Nicola CharrettCounsellor & Psychotherapist
Leatherhead, Surrey

World Mental Health Day Breaks Suicide Stigma

There has been lots of awareness raised about mental health over the last couple of years, with people trying to break down barriers and make it easier for sufferers to talk about their emotional difficulties.

However, there is still stigma when it comes to the subject of suicide, despite it being the leading cause of death in men aged between 20 and 49 in England and Wales.

This is why the World Federation for Mental Health chose ‘suicide prevention’ as the theme for World Mental Health Day 2019 last week (October 10th).

Mark Rowland, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, spoke about how his brother Daniel took his life in 2013, saying suicide is a “devastating and gut-wrenching tragedy”.

“It ends a life and shatters countless others. There is nothing romantic or peaceful about suicide,” he went on to say.

Therefore, he raised the importance of understanding its causes in order to prevent it, and by creating a society that is able to ask for help and count on support when needed.

According to recent findings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 6,507 deaths by suicide last year in the UK, with this figure having increased by 11.8 per cent from 2017.

Men accounted for three-quarters of these cases, with the highest suicide rate being among men aged 45 to 49.

While the Mental Health Foundation recognises that the reasons leading someone to take their own life are “complex”, it says society needs to have a greater role in preventing more incidences happening in the future.

One of the best ways of dealing with difficulties such as depression and anxiety is talking to a professional about it. For help from a counsellor in Leatherhead, give us a call today.



Coastal Residents ‘Less Likely To Experience Anxiety And Depression’

Living close to the coast has been found to lower rates of anxiety and depression, a new study from the University of Exeter has revealed.

The researchers used survey data from nearly 26,000 people around England from a variety of backgrounds. After taking into account other factors, the researchers found that people living in large towns or cities close to England’s coastline are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than those living further inland.

Dr Jo Garrett, who led the study, pointed out that one of the most striking findings is that people living in poorer households reported fewer symptoms of mental health conditions.

“When it comes to mental health, this ‘protective’ zone could play a useful role in helping to level the playing field between those on high and low income,” she asserted.

This isn’t the first time that there’s been a link between the ocean and mental wellbeing, something that’s described as ‘blue health’. But it is the first time the benefits of living by the coast have been documented in such great detail.

The European BlueHealth project has been exploring the link between blue spaces and mental health since 2016. It has encompassed a wide variety of projects across the continent, including those exploring the use of virtual reality to allow people to access blue spaces and redeveloping areas next to waterside spaces, whether beaches, lakes, canals or rivers.

If you suffer from anxiety or depression and want the support of a Leatherhead psychotherapist, get in touch with us today..



Long Counselling Delays For Students ‘Scandalous’

A former health minister has spoken out about the long delays university students have to face if they want help for mental health problems.

According to university data, undergraduates have to typically wait three months to receive counselling from their educational establishment.

The Guardian reported Sir Norman Lamb, an ex-health minister, as saying: “Twelve-week delays to start counselling are scandalous, particularly when we know that so many students are taking their own lives. That’s longer than a university term.”

He went on to say universities need to remember many of these students require mental health support “as a matter of real urgency”, and their conditions are likely to worsen the longer they have to wait for help.

The statistics showed those at the Royal College of Music in London had to wait the longest for a counselling appointment last year, with their delay lasting 84 days.

This was followed by the University of Plymouth, where students had to wait 66 days, while undergraduates at Edinburgh Napier University faced delays of 57 days for counselling and 112 days for cognitive behavioural therapy appointments.

British universities have come under fire for this following the number of young people taking their own lives recently. Last year, Ceara Thacker committed suicide while studying at Liverpool University.

An inquest into the 19-year-old’s death opened earlier this week, which revealed the university had not told her parents of a previous suicide attempt, having taken an overdose in February 2018.

It was heard that her request for mental health support after this incident was ignored for over a month, which led Ceara’s father Iain Thacker to say the university staff “needed to recognise that they were dealing with a really vulnerable 19-year-old”.

For immediate help with depression and anxiety, get in touch with a Leatherhead psychotherapist and avoid the long three-month wait for professional help.



Money Cited As Biggest Cause Of Stress

There are lots of things that can cause stress in our lives, but a new study carried out by Potter’s Herbals has picked up the major causes of stress.

Women and Home shared the findings, which revealed that 92 per cent of us suffer from stress, while one in six people say that they feel pretty stressed constantly.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, money was named as the biggest cause of stress, with half of those questioned identifying this as the root cause of their worries.

Work pressure was named as a source of stress among 38 per cent of people, while life in general was picked out by 44 per cent of those questioned. Relationships were also named as a cause of stress by 30 per cent of respondents.

