Sleep Deprivation tactics by Domestic Abusers

On average, a person will spend a third of their life sleeping. The World Health Organisation (2004) states that, good quality sleep is vital to ensure good well-being, whilst disturbed sleep can create long-term health issues. This years Mental Health Awareness Week, taking place on 14th – 18th May 2020, Mental Health Foundation, theme will be focusing on the connection between sleep and mental health. Sleep is vital for the body to recover from our everyday activities. Fundamentally, interrupted sleep can impact upon the mental concentration and capacity of the victims to complete simple tasks.

Domestic abusers use a variety of tactics to control their partner including sleep deprivation. Significantly, abusers will use this to their advantage and further abuse their victim, as they will have a limited or impeded ability to respond. The World Health Organisation (2004) states, that the victim’s mind will be jumbled, as they begin to suffer memory blanks, increasing the risk of gaslighting. Additionally, the victim may struggle with remembering events, leading them to believe the aggressive behaviour is their fault. Abusers play upon their victim’s fear, forcing them to apologise to reduce the risk of further assaults (Pain and Scottish Women’s Aid, 2017). Abusers tend to shift the responsibility of the abuse to their victim, branding them at fault, playing on any insecurities they have (Pain and Scottish Women’s Aid, 2017).

There are different approaches that abusers may utilise in order to disrupt the sleep of their partner. For instance, abusers may return home after their partner is asleep, prompt their victim to engage in conversation, demanding their undivided attention. Another approach is that the abuser may attempt to cause noise pollution, by slamming doors to wake their partner. Hence, the subtlety of this approach is clearly apparent. This is exacerbated by the victim’s mind becoming fragmented, and their vision starting to become distorted as they begin to struggle with the poor-quality of sleep. This form of abuse increases alcohol and drug abuse, as the victim sources alternative methods to fall and remain asleep.  Alcohol may be used to assist with anxiety, however it can prompt dependence, as 30% of people with insomnia use alcohol to aid sleep (Roeher and Roth, 2018; Hoshino et al. 2009).

More specifically, Kippert (2018) defines sleep deprivation abuse, as the perpetrator making it impossible for their victim to fall asleep or keeping them awake all night. Sleep deprivation is considered a form of physical abuse; however, Krizan and Herlache (2016) define sleep disruption as forms of severe neglect and aggression, affecting the victim’s ability to process the next day effectively. Sleep disruption limits the person’s opportunities or ability to achieve, due to over-exhaustion, resulting in the victim becoming isolated. Abusers use sleep as a form of aggression and control, immobilising and imprisoning their victim within their mind, due to the lack of sleep interrupting the victim’s ability to react to situations, due to over-exhaustion (Krizan and Herlache, 2016; Bright Horizon, 2019).

Sleep deprivation is embedded not only in the relationship, but, as the abuser instils further fear of abuse, the victims sleep remains disturbed. For instance, Grandner et al. (2018) state, that victims are often in a state of anxiety due to the fear of the unknown.  Of equal significance, is that the prolonged lack of sleep is associated with mental health issues, insomnia and night terrors. Worryingly, insomnia increases the risk of mortality, due to the inability to concentrate, increasing the risk of accidental deaths, as well as the cardiopulmonary pressures on the body, leading to inflammation and the heart giving out (Parthasarathy et al., 2015). The night terrors prevent the victim from falling asleep, instilling further intense fear.  As a direct consequence in the long-term, Pigeon et al. (2011) explains that these affect the victim’s ability to prosecute their abuser, as their decision-making and ability to navigate their concerns are potentially impacted.

Reference list:

A reflection on sexual abuse and sexual violence awareness week – 3rd – 9th February 2020

This year’s sexual abuse and sexual violence awareness week challenged the misconception of the statements surrounding rape and sexual assault. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, as well as forcing their victim into prostitution or engage in sexual activity with their abuser of others. Office for National Statistics (2018) concluded that 33% had been sexually assaulted/raped by an intimate partner. The Crime Survey for England and Wales stated that an estimated 3.4 women, aged over sixteen, had experienced a form of sexual assault (Office for National Statistics, 2018).

Another form of sexual abuse that Domestic Shelter (2015) suggests is increasing is the forbidden use of birth control, with the intent to conceive, as well as show dominance. Thus, increasing the risk of sexually transmitted infections, as the abuser prevents the use of condoms, or manipulates their partner into believing birth control is being used. For example, Bergmann and Stockman (2015), state that male abusers may remove access to oral contraceptives, by disposing of these or replacing them with alternative medications; while female abusers may falsely inform their partner, they are using contraceptives. Consequently, forcible reproduction could be deemed as the ultimate control, as it is a method of isolation, thus, leading to further abuse.

This misconception of men as unable to be a victim of such violence, results in many male victims not reporting their abuse. Besides, Hester’s (2012) research suggests that men are less likely to disclose sexual abuse, out of fear of other reactions, and limited data is exploring forced-to-penetrate cases, further overshadowing the abuse. Adding to this, Weare (2017) research of 154 male victims emphasise that 9% had frequently been forced-to-penetrate anally, 29% orally, and 62% vaginally. Furthermore, 43.8% of respondents of Weare’s (2017) research, reviewing 153 male domestic abuse victims’ experiences of domestic abuse stated they had experienced sexual abuse between the aged of 16-25. Thus, emphasising the high proportions of men who are victims of sexual abuse and violence.

If you require further information, advice or need support, please contact one of the following organisations:

Rape Crisis: Helpline

0808 802 9999

 www.rapecrisis.org.uk

Victim Support: Helpline

0333 300 6389

The Survivors Trust:

0808 801 0818 

www.thesurvivorstrust.org

Survivors UK – Male Rape and Sexual Abuse Support

http://www.survivorsuk.org

Sleep Matters

The World Health Organisation (2015), implies health is the state of complete mental, physical, and social wellbeing, with an absence of disease or illness, and is the reflection of the prevention of mental disorder and rehabilitation of the individual. Nearly a quarter of the population in the UK will suffer from a form of mental health problem, with depression being the most common emphasising the importance of self-care (Mental Health Foundation, 2014). This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which took place on 14th – 18th May 2020, Mental Health Foundation, the theme focused on the connection between sleep and mental health. Sleep is vital for the body to recover from our everyday activities. Fundamentally, interrupted sleep can impact upon the mental concentration and capacity of the victims to complete simple tasks.

