The UK must invest in mental health help

With the publication of the spending review on Wednesday (Report, 24 November), it’s imperative the government invests in psychological therapies. Failure to address mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, devastates lives, puts a huge strain on the government budget and undermines economic productivity. Psychological health problems have a worse impact on people’s happiness and life satisfaction than physical health problems. In financial terms, the cost of mental ill health in England has been estimated to be £105bn per year.

Fortunately, a number of evidence-based psychological therapies exist and are effective. Investment in psychological therapies to date has been a success, but it is a success that could be multiplied. The improving access to psychological therapies programme is only funded to reach “at least 15%” of the people who need it, and retention and recovery rates could be improved. Everyone with a need for psychological therapy should be able to access it within 28 days. We urge more research funding to show which therapies work best for which people. And we advocate training to ensure the NHS workforce can deliver in practice the full range of evidence-based therapies that it offers in theory. We believe this would go a long way towards improving the wellbeing of the nation and the state of the public finances.

Original article here.

Veteran Psychotherapist publishes series of articles to detail the importance of getting away from it all

Veteran Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master Maureen Courtney of Breakthrough Retreats has recently published a series of articles in which she explains the importance of escaping everyday routines.

As Maureen explains…

“All of us have things we would love to change about ourselves, but many of us ignore these desires in the hope that they will somehow disappear in time. Rather than tackling those issues which are bothering us most, we become consumed by our day-to-day lives and begin to put personal development on the back-burners, allowing it to bow to the demands of work.

“In order to bring about lasting change it is important to tear yourself away from your daily routine. Although this can be achieved to an extent by making an effort to do something different during your lunch breaks or after work, the most effective way of tackling mental health issues is to escape the city altogether on a personal development retreat. By visiting a retreat, not only will you benefit from the peace and quiet of the countryside and the help and advice of various experts, you will also have time to identify, engage with and overcome those problems you had hidden away.

“Unlike weekly therapy sessions, a retreat will revolutionise your approach to life in a matter of days. Unfortunately, however, many of those who would benefit most from a bespoke health retreat are unaware that these retreats even exist, which is why I’ve written a series of articles on the subject. Anyone interested in exploring the articles can find them at www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk.”

For more information email mocourtney@btinternet.com.

Veteran Psychotherapist publishes new guide to explain the transformative power of personal development retreats

Veteran Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master Maureen Courtney of Breakthrough Retreats has recently published a guide to introduce those dissatisfied with traditional therapy to the concept of personal development retreats and is making it available online for free.

As Maureen explains…

“Although currently weekly, one to one therapy sessions are the go-to solution for anyone struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, abuse or other such problems, this way of approaching personal development has major flaws. Despite the fact that treatments such as psychotherapy and hypnotherapy have been proven to be extremely beneficial to individuals, weekly hour-long sessions can only go so far towards true personal change as the brevity of these sessions undermines their effectiveness. Rather than being able to reflect on what they have uncovered properly after each session, on leaving, individuals are immersed once more in their normal lives.

“In contrast, personal development retreats take people away from their day-to-day lives in order to allow them to focus exclusively on solving whatever problems they are dealing with. Able to benefit from a wide range of treatments as well as amazing scenery and good food during these retreats, the impact they can have is far beyond that of traditional weekly therapy sessions.

“Unfortunately, however, few people are aware that these retreats are available, let alone how effective they are, which is why I’ve written my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential” and made it available for free online. Anyone interested in a copy can order theirs at www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk.”

Does Pacing Back and Forth Actually Help Anxiety?

Maybe you’re on a phone interview for the perfect job opportunity, or maybe your in-laws are due to show up any minute.

To deal with these everyday stresses and anxieties, we often subconsciously pace back and forth with no destination or clear goal in mind. But what causes pacing, and can it help ease our mood?

“Pacing is a behavioural signal to tell yourself that you’re too overwhelmed,” Sunna Jung, Ph.D., a psychologist specializing in anxiety and trauma, tells Mashable. “It could be a signal trying to teach you about something that’s happening in your internal state, or it can be a form of distraction in the moment to calm yourself down.”

On a basic level, Jung believes pacing is a way to release muscular tension or discomfort. Your body is sending a signal to your brain that it’s uncomfortable: “Pay attention; something isn’t right.” When it comes to anxiety, pacing could be our mind and body’s attempt at relief.

While anxiety can range from temporary anxious feelings to a serious illness, it’s incredibly common. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. — 40 million American adults (18% of the population) suffer from anxiety. And although it’s highly treatable, only one-third receive treatment.

Pacing isn’t exclusive to anxiety either; it can be a symptom of depression (though, nearly half of those diagnosed with depression also live with an anxiety disorder, according to the ADAA), as well as ADHD and autism (as a repetitive body movement).

When it comes to everyday anxiety, pacing might help you stay calm and collected on that phone interview, concentrate more when making a decision and feeling more comfortable by the time your in-laws arrive.

 

But are there any drawbacks?

“When you’re in a state of distraction, and you’re staying away from the actual sensation or memory or thoughts you’re trying to keep at bay,  it can place you in a state of constant anxiety without any kind of real resolution it can place you in a state of constant anxiety without any kind of real resolution,” Jung says.

Pacing is just one of several bodily reactions to stress and anxiety, like twitching or stomach discomfort. And while pacing is one of the most common, it might not help anything either, depending on your source of discomfort.

Jung’s patients spend more time in their heads, ruminating — which is similar to pacing in its repetitive nature. Pacing, she says, is not very harmful and common enough that her patients don’t talk about it much or do it in the room with her. Ruminating, on the other hand, can be harmful; spending too much time thinking about something, even when there’s no resolution, can make it worse.

That’s why, when we pace, we should be more mindful of what we do and think about.

“Notice each footfall as it hits the ground, and notice how the body is responding to it … That awareness, over time, brings you more stability and more self-regulation,” she says. Pacing isn’t something psychologists “prescribe,” of course, but “in that case, it really wouldn’t be pacing any longer. It would be a mindful way of taking steps, both metaphorically and physiologically. It would be a mindful way of taking steps, both metaphorically and physiologically, toward understanding the internal activities that are going on in that moment.”

Jung tells her patients to pay attention to the physicality of anxiety: heart rate, temperature, tightness in the chest, or tension in their shoulders and legs. But just as important is using external tools — things that will ground them. Plants and pets at home, a photograph or meaningful object at work, anything with a warm connection that allows them to feel more present to who they are.

“We all experience anxiety at different points in our lives, and it’s really how we respond to it that’s important,” Jung says. “That’s what’s going to get us through those difficult moments.”

Next time you find yourself pacing back and forth, try some of Jung’s tips — and you might just feel better, faster.

Original Article Here…

Breakthrough Retreats’ Top Tips for good mental wellbeing over Christmas

With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, Maureen Courtney offers advice on how to cope with the pressures of Christmas and how to implement positive mental change for 2015.

 

 

Drink sensibly

The celebratory spirit of Christmas and New Year often involves social drinking and although the consumption of alcohol might make you feel more relaxed, it is important to remember that alcohol is a depressant and drinking excessive amounts can cause low mood, irritability or potentially aggressive behaviour. By not exceeding the recommended number of safe units, you will be better able to sustain good mental and physical wellbeing.

 

Eat well

The festive period has become synonymous with over-indulgence, which in turn prompts a pressing desire for many of us to lose weight in the New Year. Therefore, where possible, it is important to maintain a good balance of fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, protein and omega 3 sources throughout the year in order to help us work towards weight loss in a sensible way. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight can improve your mood and can work towards preventing symptoms of lethargy and irritability that many of us feel during the busy festive season and dark winter months.

 

Be active

Exercise releases the feel-good chemicals, endorphins, which help you to relax, feel happy and boost your mood. By undertaking simple tasks such as cycling to work, walking in the park, or joining in with Christmas games, you can benefit from experiencing reduced anxiety, decreased depression and improved self-esteem. In addition, recent research has indicated that regular exercise can help to boost our immune systems, enabling us to better fight off colds and flu viruses that are prolific in winter months.

