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# stigma - Tuesday 7 October, 2014

'Upbeat' radio station aims to start positive conversation about mental health

The pop-up radio station is live all this week.

# stigma - Monday 28 July, 2014

More training needed for teachers on female genital mutilation to identify children at risk

In Ireland it is estimated that 3,780 women have undergone female genital mutilation.

# stigma - Wednesday 9 July, 2014

'Continued effort needed' to tackle stigma towards mental health issues

A new ESRI report also recommends integrated services for ‘physical and mental disabilities’.

# stigma - Tuesday 17 June, 2014

Struggling with your mental health, but don't know where to turn? This can help

Mental Health Reform says people are unsure of where to go next when they or a loved one first start to experience a mental health difficulty.

# stigma - Sunday 8 June, 2014

'Once you say you're HIV positive, you can't take it back'

HIV in Ireland: screening, stigma and support

# stigma - Thursday 1 May, 2014

Want to end mental health stigma? Get talking

The Green Ribbon campaign aims to get people talking about mental health and help break the stigma.

# stigma - Wednesday 16 April, 2014

Men being treated for eating disorders up 67% in the last five years

Bodywhys says the misconception that eating disorders are a ‘female issue’ can sometimes make it harder for a man to acknowledge there is a problem.

# stigma - Saturday 12 April, 2014

Getting counselling but want to keep it private? You better pay in cash Cash Or Card This post contains a poll

Getting counselling but want to keep it private? You better pay in cash

Looking after your mental health but want to keep it private. We ask, should it be hidden from your bank statements?

# stigma - Monday 31 March, 2014

'4,000 people are doing time in Irish Prisons - 4,000 families are doing time outside'

New documentary looks at how families of prisoners cope in the outside world.

# stigma - Monday 11 November, 2013

Column: People using mental health services should be active participants in their own care

We need recovery-oriented services for mental health which involves the input not just of doctors, but of the individual and the community, writes Dr Shari McDaid.

# stigma - Tuesday 23 April, 2013

One third of people with bipolar disorder unable to work - report

Around 40,000 people in Ireland have bipolar disorder, but many were only diagnosed after experiencing symptoms for between 2 and 3 years.

# stigma - Saturday 6 April, 2013

10 signs that you are addicted to shopping

It might sound like a joke – but the stress, debt and emotional dependence is nothing to laugh about.

# stigma - Monday 7 January, 2013

What Stigma? Short doc looks at Ireland's mental health

Mental health experts talk opendly and eloquently about Ireland’s experiences.

# stigma - Sunday 11 November, 2012

Column: ‘Surely it’s time Ireland embraced the memorial poppy’

It’s not about choosing sides – Ireland should lose its timidity and commemorate fallen Irish soldiers, writes David McCann.

# stigma - Sunday 30 September, 2012

Read Me: An open letter to my own depression

Garry Williams, who has suffered from depression for years, addresses his illness directly.

# stigma - Monday 10 September, 2012

20 per cent think people with mental health problems are 'of below average intelligence'

More than 40 per cent of people surveyed said that undergoing treatment for mental health problem is a sign of personal failure.

# stigma - Friday 15 June, 2012

Column: 'There are 1800 people in Ireland who may have HIV but don't know it'

On Irish AIDS Day, Pam McHugh says people should ask themselves if they know their HIV status – and if not, why not.

# stigma - Monday 14 November, 2011

Column: I tried to take my own life – and this is what it taught me

Depressed and confused, Damian Martin attempted suicide. He writes about what led him to it, and what he learned.

# stigma - Sunday 16 October, 2011

Mental health groups challenge candidates to come up with plans

The seven presidential candidates have mentioned mental health issues and suicide prevention during their campaigns. Three Irish mental health groups have asked for their plans.

# stigma - Sunday 9 October, 2011

Poll: Should Irish people be more open about mental health problems? Your Say This post contains a poll

Poll: Should Irish people be more open about mental health problems?

New initiatives are aiming to reduce the stigma around psychological issues. Do you think this is still a problem in Ireland?

# stigma - Saturday 14 August, 2010

WE ALL know somebody who is a little “fussy” about their food – maybe they don’t really like fish or anything spicy. Some people are fussier again: they might not eat anything with vegetables, or fruit, or meat.

Then there are people who will only eat foods that are”safe”.

These “safe” foods tend to be the same for most extremely picky eaters; they are bland in taste, light in colour, and have a smooth texture – like potatoes, plain pasta and plain chicken.

What makes someone a fussy eater?

For those of us who have no aversions to food it can be difficult to understand why someone would refuse a perfectly good meal – because food brings us pleasure. And, even if we’re not overly fond of olives or mustard or salmon, it’s not the end of the world to pop a morsel into our mouths at a dinner party.

Being a fussy eater is more common in childhood, many children refuse to try certain foods or suddenly stop eating foods that they had previously enjoyed – sometimes for years. This could, very plausibly, be down to a child’s sensory perception being more sensitive or just a normal part of their taste development.

At best, then, being a fussy eater is seen as something that people will – and should – “grow out of”.

At worst, it’s seen as weird, rude, annoying behaviour that is willingly chosen by contrary attention-seekers.

Is it an eating disorder?

The next time you’re frantically scanning the fridge for a substitute to prawns, and quietly cursing the guest who has scuppered your dinner plans, think twice about writing off your friend as a self-indulgent noticebox.

Scientists at Duke University in North Carolina are currently putting together the first ever global registry of “picky eaters” in an attempt to get to the bottom of why some people have trouble with food. The registry, the Food F.A.D. Study (Finicky Eating in Adults), will look at a problem that some believe has been long-overlooked.

In fact, some experts feel so strongly that the problem could be a serious disorder that it is currently being considered for inclusion in the next edition of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which will be published in 2013.

If  it is approved for inclusion, fussy eating will likely be classified as a type of eating disorder. However, as the problem has nothing to do with body image, it will be distinct from conditions like anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

As with all classified, clinical mental disorders the problem of fussy eating  would need to cause significant distress and interfere with a suffer’s everyday life.

That won’t be difficult for many adult fussy eaters – some of whom are so embarrassed by their behaviour that they refuse to go to friends’ houses for dinner, feign illness or allergies to avoid eating foods that scare them, or avoid any social gatherings where food may be offered (which, when you start to think about it, is most of them).

What are researchers looking for?

As research is still ongoing, it’s unclear exactly what results the Dukes scientists will eventually produce. Perhaps they will be able to pinpoint the genetic, environmental, or social causes of a food aversion – or recommend a method of treatment.

Either way, for fussy eaters who dread socializing because for fear they will be seen as weird or rude if they refuse food, this study could at least go some way in reducing the social stigma that they experience.