There is no ‘magic pill ‘to cure depression, as anti-depressants only compress the depression. Self-care and engaging with supportive services can assist with overcoming depression, as it provides the person with the opportunity to participate in down-time. Thus, re-focusing their energy on positivity and their health, encouraging growth. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943) outlines the basic human needs, and without sustaining these, the person may struggle with their mental health, thus, affecting their ability to self-care. Furthermore, Maslow (1943) explains that sleep is one of the fundamental basic needs for someone to function, and a lack of sleep has a profound effect on your mental health. Consequently, poor sleep can become a contributing factor to mental health issues as the person begins to struggle with physical exhaustion, thus, leading them to suffer from low moods and depression. 

The Mental Health Foundation (2011), raises their concern that people are not achieving enough sleep to maintain their mental health. Dijk et al. (2010), state that adults averagely should be sleeping seven to eight hours per day. However, in reality, how many people sleep a full eight hours a night, with work, children, and schooling to consider. Thus, resulting in them having difficulties in developing personal relationships as they struggle to engage in fruitful conversation, due to exhaustion of the mind.

Many students have to juggle, work, relationships and their degree with multiple deadlines looming, and often struggle to balance these evenly. Therefore, emphasising the importance of maintaining a healthy pattern of sleep, benefiting their mental health, as this could reduce some of the pressures they are dealing with. Zager et al. (2007), remind us, that sleep is vital for our bodies development, as it allows the body time to protect the immune system and process the information we have come across throughout the day. Many students have to juggle, work, relationships and their degree with multiple deadlines looming, and often struggle to balance these evenly. 

Furthermore, the Mental Health Foundation (2011), emphasises the need to see poor quality sleep as a public health issue, as it can lead to such a vast number of consequences. Not only mental health issues, but it also leads to accidents, placing others in harm’s way. Mental Health Foundation (2016), recommends the use of a four-step programme that could HEAL or address some of the sleep issues that are occurring. Firstly, consider the body’s health, are there any physical or mental health issues that may be affecting the sleeping pattern?  

Sleep matters. People need to review the structure of their bedrooms by adjusting their light and the placement of their bed. Often people struggle with maintaining a good sleeping pattern due to work patterns or shift-based work, therefore, leading them to sleep when possible. Thus, leading to poor quality sleep. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can restrict the person from falling asleep or result in waking up several times throughout the night. If someone has any of these health issues, it would be recommended for them to visit their GP for further information and support.

The environment is another factor that needs to be considered. The removal of the television from the bedroom or reducing screen time on tablets and mobile phones before bedtime can improve the quality of sleep, as the mind is active and unable to relax. Although removing of television, maybe deemed dramatic, this vital trick could allow the person to relax, as they begin to associate the bedroom with sleeping, rather than watching television in bed.

Therefore, this links to a person’s attitude. This reflects upon the person reducing their engagement with technology before bedtime. Instead of using technology devices, read a book, or listen to calming music (Mental Health Foundation, 2016). These simple changes could reduce anxiety and allow the person to drift off into a calming sleep state. Using mobile phones or watching television, stimulates the brain, thus, making it more difficult to drift off to sleep. Thus, resulting in a restless night. These simple tasks ultimately lead to lifestyle changes. Mental Health Foundation (2016) recommends dietary changes, including eating less sugary meals and engaging in exercise. 

Education Leadership in Schools

Mahoney and Moos (2010) raised concerns on the leadership and the democracy within schools, expressing the need for change to ensure schools offer the best opportunities for students. The primary role of a school is not only to provide education but also provide a challenging and emotional caring environment, to allow the students to develop (Kapur, 2018; Department of Education, 2015b). The Department of Education (2015b) expresses the importance of Headmasters leading by example, by meeting the four domains of excellence as standard. Those schools branded as inadequate often have leadership and management failures (Hofkins, 1993). The four domains are the self-improving school system, pupils and staff qualities and knowledge and processes. The formation of the school is the leader’s responsibility, ensuring each member of staff is meeting the needs of the students. As inconsistencies could occur, affecting the students’ well-being, and in-turn affect the student’s attainment levels.

Brundrett, Duncan, and Rhodes (2010) state there has been significant change over the last two decades in leadership within schools, with the introduction of multiple levels of leadership roles to ensure additional support for teachers is available. Sheninger (2011) states that education leaders have a multiple-layer of responsibilities, placing immense pressure upon the leaders to be reliable and achieve outstanding results. It is not only Headmasters who are dealing with these stressors, but all levels of leadership are expected to communicate well and demonstrate no inconsistencies. Leaders are under unbearable pressure, as they are expected to maintain consistently excellent teaching, shared knowledge and develop a strong relationship with parents to encourage on-going support and engagement in their child’s education (Education Development Trust, 2014; Department of Education, 2015b).

The Headmasters role as the leaders of the school are considered as the most trusted members of the community, and parents depend upon their ability to maintain the school’s achievements (Day, 2009). Thus, this open position needs to be allocated to the ideal member of staff to maintain trust within the community and ensure success for the school. Engaging and communicating with parents will breakdown the additional barriers to the children’s education, encouraging education at home to occur. Thus, reducing pressure on the teaching staff. Toop (2016) states that the joining of middle leadership and teaching leaders the skill of communicating effectively and sharing ideas will create a unified approach to education.

