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Samaritans has a letters service too | Letters

19/10/2017 Letters 0

For those unable or unwilling to use Samaritans’ telephone service, the organisation also corresponds by post, writes one of its volunteersI read with pleasure the piece by Tom Francis about Samaritans (Opinion, 10 October). I have been a Samarita…

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Tackling the silent epidemic of loneliness | Letters

16/10/2017 Letters 0

Mike Adamson would like to see more services that prevent, reduce and delay loneliness, and Susan Daniels says it is not just a problem for older peopleWe welcome the focus given by Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard on the toll that loneliness is placing …

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Broadening the debate on mental health | Letters

15/10/2017 Letters 0

David Dodd wants employers to assume a degree of responsibility for employees’ mental wellbeing, Justin Harper makes a case for income protection and Gary Fereday says psychoanalytically informed therapies should be more widely available. Plus letters …

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Staying appy: mental health apps deliver mixed results

10/10/2017 Kim Thomas 0

The number of apps geared towards improving wellbeing is increasing, but how helpful are they?It doesn’t matter what the problem is, someone will have developed a app to deal with it – so it should come as no surprise that there are now thousands of ap…

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My 14-year battle to study with a complex mental health issue

I’ve been to psychiatric hospital 12 times and had to give up on a number of courses – but now I’ve got my eye on a PhD

Colin Evans was 20 when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was doing his first degree at the time – chemistry at the University of Leeds – and had an acute psychotic episode during a night out that saw him end up in a mental health unit at hospital.

During the 14 years since, he’s continued his education, but with both his medication and his diagnosis changing over time, his experience of studying has been an unusual one.

You’ve got to find the point between your zeal​ to study and the downtime necessary for your mind to heal

Diagnosis doesn’t have to be a life sentence of solitude or apathy

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What’s the ultimate way to defy depression, disease and early death? Exercise

03/10/2017 Sarah Boseley 0

As a new report reveals the mental health benefits of just an hour’s physical activity a week, it seems there is nothing a workout can’t cure. Here is why we should all sit less and move more

Are you sitting comfortably? Bad idea. Stand up and walk around the house. Leave your desk and jog down the office stairs. Even better – jog up the stairs. If it’s lunchtime, go and join a yoga class or head for the shops on foot. What’s to lose? You are going to feel better and live longer.

Hardly a day goes by without a new piece of research flagging up the benefits to our physical and mental health of getting more active. On Tuesday, a study of 30,000 Norwegians by the brilliantly named Black Dog Institute in Australia found that even one or two hours’ exercise a week can help prevent depression. On Monday, the Wildlife Trust revealed that two-thirds of its volunteers, digging ditches and building bird tables in the open air, had better mental health within six weeks.

Related: Natural health service: wildlife volunteers get mental health boost

I don’t care how you get hot and sweaty for 10 minutes each day. I just want you doing it

Related: Get up, stand up: including exercise in everyday life healthier than gym, says study

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I’m lucky. I can afford private mental health treatment. What about those who can’t? | Deborah Orr

23/09/2017 Deborah Orr 0

Experts know how to help me, and thousands of others. But the NHS just doesn’t have the money

Almost one in 10 14-year-old boys have symptoms of anxiety and depression. Which is awful. But almost a quarter of 14-year-old girls have such symptoms. That is such a sad and miserable statistic that one barely knows where to start. The worst thing of all is that it isn’t really surprising. There is so much in this world of ours for a teenage girl to feel worried and hopeless about – not least that the advertising of such sensitivity can easily attract the sneering epithet “snowflake”.

Related: Carrie Fisher showed the way. I want to acknowledge my own mental struggles | Deborah Orr

Related: I took my first antidepressant this week. The effects were frightening | Deborah Orr

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Do we really need therapy?

22/09/2017 Oliver Burkeman 0

Research suggests self-help exercises could be better for you than cognitive behavioural therapy

‘Researchers say you might as well be your own therapist,” the website Quartz proclaimed recently, in light of a new study that found a vanishingly small difference between seeing a cognitive behavioural therapist and just doing various self-help exercises on your own. Naturally, this sort of thing is liable to make therapists angry. (The correct response is to nod compassionately and ask: “Now, why do you think that makes you so angry?”) As Mark Brown noted in this paper, we should be wary of any finding that seems to suggest governments could save money by telling people to sort themselves out. But the self-help route has another limitation worth bearing in mind: what makes you so confident you even know what your problems really are?

Typically, self-help works like this: you’re troubled by some issue – procrastination, commitment-phobia, depression – so you seek a book to fix it, just as you’d seek a spanner or screwdriver if the legs on your kitchen table started wobbling. But minds aren’t like wobbly tables. There’s no reason to assume – actually, there’s much reason to doubt – that we’re in touch with our deepest anxieties and hang-ups. Rather than productivity techniques, maybe you need to face the fact that your job provides no meaning. Maybe accusing yourself of “commitment-phobia” is how you rationalise the subconscious awareness that your partner doesn’t love you. Maybe your depression is best understood not as the result of “automatic thoughts”, but as a sign that you’re living life to serve your parents’ agenda, instead of your own.

Related: Common sense isn’t always that sensible

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One in four girls have depression by the time they hit 14, study reveals

Data from government-funded research prompts fresh questions about effect of social media and school stresses on young people’s mental health

One in four girls is clinically depressed by the time they turn 14, according to research that has sparked new fears that Britain’s teenagers are suffering from an epidemic of poor mental health.

A government-funded study has found that 24% of 14-year-old girls and 9% of boys the same age have depression. Their symptoms include feeling miserable, tired and lonely and hating themselves.

Related: Judge attacks mental health provision after approving care plan for suicidal girl

Related: Suicide is at record level among students at UK universities, study finds

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