Uncategorized

Understanding mental health within the Black community.

By Youna Kabongo

nana

Photo credit: Youna Kabongo

In April this year, Prince Harry opened up about his mental health, paving the way to more communication about the stigma that surrounds the disease. The silence surrounding mental illness seems to have broken as this showed that it is not a discriminatory disease. It can visit you regardless of social class or race. So why emphasize mental health in the black community as a different and more complex matter?  

According to the organisation, Mental Health Foundation, which is based in the UK, mental health is often thought of as ‘emotional health’ or ‘well-being’ and it’s just as important as good physical health.

This organisation goes on to state that, ‘We all have mental health which is just as important as our physical health. The World Health Organization defines mental health with similar terminology.

The Foundation also  says, ‘Good mental health helps us to:

  • make the most of your potential
  • cope with life
  • play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends.

The Mental Health Foundation continues to advise of the change in mental health status and the associated stigma by stating:

  • ‘Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life.’
  • Again, it says, there’s a stigma attached to mental health problems. This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don’t talk about them much. Many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about their feelings. But it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling.

Accordingly to the Mental Health Foundation, ‘Different ethnic groups have different rates and experiences of mental health problems, reflecting their different cultural and socio-economic contexts and access to culturally appropriate treatments.’

The Mental Health Foundation states, ‘In general, people from black and minority ethnic groups living in the UK are:

  • more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems
  • more likely to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital
  • more likely to experience a poor outcome from treatment
  • more likely to disengage from mainstream mental health services, leading to social exclusion and a deterioration in their mental health.’

The Foundation, states that ‘these differences may be explained by a number of factors, including poverty and racism. These differences may also exits because mainstream mental health services often fail to understand or provide services that are acceptable and accessible to non-white British communities and which meet their particular cultural and other needs. It is likely that mental health problems go unreported and untreated because people in some ethnic minority groups are reluctant to engage with mainstream health services. It is also likely that mental health problems are over-diagnosed in people whose first language is not English.’

Advice provided by the National Health Service (NHS) via: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Blackhealth/Pages/intropage.aspx states that, ‘People from African and African Caribbean communities are more likely than others to be admitted to hospital for mental illness. The same is also true for people of white and black mixed ethnicity. The NHS website advice continues by saying, ‘Most of us have problems at some time in our lives, such as money worries, stress at work or the death of a loved one, which can affect our mental health. Black communities in the UK are still more likely than others to experience problems such as bad housing, unemployment, stress and racism, all of which can make people ill.’

Part of the problem is that the black community in the UK is not taking leadership in tackling the issue.  Further research needs to be conducted by institutions such as BAME in order to get the people in the government to release funds to train the police and social workers in understanding issues in the black community.

Many Black people didn’t come to the UK by choice but by force, often because they fled from war.  Upon arrival,   they go through the asylum seeking interrogation process, this without getting counselling. The process of being granted asylum status can take years, and in the meantime there is no access to any help and one just has to continue living while still dreaming of being able to go back home.

“As a black person, I had to fight for everything. I flew from my own country to live in the UK as a refugee. To get entry to university was hard because I was not British. After I graduated, I sent countless job applications but was rejected so many times. And when I finally got a job I had to listen to bad jokes about immigrants. It’s a wonder I am still considered sane”, said writer JJ Bola.

“Black people don’t talk about mental health because it is a cultural thing not to talk about emotions; we have been brought up to bottle things up. Admitting that you need help means that you are weak,” said Social Worker, Rachel Tchahatt.

“From my experience working with vulnerable people for five years, black people are more likely to be sectioned than offered counselling, “she added.

One of the reasons that black people are more prone to mental health is that the majority have witnessed violence at one point. Whether it is from their country of origin, in the street, or at home.

Family psychotherapist from Ichthus Family Foundation Liz Mensah said,”the reason why we have so many of our young people sectioned is because there are no adequate help mechanisms available. Many black people and patients I see would like to be seen by someone they can relate to, for instance a black psychologist who has a similar background and who will understand the anger better.

As a society, it must be asked, why mental health needs to be better understood.  It needs to be better understood as it affects the harmony and wellbeing of society as a whole. Likewise understanding mental health affects:

  • how effective the UK government is in implementing its policies.
  • how effective the Police and law authorities are policing predominantly African Caribbean communities and the African Caribbean presence in the prison population.
  • the level of educational attainment of children and youth from African Caribbean communities, as well as employment rates in this community.
  • the number of people unduly detained in the NHS system who could otherwise be treated better.