Professor Robert Pickard told the publication that being stressed for an extended period of time can lead to a range of health conditions, both physical and mental.

“Mental health issues related to stress include irritability, anger, depression, nervousness, anxiety and cognitive disfunction,” he revealed.

If you regularly find you’re battling with stress and other mental health conditions as a result, you could benefit from seeing a Leatherhead psychotherapist to help you find ways of coping and reducing the stress in your daily life.

As well as seeking professional help, you could also consider introducing more exercise to your life after a new study found that this can reduce the symptoms of depression, or in some cases even prevent the condition from developing at all.



More Needs To Be Done For Mental Health Among Construction Workers

Construction workers are the most likely to take their own lives, with over 1,400 construction workers committing suicide between 2011 and 2015, the Guardian recently revealed.

According to the newspaper, this is more than three times the average rate of suicide among men in the UK. So why are so many construction workers struggling with their mental health and what can be done about it?

Bill Hill, chief executive of the Lighthouse Club charity, explained some of the factors that lead to poor mental health among those working in construction.

“You are away from home, socially isolated. Online gambling is an issue - the next thing you know they have lost this month’s wage packet,” he said. Mr Hill also pointed out that when they’re working away from home, men also often fall into a drinking and smoking culture in the evenings, which also doesn’t help.

Other factors at play include job insecurity and bullying, which often starts as banter but can easily go too far. Loneliness is another big issue among those working in construction.

The Guardian also recently cited the Hinkley Point C construction site as an example of a place where these problems are rife. It shared figures from Unite, which revealed there have been ten attempts at suicide in the first four months of 2019 alone.

A number of measures have been introduced to try to improve the situation at Hinkley Point C, including an onsite GP, ‘time to talk’ rooms and mental health buddies.

Regardless of what you’re struggling with, get in touch to find out how a Leatherhead psychotherapist could help you today.



Should Exercise Be Prescribed To Beat Depression?

It has long been known that exercise has many benefits – from helping to maintain a healthy body weight to reducing the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes. However, it has now been discovered that taking part in physical activities can reduce the symptoms, and even help in the prevention, of depression.

A recent study by scientists at the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in Brazil and King’s College London in the UK, which was published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, found that exercise can be used as ‘medicine’ against depressive feelings.

Felipe Barretto Schuch from the former university and Brendon Stubbs from the British educational establishment wrote in the paper: “The evidence of the use of exercise [for the management of depression] is substantial and growing fast.”

They analysed data from 49 studies and found exercise could reduce depression risk by 17 per cent, Medical News Today reported.

This follows a previous study the scientists conducted in 2016 involving 1,487 participants, which concluded that exercise could be impactful in treating those with clinical depression.

Schuch and Stubbs concluded: “[Physical activity] can confer protection from the development of depression in children, adults, and older adults… Among people with depression, exercise can be used for acutely managing symptoms.”

Therefore, they suggested physicians should use exercise as a way to treat those with depression, instead of relying on antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy alone.

While treatments such psychotherapy in Leatherhead are essential to addressing any underlying issues, exercise can be used in conjunction with this to alleviate symptoms associated with depression.

These include irritability, low self-esteem, anxiety, not enjoying life, and losing interest in things, according to the NHS.



Mental Illness ‘More Likely’ In Women Who Suffer Domestic Abuse

New research has explored whether women who suffer domestic abuse are more likely to suffer from mental health problems in the future, as well as whether they have a history of mental illness.

The study by the University of Birmingham, and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that women who have suffered domestic abuse are almost three times as likely to develop mental illness.

However, the research also revealed that women who are in abusive relationships are also almost three times as likely to have a history of mental illness.

The researchers used data from UK GP surgeries between 1995 and 2017. They identified 18,547 women who had suffered domestic abuse, as reported by their GP, as well as a control group of 74,188 women of a similar age who did not have any experience of domestic abuse recorded.

Among the key findings are that the chances of developing anxiety doubles, while the likelihood of suffering from depression triples after domestic abuse, even when other factors that lead to mental illness are taken into consideration.

Dr Joht Singh Chandan, academic clinical fellow in public health at the University of Birmingham, said that there needs to be a “clear public health approach” to prevent violence and abuse against women.

“Considering how common domestic abuse is, it is important to understand how strongly the two are connected and consider whether there are possible opportunities to improve the lives of women affected by domestic abuse,” he stated.

Last year the The Guardian reported on an Australian study which found that suffering domestic abuse led to lifelong physical health problems.

