re typically in charge of gardening duties in your household, perhaps it would be best to delegate this task to someone else. Beware car airAs well as being aware of the pollen count outdoors, you need to also take indoor air into account.If you’re travelling in a car, make sure that you keep your car windows closed during your journey.> Hayfever is some neeky illness lmao how are plants making you cry.> > — ِ (@plsbeonjob) > > April 17, 2018> Little bit of sun and suddenly hayfever slaps me on the face> > — Mustafa (@shanshiyoo) > > April 18, 2018Of course, doing this on a hot day can be stifling. However, if you turn on the air conditioning in your car, you may be blasted with pollen from the outside.Investing in a pollen filter for the air vents in your car could do you a whole lot of good.Dr Harding recommends changing pollen filters every time you stop the car for activities such as filling up on petrol or going for a bite to eat. Medicate responsiblyKeeping your stock of hay fever medicine topped up is obviously vital. There are various different types of medicines that you can try, depending on what your doctor recommends is best for you.Antihistamine nasal sprays, antihistamine tablets, steroid nasal sprays and eye drops are all available to buy from local pharmacies to stem hay fever symptoms. Dr Sabrina Shah-Desai, an ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon, stated that people with hay fever should take antihistamines before their symptoms start playing up.“In hay fever, histamine causes eye symptoms such as inflammation, redness and itching by acting on H1 histamine receptors in the eyes," she said. “Eye drops block the H1 receptors, however this treatment only works if taken before contact with the allergen, and it can take a number of weeks for the effects of the treatment to be seen."For all the latest updates on the UK weather, click here.

  • Kerry Katona’s daughter condemns ‘disgusting’ Fathers 4 Justice tweet following George Kay’s death
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    The Independent

    Kerry Katona’s daughter condemns ‘disgusting’ Fathers 4 Justice tweet following George Kay’s death

    Kerry Katona's eldest daughter has criticised Fathers 4 Justice for posting an "insensitive" tweet following the death of the singer's ex-husband George Kay.On Sunday, it was reported that Kay had passed away at the age of 39 after being found collapsed at home.Katona and Kay were married for three years from 2014 until 2017. Their daughter, Dylan-Jorge, was born in April 2014.Following the news of Kay's death, fathers' rights organisation Fathers 4 Justice posted a tweet claiming that Katona had denied Kay access to their five-year-old daughter, and stated that the former Atomic Kitten bandmember has "blood on her hands".Katona's 17-year-old daughter Molly McFadden expressed her fury over the tweet, describing it as "disgusting".> Tragic news about the passing of George Kay who came to Fathers4Justice for help. He was heartbroken after @KerryKatona7 denied him access to daughter Dylan-Jorge. Katona’s not ‘heartbroken’. She has blood on her hands. Matt O’C RIP https://t.co/3dcKUSJ5m1> > — Fathers4Justice (@F4JOfficial) > > July 7, 2019> I suggest take this tweet down, how dare you make statements this disguisting at such a vulnerable time, your accusations are innacurate nd extremely insensitive. I truly hope you never find yourself in this kind of situation. Vile words from a vile person you should be ashamed.> > — Molly (@123_mollymc) > > July 7, 2019"I suggest [you] take this tweet down, how dare you make statements this disgusting at such a vulnerable time," McFadden tweeted."Your accusations are inaccurate and extremely insensitive."The Fathers 4 Justice tweet was signed "Matt O'C", implying that Fathers 4 Justice founder Matt O'Connor penned the post.McFadden described the words used in the Fathers 4 Justice tweet as "vile".Several Twitter users similarly criticised the fathers' rights organisation's tweet."You really are disgusting. There is no justification for this tweet," one person wrote."This is disgraceful and you should delete this," another added.In response, O'Connor tells The Independent that he felt it was "appropriate to raise the issue" of Kay's death after the former rugby league player contacted Fathers 4 Justice in March 2018.O'Connor says that he didn't believe his statement regarding Katona having "blood on her hands" "went far enough", adding that the issue "shouldn't be censored".The fathers' rights campaigner describes the difference between mental health treatment for mothers and fathers as "chalk and cheese", stating that in his opinion, society "supports mothers and abandons fathers".On the subject of McFadden's tweet, the Fathers 4 Justice founder says: "It's inappropriate for a 17-year-old minor to get involved in complex adult issues."The Independent has contacted representatives of Katona for comment.