If more training and expertise is applied to counselling, mentoring and providing support for those in the African Caribbean community with mental health challenges, then it would be an opportunity to resolve many societal issues more effectively. With more expertise and resource applied, the society would most likely see the increase in the effectiveness of government policy implementation, the reduction of crime, the reduction in prison population, an increase in the educational attainment in children and youth in these communities, an increase in employment rates amongst African Caribbeans, and a reduction in the number of individuals from this community stuck in the NHS.

Rachel Tchahaatt, social worker Shacabrook@yahoo.co.uk

JJ Bola, Poet and Writer 07446282677

Liz Mensah Family Psychotherapist, info.iffoundation@gmail.com

Extract of JJ Bola Interview here: https://youtu.be/fQJAQ-m1iwM

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Uncategorized

WHAT IS A GIRLBOSS?

WHY ARE THERE NO GOOD BOSSES?

Amara Howe

“Florals for Spring? Ground-breaking.” If you don’t remember this bitch of a quote then I don’t know where you’ve been. Just to reiterate it’s Meryl Streep playing the role of Miranda Priestly, the editor of Runway magazine, a prestigious magazine which is basically a cinema version of Vogue in fashion-film The Devil Wears Prada.

 movies fashion meryl streep spring the devil wears prada GIF

Priestly is your typical-boss-bitch, she’s a Cruella De Vil of the fashion industry and she doesn’t take no for an answer. She leisurely orders around dorky intern Andy played by Anne Hathaway, compiling impractical tasks (including getting hold of the unpublished final Harry Potter – srsly?!) and does so in a manner so harsh you wonder why she hasn’t been burnt at the stake yet.

Consider most boss women within film: Margaret Tate in The Proposal, Katherine Parker in Working Girl. They’re cold, unsympathetic and slightly unrealistic. Of course, it’s film and if the boss wasn’t so evil we wouldn’t have had half as much fun watching it.

It’s true, some female bosses are absolute bitches, as are male. That’s just capitalism – but let’s consider the role of the girlboss. You know, that girlboss thing that everyone’s obsessed with at the moment.

Feibi McIntosh girl boss lady girl power GIF

If you type ‘girlboss’ into Urban Dictionary you get this:

“A woman in control, taking charge of her own circumstances in work and life. Someone who knows her worth and won’t accept anything less. She is not a “mean girl” in fact, she hates “mean girls”. She is empowering and inspiring to those around her. She kicks ass!”

OK, that’s great and all – these woman totally exist in real life, but do they exist in film?

Let’s consider the new Netflix series GirlBoss which is, quite possibly, the most marmite series we’ve seen in a long time. To recap, it’s a show about Sophia Amoruso, played by Britt Robertson, a young twenty-something who manages to become a millionaire business woman in the space of a few years all by setting up her on Ebay business. Pretty cool right?

 netflix britt robertson sophia girlboss know what your shits work cause you just got played GIF

Young Sophia is cool. Really cool. She’s got a fringe, she wears flared jeans, she eats pizza all the time and never gains any weight and yeah, she runs a business. But she’s also a bit of a dick. She’s a bitch to her best friend, she’s rude as fuck to everyone in the name of ‘cool’, she eats food with her feet and she cares about no one but herself. All in the name of a girl boss.

Sure, maybe she’s just a new breed of girl boss but whatever happened to nice bosses?

Alex Crabbe, 26, who’s currently doing a masters in Film, TV and Screen industries said “By portraying a character under a negative light, the character arguably carries more weight in the plot development. Memorable characters in film are often remembered for the fact that they antagonise the protagonist and encourage a character arc by introducing problems that the audience want to see solutions to.” Crabbe, who studied an undergraduate course in film noted, “I remember being told that antagonists are more memorable than protagonists because they drive the plot. Darth Vader is a prime example, everyone remembers him.”

 vader GIF

He’s got a good point but what if the boss isn’t the main protagonist. Wilhelmina Slater from Ugly Betty for example. She has that cold bitch attitude we’re all to knowledgeable of, but why is her ‘mean’ role necessary? Why does the media continue to portray female bosses in a negative light?

Well according to Ryan Thomas*, 23, a personal MI, his ex-manager was pretty much as bad as the movies. “She would only look out for herself. Constantly taking priority on holiday’s, even if you’d already had it booked off. She flirted with all the guys and used her role as an excuse to be lazy – she literally didn’t do anything. And if she didn’t like you she would make sure that you didn’t have as many opportunities as others.”