 

Get involved

The festive period provides us with an ideal opportunity to talk to, visit or engage with the people around us. Face-to-face communication has been shown to improve our mental and physical wellbeing as this interaction produces the hormone, oxytocin, which can benefit our immune system, heart health and cognitive function. It has been reported that a third of us have a close friend or family member we think is lonely, a Christmas or new year’s resolution to see our friends and family more often can help to boost both our own mental wellbeing, and that of others. If you are apart from your family then volunteering for a charity or local community organisation can provide that same human contact, as well as help provide essential support and encouragement for others in need. These interactions can easily be sustained throughout the coming year and need not just be for Christmas.

 

Relax

Christmas can be a very busy and stressful time as we prepare to entertain family and friends, worry about cooking a delicious Christmas dinner, and fit in some last minute present shopping. These feelings of being under pressure can produce symptoms of anxiety, anger and difficulty sleeping which, if prolonged, could have a long-term detrimental impact on your mental health and wellbeing. By exercising more regularly or practicing mindfulness – a combination of meditation, yoga and breathing techniques – you can help to both alleviate the symptoms of your stress and gain more control when coping with difficult situations. Christmas presents aside, implementing a new exercise regime or signing up for a course in mindfulness, such as our online course in mindfulness-based stress reduction, could be your best investment for a more relaxed Christmas and New Year.

 

Sleep

Despite many of us having time off work during Christmas and the New Year, our sleep patterns can be disturbed between catching up with friends and family and partying late in to the night. There is mounting evidence on the link between sleep and mental wellbeing, meaning improvements in the quality of your sleep could result in improvements to your overall mental health. There are several steps you can take towards achieving a better night’s sleep: attempting to get back in to your regular sleep routine as soon as possible after the party period, consuming less alcohol during the festivities, implementing regular exercise into your weekly routine, and taking measures to alleviate your stress.

 

If you’re dealing with depression, lonliness or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how our bespoke health retreats could benefit you, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

 

Original article here.

 

 

World Mental Health Day 2014

wmhd-2014Schizophrenia affects around 26 million people across the world and is the focus of World Mental Health Day this year.

Despite being a treatable disorder, more than 50% of people with schizophrenia cannot access adequate treatment, and 90% of people with untreated schizophrenia live in the developing world.
On 10 October we celebrate the most important day in the mental health calendar and shine the spotlight on “living” with schizophrenia. From those who face every day of their lives with it, to their families, friends, doctors and even society as a whole, we all have a part to play in raising awareness of schizophrenic illness.
We want to ensure that people with schizophrenia get the best possible care and support to manage their illness and to help them recover.
What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia affects how a person thinks, feels, and acts but it’s actually a word that describes a number of symptoms that psychiatry has labelled a disorder. Not everyone with schizophrenia has the same symptoms and the definition of the disorder is wide, including a number of combinations of different things.
Schizophrenia may make it hard for people to judge reality and key features of early psychosis include:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Appetite disturbance
  • Marked unusual behaviour
  • Feelings that are flat or seem inconsistent to others
  • Speech that is difficult to follow
  • Marked preoccupation with unusual ideas
  • Ideas of reference – thinking unrelated things have a special meaning, ie people on television talking to you
  • Persistent feelings of unreality
  • Changes in the way things appear, sound or smell

Schizophrenia can occur in anyone but it’s a treatable disorder. Long term medication may be necessary for some people but talking therapies and self-help groups can also be effective.

If you’re dealing with Schizophrenia, depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how hypnotherapy and other similar treatments available at our bespoke health retreats could benefit you, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

Charting Your Course

Are you just flotsam and jetsam?  Have the confidence to map out your life so you are going in the direction you want to go in.

charting shoreline

Explore why it is that you are deflected and do not achieve your goals.  Find out how to be the master of your fate.