A clear line of communication needs to be visual, not only with the students and teachers but across all of the senior management team within the school. Therefore, any issues within leadership can be addressed swiftly, and there is no indifference to the approach. Furthermore, Hickman (2017) states that an effective leader collaborates with other members of staff, to release some of the burdens and promote an inclusive involvement and promote engagement with parents. Mistry (2004) expresses the importance of leaders engaging with learning support assistants, as they have been well-established as crucial figures within primary schools, specialising in program prep and interacting with parents.

Matthews (2009) defines outstanding school leaders as motivating, empowering, community-spirited, and promotes professional development. Leaders do not only need to focus upon the children’s well-being but also the staff, to ensure they remain empowered, involved, and feel their leaders value them. Toop (2016) shares the need for a drive in all teaching staff and leaders to build an expectational team approach. To ensure drive remains, leaders need to generously offer praise when it is due and offer opportunities for further training. Hickman (2017) emphasises the importance of leaders complimenting their staff, to boost morale, build confidence, and ensure staff wishes to remain in employment there.

Ofsted (2008, in Matthews, 2009) recognises leadership as remaining as a critical factor to ensure the school’s success. Leaders need to be willing to engage in competition with other schools, competing for the best teachers, and presenting themselves to the community, as the highest achieving school. To do this, Kapur (2018) explains the schools need to design their aims and objectives upon the communities voiced concerns. The leaders are expected to be an inspiring, enthusiast, and be able to communicate with staff, students virtually, and parents (Matthews, 2009; Pont, Nusche, and Moorman, 2008). Leaders are expected to visualise a positive future for both the school and the local community by sharing their ideas and engaging with parents. Thus, in doing so, demonstrating that the school is listening to their local area, encouraging parents to view the school as inclusive. An exceptional vision will ensure that schools achieve. Pont, Nusche, and Moorman (2008) explain the need for schools to devise a plan of action and monitor their progress and celebrate their successes within the community.

Vast improvement has been made over the last fifteen years, as schools are reforming their leadership, due to the number of students attending is rapidly growing, with class sizes growing yearly. The Department for Education (2011) states there has been a growth of 20% in births from 2002, placing further pressure upon the education system. The Department of Education (2011) expresses concern on the increasing class sizes, as it affects attainment levels as there is an increased risk of behavioural problems. Thus, placing further pressure upon middle leaders and Headmasters as they will have restricted time to engage with students and limited engagement with teachers. However, leaders will be able to review whether their teachers can manage and retain student’s engagement successfully.

An expressive, a more decisive leader can change the school’s foundations. School leaders need to have the ability to adapt to change, and transform the education system within their schools, tackling issues head-on (Chugh, 2016). The Department of Health (2015b) expresses the importance of good leadership, stating that if the leaders do not possess the expected characteristics, they will struggle to maintain stimulating education for the children. However, it can be challenging to remain a strong leader due to the complexities of the role. Leaders are expected to challenge their employees yet still motivate them and expect high expectations, with minimum pay incentives. Although the Department of Education (2019) announced a pay increase of 2.75% per cent, the expectation of high achievements with minimum growth could take its toll, affecting the willingness and engagement levels of the staff, which the leaders must challenge. Leadership is a pivotal part of ensuring school success, as it provides the school with a precise aim. The quality of the leader influences the school’s progression and the students learning, thus the importance of evaluating their skills (Plowright and Godfrey, 2008; Barrett-Baxendale and Burton, 2009). Barrett-Baxendale and Burton (2009) believe that leaders need to keep engaging in self-directed development to enhance their leadership skills. Thus, being able to address new issues which are arising. For instance, cyberbullying is a relatively new issue that schools are tackling. If the leaders are unaware of this phenomenon, they will be unable to provide adequate support to their teacher or their students. Thus, resulting in additional issues or the problem escalating out of control.

To maintain strong leadership, Warin (2017) explains the leaders need to develop a nurturing relationship with the students, creating a profoundly caring environment; creating the ideal ethos of a caring school. Thus, resulting in a safer atmosphere for students to discuss any mental health issues. The Department for Education and Gibb (2016) stress the need for a vision leads Headmasters to drive schools to success. However, the Department for Education and Gibb (2016) states that school systems are unable to become dependent upon a handful of individuals, it needs to have an integrated approach of strong leadership filtering to the core of the classrooms as school leadership is the essential element of the school environment. The Ambition Institute (2016) argue that all leaders from middle leaders, governors, Headmasters, and CEO’s need to be ensuring the students are receiving a high-quality education.

Failure is apparent for the leaders, leaving them disheartened; however, efficient leaders will see this as an opportunity to improve themselves. Thus, allowing them to learn from their mistakes. Leaders working in schools in highly challenging socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are at higher risk of failure, due to the on-going challenges of staff retainment and student behaviour (Education Development Trust, 2014). Although, if the leaders restructured their curriculum, students would have a higher attainment level. The flexibility of the leaders to allow teaching staff to use a range of different teaching skills will encourage staff to remain engaged in the students learning. To ensure the youth of today reach their potential, the Department of Education (2015a) states schools need to maintain effective governance and leadership by developing a co-ordinated approach into building upon their foundations and offer support to staff to enable them to achieve in their roles successfully. Leaders need to provide additional support for teachers to ensure they can provide one to one support to students if needed (Chroninin, 2013). As without tailored support, a student who is struggling may begin to disengage with teachers. 

Reference list

Ambition Institute (2016) School improvement requires leadership but depends on effective leaders at every level. Available from: https://www.ambition.org.uk/blog/why-school-leadership-essential/ [Accessed 25/7/19].

Barrett-Baxendale, D. and Burton, D. (2009) Twenty-first-century headteacher: pedagogue, visionary leaders or both? School Leadership and Management. 29(2). Pp. 91 – 107

Brundrett, M., Duncan, D. and Rhodes, C. (2010) Leading curriculum innovation in primary school’s project: an interim report on schools’ leaders in curriculum development in England. Education 3 – 13. 38(4). Pp. 403 – 419

Chugh, S. (2016) Positioning school leadership in Indian Context: Review and Way Ahead. Indian Journal of Educational Research. 5. Pp. 226 – 243

Chroninin (2013) agrees that there are numerous challenges facing teachers, affecting their ability to plan their lesson and dedicate efficient time as required to each student.


