It was recently brought to my attention by Twitter user @sectioned_ that there is an alarming new breed of mental health sufferer called the Headclutcher. So prevalent are these people that the media have started to use them to illustrate nearly every story they run about mental health. As a way of documenting emerging cases I have started to upload them to this blog. Please get in touch (in the comments section) with any new examples and I will add them here. The disorder seems almost exclusively to effect women, so any cases recorded in men will be especially helpful.
Is this lady distressed because of an undisclosed mental health problem or because she has been chosen to illustrate such a laughably dichotomous and poorly put together debate piece about mental health diagnosis?
This photo almost certainly does not actually depict the suicidal lady in this report who was told to have a cup of tea when she phoned an NHS helpline, unless perhaps she is holding the phone extremely close in order to hear the operator.
Like something out of The Ring, the pyjama'd child, who was used to illustrate this story on Mental Elf, is perhaps lamenting the fact that she is so small she can fit in the palm of an enormous hand.
The Mail reported that women experience 40% more mental health problems than men, and used this picture showing two women playing hide and seek to try and cheer themselves up.
The Guardian reported on the same study and used this photo of a 1960s Californian folk musician trying to compose a song about the issue.
This lady is trying to hide her identity so that we don't associate her with this sloppy comment piece in The Mail arguing for the societal exclusion of mental health patients, under the false premise of "breaking the taboo".
The BBC was lucky to find this lady who was willing to pose for a photo and was just as dismayed about the publication of DSM-5 as Peter Kinderman in his piece on their website.
This lady's headclutching began, if The Guardian is to be believed, when the DSM-5 was published. The disorder has not yet advanced to clutching with the second hand, so there is still hope for her.
Twitter user @suzyg001 alerted me to the fact that, what with this example from The Guardian and the lady at the top of my post: "Deep ribbing on the sleeves of one's jumper appears to be associated with this condition"
This example from a therapy website would seem to offer confirmation of the link.
Yet more evidence of the ribbed-jumper-headclutching link, courtesy of @chasingdata, who found this article on The Daily Mail. Of course this looks like headclutching, but given this lady's attire it may well be a dance or yoga position. She may also be dismayed that The Mail has only now cottoned on to the over-30 year old change from "Manic Depression" to "Bipolar Disorder".
Rare Male Headclutchers:
Thanks to @Sectioned_ we have documentary evidence of a male headclutcher! However, this poor chap only seems to have been used by the BBC because he illustrates the fact that men were more likely than women to kill themselves in 2011:
Stories about students are often an excuse for a picture of a female undergraduate, so hats off to The Guardian for using this guy to illustrate a story about mental health in universities. He is sad because his headclutching renders him unable to pick up any of the books surrounding him:
Is this gentleman clutching his head because his cup of tea has gone cold, or because he's perversely dismayed that a law has been passed to tackle mental health discrimination?
There is new hope for the treatment of Headclutchers, documented in this photo used by The Guardian, which appears to show a sufferer with her hands successfully restrained just behind her head. Presumably they were tied there by the blurry young man now gazing so intently at her: