Student who lost friend to suicide says mental illness is not a ‘fashionable social media trend’

Student who lost friend to suicide says mental illness is not a ‘fashionable social media trend’ and urges people to cling to any ‘glimmer of light that will keep your spark going’

  • Durham University undergraduate Amelia Melvin made heartfelt post online
  • Called on students to message friends as it ‘could be the hand that saves them’
  • English literature student also said checking in could help save someone

A student who lost a friend to suicide has said mental illness is not a ‘fashionable social media trend’ and urged those struggling to cling to any glimmer of hope that they can. 

Durham University undergraduate Amelia Melvin made the comments in a heartfelt post on Facebook that sparked an outpouring of support for people suffering from depression.

The English literature student also told friends to keep checking in on each other because it ‘could be the hand that saves their lives’.

Durham University undergraduate Amelia Melvin made the post on social media, sparking an outpouring of support for people suffering from depression

In the emotional post to a Durham University group, the first year student wrote: ‘This week I lost someone important to me to suicide.

‘He was one of the loveliest, funniest people and it’s so hard to compute that he was here one minute and gone the next.

‘I remember he always used to laugh at his pain, find the lightness in even the darkest of moments. He was so good at deflecting I never truly realised how much he was suffering.

‘So I want to take this opportunity to reiterate how important checking in on your mates is, even the ones that laugh the loudest. It could be the hand that saves their lives.

‘One person dies from suicide every 40 seconds.

‘Please don’t push those away who are pushing themselves away. Mental illness is not a fashionable social media trend, it’s not something to post about for popularity, it’s serious, it’s real and it’s happening to people you know, to people like you and me.

‘Life is a funny, messed up thing. But it’s a beautiful thing, darkness and all.’

Amelia, pictured, said that people struggling with depression could try running around their room at 3 in the morning listening to ABBA

Amelia, pictured, said that people struggling with depression could try running around their room at 3 in the morning listening to ABBA

And, offering advice to those struggling with depression, she said: ‘So go dance, go cry, go run around naked at 3 in the morning listening to ABBA. Literally do anything that gets you out of bed and puts a smile on your face, even for the smallest of moments.

‘Because when the whole world begins to feel like it’s caving in, it will be that last glimmer of light that will keep your spark going.

‘No one will be able to wave a magic wand and make it all disappear in a flash. No one can click their fingers and make your suffering go away.

‘What they can do though is talk to you and support you and they can stick by you however rough it gets.

‘I promise, even if it may not feel like it, there are people out there with enough patience and love to see you through this pain and help get you to the other side.’

The post has been liked more than 800 times and shared to other pages.

As many as 95 student suicides were recorded in England and Wales during the 12 months leading to July 2017, said the Office for National Statistics.

This is significantly lower when compared with the general population of similar ages, said Universities UK online, but the figure did not include suicides recorded at further education colleges.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.  

Lounging around for two weeks over Christmas could permanently damage your health

Two weeks of lounging around at Christmas could permanently damage your health, scientists have warned.

Researchers found just a fortnight of inactivity is enough for the muscles and bones to get weaker and the heart and lungs to become less efficient.

They tracked the health of 46 adults – in their 20s and 30s or aged over 60 – who were told to do fewer than 1,500 steps per day for 14 days.

And they found the risk was particularly bad for older people, who were likely weaker or in worse health to begin with, and could suffer from ‘significant’ deterioration.

The lazy period also made fat build up around the waist which could make someone more likely to remain fatter for the long term and increase their risk of diabetes, for example. 

Researchers found that only two weeks of sitting around and doing nothing was enough for people’s health to start to decline in ways which could have long-term impacts (stock image)

The University of Liverpool research team said most studies of physical inactivity look at extreme forms – such as space flight or bedrest – which aren’t relevant to most healthy people.

But they said their study is unique in that it looked at only two weeks of a low step-count of 1,500 per day in young and older normal adults. 

People might end up doing less activity when they’re off work over Christmas, struck down with a winter illness or stuck at home because of bad weather.  