Day, C. (2009) Building and sustaining successful principalship in England: the importance of trust. Journal of Educational Administration. 47(6). Pp. 719 – 730.

Department of Education (2011) Class size and education in England evidence report. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system
/uploads/attachment_data/file/183364/DFE-RR169.pdf
[Accessed 26/7/19].

Department of Education (2015a) Good leadership impacts positively on education outcomes. Available from: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/good-leadership-impacts-positively-educational-outcomes [Accessed 28/7/19].

Department for education (2015b) Report of the review of national standards of excellence for headteachers. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_
data/file/396251/Report_of_the_review_of_headteacher_standards.pdf
  [Accessed 20/07/19].

Department for Education (2019) School teachers pay to rise by 2.75%. Available from: https://www.educationdevelopmenttrust.com/EducationDevelopmentTrust/files/a3/a359e571-7033-41c7-8fe7-9ba60730082e.pdf [Accessed 30/7/19].

Department for Education and Gibb, N. (2016) Nick Gibb: the importance of school leadership. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-importance-of-school-leadership [Accessed 30/7/19].

Education Development Trust (2014) Successful and school leadership. Available from: https://www.educationdevelopmenttrust.com/EducationDevelopmentTrust/files/a3/a359e571-7033-41c7-8fe7-9ba60730082e.pdf [Accessed 22/7/19]

Greatbatch, D. and Tate, S. (2018) Teaching, leadership and governance in Further Education. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/680306/Teaching__leadership_and_governance_in_Further_Education.pdf [Accessed 1/8/19].

Hickman, K. (2017) A qualitative study on educational leadership styles and teacher morale. Available from: https://www.cn.edu/libraries/tiny_mce/tiny_mce/plugins/filemanager/files/Dissertations/Dissertations2017/Hickman_Final.pdf [1/8/19]/

Hofkins, D (1993) Branded as failures. TES: Times Educational Supplement. 4041(8). P2.

Kapur, R. (2018) Education Leadership. [online]. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323691649_Educational_Leadershaip. [Accessed 20/07/19].

Mahony, P. and Moos, L. (2010) Democracy and school leadership in England and Denmark. British Journal of Educational Studies, 46(3). Pp. 302 – 317

Matthews, P. (2009) How do school leaders successfully lead learning? Available at: https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/254/1/download%3Fid=23637&filename=how-do-school-leaders-successfully-lead-learning.pdf. [Accessed 1/8/19].

Mistry, M. (2004) Managing LSA’s: an evaluation of the use of learning support assistants in an urban primary school. School leadership and management. 24(2). Pp. 125 – 137

Pont, B., Nusche, D. and Moorman, H. (2008) Improving school leadership. Volume 1: Policy and Practise. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/education/school/44374889.pdf [Accessed 2/8/19].

Sheninger, E. (2011) An open letter to principals: Five leadership strategies for the new year. Available from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/principals-leadership-eric-sheninger [Accessed 21/7/19]

Toop, J. (2016) Ambitious for every child. Available at: https://www.ambition.org.uk/documents/571/Ambitious_for_Every_Child. [Accessed 1/8/19]

Warin, J. (2017) Creating a whole school ethos of care. Emotional and behavioural difficulties. 22(3). Pp. 188 – 199

Society influencing people’s ideal of the perfect body image

In 2019, World Mental Health Day provided a stark reminder that modern society dependence on social media and reality shows are harming people’s mental health. Reality shows have graced our television screen since the early 1990s; however, it was until not the 2010s, when they began to dominate households with their dramatised real-life situations. Although they are unscripted, much of the drama is exaggerated, and actors have to re-act scene several times to ensure they are filmed in good quality, creating an unrealistic portrayal of life. It is, therefore, distorting the viewer’s understanding of what is real. 

Society has become fixated on reality television, as it provides a means of escape for many. Consequently, it does propose risk across social media, as it socially creates an unrealistic image of the perfect body and perfect lifestyle. The average body size in the U.K. is 16, yet the contestants in reality shows are rarely beyond a size 8, thus, creating unrealistic representations of women’s body sizes and beauty. Similarly, men are usually displaying perfect toned bodies and sharp looks. These altered images are increasingly affecting the way people look at ourselves and others, resulting in people becoming displeased with their physical appearance and, at times leading them to act based on a distorted perception of what beauty is. Although Safeline (2019) states that many people may understand images are being altered, they are unaware of the extent. 

Reality check

Every day the media transmit messages of what society’s body expectations are, which could impact on the minds of young people, who may then struggle with not meeting these standards. Reality programmes focused on dating and relationships such as Married at First Sight, Love Island, and Take Me Out all fixate on the appearance of the participants, usually using their bodies to find love. Reality shows are fast becoming the most-watched programmes, and participants are regularly used as promotion tools for clothing, diets, and exercise videos, following departure from their subsequent shows. Reality stars promoting ‘fad diets’ or ‘media diets’ have had a massive impact on people’s buying habits. 

Society has become celebrity-saturated and has dramatically changed the lifestyle of millions, as people purchase and attempt to adapt their lifestyle to enhance their bodies (Lewallen, Miller and Behm-Morawitz, 2015). However, these expectations are unrealistic, with extensive cosmetic surgery, specialist lighting, and makeup cleverly utilised to further enhance their image. Those proposing (or “sponsoring”) these images are also caught in a loop of having to present themselves in a certain way; otherwise, the result would be a media frenzy, causing people to question the influencers’ personal life whenever they happen to have “an off day.” Girls in Westernised countries are exposed to more social media, and this may be affecting their self-esteem. Dove Global Girls Beauty and Confidence Report (2017) state that although globally 46% of girls had high body esteem, the U.K. had one of the lowest figures with 39%.

