Over 20,000 Antidepressants Issued to Under 12s: What can we do to protect our children?

Over the years, many parents have approached me asking for advice, or asking me to meet with their young one as they are concerned about their mental health. So, this is a very welcome piece from Shamir Patel who is a registered pharmacist with extensive experience in running independent high street pharmacies across the north west of England. Shamir also established Chemist 4 U way back in 2001, which is now one of the largest digital pharmacies in the UK.


Mental health is a prevalent problem in society. We recently carried out a study into antidepressants, from which we found that as many as 28% of the population identify as having a mental health condition. That’s huge.

The State of Mental Health in the UK

The disorders suffered by respondents included body dysmorphia, SAD, bipolar and many more besides, but the two main conditions identified were depression and anxiety. 68% of UK based respondents, with mental health conditions, suffered from depression and a further 59% also said they had anxiety. While all this was entirely shocking and arguably devastating to see, perhaps the most surprising element of our study was what was uncovered when researching into the ages of those struggling with their mental health. [Read more…]

Stop selling! I wish to decide for myself.

An interesting piece by Tim, our resident guest writer taking a look at NLP.


I seem to be tripping over folk in Psychology Today at the moment. I blame Bob, because he’s highlighting articles that are worthy of our attention through his Twitter account. He showed me this piece, How To Deal With Nerves Before A Presentation and I almost like it.

“Will you never stop criticising?” I hear you yell at me!

And the answer is that I will, but in my own time. It’s just like your decision to read this piece. I’m just a smidgen critical this time, though, not angry. [Read more…]

How To Deal With Brown Envelope Anxiety

In our second piece supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, we welcome Shahid Miah (Director of DPP Business & Tax) who over the years,  has acted for a number of high-profile individuals, is recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners successfully defending company directors and professionals charged with serious fraud.


Brown Envelope Anxiety is a colloquial term used to describe the fear that can be induced when you receive communications from the likes of HMRC, which are of course, almost always in a brown envelope. Now, more than ever, is the best time of the year to bring attention to this condition, as around this period is typically the time that individuals are more likely to receive a brown envelope from HMRC through their letterbox. [Read more…]

Looking After Your Mental Health While Running A Business

As a business owner, I know only too well how important it is to keep an eye on one’s mental health. To support Mental Health Awareness Week, David, a Franchise Recruitment Manager from Rainbow International, shares some of his insights – demonstrating his passion to help potential business owners decide whether this route is right for them and helping match up potential franchisees with their dream opportunities.


I work with several business owners in franchise recruitment and I notice one common thing – they are all very tough, and very strong-willed individuals. Stereotypically, most tend not to entertain the assumption that they might be suffering from mental health issues under that hard exterior. However, running a business and the stresses that come with it, can be very trying at times. Owning a business is noted as one of the most rewarding jobs there is, but it doesn’t come without its challenges.

[Read more…]

The Downsides of Social Media: What are they and how can they be avoided?

We welcome Jesse Frank, an advocate for children’s online safety and digital parenting whose personal mission is to help and increase awareness for us to become better digital citizens. Jesse is also a creative content manager at KidGuard and here shares his knowledge to help parents create a healthy digital family environment.


Since the use of social media has increased exponentially among adults, so too has the use of social media grown among teenagers. So much so, in fact, that the number of teenage users has surpassed the number of adult users. Hence, parents are worried about what their children might be seeing online, especially since they often spend inordinate amounts of time on their computer and/or smartphone. [Read more…]

Self Ghettoisation

I ‘tweeted’ and Tim wrote…


I make no apology that this piece is about gay men. A gay man annoyed the bejasus out of me this morning. Since I am also a gay man, I found an immediate rant coming on. Now, you know I write pieces here when I’m angry… In the wee small hours today [25 February 2019], on Twitter, Bob sent this tweet. I am not angry at Bob.

[Read more…]

Birth Trauma: Part 3 of 3

We now join Anne Marie McKinley (a Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist at Afterthoughts NI) for the final part of this sub-series and take a look at various trauma therapies available to both mums and dads.


Which Therapeutic Approach?

When either parent attend counselling in pregnancy, or post birth, several pathways may open up. If a woman is searching for a therapist herself, there are a number of things that may not be immediately obvious.

Therapy or counselling is often known to first time seekers through TV or film representations of how therapy works, or through reports from friends and family. Entering the perinatal timescale may also be the only space in the next number of years where parents can freely allocate time to heal old emotional wounds, deal with anxiety or depression, and come to terms with the journey of birth which may, for them, have been less than they had hoped and dreamed. It can be hard to prioritise self-care later on when there are little ones around your feet. [Read more…]

PTSD: What to do if you face discrimination

We welcome Louise Fraser from DPP Law who guides us through the subject of discrimination of those dealing with PTSD – what constitutes discrimination, what to do and the steps you can take.


As anyone who struggles with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will know, the condition itself provides enough challenges without additional troubling issues being created by individuals who refuse to take the steps required to understand it, or support those who suffer from it. In the worst cases, those living with PTSD will experience discrimination that not only makes day to day life difficult, but also exacerbates symptoms of the condition, creating a vicious cycle.

So, what should you do if you face discrimination at work, or in any other part of life, as the result of a diagnosis of PTSD? [Read more…]

Trauma: It does not occur in isolation to the community of a traumatised individual

We now take a break from Anne Marie McKinley’s (a Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist at Afterthoughts NI) mini series (focusing on the various aspects of birth trauma) by delving into the whys and wherefores around history and developments in this sixth part.


In 1992, Judith Lewis Herman published her book Trauma and Recovery. “The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.” 1

I live in Northern Ireland, born in the South. In 1998, I was in Stormont, waiting with family and friends for the signing of The Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement because it was reached on Good Friday, 10 April 1998) and I remember my 3-year-old daughter escaping under the barrier to greet the politicians. There were stark predictions, by academics after the agreement was signed, of concern for the mental health of the next generation in Northern Ireland. In 2016, The Mental Health Foundation reported that Northern Ireland had a 25% higher overall prevalence of mental health problems than England. Previous to this, in 2014/15, according to the Northern Ireland Health Survey, 19% of individuals showed signs of a possible mental health problem. More women (20%) than men (16%) reported signs of mental health problems.2 [Read more…]

Birth Trauma: Part 2 of 3

Friend, Flight, Fight, Freeze, Flop? Anne Marie McKinley (a Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist at Afterthoughts NI) now takes us through the why and how in her fifth instalment in this series.


The Trauma Response and Childbirth

Bessel van der Kolk has spent over 30 years training psychotherapists to work with psychological trauma. Taken from the 28th Annual International Trauma Conference:

 

For almost three decades this conference has examined the evolving knowledge of how trauma affects psychological and biological developmental processes, and how the damage caused by trauma and neglect can be reversed. 1

 

We live in a world where teachers, more frequently, educate small children in the skills of mindfulness and self-regulation early in their little lives. However, many adults will often only find this need to engage in such activities when they are pregnant. [Read more…]