But Francesca Simms*, 26, personal assistant in an insurance company, says otherwise. “Female managers have to be tough. We’re still at the place where sexism still exists and female bosses still aren’t taken seriously. She’s constantly in work mode and a lot of the people in the office think she’s a bit of a bitch, but I know she’s not like that out of work.”

So us at STANCE figure it’s a thing the media are doing to show that women are tough. Yeah, we are fucking tough, but tough doesn’t have to mean bitch.

Sara Andreasson girl power boxing adidas GIF

Nadia Salmi, 36, a manager of an independent boutique in Angel said: “Retail seems to get a stigma. I don’t know whether it’s because retail is a predominantly female industry but people automatically assume it’s a bitchy environment. I don’t tolerate any bitchiness in my shop.”

 

GIRLBOSSS
“woman are better leaders” – businessinsider.com

 

So let us differentiate between the two. There’s good bosses and there’s bad bosses IRL. But when do you ever see good bosses in film? Umm… NEVER.

The BarkPost  dogs srsly barkpost woof GIF

We think it’s about time the film industry starts introducing empowering female bosses who aren’t typical bitches and aren’t your new quirky, doesn’t-give-a-shit-about-anyone-because-she’s-too-interested-in-herself-types. We want an empowering boss who’s worked her way up in the world without being a bitch in order to get what she wants.

  • names have been changed

TAKE OUR POLL HERE: http://vote.pollcode.com/17746945

 

 

NEWS, Uncategorized

Beauty pageant winner: Young, gorgeous – and HIV positive

Horcelie (1)

By Youna Kabongo

A typical beauty contestant would choose to hide a secret which could harm her prospect of winning. But Miss Congo UK 2017 stunned the public by revealing her HIV positive status

Fine Arts student Horcelie Sinda, 21, who is to graduate this year from Chelsea College of Arts, was born with HIV. But she only found out about her status at the age of 11.

“It has certainly made my childhood different from others. Though I appeared confident, I was an emotional wreck. It took me ten years to get to where I am now and it hasn’t been easy. HIV is not a joke, it’s a serious matter,” she said.

The World Health Organisation defines the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as a virus that affects the immune system by destroying white blood cells which are responsible for fighting the disease. It can then progress to AIDS.

Back in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, people were bombarded with information about HIV/AIDS. Science has made huge progress in tests and treatment, allowing people to live a good and long life with the disease.

Cases of HIV progressing to Aids have been reduced. However, it still remains a major health issue in the UK.  According to the charity Averting HIV and AIDS, there are an estimated 101,200 people living with HIV in the UK. This is mainly because it has fallen off the radar.

Sinda has been campaigning to end HIV stigmatisation and to encourage people to get tested. Her work includes volunteering at Youth Stop Aids and ICS (international citizen services). Before the competition which took place in April, she traveled to South Africa to raise awareness.

She said that she entered the competition with just one goal in mind, to use her title to break into the black community and educate people about HIV. The kind of empathy and support that she received since “coming out” gave her more strength to go out there and not to be ashamed of who she is.

Vava Tampa, founder of the charity saved the Congo here in the UK, mentored the contestants for seven months and also deals with youth HIV in Hackney, welcomed Sinda’s move.

“It’s certainly is commendable on her part to put herself out there, and this has had a positive impact on the all community.”

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan pledged to make HIV prevention a top priority while campaigning to become mayor.

“While treatment for HIV sufferers has improved rapidly over my lifetime, we can’t afford to be complacent about HIV prevention. We need a renewed focus on the prevention of HIV to match the huge progress made in the 1980s and 1990s,” he said in the statement to Pink News.

Sinda learned of her status when she was eleven. She was taking medicines every day and one day just asked her parents why, and they had to tell her the truth.

“This was by far the best competition. Previous winners have gone to become ambassadors of certain issues faced by our people back home. But this relates to us directly here in the UK. It has empowered many and the taboo surrounding HIV/AIDS must stop,” said Francois Tshimpuki, founder of the pageant.

Since winning the title Horcelie Sinda has attracted  lots of press coverage such as the BBC. She urges people to get tested so that they can start treatment early in case they are infected.

hiv

NEWS, Uncategorized

Autism: More support in schools needed

D3By Youna Kabongo

According to the National Autistic Society, around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum. This equates to 1 in 100 and 2.7 million families living with autism every day.

Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. Although it affects people from all nationalities and cultural, religious and social backgrounds, more females than males suffer from the condition.