An image speaks a 1000 words.

Television has long been part of the centre point of the home, thus potentially having the ability to impact significantly, both positively and negatively. With children having unlimited access to technology within the Westernised World, early messages could be transcribed into negative connotations with body image (Sarwer et al. 1998), affecting into adulthood, as the person may then watch reality television, placing further pressures on body image. Consequently, Cash (2002) explains that these social messages influence the expectation of physical appearance and how this is determined into value within society. 

Nowadays, the overbearing use of social media and reality shows has become one of society’s biggest downfalls. For example, when people have downtime, they scroll through images on social media that have been carefully edited to create the perfect selfie. Although the images may not directly state this, the culture derived from the overly photo-shopped pictures, additional trimming of body shape, and the introduction of influencers, slowly encase our social media with an unachievable, unrealistic and unhealthy image of the perfect body. Thus, creating an unbearable pressure on people to match a body type that is liked by society, causing severe long-term health issues. Wing and Phelan (2005) express concerns that attempting to lose weight and maintaining the loss dramatically could lead to long term mental health issues, such as depression. Furthermore, Sabbagh (2019) suggests there is a concern on the credibility of information or tips shared by influencers, as one in nine U.K. influencers provided information and adherence to nutritional guidance. Thus, suggesting that many people may fall victim to false information to achieve the perfect body, placing their health at risk. 

Many people are raised to love themselves, to be proud of their achievements, and celebrate everyone’s successes by their parents, teachers, and loved ones. However, at times, society seems to expect us to focus more on appearances and uniformity, comparing ourselves to others, rather than celebrating differences. Watching shows focusing on the beauty of their participants; young viewers become more self-conscious.

Beyond gender

Modern society has led to people having the inability to escape idealistic images, as they are present on television, social media, magazines, and billboards (Schooler and Ward, 2006), chipping away at people’s self-esteem throughout the day. Men also suffer from body-image shaming, as Lamarche et al. (2017) explain that they feel pressure to measure up to societies’ standards of a muscular, strong man. Thus, leading to a heightened risk of mental health issues in young men, as they struggle to understand or comprehend the body insecurities, they will experience due to society (Lamarche et al., 2017). Bee (2010) states that men are equally influenced by the media, comparing themselves to the muscular body type often showcased.

Furthermore, Bee (2010) explains that this misrepresentation of men in the media has resulted in an increase of young men adopting unhealthy and strict diets to achieve the muscular image. Thus, causing grave harm to their bodies. It was identified in Credos (2016) study’ Picture of Health’ that 41% of boys felt the images presenting men in the media were unrealistic. Furthermore, the study expressed concern on the amount of pressure to achieve this glorified idealistic look, affecting the boy’s body confidence as they have yet to achieve this expected look of a man. This has led to 29% of young boys struggling to have the confidence to discuss body image with their parents, increasing the risk of mental health issues as they may be a risk of low self-esteem resulting in depression (Bee, 2010). 

Changing the approach

It is clear that the problem aligns itself with both genders and, as such, requires a united response. Fundamentally, society should assist in shaping confidence and feeling comfortable in one’s skin. The increasing number of young people struggling with their body confidence and image, opting for plastic surgery or developing eating disorders, emphasizes that society has a strong influence on people’s lives. Wen (2017) states that there is an increasing number of young people undergoing cosmetic procedures due to both the direct and indirect influences of celebrities. Wen (2017) explains further that the attitude toward cosmetic surgery has changed since the growth of celebrities. Abraham and Zuckerman (2011) explain that people tend to want to mimic their favourite celebrities, buying into the same clothes, hairstyle, and even opt for cosmetic surgery. Young adults are electing to undergo these surgeries, as they feel the celebrities have had a significant and positive effect upon their lives (Maltby and Day 2011). 

Following their reality stint, some contestants are awarded their own television shows, following their lives and develop fitness DVDs, losing weight with 5-minute workout programmes within 12 weeks. Muscle Foods (2017) questions whether these are ethical, as they are sold upon the hype of the star rather than their effectiveness and reliability, whether the star loses weight or not. Muscle Foods (2017) reminds society that these stars are provided with expert guidance, and do not rely solely upon their new DVD workout. Viewers who may not achieve their goal within the expected time will be subject to further distress. Instead, society needs to encourage people to love themselves and not compare themselves to reality stars or other celebrities.

The images that are promoted in the media need to change, as these are increasing the risk of mental health-related problems. These images affect people’s confidence and self-esteem, thus, leading the person to be unhappy with their body. The portrayal of these “perfected” images needs to be addressed, as they can encourage destructive behaviours, affecting mental health and the wellbeing of millions. To tackle this issue, transparency is needed, explaining which images have been altered and to what extent. Emphasis needs to be placed back on the portrayal of natural beauty: consequently, natural beauty needs to be celebrated. 

 

Reference List:

Abraham, A. and Zuckerman, D. (2011) Adolescents, Celebrity Worship, and Cosmetic Surgery. Journal of Adolescent Health 49(5). Pp. 453 – 454 

Bree, C., J. (2010) The contemporary body image of men. Do looks outweigh the importance of being healthy? Available at: http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=114683 (Accessed August 15th, 2019). 

Cash, T. F. (2002). Cognitive- behavioural perspectives on body image. In T. F. Cash, & T. Pruzinsky (Eds.), Body image: A handbook of theory, research and clinical practice (pp.38-46). New York: The Guilford Press

Credos. (2016) Picture of health? Available at: https://www.adassoc.org.uk/credos/picture-of-health/. (Accessed August 14th, 2019). 

Dove (2016) Self-esteem project. Available at: https://www.dove.com/uk/dove-self-esteem-project.html. (Accessed August 14th, 2019)> 

Green, S.P. & Pritchard, M.E. (2003), Predictors of Body Image Dissatisfaction in Adult men and Women, Social Behaviour and Personality, 31(3), 215-222.

