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A discipline that has transformed the lives of millions

I wish I could ask my father what he makes of the prominence of mental health in the media these days. It’s certainly a far cry from what it was like when he graduated from medical school and started practising psychiatry. Back then, it was considered the orphan child of medicine. I know that writing…
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Shamima Begum is the lucky one

With Shamima Begum’s July High Court victory, which allows the Isis bride to return to the UK to challenge the government’s decision to strip her of citizenship, it seems an apt time to remember the real victims of Isis, or “Daesh”. On August 3, 2014, Isis entered Sinjar in Nineveh province, Iraq. It commenced what…
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The psychology of the Zoom call

For months Heidi had put off the inevitable, an interview about her book, Dispatches from the Kabul Cafe. The Polish Hearth Club in London had suggested a slot in November, luckily Heidi was meant to celebrate American Thanksgiving in New Jersey. Then, they pencilled in a date for March, but the pandemic broke out, a meeting…
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Homes: Comfort in Kabul

In the once-ruined Afghanistan capital, formerly elegant homes are being revived, surviving the race to tear them down Down dirt roads and inside anonymous walled compounds, a handful of Kabul’s faded town houses, left ruined by decades of war, poverty and uncertainty, are being restored. Trina Ibrahimi, an interior designer, lives in one. Built in…
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Will the Covid-19 pandemic lead to an increase in suicides?

Mental health has preoccupied a lot of our thinking and broadcast time during the pandemic. Governments have taken trouble to sensitise us to the toll that isolation takes. After disasters, ironically, people recover, despite the absolute devastation of an earthquake or tsunami. We saw the resilience of the Brits, for example, after the Blitz, with…
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Gratitude in a time of pandemic

Gratitude is good, and countless studies have shown that gratitude-focused people have a better sense of well being, especially in crisis times. The more you can create positivity, the better able your ability to cope. Sometimes it’s not easy. T his is a particularly challenging time for Heidi to be grateful, but she has tried to…
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