Go That Extra Mile

Gretchen Reynolds (New York Times) writes about the science behind the links between physical exercise and good mental health. Not just weight-lifting, fell-running or five-a-side football, any physical exercise can help.

For instance, older women who regularly stroll for two miles per day (4000 steps) live longer than those who stroll just one mile or less. Even regularly rising from the chair, at home or in the office, seems to make people happier.

Find the article on The Independent’s consistently high-quality site:https://www.independent.co.uk/health_and_wellbeing/exercise-trends-2019-mental-health-ageing-walking-running-a9268926.html

Smartphone Usage and Mental Health

A meta-analysis of 41 studies, dating from 2011 to 2019, shows that one-in-four young people display Problematic Smartphone Use (PSU). This ‘problematic’ use includes: neglect of other activities, anxiety when the smartphone is not available, poor sleep, and low mood. Press Association article, quoted in “The Indy”: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/smart-phone-addiction-children-gen-z-social-media-mental-health-a9225556.html


A walk down most British streets might lead you to understand that it is not only children and young people who might be using their smartphones problematically. Most of us seem to be aware, at some level, that both the internet in general and smartphones in particular are extremely addictive. Acknowledgement that their use could be problematic – in others and in ourselves – may be the beginnings of us addressing these problems, on a societal level.

Why Do Men Commit Suicide?

Good article at: https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/06/are-we-socializing-men-to-die-by-suicide.html on men and suicide. It is US-grounded, but the arguments and evidence are applicable in the UK, too (with the proviso that it is, at least, much harder to acquire a gun in the UK than it is in the USA).

Worth persisting with the article, right to the end. Here we learn that, “Manhood is not a mental health disorder.” Extraordinary that this needs to be spelled out, but it does.



Men Can Cope With Emotions

This article in Therapy Today challenges the idea that men are rigid beings, unwilling to experience – and to share – their emotions. The author carefully examines the coping strategies men stereotypically employ when faced with adversity. He goes on to suggest that psychotherapy and counselling have the potential to help broaden these coping strategies, as well as providing men with different models of masculinity. He calls this “flexible masculinity.”

With gender relations in a state of flux, perhaps us men can start finding ways-of-being that suit us all better, as individuals and as men. I believe that therapy has a major role to play in this process.

Find the article here: https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/therapy-today/2019/june-2019/who-says-men-can-t-cope-with-emotions/




New Fathers Experience Mental Health Problems

Research by the NCT, coinciding with Father’s Day, has revealed that over a third of new fathers are worried about their mental health: http://www.nct.org.uk/press-release/dads-distress-many-new-fathers-are-worried-about-their-mental-health

One of the main reasons behind these findings is men’s unwillingness to talk about their feelings. This unwillingness is understandable – many men have been taught, from a very young age, that there is something “unmanly” about sharing feelings, or even having them in the first place.

A strategy of “keeping calm and carrying on” may sometimes serve men well. But when “manning up” just doesn’t seem to be working – for instance, during the period immediately before, and after the birth of a child – more men need to follow another well known piece of advice:

“It’s good to talk”.

(Wasn’t it well-known Cockney geezer, Bob Hoskins, who said that?)


Celebrities pledge to talk about mental health problems

Celebrities like Stephen Fry, The Wanted and Rebecca Front talk about mental health problems like depression and why it’s important to be open.

Celebrities - Alastair Campbell - Cycling - Photoshoot for general market use - DSC 6187

Alastair Campbell talks about depression

Former political aide and author, Alastair Campbell recalls the conversation he had with former prime minister Tony Blair about his experiences of depression and why talking is important for social change.

Read Alastair’s story


Ruby Wax - Sane New World

Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax has experienced episodes of depression for most of her life, but it wasn’t until she finally checked into a clinic, that she realised how widespread mental health problems are: “It’s so common, it could be anyone. The trouble is, nobody wants to talk about it. And that makes everything worse.”

Read Ruby’s story


Stephen Fry visits Bletchley Park

Stephen Fry talks about bipolar disorder and mental health stigma

Stephen Fry has experienced mental health problems for much of his life. But it wasn’t until he was 37 that he was finally diagnosed withbipolar disorder. “I’d never heard the word before, but for the first time I had a diagnosis that explains the massive highs and miserable lows I’ve lived with all my life.”

Read Stephen’s story


Nick Clegg at Mental Health Conference

At the Mental Health Conference on 19 January, held at the King’s Trust, Nick Clegg called for a new ambition for zero suicides across the NHS.

The Deputy Prime Minister spoke about removing mental health stigma and the need to adopt a ‘zero suicide’ ambition across the NHS.

I think….

Read the full article >

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