Grace, 16, has been bullied for the past nine years, has moved schools twice, struggled with suicidal thoughts and taken medication for anxiety and depression. By School Reports
At one point, she says, "there was no-one to turn to in the school and I felt so low I didn't want to go on".
According to research for School Report, half of teenagers with mental wellbeing issues try to cope alone.
And a third said they were not confident enough to speak to a teacher.
At her lowest point, Grace made a "suicide video", which she posted on YouTube.
"I'd get beaten up every week," she says.
"Teachers wouldn't do anything. I even heard the teachers talking about me behind my back."
According to her mother, Sarah, Grace got some help through external music therapy and counselling but little support directly from her first two schools.
Support is better at her third school, where she helps as an anti-bullying ambassador.
She is also a member of the National Anti-Bullying Youthboard.
ComRes researchers questioned a representative sample of more than 1,000 UK-based 11- to 16-year-olds for School Report:
The plans include better links between schools and NHS specialist staff and mental health first aid training for every secondary school.
Reacting to the School Report research, Edward Timpson, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, said the government would "transform mental health services in schools" and was commissioning research to help schools identify which approaches worked best.
"Growing up in today's world can be a challenge for children and young people, so it's vital that they get the help and support they need," said Mr Timpson.
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Our Bible App is coming soon by Brittney McNamara
Yes, the Bible does say that homosexuality is a sin. But it also says that eating pork, wearing a cotton/polyester blend, letting your hair become "unkempt," period sex, and a whole list of things many of us do every single day are sins, sometimes punishable by death. These sins, included in Leviticus, are often disregarded. While rules on eating meat and wearing blended fabrics have largely shed away, the Bible can still feel inaccessible for LGBTQ people.
That's why Crystal Cheatham created Our Bible App, an app focused on LGBTQ, women, and people of color who have faith.
Our Bible App will launch this June and it's looking to take the Bible "back to the roots," helping people of all colors and creeds worship in the way that makes them feel best. In a statement, Crystal said she was driven to create the app after feeling like her faith was being erased.
“I’m black, I’m a lesbian, and I’m tired of feeling like my faith doesn’t matter,” Crystal said. “Some think it’s an anomaly that a black lesbian can be a Christian, but there are many out there like me, not just gay but those who are pro-choice and Christian, anti-Trump and Christian and interfaith and Christian.”
We often have ideas of what certain people look like or believe in, but the truth is people don't fit into neat little categories. Being religious and believing in social justice, or being pro-choice aren't mutually exclusive. That's why Our Bible App will include various meditations, translations, chats, podcasts and readings focused on different ways to worship. From social justice devotionals to spiritual-based readings the app plans to cater to all kinds of people who want to practice their bible-based religion, not just those who most people think want to worship
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Stigma doesn't help keep us healthy (but safer sex does)
By Rachel Feltman
Love is in the air, my friends. And you know what else is in the air? A whole world of bacterial and viral infections just waiting to make themselves at home in your vulnerable mucus membranes. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) aren't gross, yucky, a sign of poor judgement or character, or even all that uncommon. In fact, if you have sex, you're probably going to end up getting one. You're literally more likely to get one than to never get one. You might even have one right now and not know it. And that's not the end of the world.
What the hell is an STI?
It all hinges on the definition of disease:
Diseases are supposed to impair normal bodily function, and usually involve some kind of symptom or another. Infection is a broader term: it just means that a virus, parasite, or bacterium has infiltrated your system and set up shop there. Sometimes STIs can impair bodily function and/or produce symptoms, but they very often do not. Most sexually transmitted infections go totally unnoticed. Do you get that this is about to be important? It's about to be important.
You probably have an STI (and it's probably herpes)
You don't have an STI, because you know you're not covered in oozing sores. Right? Wrong.
Nearly all sexually transmitted infections are capable of going incognito—some will lie dormant for a year or so before making you sick, and others will never make you sick at all. Nearly all men and women with chlamydia are totally asymptomatic, while most women and about half of men who acquire gonorrhea will go symptom-free. Syphilis (which, contrary to popular belief, is not a thing of the past) can sometimes be totally asymptomatic—or at least stay hidden until the late-stage of the disease starts to rot your brain. Most men never have symptoms when they pick up the parasite trichomoniasis ("trich"), and HPV patients are often wart-free. Hepatitis B can feel like the flu, and even HIV symptoms sometimes take as long as a decade to make themselves known. HSV-1 and HSV-2, known as oral and genital herpes, are mostly asymptomatic.
