Archive for the ‘Foundation’ Category

CWF responsive re-design

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 | Foundation, News

A lot of the Chris Worfolk Foundation websites, such as this one, were already responsive. That is to say that they worked well across any device size. Some of them were not however, but I’m pleased to announce we have now fixed that.

I’ve already blogged about the Worfolk Lectures update but we’ve also upgraded many other sites across our estate too:



Worfolk Lectures update

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 | Foundation, News

We’ve just relaunched Worfolk Lectures with a new responsive design. It looks great on desktop:


It looks great on tablets:


And it looks great on phones:


Things you should know about antidepressants

Sunday, April 26th, 2015 | Foundation, Health & Wellbeing

Recently we were discussing antidepressants at the mental health charity I run and I thought it would be worth sharing a few points that came out of the discussion.

Antidepressants are approved by NICE

There is often a lot of scepticism around antidepressants. Irving Kirsch has a whole book about it. However, not only have the drugs been shown to work in clinical trials (I’m not sure how much faith I put in this since All Trials) they are also approved by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence. They are not immune from bias of course, but they generally don’t mess around because the NHS has a limited budget and it’s their job to make sure it is spent on stuff that works.

Antidepressants are trial and error

There are a number of different drugs on the market, some of which do different things and at different doses. These affect people in different ways. That means that what helps some people might not help others, and what gives some people side effects will be fine for others.

It also means that your prescription is trial and error. There is a good chance the first one you get prescribed will not work, either because it is the wrong drug or because you need a different dose.

That means if the first thing you try does not work, try not to get disheartened.

A side effect of antidepressants is suicide

April is suicide month sadly. More people kill themselves in April than any other month. The working theory is that the improved weather conditions provide people suffering from depression to go out and doing something. Unfortunately, this something is sometimes taking their own life.

If true, this would also explain why one of the side effects of antidepressants is suicide. Luckily the limited data available on it suggests that if you inform patients to expect these feelings and be aware of them you mitigate the risk.

Holiday Food Drive 2014

Friday, December 26th, 2014 | Foundation, Humanism

A big thank you to everyone who contributed to the Humanist Action Group‘s 2014 Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelter. Our final boxing was a long hard day but well worth it in the end. We are pleased to announced so far we have raised in-kind donations worth…


The donations went to four local homeless shelters and will benefit all of their residents. Thanks to your kind contributions a hundred people that would have woken up with nothing over the holidays will now receive much needed food, clothing and toiletries.


You can see all the photos from the event on our Flickr page.

Announcing the 2014 Holiday Food Drive

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 | Foundation, News


We’re pleased to announce the launch of the Humanist Action Group 2014 Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters in Leeds. Last year we managed to collect over £3,000 worth of donations and this year will mark our fifth anniversary.

We’re looking for donations of food, toiletries and clothing, as well as time and money to run the operation and buy more stuff. Learn more on the Humanist Action Group website or join us on Facebook.

Anxiety Leeds goes fortnightly

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 | Foundation, News

We are making some exciting changes at Anxiety Leeds. Most notably our meetings are going to be moving to fortnightly. From November, we will be meeting on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month. We are also moving venue. Leeds General Infirmary have kindly agreed to host us, so we will be moving to B36 in the Clarendon Wing.

The group has been doing really well recently with around a dozen people attending each session. With our new schedule we hope this will allow people to be even more engaged with the group.

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 | Foundation, News


I, like many people, was saddened to hear about the apparent suicide of Robin Williams. Loved by many for his work as an actor in Aladdin, Jumanji, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams, Flubber and above all here in the UK – Mrs. Doubtfire. This is to list just a few of the films he has starred in and to say nothing of his stand-up career.

Williams death has, at least briefly, shed a light on mental health issues in the wider public consciousness. I think this is a good thing. The more light we can bring to it, the better.

However, this only has value if we can capitalise on this attention and use it to make a positive difference for society. Which is why I am going to shamelessly use this opportunity to ask you to donate to Anxiety Leeds. You only get these opportunities every so often, and my pride is definitely less important than working to prevent more people who are struggling with mental health issues trying to take their own life.

At Anxiety Leeds we run a monthly peer-support group. To be most effective, we need to move to fortnightly. We have the volunteers ready, but currently we lack the funds to do this. Can you help us?

A Look at James Joyce and Photography

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 | Foundation, Humanism

For the June meeting of Leeds Skeptics, Georgina Binnie presented a talk “A Look at James Joyce and Photography”.

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Professor Liane Benning at Leeds Skeptics

Friday, May 30th, 2014 | Foundation, Humanism

Earlier this month Professor Liane Benning presented a talk on life in extreme environments at Leeds Skeptics.

This collided with two unfortunate events. Firstly, due to the rare day of hot sunny weather, turn out was down. Second, due to time commitments I had not brought the video camera to record the talk as it takes a long time to process, edit and publish it. These were both big mistakes as Professor Benning presented one of the most interesting talks we have had.

It turns out that she has spent much of the last decade going to Svalbard and testing Mars rovers for NASA and ESA. Officially she is a biogeochemist and moved effortlessly between different scientific disciplines. By the end of the talk I was sitting there feeling like I had wasted my life while Gabrielė was trying to sign up to go on the next expedition.

I know Headingley Cafe Scientifique were trying to poach her to speak at their group too. if they do book her and you have not seen the talk, I highly recommend attending!

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Getting serious about anxiety

Monday, May 26th, 2014 | Foundation, Thoughts

I was recently passed an article by The Priory Group entitled “Anxiety – are you taking it serious?

It talks about how common anxiety is and how people do not take it seriously. It then shows twenty photos of people holding up signs with messages such as “don’t be such a drama queen” and “it must be horrible being you!”.

Powerful stuff. But is it accurate? Because if it isn’t, we could be unnecessarily worrying people from being open about their issues.

It is easy to pick out a couple of anecdotes that reflect badly on a certain situation. Doing so proves nothing more than that you are entirely qualified to become a journalist for the Huffington Post. However, if you want to make an important point, I think you need to back it up with some actual statistics. How many people were surveyed? What percentage of people report a negative experience?

The reason I ask is that I do not believe the percentage would be high. I have usually found the experience of being open about anxiety a positive one. So have many people. Indeed an overwhelming majority of people who attend Anxiety Leeds have. Of course I am working of anecdotal evidence as well, but the least we can say is that do not know either way whether most people have a positive or negative experience.

How about the control group?

Further, I would argue that you need to factor in a control group.

Yes, some people might make negative comments about anxiety. However, people make negative comments about a variety of conditions. Have you tried having flu as a man? Nobody has any sympathy for you. “Oh, man flu again, poor you.” It’s horrible. I have never experienced anything like that regarding anxiety.

Okay, but why is it important?

Selecting anecdotes without publishing evidence to back it up is harmful because you cannot substantiate the claims you making. Which means they might not be true. But people might believe them anyway.

This is primarily harmful to people suffering from anxiety. Mental health is the new gay and we need people to come out about it. Publishing articles that suggest that anyone who does will be subject to ridicule and abuse will only encourage people to keep their problems suppressed.

This is bad for them and bad for society. If we want to encourage people to be open about mental health difficulties they are facing, we need to reassure them coming out is a good move.