Before the two-week period of inactivity, both groups – 26 younger participants and 21 older – did the same amount of physical activity.

Over a four-day average, each person normally did at least 10,000 steps per day but did not take part in vigorous exercise.

WHAT ARE FIVE SIMPLE STEPS TO STAYING ACTIVE? 

*As recommended by Liverpool University researchers

1. Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator wherever possible.

2. Walk to work, get off the bus a stop early or park away from the office so you have to walk in.

3. Move the printer or water cooler away from your desk so you have to get up regularly during the working day.

4. Do your weekly shop at the supermarket instead of shopping online.

5. Don’t spend the whole weekend on the sofa – mix up relaxing with activities like cleaning the house, shopping or going for a walk.

The study set out to look at whether the health of older adults was more affected by inactivity than younger people’s.

Loss of muscle and bone, and fat gain, tend to happen naturally with ageing and the changes lead to a reduced ability to perform daily activities and can lead to chronic health conditions.

The research team said that it’s especially relevant because people are now living for longer, but the time spent in good health has not increased to the same extent.

Although the findings showed that muscle size, muscle strength and bone mass equally reduced in the young and old groups after two weeks with both groups gaining similar amounts of fat in their muscles and around their waist, the older adults had less muscle and more fat to start with.

Fat levels rose by 20 per cent in the younger group and 28 per cent in the older, and leg strength dropped by five per cent in the young and more than eight per cent in the old, The Telegraph reported.

Heart and lung fitness fell by around five per cent among the younger group and 10 per cent in older people.  

Therefore, according to the researchers, the changes are likely to have more of a detrimental impact among pensioners compared with younger adults.

There were also two critical biological measures that substantially declined in the older group but not the young: cardiorespiratory fitness, or CRF, and mitochondrial function.

CRF refers to the efficiency with which oxygen is supplied to muscles during sustained physical activity, and it is influenced by cardiovascular and respiratory health.

Low CRF is usually found in those with poor physical health, with these individuals being more likely to develop diseases at a younger age.

Mitochondrial function, the energy production of our cells, is important for muscle and metabolic health.

The results suggest that these declines in CRF and mitochondrial function could play an important role in the loss of muscle mass and strength and gains in muscle and body fat during physical inactivity.

Study co-author Juliette Norman, a PhD student at Liverpool University’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, said: ‘The severe impact of short-term inactivity on our health is hugely important to communicate to people.’

She added: ‘If the gym is hard to get to, people should be encouraged to just meet 10,000 steps as even this can guard against reductions in muscle and bone health, as well as maintaining healthy levels of body fat.’

The findings are due to be presented at The Physiological Society’s early career conference, Future Physiology 2019, at Liverpool John Moores University next week.

HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO YOU NEED TO DO?

To stay healthy, adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week – for example, 2 x 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equates to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

A good rule is that 1 minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.

One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days every week.

All adults should also break up long periods of sitting with light activity.

Source: NHS 

Pensioner, 77, wins £125,000 from his late father’s £2.4m fortune in battle against his Lady niece

Colin Johnston, 77, of Barnet, north London (pictured) said he was an ‘unwanted baby’ and he was resented by his parents because his birth ended his mother’s dreams of being an actor

A pensioner who claimed his multi-millionaire father cut him out of his will because he was an ‘unwanted baby’ has won his legal battle for a slice of the £2.4 million fortune.

Colin Johnston, 77, sued his niece, Lady Natalie Wackett, 39, after his father, Lord Sidney Johnston, left her his entire fortune after he died in March 2017, aged 95.

Mr Johnston, who lives in rented accommodation with his wife, initially claimed £870,000, but later revised the sum to the £125,000, which the High Court judge accepted on Tuesday. 

Mr Johnston, who now works part-time as a driver to make ends meet, claimed he had worked diligently and loyally for his father for more than 30 years until a major ‘rift’ in 1991.

He claimed that his father had previously led him to believe that he would inherit something on his death.

His father even bought Elsie and younger son Gary – plus his two children – manorial titles – making them all lords and ladies – but snubbed Colin so he remained plain Mr Colin Johnston. 