Let's unpack just that last one to put STI stigma into perspective: Herpes has been the butt of jokes for decades.
But not forever. Just for a few decades. And it's not like herpes is a new thing—Ancient Greek scholars described its symptoms in detail. But in the 1970s, pharmaceutical companies came out with an anti-viral drug designed to treat the chronic infection. And if you want people to buy a drug designed to treat a largely asymptomatic, usually harmless infection, you have to make that infection seem real scary. Many researchers blame ad campaigns from the 1970s and '80s for creating herpes' nasty reputation.
The truth is less sexy (or maybe more sexy, depending on your perspective). According to the World Health Organization, over two-thirds of the global population have HSV-1 (commonly known as oral herpes or cold sores) and more than 10 percent have HSV-2, or genital herpes. Rates are much higher in urban areas. And in one New York study, 90 percent of HSV-2 positive patients had never had symptoms and never been tested.
This isn't surprising, because the virus lives insidiously inside nerve cells, hiding from the immune system and popping up to occasionally to cause blister outbreaks—or not. For most people, herpes is no big deal, health-wise.
But wait, you say, I have the good HSV. HSV-1 is just cold sores, and a cold sore isn't a herpetic blister of doom! But you're wrong again. HSV-1 tends to prefer living in mouths, while HSV-2 prefers living in genitals. But they're not total homebodies. In recent years, there's been a sharp uptick in young people with HSV-1 who experience genital outbreaks instead of oral cold sores. This is likely because they had their first exposure to the virus by way of oral sex instead of a friendly smooch from a relative. So if you think "herpes" is icky but have had sex without warning a partner that you sometimes get cold sores, you get to wear the cone of shame for the next couple minutes.
And even if you never get to join the herpes club, chances are decent that you'll encounter some STI or another: More than half of all humans will have an STI at some point in their lifetime.
Thinking STIs are gross and bad is gross and bad (and dangerous)
Studies have repeatedly shown that folks who buy into STI stigma—the idea that they're gross, or that people who get them are immoral or dirty—are less likely to get tested for STIs. So by carrying on in willful ignorance, you may unconsciously be encouraging yourself to avoid diagnosis and treatment for any STIs you might have. And by spreading the hate around, you're making it more likely that other people—including ones you might sleep with one day—will feel flippant or ashamed about sexual health screening.
And then there's the whole matter of empathy: it goes without saying that a culture of STI stigma makes people feel pretty cruddy about getting them. And for someone who has to live with a chronic STI—HSV, HIV, Hepatitis B, and some cases of HPV—that cruddy feeling might not ever go away. And that's pretty dumb, because those people can tooooooooootally still have sex. Responsibly. For real.
How to avoid getting an STI
None of this is to say that we should shrug our shoulders and give up on controlling the spread of sexually transmitted disease. While it's true that many people who pick up an STI will live blissfully ordinary lives regardless, there are exceptions: Zika can cause miscarriages or severe developmental problems. A woman who acquires herpes during her pregnancy might not be able to give birth vaginally without putting her child at risk of infection—which is very dangerous for an infant. While HIV treatment has progressed marvelously in recent years, it can still progress into AIDS if left unchecked. Gonorrhea can turn into an antibiotic-resistant infection. Other STIs can lead to infertility, even if they never display symptoms. And then of course there's the small, lucky bunch of patients who will get hit with the textbook version of their STI and have to put up with painful sores or disquieting discharge.
It's your responsibility, as a decent human who would like the privilege of having sexual intercourse with other decent humans, to fight back against stigma and get tested regularly. And if you get a positive diagnosis, it's your responsibility to minimize the risk of your partners. But that's not really all that hard.