  • Less than third of new fathers take paternity leave, research suggests
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    The Independent

    Less than third of new fathers take paternity leave, research suggests

    Less than one in three new fathers take paternity leave, a study has found.Research suggests roughly a third (31 per cent) of eligible new fathers used paternity leave in the last year compared to 32 per cent the previous year.Using data collected from HMRC through freedom of information requests, law firm EMW Law also found that the percentage of men taking paternity leave has fallen for four years in a row, with the percentage standing at 34 per cent in 2014/15.The figures contrast with the rising number of women choosing to take maternity leave, which the firm's research found has risen by approximately 5 per cent in the last four years. The government is aware of this disparity and has introduced measures, such as shared parental leave, to make it easier for new parents to balance their work and family lives.But very few people have actually participated in the scheme, with just 1 per cent of eligible new parents doing so in 2017/18.Jon Taylor, of EMW, explained that taking time off work after having a child has become “an unaffordable luxury” for many, particularly given the cost of childcare.“While the problem is particularly acute among gig economy workers and the self-employed, even those who are eligible for paternity pay still face a pay cut by taking time off,” he said.“Shared parental leave is a very well-meaning policy, but it has not yet made any significant inroads into the issue of men being unable to take paternity leave. In fact, the gap between men and women taking time off for the birth of a child is actually widening.”He continued: “Whilst some businesses may decide not to claim the cost of paternity pay from the Government (and therefore would not show up in the figures) it is hard to say whether that would make any material difference. “However, going on the official figures, it is worrying that the number has not moved in the last six years despite all the encouragement for men to take more paternity leave. That combined with the relatively low take up of shared parental leave calls into question whether ‘family friendly’ policies are really working.”

  • Archie Windsor: Where does Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s child fit in the line of succession?
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    The Independent

    Archie Windsor: Where does Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s child fit in the line of succession?

    On Monday 6 May, Buckingham Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had welcomed a baby boy.The arrival of the couple's first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, changed the line of succession for the throne.Prince Harry and Meghan's son is seventh in line to the throne, meaning that Prince Andrew, the Queen's second eldest son, is now eighth in line.The first few members of the royal family in the line of succession remain unchanged.First in line is Prince Charles, who became the longest-serving heir apparent in 2017.The Prince of Wales beat a previous record of 59 years, two months and 13 days set by his great-great-grandfather King Edward VII.Prince Harry's older brother, the Duke of Cambridge, is second in line to the throne.He and the Duchess of Cambridge's three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – follow behind, in third, fourth and fifth place respectively.The Duke of Sussex is sixth in line, which subsequently places his newborn son in seventh place.In April 2018, Princess Charlotte made history as the first female member of the royal family to retain her claim to the throne following the birth of her younger brother.Prior to the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, a female royal’s claim to the throne would have been diminished by the arrival of a younger brother.However, as stated by the legislative act when it was passed six years ago: "In determining the succession to the Crown, the gender of a person born after 28 October 2011 does not give that person, or that person’s descendants, precedence over any other person (whenever born).”Following the announcement of his son's birth, Prince Harry addressed the press in Windsor.The beaming father said that watching his wife give birth was an "amazing experience"."I’m very excited to announced that Meghan. and myself had a baby boy early this morning, a very healthy boy," he said."How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension."We're both absolutely thrilled and so grateful for all the love and support from everybody out there. It's been amazing."For all the latest news on the royal baby, follow The Independent's live blog here.

  • Royal baby: Everything you need to know about Archie’s christening
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    The Independent

