Primary Schools: Mental Health Awareness.

I’ve devoted many columns on the topic of mental health. It’s an issue that affects people of all ages, all walks of life, across all demographics. The last decade has seen a growing awareness of the need for support for sufferers with mental health issues. The focus tends to be adults, but the mental health of the elderly and particularly adolescents has been widely presented in the media.

The mental health of children has been presented in the media, but often in the context of obesity. Now children’s mental health is recognised as a significant issue in its own right and by “children” I’m referring to primary school age. In recognition of this situation, primary schools hold meetings and seminars for parents that promotes mental health awareness of their children. I feel this is a very constructive step. Had many people I help as adults received support when they were young, they may have avoided years of mental health issues.

The Fox Hall Clinic

I’ve enjoyed working as a therapist in Clevedon since 2007. During most of that time I was based at the Reading House Business Centre on Alexandra Road. In April of last year I moved to the Fox Hall Clinic in Clevedon. While the premises on Alexandra Road was very congenial, I made the change to be among a diverse range of therapists and health care practitioners.

I have no regrets in having made the move. I’m now working among practitioners of counselling, CBT, hypnotherapy, reiki, massage, podiatry and chiropractics. There are evening classes for meditation, Zumba and men’s yoga. The whole atmosphere at The Fox Hall Clinic is one of healing, balance and mutuel co-operation. Each of us is a caring professional and within this atmosphere, I feel my abilities as a therapist have been enhanced. I look forward to seeing you there.

Coming Off Antidepressants

An article appeared on Sky News recently about doctors warning of “severe” symptoms during antidepressant withdrawal. The information was originally published in a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK. The report highlighted that there’s a wide range of patient experiences when people stop taking medication or withdraw from medication gradually. People can experience anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and body sensations for considerable lengths of time. The report was published to make the public aware of the risks of medication withdrawal and that unpleasant side effects can continue for long periods of time. Seventy one million items to treat anxiety and depression were given out in England in 2018. This is a staggering figure that’s been rapidly increasing over the last decade.

I’ve seen people experience severe symptoms such as anxiety and panic attacks when attempting to withdraw from antidepressants cold turkey. Withdrawal must be gradual, ideally over several months. If a person seeks out an experienced hypnotherapist, then often they can avoid antidepressants in the first place. If a person is on antidepressants and wants to stop, they should consider a gradual withdrawal combined with hypnotherapy to minimise withdrawal symptoms and ensure they stay off antidepressants permanently.

Potatoes and Gravy

I’ve written extensively about the usefulness of hypnotherapy to mitigate or even completely diminish many harmful behaviours. I’ve endeavoured to address misconceptions while reiterating the power of suggestion to make a positive and lasting impression on people’s lives.

At times these blogs and discussions come across as serious, but earnest. Happily and unexpectedly, an article comes along that allows for humour. The BBC regularly does a round up and commentary on current issues in the daily newspapers. Today they sifted through the Brexit/Conservative leadership news to find a small article about a man who claims to be addicted to roast potatoes and gravy and is addressing this issue with hypnosis.

The commentators questioned whether or not a marked preference for roast potatoes and gravy constituted an addiction, while ignoring the treatment for the “addiction” with hypnosis. This article, with it’s brief ensuing discussion, brought a smile to my face because it wasn’t clear whether or not the article perpetuated misconceptions or spoke to the broad application of hypnotherapy to address a wide variety of issues.

If a person wants to consume fewer roast potatoes and gravy, then hypnotherapy can provide a means to that end. Perhaps there are underlying issues that promote habitual and compulsive behaviour. If I accept the humour in the article, then the issue hasn’t been trivialised by default. Fewer roast potatoes and gravy? No problem.

New Openness

I’m impressed that there’s a new openness in regards to talking about mental health, loneliness and bereavement. Men, women and children are finding common ground and understanding through the courage to communicate circumstances that have deeply affected them. Their stories span every media in the Uk today. Even Royalty is prepared to talk about bereavement. I’m a firm believer that openness and communication are a better antidote then medication. Long may this openness continue in these unsettling times.

Still Emotionally Rewarding

After 12 years, I continue to enjoy being a therapist. When people’s problems can be changed, when a person is understood it feels almost as good as being loved. Carry on! Be the best you can be.

Mental Health 2019

Mental health, or the absence of it, is in the news frequently. Whether it’s addressing mental health in the armed forces, employees in the NHS, children, adolescents, elderly, carers of elderly, the homeless or privileged no aspect of mental health, anywhere in society, is being ignored. I believe it’s a positive situation when society is prepared to discuss mental health without viewing those suffering with mental health issues as morally deficient.  

Mental health is a topic that’s always been there, but until recently has been kept under the carpet or in the closet. What comes out of an honest discussion about the prevalence of mental health issues is how we as a society are going to address the issue, or specifically how to encourage people to come forward with the expectation that they can be helped and supported. Talking about mental health is important, helping people with mental health issues is vital.

Back Again: Mental Health

It’s good to be back to writing blogs after a lengthy absence. The issue of mental health has been in the news, even headline, news more often recently than I can ever remember. The media not only acknowledge the issue, but hope to foster a broad discussion. There have been news articles about the mental health of university students, primary school students and footballers.At the government level, there’s now a minister to delve into the issue of suicide. It seems society is beginning to engage in openly addressing this social issue. There’s even an acknowledgment that better mental health is the foundation of good physical health. All we need now is some certainty as to how those who need help get help and the funding to go along with it. There’s still a long way to go.

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.