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I used to think my bipolar disorder meant I had to suffer, like the ‘tortured geniuses’ Kurt Cobain and Van Gogh

When I was 21 I tried to kill myself. It was the evening of the 26 November 2012, at 5:52pm. I remember looking at the clock, aiming for 6pm before thinking – what am I waiting for? I sent texts to loved ones, put up a pre-written Facebook status and attempted to take my own life. Two months later I tried to do it again. This time there was no status, no warning texts, just another brutal attempt. Two months later I tried to do it again. This time, I called an ambulance half way through – alone and scared on the Euston Road.

I spent some time at my mum’s, pushing through the pain, surviving second by second. I looked into my future, and I couldn’t see anything. It was dark. Cloudy and obscured. Drained of colour in the way that only a deep dark depression can do.

Related: Experiences of bipolar disorder: 'Every day it feels like I must wear a mask'

Related: 'It's nothing like a broken leg': why I'm done with the mental health conversation

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The three leading regulatory bodies for the counselling and psychotherapy profession have created a new competence framework as a response to the mental health crisis

Suzanne Moore is right (We can talk about self-care, but this mental health crisis is political, 26 November) that counselling and psychotherapy is about talking and that “it is better to talk about things rather than not”. Addressing the mental health crisis is one of the most challenging tasks faced by us all and counselling and psychotherapy have an important role to play in providing a solution. As the three leading regulatory bodies for the counselling and psychotherapy profession, representing over 50,000 counsellors and psychotherapists, we take this role very seriously. We have registers accredited by the Professional Standards Authority, accountable to parliament, and have in place robust professional training and conduct procedures.

To ensure that we continue to offer consistent training requirements and practice standards across the three professional bodies, we are mapping and defining common professional competencies for our professions. The Scope of Practice and Education for the counselling and psychotherapy professions (SCoPEd) is a collaborative project being jointly undertaken and will enable us to produce a common, evidence-based competence framework.

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I live with severe mental illness and enjoy a good horror film. So please drop the lazy, scary cliches about anyone who’s different

I love horror films. I’m not ashamed of that, yet saying it still feels like a slightly dirty confession. That’s because I also experience severe mental illness, and I want to see people like me represented fairly. Most horror films are designed to do the exact opposite. Ever since Dr Caligari first appeared in 1920, horror films have tended to exaggerate the faintest sign of being psychologically “different” into something threatening.

I feel cheated by the way horror leans on lazy cliches when it comes to representing people experiencing mental illness. It is especially concerning as films are hugely effective mass communication devices, and many people’s first contact with severe mental illness is through film.

Related: Streaming: where to find the best horror films

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Edward Hallowell was conceived only because his father tried to kill his mother. His work helps make sense of his ‘crazy family’

Edward Hallowell was conceived thanks to an administrative error and his father’s plan to kill his mother. On the day in question, Hallowell’s father, Ben, hospitalised with schizophrenia (later identified correctly as bipolar disorder), was mistakenly allowed out on leave, and his intention – in the depths of a psychotic rage – had been to kill his wife, Dorothy. She persuaded him to change course, resulting in the conception of Edward. Ben was later collected, naked and shooting crows in a snowy cornfield, by the police.

And this is why today, after nearly 40 years as a psychiatrist, Edward Hallowell knows exactly why he chose his profession. “Because I come from a crazy family,” he says. It’s the same answer he gave when the question was posed at his first job interview (it was not among the list of expected answers).

My family were wonderful people; they were brilliant, funny, eccentric. I wanted to know what had happened to them

My father asked me if he should hang himself from the tree branch. I realised then what it meant to be crazy

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The transition to university is drastic – and not everyone sails through it. That’s why university mental health setups are second to none

At the beginning of his second year at Loughborough University, Rahul Mathasing started struggling. His moods were becoming darker, his motivation disappeared and he started missing lectures. He approached the university medical centre, which referred him to the local NHS community mental health team. His pattern of behaviour – manic episodes in which he couldn’t concentrate or sleep, as well as episodes of very low moods – led to a diagnosis, in February 2015, of bipolar disorder.

Related: Young people’s mental health: we can build a resilient generation​Paul Burstow

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Five key mistakes contributed to death of Sophie Payne, 22, in mental health unit, says jury

A young woman with mental health problems killed herself after a series of major errors by the NHS trust that was looking after her, a jury at an inquest into her death has found.

It issued a scathing assessment of the care received by Sophie Payne, 22, a “warm, bright and creative” woman who died in July 2017 in the Rose ward of Queen Mary hospital in Roehampton, south-west London.

Related: 80% of teenage girls suffer serious mental illness after sexual assault

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He’s 27 and has had seizures and depression since he was at college. But now the mood swings and frightening anger episodes mean we are struggling to cope with him as a family

My brother is 27 and had his first seizure after leaving school. At college, he struggled with the workload and his seizures and had a breakdown. He was diagnosed as having depression and possibly bipolar disorder. He hasn’t been able to keep a job and struggles with mood swings. He self-medicates using a prescription from a doctor he saw years ago, but my parents are struggling to cope with him. He has serious anger episodes and shuts people out: he’ll retreat to his room for days on end, often damaging his belongings. I am desperate for advice.

• When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Private Lives asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments that appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed.

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