With adequate support from an early age, autistic children are able to develop into responsible adults, contributing to both society and the economy. But currently, with schools overcrowding and funds being cut, many children are not getting the support needed to develop into such adults.

“I have been fighting with Cuckoo Hall School in Enfield, north London, for two years for my son’s speech therapy referral and he doesn’t have an experienced teacher. They keep saying that because of school’s funding cut, they are not able to provide a specialist teacher,” said 37-year-old Aphonsine Bendji, a sales assistant at Iceland whose 5-year-old son was diagnosed two years ago.

“Now I have to pay £400 for six sessions of speech therapy by myself as I cannot delay it any longer. It’s really hard with my salary but my child is my priority,” she added.

“There was so less support from the school that I had to educate myself about autism. And even after learning a lot, I felt that my son Daniel’s potential was not being used to the fullest, said Nadine Wauters.  She received training in education and relocated to her native country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. There she opened a school for autistic and special needs children, Les Amis de Daniel, which means Daniel’s friends in French.

“Ever since Daniel started attending the school, he is a much happier child. I don’t regret my decision. He is getting the type of education I wouldn’t have been able to give him here in the UK,” she said, adding that she currently splits her time between the two countries.

Michelle’s -declined to give her last name to protect her child identity- eight-year-old daughter, was excluded from Keys Meadow Primary School, also in Enfield, for behavioural problems. After joining a different school, she was diagnosed with autism.

“She is a totally different child, much happier and doing well in school. In a way, I am glad she was excluded because we managed to find out the root of the problem and give her the support she needs,” Michelle says.

Children with autism don’t develop skills at the same rate like other children. Some are affected more than others. For example, a child might take long to learn few words while another but might speak like children of his age but unable to interact with others.

“I left the school I was teaching because the funding which was allocated for children with special needs was being used for something else. I just couldn’t take it anymore”, said Shikira Alleyne-Samuel from Kreative Pursuit.

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“Now I run my own business, Kreative Pursuit, working with parents and their autistic children through enhancing mental wellbeing with the use of creativity and artistic expression”, she added.

Both Cuckoo Hall and Keys Meadow school declined to comment, stating that they do not comment on individual cases.

It is advised to get a child tested at the earliest If you think your child might suffer from autism

autism in UKmap

Courtesy of Autism UK                                    Enfield Map: Youna Kabongo

events, HOME, Uncategorized

STANCE’s hidden hotspots for Summer 2017

BY HANNAH LEDDEN

Summer season 2017 is fast approaching, and while many have had their calendars planned months ago with festivals and barbecues, there is always the chance to find some hidden gems

Thousands of people every year stand over their computers and rush to be the first in the line for tickets to the top festivals of the year. Glastonbury, V Festival and Latitude are among just a few of many people’s summer traditions. However, rising costs and crowds have prompted many to ditch the masses in favour of some of the smaller events the UK has to offer.

Liverpool International Music Festival

One of the main drawbacks to the larger events on the summer calendar are the rising costs of tickets. This festival brings big names but a very small price. In its fifth year, and growing in popularity since its first season, LIMF offers free events and ticketed gigs at a small cost of £19. Evie Knapper, 16, from the Wirral is one of many fans.

“The fact the main event was free was obviously one of the main things that attracted me, but it has become so popular around here – everyone who can, goes along.”

Another difference between LIMF and the classic festivals is despite being a three-day event, there is no option to camp. This leaves more options for a smaller event to book popular acts such as 2017 headliners Katy B, Gorgon City and Corinne Bailey Rae.

“I was surprised by the big names that were at the festival, especially because it was offered as a free event,” said Evie. “It was nice to see smaller music acts as well that I hadn’t heard of but now I love.”

LIMF takes place on the 20th-23rd July 2017

Sefton Park, Liverpool
Location of LIMF. Courtesy of Google Maps

2000Trees

The cotswold hills form the backdrop for this three-day festival which aims to create a full experience for its campers. Named by the Guardian as one of the best small festivals, 2000Trees is a fully formed rock and indie event with a crowd of 5000.

Andrew Rea, living in Cheltenham and a co-founder of the festival, highlighted what he sees as being so special about the smaller music events. “Small festival organisers care about their events so much more. Visitors are loyal because they know everyone is ready to enjoy the best weekend of the year and everyone works really hard behind the scenes.”

It seems the atmosphere at smaller festivals is a main reason behind people choosing to venture into something new during the summer each year. Andrew argues that this vision begins with the initial idea behind the unique music events. “Small festival organisers have an independent spirit and do it for love, not money.”

