Who Projected a Smiley Face On London’s Parliament Across From A Hospital Last Night?

An image of a smiley face was projected onto the Houses of Parliament to spread an uplifting message of positivity during tough times.

Any smile—but especially one that is 27 yards wide—can go a long way to cheering people up, especially when it’s directly across the river from a hospital.

The lipstick-wearing smiley was beamed onto the famous structure last night, on the eve of World Emoji Day.

The positive image was in full view of St. Thomas’s hospital, and it stood as a reminder of how good it feels to smile. Passersby who saw the images last night said it brightened up their evening considerably.

“Seeing the smiley made me laugh,” said Dave Crawford. It’s also opposite a hospital, and you hope that people get to look out and see it.”

RELATED: Boy Sets Up ‘Drive-By Joke Stand’ to Spread Laughter During Quarantine

Everybody knows we need more smiles right now—especially because it’s hard to know if people are smiling behind their face masks.

SWNS

Another onlooker, Kate Sandison, said the projection was a great surprise. “It looks great and makes you feel good. It made me smile.”

Commissioned by the cosmetics company Ciaté London, founder and CEO Charlotte Knight said they designed a new range of Smileys that include lashes and lipstick, created in partnership with the originators of the concept.

“Particularly at times like this it’s important to see the positives in everyday moments by sharing smiles.”

WATCH the inspiring video below from SWNS…

SHARE The Smiles on Your Social Media Feed—Your Friends May Need It!

Medical News Today: Thousands of LA jail inmates should receive community mental health support

A new report has found that more than half of the people with mental health conditions currently confined in Los Angeles county jails would benefit from mental health treatment in specialized community centers instead of incarceration.

image of prison corridorShare on PinterestThousands of LA jail inmates would benefit from receiving mental health support away from prison, a new report suggests.

The Los Angeles (LA) county jail system holds thousands of inmates at any one time, and past reports have suggested that these include many people who were previously homeless and who experience mental health issues.

As a result, if they do not receive appropriate support, these people have a high chance of recidivism, as well as a high likelihood of experiencing homelessness once more after their release from jail.

For this reason, last year, the LA County Board of Supervisors decided to focus more on the possibility of offering mental health support in community-based centers to inmates who may qualify for it.

To this end, LA County commissioned RAND Corporation — a not-for-profit, global policy-oriented research organization — to find out how many current county jail inmates would benefit from moving to community-based facilities to receive mental health treatment.

The 31 page report used data about the jail population from June 2019, which revealed that at that time, 5,544 inmates were living in special mental health housing units or receiving psychotropic drugs, or both.

A pathway to ‘smart policy making’

The researchers who conducted this study had to develop a set of considerations to find out how many and which of these inmates would benefit from diversion to community-based mental healthcare.

Eligible individuals, the researchers say, are those who experience a serious mental illness that requires targeted therapy.

“Knowing how many people are appropriate for diversion is a first step toward understanding the types of programs, staff, and funding that would be needed to treat those individuals in the community,” says lead author Stephanie Brooks Holliday.

The researchers estimated that 3,368 — or 61% — of these LA county jail inmates were definitely eligible for diversion to community-based clinical services, while an additional 414 (7%) were potentially eligible.

The remaining 32% of the people in this prison subpopulation (1,762 individuals) were definitely not eligible for diversion, according to the new report.

When applying the eligibility criteria to a representative sample of 500 participants living in county jails who also experienced mental health problems, the researchers found that 59% of the men and 74% of the women were eligible for diversion to a mental health program.

“Diversion is stopping the cycle between jail and homelessness,” emphasizes county supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was not involved in the study on which the report was based.

Just in the last 3 years, the Office of Diversion and Reentry has safely diverted over 4,400 people from the county jails to more appropriate settings where they can get treatment, instead of the costly alternative of serving additional time in jail and being released with no supports, too often ending up homeless. This is smart policy making.”

Mark Ridley-Thomas

“RAND’s research underscores the need to double down on diversion to reach all those who could benefit,” the LA county supervisor adds.

The researchers involved in the RAND study also make some recommendations in their report. One of these is that the relevant authorities should increase the number and capacity of community-based programs for diversion.

Another recommendation is that LA County officials should improve the quality of data collection processes to get more information about jail inmates eligible for diversion.

“[E]ven with increases in diversion, there will continue to be a large number of individuals with mental health needs who remain in the jails,” Holliday cautions.

That is why, she adds, “[i]t is important that there are services in place to care for people who are incarcerated and provide continuing services once they are released back into the community.”