When Sidney died, following the death of his wife Lady Elsie Johnston, in 2013, and brother Lord Gary Johnston, in 2016, he left none of his fortune to his sole surviving child Colin. 

The High Court heard Sidney and aspiring film star, Elsie, favoured Mr Johnston’s younger brother, whose daughter Natalie eventually inherited his wealth.

Mr Johnston believed his younger brother was the apple of his parents’ eyes, and that their hostility towards him stemmed from his being ‘an unwanted war baby’ – born in 1942 – while his father was serving in the RAF.

He told the court his mother, Elsie, was always ‘cool’ towards him and once told him ‘that if it had not been for him she could have been a Hollywood film star.’

Mr Johnston's barrister, David Giles, said this bitter background 'fed a determination that Colin would not inherit and favouritism expressed towards Gary, and later his daughter Natalie' (pictured)

Mr Johnston’s barrister, David Giles, said this bitter background ‘fed a determination that Colin would not inherit and favouritism expressed towards Gary, and later his daughter Natalie’ (pictured) 

Mr Johnston’s barrister, David Giles, said this bitter background ‘fed a determination that Colin would not inherit and favouritism expressed towards Gary, and later his daughter Natalie.’

And although the pensioner gave evidence in court that he always loved his father, he accepted that Sidney had ultimately come to dislike him.

Awarding him £125,000 from his father’s estate, Judge Edwin Johnson QC agreed there was ‘something fundamentally wrong from an early stage in the relationship between Colin and his parents’.

Sidney had in the past assured Colin that both he and his brother would eventually inherit his business assets, but the judge said this was misleading.

‘I have already found that Sidney had made a decision that Colin should inherit nothing from him by 1976 – if not from an earlier date,’ said the judge.

Lady Natalie (pictured outside court) was left £2.4m by her grandfather, Lord Sidney Johnston

Lady Natalie (pictured outside court) was left £2.4m by her grandfather, Lord Sidney Johnston

‘I very much regret that it seems to me, and I so find, that what Sidney actually intended for his property and what he gave Colin to understand in that respect, were two very different things.

‘I regret to have to make the finding, but I do make the finding that, in this respect, Colin was misled by his father.’

As far back as the mid-1970s, Sidney had decided to cut Colin out of his will – despite the fact that his oldest son had been working alongside him for around 20 years by that point.

‘The evidence does not disclose any reason, at least by 1984, that anything had occurred which would have caused or justified Sidney in turning against his son in this way,’ the judge noted.

He continued: ‘I find it remarkable that Sidney should have decided as long ago as 1976, if not earlier, that Colin should inherit nothing.

‘I continue to find it remarkable, and somewhat inexplicable, that a man should treat his son in this way, and that a man should favour one son over the other as Sidney favoured Gary over Colin.

‘This kind of favouritism has been causing strife within families since time immemorial.

‘In the present case, on my findings, it played a substantial part in the permanent rift which occurred between Colin and his father.’

Sidney Johnston left a ‘gross’ fortune of around £2.4m, the court heard, with a ‘net’ value after expenses of around £1.4m.

Mr Johnston, of Barnet, north London, claimed his father’s will failed to make ‘reasonable provision’ for him, suing his niece, Natalie Wackett, as executor of the estate. 

‘Prior to the rift in 1991, I have found that Sidney did give assurances to Colin that Colin would one day inherit his share of Sidney’s wealth,’ he added.

‘Mr Giles submitted that gave rise to a moral obligation owed by Sidney to Colin. I accept that submission.’

Judge Johnson ruled that Colin deserved ‘reasonable provision’ from his father’s fortune, despite the dead millionaire’s animosity towards his eldest son.

Mr Johnston is in a ‘precarious’ financial state, the judge noted, living off his state pension and from work as a driver.

Neither he nor his wife, Joan, have a secure home, and could even end up homeless if ever forced to leave their current accommodation.

Natalie Wackett’s legal team claimed Mr Johnston was responsible for the rift between him and his father in 1991, in part due to a history of gambling.