    Royal baby: Everything you need to know about Archie’s christening

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, is due to be christened later this week.The two-month-old baby's christening will be a private affair, attended by a small group of people.Photographs of the event will be released through the media and social media following the ceremony.Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming christening: When is it taking place?Archie is due to be christened on Saturday 6 July.The date of the baby's christening marks exactly two months after his birth, on Monday 6 May.Archie's christening will take place three days before the first anniversary of Prince Louis' christening, which was held on Monday 9 July last year. Where is it going to be held?The christening of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son will be held in the private chapel at Windsor Castle.The choice of location is especially poignant for the royal couple, who exchanged their vows in St George's Chapel at the castle on 19 May 2018.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's sons, Prince George and Prince Louis, were christened at The Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London.Meanwhile, Princess Charlotte was christened at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.Archie will follow in the footsteps of his father by being christened at Windsor Castle, whose own christening took place at the royal residence in 1984.Prince William's christening was held in the music room of Buckingham Palace, as was the christening of his father, Prince Charles. Who will attend the christening?The private ceremony is to be attended by a small gathering of people, Buckingham Palace confirmed.The group of family and close friends will consist of no more than 25 people.It is unknown whether Queen Elizabeth II will be present at the christening.The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh did not attend the christening of Prince Louis last year, a decision which was agreed between the monarch and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prior to the proceedings.However, the Queen was present for the christenings of Prince George in 2013 and Princess Charlotte in 2015. Who are Archie's godparents?In a statement released on Wednesday 3 July, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the identities of Archie's godparents will remain private.Nonetheless, speculation has remained rife over who they will be.Names mentioned in conversations about potential godparents have included fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney, whose children had a starring role in the duchess' bridal party; tennis star Serena Williams, who is a close friend of Meghan; and Hollywood actor George Clooney, who attended last year's royal wedding with his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.However, Clooney appeared to debunk the rumour that he was to be named godfather while appearing on American talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! in May."That would be a bad idea," the actor said, when asked whether he would be named godfather. "I'm a father of twins and I can barely do that."> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Jun 16, 2019 at 5:01am PDT What will the baby wear for the christening?Archie will likely wear a special gown for his christening which has been worn by several of his relatives before him.The Honiton christening gown is a replica of a gown which was commissioned by Queen Victoria for the christening of her first-born child, Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa.The original gown, which was made from white silk with a handmade lace overlay, was worn by 62 royal babies over the course of its 163 year history.The replica of the garment was created in 2011 and designed by the Queen's personal wardrobe advisor, Angela Kelly.It has been worn by all three of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's children.For all the latest news on Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, click here.

  • Fibromyalgia: What is the condition that Kirsty Young and Lena Dunham suffer from?
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    The Independent

    Fibromyalgia: What is the condition that Kirsty Young and Lena Dunham suffer from?

    Kirsty Young has announced she will step down as host of BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs due to fibromyalgia.The broadcaster – who has presented the show since 2006 – said she would be temporarily withdrawing from the role after being diagnosed with the condition in 2016.“Casting away some of the world’s most fascinating people is a wonderful job – however, I’m having to take some time away from Desert Island Discs as I’m suffering from a form of fibromyalgia,” Young said.The condition, which affects Girls creator Lena Dunham and singer Lady Gaga, as well as an estimated 1.5-2 million people in the UK, according to NRS healthcare.Here's everything you need to know about fibromyalgia: What is fibromyalgia?Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition characterised by chronic pain and tenderness across the body.While there are some common symptoms, such as fatigue, everyone experiences fibromyalgia differently, with some cases more severe than others.It’s fairly common, according to the charity Arthritis Research UK, which claims that up to one person in every 25 may be affected.The symptoms for fibromyalgia can be very similar to inflammatory or degenerative arthritis, however, the conditions are not linked.There is no specific test for fibromyalgia, meaning it can often be difficult to diagnose. Who is affected?Fibromyalgia can affect anyone at any age, though it typically affects roughly seven times as many women as men.It usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50. What causes fibromyalgia?It’s not clear what causes fibromyalgia, but researchers suggests it’s related to abnormal amounts of particular chemicals in the brain which disrupt the central nervous system and the way pain is processed in the body.Others speculate that the condition is genetic.According to the NHS, in many cases, fibromyalgia is triggered by physically or emotionally stressful events, such as giving birth, having an operation or bereavement. What are the symptoms?The most common symptom experienced by people with fibromyalgia is widespread chronic pain, which may be more severe in the back and/or neck. Other symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, hypersensitivity, spasms, diarrhoea, dizziness and muscle stiffness.Fibromyalgia can also affect your mental wellbeing, causing something known as “fibro-fog”: problems with memory and concentration. How is it treated?There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, however, it can be managed through treatment, which varies depending on your symptoms.This can be a combination of painkillers, antidepressants, cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling.Some sufferers may also be advised to embark on specific exercise programmes and relaxation methods in order to help manage and alleviate the pain.For more information on fibromyalgia, visit Fibromyalgia Action UK, a charity which supports people with the condition.

