Students and Mental Health

The BBC in Bristol recently ran a story about a campaign to provide better access to health care professionals by university students. The campaign is spearheaded by students and the Bristol University staff and administration are listening. This comes after more than 10 students took their lives over the course of two years.

Student years are often characterised as “the best time in your life”, but the reality for many is that student life is a time of stress and worry. Unrelenting stress can lead to a host of issues and suffering the effects of stress the student finds they have limited access to mental health professionals on campus. Students are asking that they have access to a mental health professional on campus 24/7. The need for this service has been abundantly demonstrated and decision makers are definitely heading in this direction.

Mental Health Awareness Week

This has been Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and the media have highlighted mental health. The general public has greater awareness of the prevalence of mental health issues and invariably there’s a focus on the response of the NHS to the various forms of mental illness. All of this is vitally important and in reality these issues are seldom far from the news.

What I find equally important is that the whole issue of mental health, in it’s various forms, is being progressively destigmatised. A person is no longer looked down on for suffering with depression, or anxiety or self destructive tendencies. There’s now an acceptance that good mental health is important on a personal level, but it’s also good for society as a whole.

New Office. New Opportunities.

I’m very pleased to announce that my new office is at The Fox Hall Clinic in Clevedon, located directly across the street from the Clevedon Fire Station on Old Street. This new purpose built centre offers a wide range of services from experienced health care professionals. Specialists in podiatry, chiropody, massage, counselling and much more are available. Everyone is friendly and engaging and they’ve helped me to feel completely at home. I feel my practice is enhanced in the company of other therapists.

I look forward to seeing you at this new location. Secure parking is available from the Teignmouth Road entrance. The post code is BS21 6 DL.

New Location. New Opportunities.

After 10 years at the Reading House Business centre in Clevedon, the time has come to change locations. At the end of April, I’ll be moving to new premises at the Fox Hall Clinic in Clevedon. The Fox Hall Clinic brings together many health care professionals. This multidisciplinary centre will feature an osteopath, a podiatrist, an acupuncturist, a message therapist, a counsellor and more. I look forward to meeting you in this exciting new centre.

Falling

Each week I provide a counselling and hypnotherapy session for the elderly. For these octogenarians and nonagenarians the relevant issues aren’t about losing weight or fulfilling one’s aspirations. The elderly need to be motivated to be as mentally and physically active as possible. It’s the confidence to get from their rooms to the dining hall and back under their own steam. Over the last three years, on different occasions, I’ve inquired about a person who used to attend and no longer does. I’m usually told they had a fall, broke their hip, lost their confidence and their health rapidly spiralled downward until they either needed full time care or they suddenly passed away.

Falling is serious and the BBC has acknowledged this very issue today. What was advocated to address the the issue of falling, particularly among the elderly, is that they remain as physically active as possible. In my sessions with the elderly, falling isn’t mentioned, but I stress being active through will power, determination, strength, even routine. A fall, while acknowledging can’t be completely prevented, need not precipitate a significant decline in mental and physical health.

Digging Out

These last few days have been very interesting. As a boy in Canada, a one foot dump of snow was not only ordinary but eagerly anticipated for skiing. A sudden foot of snow in south west England means transport is paralysed. Streets here in Clevedon were given over to toboggans and happy children. Meanwhile shop shelves are empty. Generally, everyone is in good spirits. It’s a reminder as to what’s important in life and that life itself can be resilient and fragile.

More Antidepressants?

The BBC reported earlier this week about a medical report published in Oxford. The report was the result of studying and collating many other medical reports regarding depression and the conclusion was that antidepressants needed to be prescribed even more than they are now. This conclusion appears contrary to widespread professional and public knowledge that antidepressants are handed out too liberally and are of limited effectiveness.

Having been a therapist for over a decade, I’ve met many people who have taken antidepressants or currently take them. My clients have been telling me for all that time that antidepressants are effective for a few days and should be prescribed for only a few days to provide some stability because the medication only masks the underlying issues. Only by addressing the underlying issues will depression be alleviated not by medication. Antidepressants? Yes, for only a few days. After that? Find an experienced, competent and qualified therapist. The way forward is less medication not more.

Gambling Addiction.

I’ve been following a story presented on the BBC about the prevalence of compulsive gambling particularly, among men. Evidently men are than 7 times more likely than women to become addicted to gambling with over 400K gambling addicts in the UK. Portrayed was a young man who lost £30K and another who lost £16 million!

Having presented facts, the BBC tries to explore why this is the case. Are men less averse to risk? Possibly but there’s more to it than that. Evidently a combination of “lad’s culture”, in combination with other compulsive behaviours such as drug taking and the manner in which the gambling industry in the UK presents itself all contribute to the widespread problem. Individuals must take responsibility for their actions but the time has arrived to explore why the problem is so widespread and so destructive.

Competition

Competition is good. Regardless of the type of business, competition is a healthy expression of business activity. Hypnotherapy is no exception. There is every possibility that in any location, a competent and experienced therapist is available. Competition is vital. Nothing can be taken for granted. Clients must be won by excellent service, the feedback from excellent results and a consistently excellent reputation won over time. Every every client is important. A good reputation is difficult to achieve and easy to concede. Competition compels a business to explore every avenue and every option to improve. Competition keeps us on our toes and should be welcomed.

A Commitment to Exercise.

I once sat behind a desk Monday to Friday, rode the bus back and forth to work and exercised on the weekend. A brisk walk, even a hike or a bike ride almost every weekend was what I looked forward to. For me, it wasn’t enough to keep mid age spread at bay. I had to eat less and exercise more and that involved a lifetime commitment. Priorities had to adjust.

Now I exercise Monday to Friday. By exercise I mean significantly raising one’s heart rate for at least 45 minutes, five days a week minimum. I no longer sit behind a desk although for most of us, employment means being stationary at some point. Exercise and just as important, enjoying exercise, has become a priority spread out over the week and not just a binge on the weekend.