But the judge rejected those claims, finding that the reason for Mr Johnson’s departure from the family business was his deteriorating relationship with his father.

‘I do find that responsibility for these long-standing problems rested with Sidney. In this sense at least, Sidney was responsible for Colin’s departure,’ he told the court.

But the conduct of Natalie, who now runs the family car and property business, had been ‘exemplary’, he added.

She had been a ‘devoted granddaughter’ to Sidney and to Elsie, who died in 2013, and ‘worked tirelessly to provide them with care and companionship in their final years’.

However, she will still inherit the lion’s share of a rich estate from which her needs will be amply met.

Company director hounded ex-wife with 650 calls in 12 days after she put family home up for sale

Syed Ali, 44, pictured outside Manchester magistrates court, repeatedly telephoned Riffat Riaz late into the night after learning the four bedroom detached was going on the market

A company director hounded his ex-wife with 650 calls in 12 days after she put their £300,000 family home up for sale without asking him.

Syed Ali, 44, repeatedly telephoned Riffat Riaz late into the night after learning the four bedroom detached house was going on the market.

In some calls he warned her: ‘You have 24 hours to take the ‘for sale’ signs down – or there will be consequences.’

During his torrent of calls, Ali was said to be abusive to businesswoman Mrs Riaz, 43, and also accused her of letting two of their three children play truant from school.

He was initially given a warning after Mrs Riaz who is managing director of a lifestyle consultancy went to police but he was later arrested when the nuisance calls persisted.

At one point he called her 513 times in a three day period alone.

In a statement Mrs Riaz said: ‘This pattern of behaviour had a huge impact on me as my ex husband was constantly contacting me.

‘Whilst on the outside I might look OK, inwardly I feels scared and can’t do anything about it. I have three children to provide for, who the defendant is not helping with, and I am bringing them up alone. I’ve also since had to change my phone number.

‘This has affected me personally. My confidence is now gone and I have become paranoid. It has taken me a long time for me to move on.’

At Manchester magistrates court Ali, who lives in an apartment in Rochdale admitted harassment and was sentenced to 10 months jail suspended for 18 months.

Riffat Riaz, pictured, said the behaviour of her ex-husband had left her feeling scared and she had to change her phone number

Riffat Riaz, pictured, said the behaviour of her ex-husband had left her feeling scared and she had to change her phone number

During his torrent of calls, Ali, pictured outside Manchester magistrates court, was said to be abusive to businesswoman Mrs Riaz, 43, and also accused her of letting two of their three children play truant from school

During his torrent of calls, Ali, pictured outside Manchester magistrates court, was said to be abusive to businesswoman Mrs Riaz, 43, and also accused her of letting two of their three children play truant from school

He was also prohibited from contacting Mrs Riaz for two years under the terms a restraining order. 

It is not known whether the £300,000 property complete with ornamental fish pond is still up for sale. Its location cannot be named for legal reasons.

The court heard the couple who ran a number of marketing companies together had been married for 16 years but split up last year. The nuisance calls began on February 24 this year after Ali discovered his ex-wife had put their house up for sale.

Prosecutor Richard Greenhough said: ‘She received consistent calls from a ‘No Caller ID’, which she believed to be her ex husband. 

‘She believed this as she answered one call and recognised the voice as that of her ex husband who became verbally abusive to her.

‘The reason for that was because he found out she put the house up for sale and the reason why she answered the call was she was selling the house both parties owned.

‘During the call he was saying: ‘you have 24 hours to take the ‘for sale’ signs down or there will be consequences.’ 

Due to that, the complainant called the police and following this call they went round to speak to this defendant to warn him of his behaviour and tell him not to have contact with her.

‘They did go round to the defendants address to give him a warning, which was located in a block of flats. Eventually when they were able to get into the building, he initially denied making any contact with the complainant, but was told not to make any further contact with his ex partner.