2000Trees will take over the cotswolds on the 6th – 8th July 2017

Upcote Farm
Location of 2000Trees festival. Courtesy of Google Maps

End of the Road Festival

Set in the countryside of Devon, End of the Road was created to combine its founders’ favourite musicians. No VIP areas, and an atmosphere suitable for all, from the young music lover to families with children; this festival seems to be the best of both worlds.

As well as headline music and comedy acts, End of the Road includes workshops and film screenings to suit all tastes. Top of the bill at this year’s event includes Father John Misty as well as Mac Demarco and Bill Callahan.

It all kicks off on the 31st August – 3rd September 2017

Larmer Tree Gardens
Location of End of the Road festival. Courtesy of Google Maps

Take STANCE’s poll here: https://goo.gl/RO4YRa

Uncategorized

IS FASHION UNFAIR?

BY AMARA HOWE

London Metropolitan Journalists question renowned fashion experts.  

is fashion ufnair

Is fashion unfair? Well, DUH. As if anyone actually thought the fashion industry was a place of rainbows, smiles and happiness.

The somewhat rhetorical question was examined as part of an event organised by the Journalism team from London Metropolitan University at their campus in Holloway. Joined by a charismatic line up of panellists including fashion designer Daniel Lismore, fashion journalist Julia Robson, designer and manufacturer Barry Laden, model and big-brother contestant Markus Roberts-Clarke and fashion stylist Denise Brown, the evening gave an insight into the fierce world that is the fashion industry.

fashionunfair2

Gill Wood, senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University, who hosted the event, began the talk stating: “consciously, or unconsciously we are all participants in fashion.” With questions exploring major issues concerning the fashion industry, the panellists had a lot on their plate within the two-hour event. From unpaid fashion interns to the ever-present underweight models, each guest had their say on the industries secrets.

Laden, creator of The Laden Showroom, the UK’s largest independent showroom, had a lot to say on the hyper-capitalist business that is the fashion industry. After one journalist student asked him about large businesses working with smaller businesses he claimed:  “It’s a cruel, hard world. I need you to deal with the facts, it’s a cold hard, nasty world. It’s hard to be creative and new and be noticed by these brands and not be plagiarised.”

 

infogr
By Amara Howe

 

With the rise of independent artists work being plagiarised by big brands including Urban Outfitters, Zara and Topshop, it’s no surprise the students, many of whom are freelancers themselves, wanted an answer.

Many questions put forward by students enabled a much wider discussion. One student asked Roberts-Clarke about the gender pay gap in modelling, where it is one of the very few industries where men get paid less than women. Perhaps it was his sexuality but he responded nonchalantly which led to a discussion to the lack of diversity in models.

Robson, who has written for major publications said: “It has a lot to do with the old system of conde naste and vogue.” However, she agreed the industry is slowly but surely becoming a lot more diverse… “we’re seeing more woman of colour, I don’t see why it has to take so long.”

Roberts-Clarke, who’s distinct flamboyant look gets him various bookings said he had often been turned down for castings based on his weight. His skinny look, which is often popular for high fashion brands had often been turned down by brands who were after a more muscular look. Considering casting agents rarely advertise for what they’re actuallu looking for Roberts-Clarke said: “Why don’t you put that on your casting – that you only want meat.”

Lismore was in utter agreement with the unfairness of the industry. “It’s a mad industry. I think the change is coming – it’s so backwards. It’s not a nice place to be – most of them are backwards.”

Many students were eager to question fashion stylist and designer Denise Brown on unpaid internships. Brown, who had employed several Metropolitan students (including me), paid travel and lunch expenses and made that very clear when questioned by the students. Brown, who has had an incredible journey into the world of fashion said: “I promised myself I would be in the fashion industry.” She said working hard is necessary despite not getting paid. “I had to intern. I interned for a year unpaid.”

Robson, who was unhappy with the fact that many employers still don’t pay interns was in agreement that you have to intern despite this. She said: “fashion always relies on interns.”

Leanne London, 29, a freelance journalist and student at London Metropolitan said: “Do I think fashion is unfair? Yes. Unfair that I can’t afford to buy all the amazing clothes and shoes I want! But on a serious note I definitely agree it’s unfair that fast fashion happens. People working in sweatshops so we can buy a crappy tshirt for a fiver.”

The discussion ended with a catwalk show put together by the first year CASS students titled Project Red.

fashionunfair

The debate ended with an agreement by both students, lecturers and the panellists that fashion was unfair. Despite it’s reputation, it’s an industry which many are eager to get into. Whether it’s the dream to make it big in business or the general love for fashion, it’s a business which will never go out of fashion.

