Thursday, 10 December 2015

This Week in Mental Health...13th December 2015

This week I'm in Amsterdam! It's not covered in snow as I had hoped, but it is cold. However, despite my holidays I haven't forgotten about my blogging.

Here's a round up of the biggest mental health stories this week.

1) 11 Things People With Anxiety Want You To Know, Kirsten King; Anna Borges; Haejin Park

Haejin Park for BuzzFeed
Buzzfeed continue to do amazing work around mental health. Haejin Park’s artwork really makes this excellent awareness raising piece. I’ve included two of my favourite pieces of advice here in this snapshot, but go and check out the full article.

Buzzfeed, 6th December 2015;
“Anxiety is an invisible illness that may not be seen, but is certainly felt. When you deal with anxiety, there’s no separating yourself from the symptoms. You carry the misery in your thoughts, your choices, your relationships, yourself. And sometimes, that weight is so heavy that it feels physical.”
“Having anxiety can mean anything from questioning if your friend actually wants you to go to the movies, to wondering if you’re really loved. So reminding us that we’re important to you might seem like it’s obvious…but it’s super important.”

2) Don’t be Sad: how to beat seasonal affective disorder, Norman E Rosenthal

From the man who first describer seasonal affective disorder, this article offers tips on overcoming the mood affects of the dark, dim winter days. Rosenthal is an engaging writer and his research in the 1980s has changed the way people view mood disorders.

The Guardian, 7th December 2015;
“Ever since my colleagues and I first described seasonal affective disorder (Sad) at America’s National Institute of Mental Health in the mid-1980s, it was obvious that we were not dealing with an all-or-nothing phenomenon, but with a spectrum of emotional and behavioural problems linked to the seasons. At one extreme are people with Sad, who struggle during the short dark days of winter, sometimes to a disabling degree. At the other are those who wake up cheerfully, rain or shine. In between are those with the winter blues. They manage with difficulty during the dark days but are less joyful, productive and creative than usual.”

3) Mental health services suspended in Co Donegal, Paul Cullen

For the past three months, older people in Donegal cannot be referred on for mental health services. The system cannot cope with the number of patients it has to see. Little thought however has been given to those who may be unable to cope without these supports.  As June Shannon pointed out on Twitter, if this was a physical illness there’d be outrage.

Irish Times, 8th December 2015;
“The HSE says it is making every effort to resume full mental health services for older people in Co Donegal, which have been suspended for new referrals since September. It says the curtailment of services is “of a temporary nature” due to a staffing shortage, but recruitment of a consultant will start early in 2016. Donegal GPs were told mental health services for older people were being temporarily closed in a letter sent on September 7th. The closure was caused by difficulties filling in for a member of staff on sick leave.”

4) I dreaded the thought of antidepressants not working – but they did, Anonymous

Medication and mental health have been making grounds this week and finally we are starting to see a positive representation of anti-depressants in the media.

The Guardian, 9th December 2015;
“It did work. I thank God I live in an age where effective psychiatric medications exist – and you should too. I cannot credit those stories that tell us they’re barely better than placebo. My experience, and those of millions of others, is that they can work, powerfully, to restore your equilibrium, your sanity. There are side effects of course. And some illnesses are better served than others. Finding the right fit, the right dosage, may be a struggle.”

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