HEALTH NOTES: Helping to tackle epidemic of grief

HEALTH NOTES: Helping to tackle epidemic of grief

The UK’s leading grief charity saw calls to its helpline double during the pandemic, when an estimated 2.5 million Britons lost loved ones.

In response, Cruse Bereavement Support has introduced a live instant helpline on its website,, and increased support from trained volunteers on its social-media platforms.

Charlene Vallory, Cruse’s director of fundraising, said: ‘We’ve had to cope with isolation and not being able to say goodbye, as well as the heart-breaking disruption to funerals.

‘The UK has experienced an epidemic of grief, and with demand still rising on a daily basis it’s vital that we raise the funds to give people struggling with grief the support they need.’

The UK’s leading grief charity saw calls to its helpline double during the pandemic, when an estimated 2.5 million Britons lost loved ones (stock photo)

Calm… and self-centred 

With breathing exercises that help to tune out anxious thoughts, meditation has become popular for its stress-relieving and calming benefits.

But that same detachment also makes its advocates less generous by reducing feelings of guilt, according to University of Washington researchers.

More than 1,400 participants in a trial were asked to recall a time they had wronged someone and felt guilty, before being randomly assigned to meditate or not.

They were then asked to split a hypothetical $100 between a birthday gift for the person they wronged, a charity for African flood victims and themselves.

Participants who had meditated allocated on average 17 per cent less to the person they had wronged compared with those who had not.

‘Meditating can reduce feelings of guilt, thus limiting reactions like generosity,’ says Professor Andrew Hafenbrack, a psychologist at the university. 

More than 60 per cent of endometriosis sufferers say it is not taken seriously.

The condition can lead to intense pain in the stomach and back, as well as severe period pain, but is notoriously hard to spot.

More than three-quarters of women who live with endometriosis, where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and even the bowels, say their concerns were dismissed at least four times by a medical professional before they were finally diagnosed.

According to Frendo, a support app that conducted the survey, almost one in ten sufferers aged between 18 and 24 sought medical advice more than ten times before the condition was spotted.

Amazonian tribes have some of the lowest rates of dementia in the world, possibly thanks to their physically active lifestyle.

In indigenous people in one part of the rainforest in Bolivia, less than one per cent of the older population suffer from the degenerative brain disease, researchers from the University of Southern California have found.

By comparison, four per cent of Britons over the age of 65 have dementia.