Lamarche, L., Ozimok, B., Gammage, K. and Muir, C. (2017) Men respond too: The effects of a social-evaluation body image threat on shame and cortisol in University Men. 11(6). Pp. 1791 – 1803. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988317723406

Lewallen, J., Miller, B., and Behm-Morawitz, E. (2015) Lifestyles of the rich and famous: Celebrity media diet and the cultivation of emerging adults’ materialism. Mass Communication and Society. 19(3). Pp. 253 – 274. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2015.1096945

Maltby, J. and Day, L. (2011) Celebrities worship and incidence of elective cosmetic surgery: Evidence of a link among young people. Journal of Adolescent Health. 49. Pp. 483 – 489 

Muscle Foods (2017) Fitness DVDs by reality stars – are they actually good role models? Available at: https://www.musclefood.com/blog/fitness-dvds-by-reality-stars-are-they-actually-good-role-models/. (Accessed August 11th, 2019). 

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Safeline (2019) How body image is portrayed in the media. Available at: https://www.safeline.org.uk/how-body-image-is-portrayed-in-the-media/. (Accessed August 15th, 2019). 

Sabbagh, C. (2019). Study scrutinizes the credibility of weight management blogs by most. Available at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-04/eaft-ssc042919.php. (Accessed August 10th, 2019).

Sarwer, D. B., Wadden, T. A., Pertschuk, M. J., & Whitaker, L. A. (1998). The psychology of cosmetic surgery: A review and reconceptualization. Clinical Psychology Review, 18(1), 1-22.

Schooler, D. & Ward M.L. (2006), Average Joes: Men’s Relationships with Media, Real Bodies, and sexuality, Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 7(1), 27-41.

Wen, N. (2017) Celebrities influence and young people’s attitudes towards cosmetic surgery in Singapore: The role of parasocial relationships and identification. International Journal of Communication. 11. Pp. 1234 – 1252 

Wing, R. and Phelan, S. (2005) Long-term weight loss maintenance. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 82(1). Pp. 222 – 225. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/82.1.222S

Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse affects millions of people globally; the UK Government estimated that 2 million people suffer the abuse in England and Wales. To raise awareness of this critical public health issue, Arden University invited Heroes Rights in October to deliver an educational presentation for the National Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. Smith, Szymanska, and Haile (2017) express the importance of tackling domestic abuse, as every week, at least ten people die in the United Kingdom due to abuse. Domestic abuse is still a very hidden topic in society, even though stronger policies have been enforced in the last ten years. Many victims struggle to report their abuse due to stigmatisation, fear of further abuse, and fear of disbelief. Hence, the importance of raising awareness, encouraging victims to report, and re-bunk any myths of domestic abuse as anyone can be a victim of abuse, regardless of gender, sexuality, and age.

Heroes’ Rights, led by Tammi Owen, were one of the first domestic abuse intervention programs supporting male domestic abuse victims in South Wales. The organisation focuses upon delivering interventions using a non-gendered approach to ensure all victims are supported, regardless of their gender.

Tammy Owen from @heroes_wales

The session was delivered related to the module ‘Meeting the Needs of the Service User,’ exploring the importance of empowering victims to report their abuse.  The session explored how multi-agency working together they can address the victim’s multiple needs such as housing, safety, self-esteem, and rebuilding family relationships as many victims lose contact with their families due to their controlling partner.

Heroes’ Rights focused upon the importance of services working together to break the cycle of domestic abuse and encouraged the engagement of communities to support victims and the local community. By engaging the local community, people will become more familiar with the signs and risks of domestic abuse and feel encouraged to report their concerns. Over the last ten years, many healthcare services have suffered financial constraints and lost services, therefore highlighting the importance of a multi-agency approach.  The use of a multi-agency approach will reduce the burden upon one service, and strengthening working relationships between agencies, increasing support for the victim. Furthermore, there will be better communication as agencies work together with the same goal of supporting the victim to escape their abuser.

Another aspect Heroes Rights explored was the importance of listening to the community and understanding what their needs are. To understand their local needs, Heroes Rights organised meetings with 700 people in a variety of locations across South Wales and online platforms. Upon reviewing the feedback, the local community stated they wanted more family support, mental health care aftercare, a safe place to seek counselling and community engagement. Thus, leading the vision of a community support centre run by the community for the community. Therefore, victims will feel more supported within their community and feel more confident in reporting and engaging with service. 

The session was very informative and encouraged students to raise questions regarding how healthcare professionals can support victims. The session concluded on discussing further opportunities for training to enhance the student’s knowledge of domestic abuse as well as the importance of challenging stereotypes and myths of abuse.

The session was very informative and encouraged students to raise questions regarding how healthcare professionals can support victims. The session concluded on discussing further opportunities for training to enhance the student’s knowledge of domestic abuse as well as the importance of challenging stereotypes and myths of abuse.

How to support Heroes Rights

Reference:

Current Climate – Isolation

With the current climate, many of us are on lockdown or self-isolation; many are already beginning to struggle with feeling as though the walls are closing in. With the Government’s current advice with the closure of schools, and the recommendation of working from home if possible. There is a possible risk of people suffering from mental health issues, loneliness, and beginning to struggle with adapting to working from home. The feeling of being cooped up within our own four walls may be painful, and as a nation, we need to develop ways to ensure our isolation, does not affect cause any lasting damage to our health.

Remote working is a challenge within itself. However, there are many benefits to working from home or remotely. These include the ability to select where we sit and how we sit, however, ensure you adopt a good posture. You can structure your day. Some little tasks, such as setting timers, could assist in your progression through the day. Once the timer is up, you could review what has been completed, then take a break and then get back to work. Other options are cleaning and storing out those hidden draws. I know it sounds crazy. Utilise the time, have a clear out. It will help clear your mind, as you will feel you have completed the dreaded task that you have needed to do for some time.