  • Royal baby: Godparents of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son to remain private
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    The Independent

    Royal baby: Godparents of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son to remain private

    The godparents of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son are to remain a secret, Buckingham Palace has announced.On Wednesday 3 July, a statement was released by the palace regarding the upcoming christening of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.In the announcement, it was confirmed that the christening is due to take place on Saturday 6 July in a small ceremony held in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle."The godparents, in keeping with their wishes, will remain private," the statement read.Speculation has been rife as to who will be named the godparents of Meghan and Prince Harry's son Archie Harrison, with contenders including media mogul Oprah Winfrey, fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney and Hollywood actor George Clooney.In May, Clooney – who attended the couple's royal wedding in May 2018 – was asked by American talk show host Jimmy Kimmel whether there was any chance of him being named godfather of Archie Harrison."That would be a bad idea," the Ocean's 11 star responded. "I'm a father of twins and I can barely do that."> Expect photographs from Archie’s christening (taken by Chris Allerton) to be shared with the world. Buckingham Palace have announced that @JustinWelby will be conducting Saturday’s ceremony: pic.twitter.com/xt3Zw9gN91> > — Omid Scobie (@scobie) > > July 3, 2019The royal baby's christening will be attended by around 25 people, the palace has confirmed.Official pictures will be taken by photographer Chris Allerton, which will be shared by the duke and duchess following the ceremony.Allerton famously photographed Meghan and Prince Harry's wedding last May.In December, the Kensington Palace Instagram account shared a black-and-white photograph taken by Allerton of the royal couple at their wedding reception at Frogmore House.On 19 May, the duke and duchess' official Instagram account shared a series of never-before-seen pictures captured by Allerton at the wedding, in celebration of their one-year anniversary.The chosen location for Archie Harrison's christening is particular poignant for the royal couple.Just over a year ago, Meghan and Prince Harry exchanged their vows in St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.Prince Harry was also christened at Windsor Castle, back in 1984.For everything you need to know about the royal baby's christening, click here.

  • Father Ted star Brendan Grace diagnosed with lung cancer
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    The Independent

    Father Ted star Brendan Grace diagnosed with lung cancer

    Brendan Grace has been diagnosed with lung cancer, a spokesperson for the Father Ted star has revealed.The Dublin-born comedian was due to take part in a tour of Ireland throughout July and August this summer.However, a spokesperson for the 68-year-old has stated that the tour will no longer go ahead due to his faltering health."Brendan Grace has been in hospital for the last four weeks receiving treatment for pneumonia," Tom Kelly, business manager for Grace, told The Independent."It has now transpired that he is also suffering from cancer for which he is receiving ongoing care and treatment."Kelly stated that Grace's family have been a "great support to him at this difficult time", and ask that their privacy be respected.The manager added that the comedian is receiving treatment in Ireland, and will be remaining in hospital for the time being.Approximately 47,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the UK on an annual basis, Cancer Research UK states.It is the third most common cancer in the UK, the charity says, and accounts for more than a fifth of cancer deaths across the country.Grace's cancer diagnosis comes almost a year after he revealed he had suffered a stroke.While speaking on documentary Brendan Grace: Funny Man, which aired on RTE in October 2018, the comedian said that he incorporated his experience of the stroke into his stage act.“I had a stroke and I also had an accident that screwed up my gait. I now had to deliver the ­comedy from a seated position, only occasionally getting up from the chair," Grace said.“My fear was always that people would think ‘this guy had had a few bevvies’, so what I did was, I made a virtue of my leg problem and built it into the act.”Earlier this year it was announced that Father Ted actor Pat Laffan had passed away at the age of 79.“All here will remember him first and foremost as our friend and mentor and we will miss him terribly,” Laffan's agency said in a statement.“We send our heartfelt condolences to his friends and family.”