If you need a Leatherhead psychotherapist to help you cope with mental health problems that have been caused by domestic abuse, contact us today.




Employees ‘Not Comfortable Using Employer Mental Health Services’

Despite many companies providing access to mental health services for those working in the professional services, finance, banking and commerce sectors, many employees are reluctant to access this support.

Research carried out by Morgan McKinley revealed that three-quarters of the people surveyed wouldn’t feel comfortable seeking mental health support through a service that was provided by their employer, Accountancy Age reported.

This is despite 98 per cent of the people questioned stating that they believe mental health problems have a negative effect on their productivity at work.

In addition, one-third of employees weren’t aware of any support that their employer provided in this area, despite many doing so.

Speaking to the news provider, people director of Morgan McKinley Andrea Webb said: “The fundamental foundations are in place at many organisations, but more needs to be done to improve confidence around the discussion of mental health issues at work so individuals can get the help they require.”

Open discussion about mental health issues has certainly become easier in recent years. Earlier this month, Prince William opened up about his struggles with mental health pressures following the death of his mother and in his work as an air ambulance pilot. His comments were screened in a BBC documentary earlier this month.

Footballers Peter Crouch and Danny Rose, along with ex-professional footballers Thierry Henry, Jermaine Jenas and Gareth Southgate all joined William in discussing the mental health issues they’ve faced during their lives.

If you’re looking for a Leatherhead psychotherapist to help you, get in touch today.



Depression In Pregnancy ‘Increasingly Common’

These days, many people are aware of postnatal depression, with this condition affecting more than one in ten women who have given birth within the last year. However, far less is said about depression occurring during pregnancy, despite doctors still considering this to be a widespread problem.

According to a recent report in the British Medical Journal entitled ‘Assessing low mood during pregnancy’, the condition during pregnancy is incredibly common.

In fact, it asserts that perinatal depression affects 12 per cent of women antenatally, and up to one-fifth during the first postnatal year.

The reason why less is known about having depression during pregnancy is because of a “reluctance to disclose symptoms, perceived stigma, and diagnostic uncertainty”.

“As a result, pregnant women are less likely than non-pregnant women to be diagnosed with depression, and less than half of those diagnosed receive appropriate treatment,” the report stated.

However, this is a huge problem, as if it goes untreated, antenatal depression can result in poorer pregnancy outcomes, as well as adverse child development, and postnatal depression after the baby is born.

Many people might also be worried about taking antidepressants during pregnancy, but the report urges doctors to discuss the option of medication as “the risks of untreated illness often outweigh the risks of antidepressant use in pregnancy”.

There are many reasons why pregnant women might suffer from poor mental health, even during what is meant to be a ‘joyful’ time of their lives. These include rejection or anxiety if the pregnancy was not planned; anguish over the responsibility of parenthood; guilt of not looking after her baby as much as the mother feels she should, or not attending to other children due to difficult pregnancy symptoms.

Signs of perinatal depression pregnant women should be aware of include disinterest in activities they would have previously enjoyed, low self-esteem, distress, not being able to concentrate or make decisions, being irritable, and episodes of anxiety.

These are the same as signs of postnatal depression, which can be exacerbated by a lack of sleep, difficulty bonding with the baby, a traumatic birth experience, finding breastfeeding challenging, and recovering from labour or surgery, in the case of caesareans.

However, there are many effective treatments for antenatal and postnatal depression, so women should not feel alone or isolated during this difficult time. These include looking after yourself – from eating healthily and exercising to getting involved in social activities – taking antidepressants, or seeking psychological therapy.

Being able to talk to a professional counsellor in Leatherhead can really help relieve symptoms of depression during this time of your life. Having a safe place to share, and talk about, your feelings can really help with anxiety, despair, sadness, and apprehension. It can also teach you new strategies to be able to cope with daily challenges, so you do not feel overwhelmed or out of control.

It is not just women that suffer from perinatal depression and many men can experience feelings of anguish and desperation too. According to the NHS, up to a tenth of new fathers become depressed after their baby is born, despite the misconception that it only affects females.



Prince William Discusses Mother’s Death In BBC Documentary

A new BBC One documentary features high-profile people discussing their difficulties with mental health conditions, all sharing the problems they’ve experienced and the pressures they have faced in their careers.

Prince William was one of the guests on the show, speaking about how people need to start talking about their emotions because “we’re not robots”. Talking about the death of his mother, he said he feels that when someone is bereaved at such a young age “you feel pain like no other pain”.

On the topic of his career, he explained how being part of the East Anglian Air Ambulance was hard although a lot more open than being in the army, despite having to deal with his own emotional issues while helping families going through something terrible.