Another fundamental approach is communication. Although we may be alone in our four walls, it does not mean we can’t communicate. Understandably talking to someone online is not the same and often misses the human touch we often crave. Engage in online forums and engage in discussion points, focusing on positive things, for instance, cats, dogs, and dancing. Many of us have an elderly relative who we are unable to visit, skype call them, email them if possible. Share the activities you are completing with your littles ones, as although they are unable to visit them, no one will feel they are missing out. If you are writing, join a #ShutUpAndWrite group on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check-in with your loved ones – is a must. Making sure everything is ok, that they feel supported even if there are bricks, roads, and miles between you. Allowing someone to knows they have someone available will assist us all to ride this out.

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To assist you through this troubling time for millions, it is vital we develop a can-do attitude, listen to the Government’s guidelines, and adopt healthy choices. Through this period, eating a balanced diet is vital to ensure we are meeting all the dietary needs of vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. However, from witnessing all the stockpiling at the supermarkets, understandably, this could be considered a quite challenging task. Therefore, begin meal prepping, creating a menu, and even getting the children involved. This may assist in taking some pressure off you, as it allows you to see what possibilities you may have lurking in your cupboard or freezer.

As we all know, the expectation is we should be drinking 2 litres of water a day. Especially as now, many of us are going to be less active, with no commuting to work. Drinking more water will keep you dehydrated and reduce the risks of urinary tract infections as we remain indoors. Although we may be isolated indoors, there is plenty of opportunities for us to keep fit. Joe Wicks, for example, is offering exercise classes via this website for free, which are videos and live shows allowing people to interact with one another across the country.

To keep the little ones happy, there are many different teaching resources available such as the ones below. Make their time indoors as fun as possible. Their IPADS and the Television should not be the only thing entertaining them while they are kept indoors. Considering making a fitness routine with them, a dance video, make puppets, play hide and seek. Even consider the good old fashion board games that may be lurking in the cupboard. Another suggestion is acting, create a play. Watch a Youtube video and learn the lyrics. You could even attempt to make housework fun for them.

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Since many kids are/will be home from school, sharing an awesome list of ideas from a parent who homeschools.

Online resources:
– BrainPop
– Curiosity Stream
– Tynker
– Outschool
– Udemy
– iReady
– Beast Academy (Math)
– Khan Academy
– Creative Bug
– Discovery Education

YouTube Channels:
– Crash Course Kids
– Science Channel
– SciShow Kids
– National Geographic Kids
– Free School
– Geography Focus
– TheBrainScoop
– SciShow
– Kids Learning Tube
– Geeek Gurl Diaries
– Mike Likes Science
– Science Max
– SoulPancake

Lots of board games, library books (and Kindle), tinkering/upcycling with household junk, etc.
Some resources to help with kids at home:

*Scholastic has created a free learn-from-home site with 20+ days of learning and activities.

https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/…/learnathome.html

*Pretend to travel the world..Go on a virtual tour of these 12 famous museums.

https://www.travelandleisure.com/…/museums-with-virtual-tou…

*This is the awesome free curriculum that we use. Everything from under 5 upwards.

https://allinonehomeschool.com/

*List of thinking games by grade: https://allinonehomeschool.com/thinking/

**More awesome free learning websites that we like to use**

https://www.starfall.com/h/

https://www.abcya.com/

https://www.funbrain.com/

https://www.splashlearn.com/

https://pbskids.org/

https://www.highlightskids.com/

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

https://www.coolmath4kids.com/

http://www.mathgametime.com/

https://www.uniteforliteracy.com/

http://www.literactive.com/Home/index.asp

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/

https://www.switchzoo.com/

https://www.seussville.com/

https://www.turtlediary.com/

https://www.e-learningforkids.org/

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs and Domestic Abuse

Tackling the basic needs of an individual, could encourage victims to interact with other services, promote their well-being and motivate the victim to climb Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943), possessing the opportunity to reach self-actualisation. Thus, allowing the victim to live and survive independently. Isolation is further explored by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943), which suggests that people require a foundation layer of support and sense of security: before they can feel comfortable or confident enough to redevelop connections with family and friends and begin to feel confident.  In further detail, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943) is the physiological driving force that establishes the needs of an individual to achieve their potential and feel empowered. The model consists of five stages, which are categorised into three overall needs. Fundamentally, physiological and safety needs are the basic needs a person requires to survive; belonging, love, and esteem are psychological needs. Self-actualisation is the achievement of the person’s potential, known as the self-fulfilment need.

Understandably, the psychological drivers vary within each case, as Maslow (1943) explains, someone may believe they are hungry and eat when in actuality, they are seeking emotional support, resulting in the person becoming dependent upon their physiological/psychological need, rather than a basic need of survival. Although, love and belonging are not necessary for all, and Maslow (1943) explains that love and freedom do not ensure happiness or the ability to achieve self-fulfilment, as, without the basic needs of safety or food, the love will fail to line their stomachs. When aptly comparing this to a domestic abuse relationship, victims may be blinded by the love or honeymoon stage of their relationship, while the perpetrator entraps them without their basic needs being provided.

Reference:

LGBT History Month – 2020

This year LGBT History Month reflection on “what have we learned?” as a society. The concept of LGBT History month is to increase the visibility of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and explore the history of their experiences and raise awareness of further education. The month celebrates the successes of figures such as Alan Turning, who pioneered a machine, breaking down the German Enigma code, and his actions were considered ground-breaking for his time. The month also celebrates Karl Heinrich Ulrich, who campaigns for gay rights in the 1850s.