  • NOS Alive 2019: Music festival becomes ‘world’s first’ to offer safe viewing space for pregnant women
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    The Independent

    NOS Alive 2019: Music festival becomes ‘world’s first’ to offer safe viewing space for pregnant women

    A music festival in Portugal has announced it is providing a safe viewing space for pregnant women, which it claims is the "world's first" at an international festival.This year, NOS Alive Festival's star-studded lineup of musicians includes the likes of Grace Jones, Jorja Smith, Robyn, Loyle Carner, The Cure, among others.Ahead of the start of the festival, which is due to take place this year from Thursday 11 July to Saturday 13 July, the organisers of the event have announced that a viewing platform has been created especially for pregnant festivalgoers so that they can enjoy the music in comfort."At NOS Alive we are proud to introduce the world's first viewing platform for pregnant women at an international festival," says Álvaro Covões, senior booker and CEO of the festival."It's a unique opportunity for new mothers who love music to help make their festival experience the best one."Covões adds that pregnant women shouldn't feel as though they cannot enjoy music festivals simply because they are expecting a baby."Why should you compromise your lifestyle in any way when you're pregnant in this day and age?" Covões says."If you'd like to go to see your favourite bands this summer when expecting, you can do so with total ease and comfort at our event in Lisbon."Pregnant attendees of NOS Alive Festival can book a free place on the viewing platform by following this link.The viewing platform faces the main stage, where crowds of 55,000 people will watch some of the biggest names in music perform, including Bon Iver, The Chemical Brothers and Gossip.Comfortable seating will be available in the viewing space, in addition to cushions and blankets.Furthermore, a team of nurses will be on call in the area should any of the pregnant women require medical assistanceLast year, NOS Alive Festival signed the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development.The introduction of the safe viewing platform for pregnant women at the festival matches with the fifth goal on the agenda – the goal to "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls".Last year, NOS Alive Festival introduced plastic-free beer cups on site and used renewable energy to power 90 per cent of the site.The festival also printed the UN's sustainability goals on tote bags and refused to run a volunteer scheme, instead opting to ensure that members of the local community were hired in paid positions.To read about the best music festivals in Europe – including NOS Alive in Lisbon, Mad Cool in Madrid and Oya in Oslo – click here.

  • Royal baby: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son Archie to be christened this Saturday
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    The Independent

    Royal baby: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son Archie to be christened this Saturday

    Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is to be christened on Saturday 6 July, exactly two months after the date of his birth, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.The private ceremony is due to take place at the private chapel in Windsor Castle, the same castle where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were wed on 19 May 2018.Baby Archie Harrison's christening will be a small affair, attended by fewer than 25 people.Following the ceremony, photographs will be released through the media and through Prince Harry and Meghan's official Instagram account.The duke and duchess are yet to release a statement about the upcoming christening on social media.However, on Sunday 16 June the couple shared a new photograph of their son in celebration of Father's Day."Happy Father's Day! And wishing a very special first Father's Day to the Duke of Sussex," the caption read.Royal christenings are typically private occasions, attended by close family members, friends and godparents.While Archie Harrison's godparents have not yet been announced, Hollywood actor George Clooney recently debunked the rumour that he may have been chosen as godfather."That would be a bad idea," Clooney told American talk show host Jimmy Kimmel in May."I'm a father of twins and I can barely do that."Prince Harry and Meghan's son will likely wear the Honiton christening gown for his christening, a gown that has been passed down the royal family.The garment is a replica of the dress Queen Victoria commissioned for her first-born child, Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa, and has been worn by all three of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's children.On Monday 1 July, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they were marking the month of July on their Instagram account by highlighting environmental issues."There is a ticking clock to protect our planet – with climate change, the deterioration of our natural resources, endangered of sacred wildlife, the impact of plastics and microplastics, and fossil fuel emissions, we are jeopardising this beautiful place we call home – for ourselves and for future generations," the Instagram caption reads."Let's save it. Let's do out part."The royal couple have followed 15 environmental Instagram accounts, including environmental activist Greta Thunberg, the Wilderness Foundation UK and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

  • The truth about applying after-sun on sunburnt skin, according to the experts
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    The Independent