WATCH THE CASS CATWALK HERE:

Take STANCE’s  poll here: https://goo.gl/bK0IUL

 

 

 

sex, Uncategorized

THE PULL OUT METHOD

BY AMARA HOWE

PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE NOT SUGGESTING YOU TRY THIS AT HOME

Ah- the pull out method. The sweet, sweet pull out method.

withdrawal

The utterly irresponsible yet totally genius act of a male withdrawing his penis from your vagina before ejaculating in order to refrain from any impregnation which could potentially occur if said semen was to take a swim.

According to a recent survey conducted by STANCE, over 50% of 146 female participants have relied on the pull out method at least once in their life. Considering the NHS website don’t consider the pull out method as a form of contraception – we figure that’s quite a lot, right?

 

pullout
by Amara Howe

 

With the inconvenient ‘I-can’t-feel-a-fucking-thing’ struggle thanks to condoms and the significant increase of research suggesting the pill is linked to more side effects than we first thought, it appears many of us women are relying on ancient-methods of contraception. I mean, at least it’s better than shoving a lemon up there (I’m deadly serious).

But just how reliable is the pull-out method? It certainly doesn’t stop STI’s that’s for sure, but does it stop fertilisation? Well… kinda.

 reactions yes interesting jennifer aniston hmm GIF

According to plannedparenthood.org the likelihood of a woman getting pregnant by relying on the pull out method is 27 in 100, or 1 in 4 – as opposed to less than 1 in 100 when the pill is used. What it fails to mention is whether that’s due to weak pull-out game or the longly debated “pre-cum” scenario.

Pre-cum – the dribble before the disaster. Sorry, graphic, I know. The little bit of sperm that may happen to seep out of his penis before ejaculation. There’s a shitload of confusion between experts about whether pre-cum actually has sperm inside it. With weak research including the most recent 2013 report finding a third of 27 men’s pre-cum contained live sperm, it’s your call whether to chance it or not.

yourlife
your-life.com

Remember, withdrawal requires the male to have good self-control. Using the method with a one-night-stand – aka someone you barely know – isn’t a great idea because 1. sti’s, and 2. how good’s his pull out game?  Many long-term couples, however, rely on the method as a form of contraception.

Polly Ward*, 22, a student from Sussex said she’s been using the pull out method for well over a year with her partner. “I felt as though being on the pill from the age of 16 to 21 was unhealthy and I was worried that it was not only damaging my mental health but my physical health,” she said.

Ward, whose boyfriend pulls out every time they have sex, says it’s been “100% effective every time”. She said: “I actually got pregnant before while being on the pill, which is ironic. For me, I just feel happier knowing there isn’t any chemicals or whatever goes into the pill in my body to make it react or tricking it into acting differently.”

Getting the male perspective, STANCE spoke to Paul Davies*, 24, a products sales manager from Harlow about his experience. His girlfriend is also uncomfortable with taking the pill. “The pull out method works just fine – if the guy is confident enough. Most examples of a pull out going wrong is done from guys who lose control or get over eager. If you’re in control of what’s going on it’s easy enough to pull out in time. When you’re actually having sex it can sometimes linger in the back of your mind to not cum early which can sometimes take away from the experience but sex with a condom isn’t really sex at all… from my experience anyway.”

 

INFOGRAPHIC2
by Amara Howe

 

Sarah Sessions, 47, an occupational health nurse from Ipswich said: “It’s good as no rubber is involved meaning greater intimacy and requires no prescription and is available all the time. However, it can be messy and does not protect against STD’s.”

Turing the pro’s on its head, however, Lisa Stobbs*, 24, a youth worker from Colchester is currently pregnant via what is believed to have been pre-cum. “We would tend to stop early and then continue with foreplay just to make sure we were being extra careful… sounds silly now I think about it.”

Stobbs, who admits she was naïve to have used the method is “over the moon” to be pregnant with her second baby, however, suggests going to see someone when considering contraceptive methods. She said: “If you’re not entirely worried about getting pregnant then crack on, but if you’re not ready then you should really consider all your options before taking the risk.

While many of us (including me) can admit to using the method it is safe to say it doesn’t always work. If you’ve considered all your options are in full acknowledgement there is a small chance of getting pregnant then the choice is yours. But remember, condoms are the ONLY way of protecting yourself from STI’s.

*names have been changed

TAKE STANCE’s POLL HERE: https://goo.gl/6ytyWE