Image result for alan turing
Reference: The New York Times (2019)

The month reflects how far society has come, as it re-looks at how social media, television, legislation has changed the world, as well as landmark events such as The Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969, creating the catalyst for gay and civil rights movement. While in 1987, EastEnders caused controversy within the British tabloids, as one man kissed another on his forehead. The outraged press, lead one of the leading actors, Colin Russell, portrayed by Michael Cashman ad a march to decimalise homosexuality and tackled Section 28, thus, leading to a review of the legislation. Moving on 25 years later, a sign of change with the introduction of same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom.  Several changes have happened in the last 30 years, as pre-1992 being gay was deemed as mental health, and many suffered barbaric ‘therapies.’

Image result for friends lesbian wedding episode
Reference: Friend Show – Image Obtained from Mirror (2016)

The American Television show Friends, screened the first-ever lesbian wedding, while the UK television show Brookside, screened the first pre-watershed (pre-9pm) lesbian kiss on television, both in the mid-90s. Pre, 2014, same-sex partners were unable to register their partner as their next to kin, thus, resulting in them not having any inheritance rights. Another example is the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act, 2004, providing transgender people with the opportunity to obtain legal recognition in their acquired gender, including full gender recognition certificates and a certificate protecting their right to anonymity (Ministry of Justice, 2017). Fast forward to 2014, following the Equality Act (2010) LGBT community has equal rights and protection in the law from discrimination.

Outing the Past have a number of events scheduled for February as they celebrate, the past and present of LGBT History Month, please see website for further details: https://www.outingthepast.com/

Saturday 22nd February – Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH

Saturday 22nd February – Museum of Liverpool, Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool L3 1DG

Additional link provides a break down of the LGBTQIA terminologies and pronouns – https://www.ucmo.edu/offices/center-for-multiculturalism-and-inclusivity-cmi/lgbtqia-terms-pronouns.pdf

Reference List:

Ministry of Justice (2017)Practice direction 7D – The Gender Recognition Act 2004 https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/family/practice_directions/pd_part_07d. London: Ministry of Justice.

Mirror (2016) Friends producer reveals cast and crew expected UPROAR for airing lesbian wedding. Available at: https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/friends-producer-reveals-cast-crew-8171593

The New York Times (2019) Overlooked No More: Alan Turing, Condemned Code Breaker and Computer Visionary. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/obituaries/alan-turing-overlooked.html

Bett’s Show 2020

As many may know, I am a keen learner; therefore, I thought it was vital for me to attend this year’s Bett show on 24th and 25th January, in London. For me, there were several highlights. Firstly, being in a room full of educators, connecting with fellow teachers, and lecturers sharing tips of the trade. Then secondary, learning new skills that I could bring back to my class, share with my colleagues, benefiting our student’s education, by improving engagement levels. Although I teach at a university level, I engaged with several projects aimed at primary and secondary schools, such as Cornerstone Education. As sometimes, there is potential to adapt different curriculum tools into higher education. The online platform, they were discussing focused on the schools, designing, and delivering the curriculum that Ofsted expects. As one of my previous roles, was reviewing Ofsted reports, this did pique my interest.

I attended the Your Grey Matters stall, which focused on available training for schools for PSE. They offer several downloadable courses that focus on public mental health, self-harm, and suicide. It is vital teachers understand the possible signs of these as well as the support staff. Therefore, I highly recommend these training platforms.

The SEND Trail was where I spend the most amount of time, as I wanted to review the different gadgets that could benefit myself and my SEND students. One of the items which I reviewed was the scanning pens. I purchased something similar a few years ago, as I often noticed when I would read something and type it, I would miss out keywords. Therefore, I looked into something that could directly copy into my Word document. This item has saved me a vast amount of time over the years, and I have felt it reduces the jumping of the words on the pages. Therefore, making it clearer to read.

While walking around the SEND trail, I was informed of two upcoming dyslexia events. These included the Dyslexia Show, happening on the 20th – 21st March 2020. The event is a free exhibit that is focused on raising awareness and also providing best practice to educators. This event will provide further information on how to support someone with dyslexia and where to locate continuing professional development (CPD) for teaching professionals. Another event I was informed about was Manchester’s 1st International Dyslexia Conference, which connects international professionals and dyslexia experts, sharing ideas and suggestions on four key areas. These include education, physical/mental health, human resources/employment, and education/work/home life. This event is taking place in July 2020. Following the discussion, I feel these are important events to boost awareness and learn new skills, which could benefit both my approach to mine and my students learning.

For 2020, Bett introduced six new themes: well-being, empowering teaching and learning, innovation, inclusion, social mobility and SEND, future tech, and trends, and skills. All of these themes are key to the success of my students. Therefore, I explored all of these while I attended the conference. Education is evolving, with technological advances improving student engagement, and students needing to be equipped with the understanding of technology, as it blended into so many roles nowadays. Therefore, in further and higher education, the adaption of new programs, for instance, for students studying web-development additional access to the latest Magento such as Magento Commerce 2.3.4, could give them the edge.

The theme empowerment I felt reflected upon encouraging the student to engage in practical work. Thus, encouraged me to develop a list of potential guests who could attend my classes and speak to my students on a practical level. As  well as consider topics such as sustainable development goals, and how this will be achieved. As a healthcare lecturer, the discussion regardless the sustainable development goals occur frequently.

Net Support Radio

Another tool that I felt was quite unusual was the Planet eStream, which allows additional tools of communication for the tutor and student. It can capture lessons by live streaming and store these for the students to access at a later date. As a student, it often easy to miss critical elements of a lesson. Therefore, systems such as these capturing data and material could enhance the students understanding of a topic as they will be able to refer back to the lesson and re-play it.

The safety and wellbeing of children are vital, and in 2018 the Government released new guidance: Keeping Children Safe in Education. Although this refers to children, several areas could be reflected in further or higher education settings. At the Betts event, I come across My Concern, who have developed a detailed summary of changes, which was provided to me. One of the topics which stood out to me was early help and establishing when additional support. 

I walked away with a number of leaflets and additional tools that could be developed in my classes. I am looking forward to attending next years, re-connect with fellow educators, who I have met.