    The truth about applying after-sun on sunburnt skin, according to the experts

    While for some summer might mean spending days on end lapping up the glorious sunshine without a care in the world, for others it’s inescapably linked with months of sore, sunburnt skin.Taking care of your skin after excessive sun exposure is incredibly important, as failing to do so could lead to long-lasting damage.However, if your first course of action after sustaining a sunburn is to immediately buy and apply after-sun, then you may not be doing an adequate job.According to the experts, applying after-sun could do your skin even further harm if you don’t take a thorough look at the ingredients.That’s why it may be a wise idea to opt for an aloe vera gel instead.“After-sun formulas tend to have rich, thick consistencies containing oils, which create an emollient barrier on top of the skin trapping in the heat in the upper layer of the epidermis and exacerbating the inflammation and ‘burn’ feeling on your face,” Michaella Bolder, Time Bomb skincare expert tells to The Independent.“Plus, many over the counter after-suns will contain chemicals and/or fragrance. This will just irritate the damaged skin!”Aloe vera has been highly regarded for a very long time due to its remedial properties, Lorraine Shrivener, director of Eden Skin Clinics, explains.“Aloe vera has been a trusted skin saviour for many years,” she says. “With its immediate cooling effect to the skin, it’s a firm favourite for post-suncare.”According to Ms Shrivener, aloe vera is most potent when attained as a pure, clear gel.While gels allow heat to escape from the skin, thicker creams that have been designed to lock in moisture could trap heat within the skin, making it feel cooler rather than hotter.However, as medical director of CosmedicsUK and GP Dr Ross Perry points out, the medicinal properties of aloe vera have not technically been affirmed by scientific research. “Aloe vera is a traditional herbal remedy believed to reduce sunburn symptoms,” he explains.“There is no scientific evidence in support of its use for sunburn, but anecdotal evidence is that it is soothing and safe and can feel cooling.”Aloe vera is a plant species that can trace its origins to the Arabian Peninsula.Mentions of aloe vera as a curative ingredient can be found in the Ebers Papyrus, from 16th Century BC, and in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, which was written in the mid-first century AD.Despite the supposed lack of scientific evidence to back its use as a treatment for sunburn, many health professionals still recommend it for soothing irritated skin.“Aloe vera is thought to have a myriad of positive effects on skin, especially sunburnt skin,” says Dr Natalie Spierings, consultant dermatologist at Dermatica.“True clinical effectiveness has yet to be established. But aloe vera is not harmful and it might aid in helping calm down sunburnt skin, so it is worth giving it a try.”While some skincare experts would advise opting for a clear aloe vera gel instead of a heavier, moisturising after-sun when treating sunburn, others would suggest simply finding an after-sun that contains the plant.“After burning the skin you should think cool and repair,” says Ms Bolder. “The best way to do this is to apply a formula with a high water and high aloe vera content - the more natural and gentle the better!“Aloe vera has quite impressive cooling, healing and antiseptic properties so will beat a generic after-sun every time.”Using an after-sun can still be beneficial if you make sure that the ingredients are gentle and natural as possible.However, if you’re not entirely sure of whether a specific after-sun will do more harm than good, then going for a clear aloe vera gel would likely be your safest option.With around 15,970 new cases of melanoma skin cancer reported in the UK between 2014 and 2016, according to Cancer Research UK, looking after your skin is of the utmost importance during the hotter months.Dr Vikram Rajkomar, a consultant dermatologist at Pall Mall Medical who specialises in the treatment of skin diseases and skin cancer, recommends speaking to a consultant dermatologist as soon as possible if pain caused by sunburn persists.

  • What is heatstroke, what are the symptoms and how can it be treated?
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    The Independent

    What is heatstroke, what are the symptoms and how can it be treated?

    The Met Office has warned that a potentially dangerous heatwave is set to spread across Europe, with temperatures expected to surpass 40C in the hottest parts of the continent.With temperatures predicted to rise to 32C in the UK this weekend, Britons unused to the scorching weather will need to take precautionary measures to ensure they don't suffer from heat exhaustion or heatstroke.If an individual's body is unable to cool down and they develop heatstroke, then their health could be at serious risk.So, how can you spot the signs of heatstroke and how can you treat it?Here's everything you need to know: What is heatstroke?Heatstroke, otherwise known as sunstroke, occurs when a person's body temperature has become overheated to a harmful degree, St John Ambulance explains.An individual may develop heatstroke if they've been suffering from heat exhaustion.When a person spends too much time in the sun or in hot temperatures, they may become too dehydrated.At this point, they may stop sweating, which means their body will no longer be able to cool itself down. This can result in them developing heatstroke.If an individual experiencing heat exhaustion is able to cool down within 30 minutes, then their health shouldn't be at serious risk, the NHS states.However, if they develop heatstroke, then an ambulance should be called on 999 or 112. What are the symptoms?Symptoms of heat exhaustion include experiencing a headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, excessive sweating, cramping, an increased heart rate, a temperature of 38C or above and feeling very thirsty, the NHS outlines.Adults and children who experience heat exhaustion tend to exhibit similar symptoms. However, children may also appear sleepy.If a person displaying these signs hasn't improved within 30 minutes, then their condition may have developed into heatstroke.Symptoms of heatstroke include lack of sweat even if they feel very hot, a temperature of 40C or above, shortness of breathe, confusion, experiencing a seizure, losing consciousness and becoming unresponsive. How can you help someone experiencing heatstroke?If you spot that someone may be suffering from heat exhaustion, then they should be moved to a cool environment, the NHS advises.You should do all that you can to help them cool down, including ensuring that they drink lots of water, cooling their skin with a spray or sponge and having them lie down with their feet slightly raised.If they haven't improved in 30 minutes and you believe they may have developed heatstroke, then an ambulance should be called on 999 or 112.While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, St John Ambulance recommends trying to cool them down by either wrapping them in a cold wet sheet or sponging them down.If their temperature appears to go back to normal, then replace the wet sheet with a dry one.As you wait for the arrival of a paramedic, keep checking their breathing, pulse and level of response, St John Ambulance says.If at any point they become unresponsive, then you must check their breathing and ensure their airway is open.For more information on how to look after a person who has become unresponsive, click here. How can heatstroke be prevented?There are certain measures you can take to prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke in hot temperatures, the NHS states.These include drinking lots of cold drinks, bathing in cool water, wearing loose clothing, avoiding the sun during peak sun hours and not drinking too much alcohol.The NHS advises keeping a close eye on those who may be more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, including children, older individuals and those who have long-term health conditions.For all the latest news on the UK weather, click here.

  • Period pain causes women nearly nine days of lost productivity at work per year, study finds
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    The Independent

    Period pain causes women nearly nine days of lost productivity at work per year, study finds

    The pain caused by menstrual cramps is causing women to lose approximately nine days of productivity at work every year, researchers have found.In a new study published in British Medical Journal, a team of scientists from the Netherlands assessed 32,748 women aged between the ages of 15 and 45.Conducting their study between July and October 2017, the researchers asked for the participants to divulge details about their menstrual cycles, including the average length of their periods, the severity of symptoms and whether or not they’ve missed work due to period pain.According to their findings, 26,438 of those questioned reported going to work while feeling ill – also known as presenteeism – but women experiencing menstrual cramps had lower levels of productivity.The researchers recorded an average loss of productivity of 33 per cent per year among the women due to presenteeism, which equated to an average of 8.9 days of lost productivity.Furthermore, 4,514 women reported missing work due to period-related pain.Just over three per cent of the participants said they miss work during every or almost every period.Women under the age of 21 were more likely to report absenteeism due to period pain.Meanwhile, only a fifth of women who stayed home due to their periods told their employer or school the reason for their absence.The researchers explain that menstrual pain is causing a “great deal of lost productivity”, with presenteeism found to be a more pressing issue than absenteeism.“There is an urgent need for more focus on the impact of these symptoms, especially in women aged under 21 years, for discussions of treatment options with women of all ages and, ideally, more flexibility for women who work or go to school,” they state in conclusion.Almost 70 per cent of the participants said that they wish they had greater flexibility with their working hours during their periods.In 2016, a professor at University College London said that period pain can be as “bad as having a heart attack“.John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at the university, said that he believes period pain is “something that should be taken care of, like anything else in medicine”.For the past two years, teenage activist Amika George has been campaigning for sanitary products to be provided for free in schools, creating a petition called the FreePeriods campaign.Earlier this year, the government announced that a free sanitary product scheme is going to start from September in secondary schools and colleges across England.During the Spring Statement on Wednesday 13 March, chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond said: “In response to rising concern by headteachers that some girls are missing school attendance due to inability to afford sanitary products, I have decided to fund the provision of free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year.”

