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On my last day in the office before Christmas, time for blogging is tight.  Here are a few things I’d comment on in more detail if time allowed.

On my last day in the office before Christmas, time for blogging is tight.  Here are a few things I’d comment on in more detail if time allowed.

  1. Two important pieces about mental health and employment came out this week. The first is a new survey from CIPD which draws attention both to the prevalence of mental health problems in the workplace and also to the severity of the taboo surrounding them. Bluntly, employers don’t want to know about the mental health concerns of their staff, despite the fact that they're costing billions. The second shows that one of the most important predictors for sustained recovery from schizophrenia is being in employment. Combined, the findings of these studies add to the evidence that the time is ripe to rethink how mental health is handled in the workplace, and how people with mental illnesses can be best supported to work sustainably. There’s a lot to say about these issues, and I will certainly return to this in the New Year.
  2. Jonathan Freedland’s great piece on reality TV in an age of austerity is an uplifting read. The article identifies a sub-genre of reality TV which connects communities, injects individuals with confidence and leaves all of us feeling optimistic. The BBC’s The Choir is the exemplar of this, and, having been surprised to find myself weeping during each of the handful of episodes I’ve watched this season, Freedland’s article came as a reassuring vindication of my sentimentality. I agree with his comments about Gareth Malone, who I am sure is every bit as committed to transforming people’s lives through singing as he appears to be in the show.
  3. There's an interesting new study about the impact of birdsong on wellbeing. A 3 year research project is underway, and while I’m curious as to what the findings will be, I can’t help wondering how desperate is the need for research of this kind, and what is the potential for really making a difference to people’s lives through conducting work of this type. Assuming they find that listening to birdsong is great for our psychological wellbeing – what are the applications? Piped recordings of nightingales in offices?
  4. And finally, a brilliant satire from Neal Pollock on the rush of writers clamouring “I knew Christopher Hitchens better than you”.
  5. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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