Knowledge is power, and consent is important
Let's go back to herpes as an example (since it is, after all, everyone's favorite STI). According to research, women with HSV-2 who don't have active blisters have just a 4 percent risk of transmitting the virus to a male partner during intercourse. Oral sex is much less risky, though there isn't a lot of data on the particulars. Men carry a 10 percent risk of transmitting HSV-2 to a female partner during intercourse, and condoms cut the risk in half in both cases. Plus there's research that indicates the daily use of anti-viral therapy can cut risk in half again. Still, the only way to avoid a "whoops, I gave you herpes" conversation is to make sure they're okay with the minor risk—and understand what herpes is and isn't—beforehand.
And herpes is exceptionally easy to transmit, as far as STIs go, since it relies on skin-to-skin contact instead of bodily fluids. Most STIs are basically a non-issue if you use a condom correctly (hint: the 15 percent of you who remove condoms before sex is over are not using condoms correctly). And since you're obviously going to go get tested and insist all your partners do the same, you'll knock that crap out with antibiotics before sleeping with anyone new anyway. Right? Right. Of course. Please.
So as you go out into the world to enjoy a day of smooching, remember: Get screened for STIs regularly, talk openly with all your partners about STI status, and use protection to make the sex you have safer. But if you have a run-in with an STI, don't be a jerk about it—you're not doing yourself or the rest of us any favors.
The Priestess and the Oracle - Liberation of the Priestess by Isabel Cutter
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters
Akeya took out her rosary and began to prayer. "I was born Aurora holy celestial constellation daughter of the rosary of liberation. Ioho you were reborn out of blood and water of war. I was born from the earth and fire of God's breath. You came here to kill and destroy."
"Ioho!" she shouted "Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination. "You are still a child high priestess Akeya gate keeper to the afterlife resurrector of man of the Lazarus Tomb, I beseech this to give me hope." She walked across the temple and he followed her. She stood next to the mirror and directed him to stand in front of it. "Ioho brother we are not possessed by the spirits drunk in the temple of Baal, look behind you, and the sand that fell from your coat is from his hour glass. You killed one of his prophets and you think I will yield and let you enslave me." He grabbed her by the hand fear gripped the High Priestess. "You are a Sadducee of men look around the warriors have surrounded us to defend you. Give me word so I may live again in battle."
The archer stood from above them ready to kill Ioho. She looked at the archer her eyes full of mercy and then looked at Ioho his eyes full of fear and confusion. Akeya placed her hand on Ioho's hand and started the patted it. Ioho's body began to relax and he fell to the ground in prayer with her. "Tell me what you fear brother Ioho, tell me the truth as we were not birthed from the same womb; the Gods brought us together through mercy at death's door in the Lazarus Pit." He began to murmur about his king and the kingdom of its future telling her all the seers only saw the end of his king’s greatness. Aurora put on her peacock Hemhem tiara and sat with her tiara pharaoh hounds. The warrior blow the battle horn. She began to chant as she had learned from Cleopatra Holy Pharaoh and Empress:
Of King David.
1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great.
6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
8 The Lord will vindicate me;
your love, Lord, endures forever--
do not abandon the works of your hands.
"Ioho I am no God and I cannot see the future only the deeds of mankind. We must take my mirrors to your kingdom first thing in the morning and I will show how to read mankind. “ Ioho responded "I do not have that time Archdeacon Aurora. Your archer has already marked me for the death. I am Ioho the War Lord man of God. I will stay and listen to your stories. Exit with you from this temple will only mean my death." Aurora the High Priestess Akeya battle maid looked at him and saw her sober brother. The spirits that intoxicated him to murder had left his soul she had nursed him correctly back to health in the Lazarus pit.
Trust no man who drags you to drink in temples and churches for he only forages the words of your tongue and the future he will steal from you a lesson I learnt from another Priestess who stole my tongue. That harvest is not yet ours Ioho, the arch angel of death has plans for her we watch her hour glass from afar my prince. Welcome home.
24th December 2016
He took up his discourse and said, "The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, And the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, The oracle of him who hears the words of God, And knows the knowledge of the Most High, Who sees the vision of the Almighty, Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered. Numbers 24:15-16 Balaam showed King Balak how to trap the Israelites so that God might destroy them. For the lost and the lonely for those seeking and those found. Beware of prophecies written by men and women of this century. By Isabel Cutter
First-look review of the Doctor Who story lost since the 60s. One Whovian lapped up the new animated version of Power of the Daleks, which has been missing for half a century. It’s as chilling as fans.