Medical News Today: How the ‘rubber hand illusion’ may help those with OCD

New research shows how the use of a multisensory illusion may help treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The new method could bypass the disadvantages of exposure therapy.

person washing handsShare on PinterestContamination fears may cause people with OCD to wash their hands excessively.

In 1998, researchers Matthew Botvinick and Jonathan Cohen of the University of Pittsburgh, PA, detailed an experiment that people would later refer to as the “rubber hand illusion” (RHI).

In the experiment, 10 people sat down, resting their left arm on a table. A screen hid each participant’s arm from view, and instead, they could see a life-sized rubber hand model.

The researchers placed the hand right in front of the person so that they could see it from the same angle as they would their own hand.

After asking each participant to fix their gaze on the rubber hand, the experimenters used two small paintbrushes to stroke the rubber hand and the participant’s actual hand at the same time.

After 10 minutes, the participants reported feeling the rubber hand as though it were their own.

Now, new research has used the RHI to help people with contamination-related OCD overcome their fears.

Baland Jalal, a neuroscientist in the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, is the first author of the new paper, which appears in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

In contamination-related OCD, the fear of touching a doorknob, for example, may cause people with the condition to spend hours washing and scrubbing their hands to an excessive degree afterward.

Doctors and mental health professionals often recommend “exposure therapy” to treat this and other forms of OCD.

Exposure therapy encourages people with OCD to start touching potentially contaminating surfaces without washing their hands afterward.

However, says Jalal, “exposure therapy can be very stressful and so is not always effective or even feasible for many patients.”

This limitation is what made him and his colleagues want to explore other options, such as contaminating a fake hand instead.

Using a fake hand to treat OCD

The new research builds on previous RHI experiments that Jalal carried out together with fellow neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, who is a co-author of the new study.

In these previous studies, Jalal and Ramachandran contaminated the fake hand with fake feces, and the participants reported feeling disgusted in the same way that they would if they had used their own hand.

For the new study, the researchers recruited 29 people with OCD from the McLean Hospital Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute in Belmont, MA.

Of these participants, 16 experienced the paintbrush stroking on both their real hand and the dummy hand at exactly the same time, whereas 13 controls experienced the stroking out of synch.

After 5 minutes, the experimenters asked how real the dummy hand felt to the participants. Then, they used a tissue to smear the dummy hand with fake feces while simultaneously touching the real, hidden hand with a damp paper towel to mimick the feeling of them having feces on their hand.

The experimenters again asked the participants to rate their level of disgust, as well as how anxious they were and how strongly they felt the urge to go and wash their hand.

RHI may ease OCD contamination fears

At first, both groups reported feeling the illusion, regardless of whether or not the stroking of the two hands was simultaneous.

Then, the researchers took away both the clean paper towel and the fake feces tissue, leaving fake feces on the dummy hand. After this, they stroked the rubber hand and the real hand for another 5 minutes, still either synchronously or asynchronously.

In this condition, the participants in the intervention group reported feeling more disgusted than those in the control group.

In the next step, the stroking stopped, and the researchers placed fake feces on the real right hand of each of the participants.

This time, the people in the control group rated their anxiety, disgust, and urge to wash at seven on a 10-point Likert scale, whereas the intervention group reported these factors as a nine.

“Over time, stroking the real and fake hands in synchrony appears to create a stronger and stronger and stronger illusion to the extent that it eventually felt very much like their own hand,” reports Jalal.

“This meant that after 10 minutes, the reaction to contamination was more extreme.”

Although this was the point our experiment ended, research has shown that continued exposure leads to a decline in contamination feelings — which is the basis of traditional exposure therapy.”

Baland Jalal

Replacing traditional exposure therapy

In other words, the researcher believes that it is safe to conclude from these findings that after 30 minutes, participants would experience a drop in feelings of anxiety, disgust, and washing urge, based on the proven success of exposure therapy.

“If you can provide an indirect treatment that is reasonably realistic, where you contaminate a rubber hand instead of a real hand, this might provide a bridge that will allow more people to tolerate exposure therapy or even to replace exposure therapy altogether,” continues the scientist.

He adds, “Whereas traditional exposure therapy can be stressful, the rubber hand illusion often makes people laugh at first, helping put them at ease.”

“It is also straightforward and cheap compared to virtual reality, and so can easily reach patients in distress no matter where they are, such as poorly resourced and emergency settings.”

In the near future, the researchers plan to compare this technique with existing treatments in randomized clinical trials.

Ramachandran agrees that the findings are strong, but also points out that more research is necessary before moving on to clinical trials.

“These results are compelling but not conclusive,” he says. “We need larger samples and to iron out some methodological wrinkles.”