  • David Beckham ignores criticism and kisses daughter Harper at England World Cup game
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    The Independent

    David Beckham ignores criticism and kisses daughter Harper at England World Cup game

    David Beckham was captured sharing a kiss with his seven-year-old daughter, Harper, on Thursday evening, ignoring criticisms he’s faced in the past for doing the same.The father and daughter duo were watching the England women’s football team play Norway in the quarter-finals of the World Cup and the camera was on them for much of the match.Harper wore an England T-shirt with a red bandana while Beckham opted for a navy blue blazer and a black collared shirt.Beckham has been criticised for kissing his youngest child in the past.In 2017, the former professional football player posted a photograph on Instagram of him kissing his then five-year-old daughter on a beach, but some of his followers responded by calling it “inappropriate”.In a discussion on Facebook Live filmed shortly after, Beckham insisted he is “very affectionate” with his kids because that is how he was brought up.> View this post on Instagram> > Kiss for Daddy ❤️> > A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) on Jun 1, 2017 at 10:55am PDTVictoria Beckham has shared similar photographs on her Instagram account that show her kissing daughter Harper on the lips.In June, Piers Morgan described the Beckhams as “creepy” for kissing their daughter on the lips following a video Victoria posted on Instagram Stories showing her husband giving Harper a kiss on the lips during a family boat trip in Miami.> People are digging out DavidBeckham for kissing his 7 year old daughter Harper on the lips??? WTF?? What is wrong with people. I have 2 sons aged 8 & 5 and kiss and hug them as much as I can. How sad some people really are.> > — Jack Hayes (@jacktheladradio) > > November 28, 2018Speaking on Good Morning Britain at the time, presenter Piers Morgan addressed the clip and called the former England captain “creepy” and “weird” for showing such affection to his young child. Co-host Susanna Reid defended Beckham’s decision to kiss his daughter on the lips, but later admitted she thought it was inappropriate for the moment to be shared online.But child psychologist Dr Fiona Martin disagrees with the notion that kissing a child on the lips is inappropriate or unusual.“It’s beautiful,” she said. “Anything that promotes emotional connectivity is good. It’s certainly not inappropriate to kiss your child.”

  • British couple among first in world to trial male contraceptive gel
    Style
    The Independent

    British couple among first in world to trial male contraceptive gel

    A British man is among the first in the world to trial a new male contraceptive gel. James Owers, 29, and his girlfriend Diana Bardsley, 27, from Edinburgh have volunteered to take part in the study, which is being led in the UK by Saint Mary’s Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Edinburgh.The international trial is studying the effectiveness of the hormone gel, called NES/T, by analysing 450 couples who have agreed to use it as their only form of contraception for the next 12 months.According to researchers, the gel, which is applied topically, uses a combination of progesterone and testosterone which are absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream.While the progesterone stops sperm being produced, the additional testosterone negates the effects of a drop in hormone levels, meaning users should continue to have a normal sex drive.Participants in the study will have their sperm count checked at regular intervals to ensure the gel is working effectively.Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast, Owers explained how he applies the gel, saying: “I squeeze a 50p-piece-size out of the dispenser – the dispenser is a bit like one of those posh toothpaste tubes. It’s got the consistency of hand sanitiser.“I rub it into my shoulder and pectoral area and that dries in three to four seconds. I do that to the other shoulder and then I get dressed and go about my day as normal.”The couple have been using the gel since February but only switched to using it exclusively a week ago. “I’m feeling very, very positive that either this contraceptive or other contraceptives for men will become available,” Owers added. Meanwhile, Bardsley praised the development of a male contraceptive, explaining that the trial has allowed her to stop using hormonal contraception for the first time since she was 16.“By giving men more choice we are taking some of the burden off women and allowing men to have more freedom over their own contraceptive method,” Bardsley said. Dr Cheryl Fitzgerald, who works as a consultant in reproductive medicine at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and is one of the researchers behind the study, said the study was going “very well” but admitted that widespread availabity of a male contraceptive could still be some years away.> On after the news! pic.twitter.com/ak8grB09nn> > — James Owers (@jamesowers) > > June 25, 2019“This trial is looking at hundreds of men and looking at them quite closely to check that it’s safe and effective and tolerated well,” Fitzgerald said.“After that there would be a much bigger trial so we are certainly looking at 10-plus years.”Earlier this year, scientists revealed that the development of a male contraceptive pill was one step closer to becoming a reality. In a month-long study of 40 men, conducted by the University of Washington, researchers looked into the effectiveness of a once-daily capsule that aims to suppress levels of hormones which drive the production of sperm and testosterone in the testes. The doctors found that levels of the hormones fell in men who took the daily capsules, suggesting that their sperm counts had been noticeably reduced. Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine and co-senior investigator on the trial at the University of Washington in Seattle, said: “The goal is to expand contraceptive options and create a menu of choices for men like we have for women. “We are neglecting a major potential user population with the limited options currently available to men.”