Ali has been prohibited from contacting Mrs Riaz, pictured, for two years under the terms a restraining order

Ali has been prohibited from contacting Mrs Riaz, pictured, for two years under the terms a restraining order

‘However, the calls continued to his ex partner. An officer in the case made a check of the phones between the parties between 2nd March and 14th March. In total there were 655 calls made between parties. Between 3rd and 6th March, 513 calls were made.

‘Between 12th and 13th March, 106 calls were made. Of those calls, the most common time for contacting her was between 11pm and midnight. 274 calls were made during that time. 

‘The second most common time was between 10 and 11, where 180 calls had been made. 104 calls were made after midnight but before 2.15am. Most of the calls were between one and five seconds.

‘As a result of that contact the complainant told the defendant if he had an issue he had to go through the court or via the solicitors. She has since had to change her phone number. There has been no further contact between parties since his arrest.’

In a statement Ali said: ‘Riffat Riaz is my ex partner and we were in a 16 year relationship and had three children together but the relationship broke down in 2018.

‘I had a nervous breakdown and I left work due to depression. I accept making the calls as my son and daughter were truanting at school and I was looking for information as I was concerned. Also, my ex wife was trying to sell our marital home without my consent or permission.’

In mitigation defence lawyer Miss Naila Akhtar said: ‘He was suffering with a mental breakdown and a report said he also had difficulties with having access to his children.

‘He has since suffered with insomnia. Last night he was up at 2am thinking about the court proceedings. His mental health is something he needs to deal with and is something he will have to do moving forward in his life.’

Sentencing Ali, chair of the bench Mr Hugh Keachie said: ‘These were persistent calls over a number of weeks and there was greater harm caused because of the distress caused to the victim and the effect it had on her life.’

 

Woman pumps gas into a plastic bag and then puts it in the trunk of her car 

What is she thinking? Woman pumps gas into a plastic bag and then puts it in the trunk of her car

  • The video was recorded by a customer at a Kroger gas station in Houston, Texas
  • The woman fills a large, white bag to bursting as she holds it with both hands 
  • Gas spurts out of a split in plastic carrier and splashes out on to the forecourt

A woman was caught on camera pumping gas into a plastic bag before putting it into the trunk of her car.

The bizarre video was recorded by another customer at a Kroger gas station in Houston, Texas

In the footage, the woman, who appears to be wearing a black apron, can be seen standing next to a petrol pump.

She is holding a large, white plastic bag with both hands which she has almost filled to bursting.

She soon returns the nozzle to its stand before turning away from the pump.

But then gas begins to spurt out of a split in the bottom of the carrier bag and splashes out on to the forecourt.

She fills the back but quickly notices that gas is spurting out and is splashing out on to the forecourt

The bizarre video was recorded by another customer at a Kroger gas station in Houston, Texas, as the woman stands next to the gas pump. She fills the plastic bag but quickly notices that gas is spurting out and is splashing out on to the forecourt

The woman sees that the bag has sprung a leak and decides to set it down on to the ground before hastily tying the two handles together.

She momentarily leaves it sat on the concrete while she walks over to the open trunk of her car where she pulls out yet another plastic carrier.

She opens it up before attempting to lift the original bag into the second in order to double-wrap it. 

Eventually she manages to gather up the whole bundle and grapples with the weight of it as she walks back over to her vehicle.  

She sets it firmly down in the trunk and the video ends shortly after.   

She hastily ties the handles together before putting the bundle inside a second carrier

She grapples with the weight of it as she walks back over to her vehicle

She hastily ties the handles together before putting the bundle inside a second carrier before grappling with the weight of it to put it in the trunk of her vehicle

She sets it firmly down in the trunk and the video ends shortly after

She sets it firmly down in the trunk and the video ends shortly after

The clip was originally uploaded to Facebook by Jason DjJruda Rudison.

He posted it alongside the caption: ‘Sorry for my bad video but what the hell is this lady doing.’

It has since been viewed more than six million times with social media users quick to comment on the woman’s actions.

One user, Graham Owen, wrote: ‘What could possibly go wrong.’

This was echoed by Leonie Collins who added: ‘Oh my lord! She’s lucky if she’s still alive!!’