“That raw emotion… I could feel it brewing up inside me and I could feel it was going to take its toll and be a real problem. I had to speak about it,” Prince William goes on to say in the A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health programme, which aired on May 19th.

Other people featured in the show include Peter Crouch, Danny Rose, Jermaine Jenas, Gareth Southgate and Danny rose.

It is completely normal and natural for you to feel as though life circumstances and events have you feeling somewhat lost or out of control. Talking to a professional and experienced Leatherhead psychotherapist could prove very useful if you are struggling in some capacity, whether it’s relationships, work, depression or something else. Give us a call today if you’d like to find out more.



Teetotalism Can Improve Women’s Mental Health, Study Finds

Women concerned about their mental health may want to consider giving up alcohol entirely, given new research revealing that doing so can help them make real improvements in this regard.

The study, carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Hong Kong and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal=, found that out of their sample of participants both men and women who were lifetime abstainers had the highest level of mental wellbeing when the research began.

Women who were moderate drinkers and gave up the bottle were found to see a favourable change in their mental wellbeing as a result.

Co-author of the study Dr Michael Ni said: “More evidence suggests caution in recommending moderate drinking as part of a healthy diet. Global alcohol consumption is expected to continue to increase unless effective strategies are employed.

“Our findings suggest caution in recommendations that moderate drinking could improve health-related quality of life. Instead, quitting drinking may associated with a more favourable change in mental wellbeing, approaching the level of lifetime abstainers.”

If you are trying to give up alcohol, there are ways in which you give yourself the best chance of success. Telling family and friends and explaining why you’re doing this means you can share your successes with them.

Avoiding temptation in the beginning will also really help, so this may mean turning down invitations or avoiding certain places at the very beginning.

Do you want to see a Leatherhead psychotherapist? Get in touch with us today.



Student Kills Herself Waiting For Mental Health Support

A 21-year-old student has taken her own life while on the waiting list for mental health support, after being told it would be up to a year before she received help.

An inquest heard how Sheffield Hallam University attendee Nicole Kaye was hoping to access “intensive therapy” for her psychosis but Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust informed her she would have to wait 12 months to access mental health support.

Soon after in February this year, she was found hanged at her parents’ home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, the Mirror reported.

Speaking at the inquest, Dr Daniel Maughan, a consultant psychiatrist from the Warneford Hospital in Oxford, said: “It is very unfortunate that it was not able to be started straightaway. It took four months for the assessment to take place, but we work with the resources that we have.”

Ms Kaye suffered a manic episode in August last year and went missing. After being found by the police, she was detained under the Mental Health Act, and was subsequently flagged as a suicide risk.

Her mother, Caroline Kaye, told the inquest she might have still been alive had she been given more antidepressants.

“She never actually got the chance to experience or get help from cognitive behavioural therapy, so it is all subjective as to how much it would have helped,” she stated.

While a lack of resources was to blame for Ms Kaye’s long wait for mental health services, she might have benefited from seeking help outside of the NHS.

If you think you need therapy and have been told you will have to wait a long time to access mental health support, get in touch with counsellors in Leatherhead straight away. We can give you the time and space to talk about your feelings, enabling you to explore and work through them, and helping you overcome depression, anxiety, sadness, low self esteem and stress.



A Supportive Environment 'The Best Way To Ensure Good Mental Health'

A number of factors that impact many people in the UK are having a negative effect on people’s mental health. This is according to a new report from the UN’s top health envoy.

Speaking exclusively to The Guardian ahead of the report’s release, Dr Dainius Pūras said that the most effective way to combat mental ill health in the general population is through measures to address inequality and discrimination, rather than focusing on medication and therapy.

Dr Pūras added: “Austerity measures did not contribute positively to good mental health. People feel insecure, they feel anxious, they do not enjoy good emotional wellbeing because of this insecurity situation.”

He concluded that creating a “supportive environment” in every area of our lives, from the workplace to our families, is the best way to ensure the good mental health of individuals. Dr Pūras said that some people would still need to access therapy to deal with their mental health issues, but that the numbers doing so would be much lower.

He also described prescribing medication to treat mental illness as “an inadequate response”.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) welcomed Dr Pūras’ report and noted that it supports a number of measures that the organisation has suggested to help tackle mental health problems in the UK.

BPS chief executive Sarb Bajwa stressed that “tackling inequality in our society is absolutely central to preventing mental ill health, and treating those who suffer from it”.

If you feel you would benefit from speaking to a Leatherhead psychotherapist, contact us today to find out how we can support you.

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