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GPs should prescribe meditation, Liberia Ebola free, and WHO warn researchers over offensive disease names

Let GPs prescribe mindfulness meditation techniques to patients in order to help the millions of Britons struggling with stress, depression and anxiety, mental health experts have said.

The Independent reports that charity the Mental Health Foundation is calling for ‘mindfulness to be available in all areas of the country, so that GPs can recommend it and NICE recommendations can be acted upon,’ chief executive Jenny Edwards said.

The stance is backed up by the RCGP’s own mental health lead Dr Liz England who said: ‘Often our patients do not want to be reliant on drugs in order to feel better, so alternative, evidence-based therapies for common mental health problems should be encouraged,’.

Liberia has been declared free of the Ebola virus after months of work to control the virus which killed more than 4,700 people in the country, the Guardian reports.

Ebola was the country worst affected by the outbreak of the disease in West Africa but no new cases have been identified in the past 42 days, indicating the strong community response has had long-term success, after 189 medical workers die from the disease

On Saturday, Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, told the BBC: ‘We will celebrate our communities which have taken responsibility and participated in fighting this unknown enemy and finally we’ve crossed the Rubicon. Liberia indeed is a happy nation.’

And finally the World Health Organisation has issued advice to researchers, the media and early 20th century epidemiologists warning them not to settle on names for newly identified diseases that may cause offense to animals, places or people.

The BBC reports that the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and German measles are two such examples that can have serious consequences for those affected, and in future should focus on generic or specific titles, like ‘severe’ or ‘respiratory disease’ and check potential acronyms carefully.

Dr Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general for health security at the WHO, said: ‘This may seem like a trivial issue to come, but disease names really do matter to the people who are directly affected.’