Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Burnham: Mental Health Counseling On NHS Will Be A Right

Shadow health secretary highlights cuts and 'biggest unaddressed health challenge' as he pledges Labour solution

A Labour government will preserve the right to counseling for mental health problems in the NHS constitution, same goes with people have a right to drugs and treatment for mental illness, Andy Burnham promise October this year.

Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said at a conference on mental health and wellbeing in Shrewsbury, that mental health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of the age, costing business £71m a day, or £26bn a year.

He laid blame on and accused the government of lessening the mental health budget and abandoning the national survey of investment in adult mental health services, which showed how much was spent yearly.

"There is growing evidence of highly vulnerable people being held in police cells and sleeping on camp beds in office space because no crisis beds are available," he will say. "The cost of living crisis is tipping many people over the edge and concerns have been raised over the suicide rate. It is imperative that the openness and transparency the secretary of state speaks of are brought urgently to mental health services so parliament can have a proper debate on what's happening to vulnerable people."

The suicide rate is increasing, Burnham reports, rising from 11.1 to 11.8 deaths per 100,000 populations between 2010 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Antidepressant prescribing is growing as well; there were 4,000 more prescriptions between 2010 and 2011, a 9.4% increase in a year.

Waiting times for counseling, or "talking therapies", are increasing, he said.  Between April and June this year, more than 80,000 of the 241,250 patients referred for counseling waited for longer than the 28-day target.

As an answer to a parliamentary question from Labour's Lord Hunt, the parliamentary under secretary of state Earl Howe confirmed last October that a national survey for 2012-13 had not been commissioned and said that current data on spending on adult mental health services in England was not available.

"We are currently working with NHS England to explore the use of data collected as part of the programme budgeting collection as a potential replacement," he said.

Burnham accused the government of hiding cuts to mental health spending.

Parliament voted for parity of esteem and we've now no way of knowing if that commitment has been delivered, he said.

"All the evidence we hear is that mental health services have been cut further this year and there's a crisis in mental health crisis care. Now the government is trying to hide the reality of what's happening."

A department of health spokesman said: "It's important to know how much the NHS spends on mental health. The old surveys only captured rough estimates of how much the NHS spent on mental health. We are currently working with NHS England to find new and better ways of capturing how much the NHS actually spends. This means there will be better information out there the local NHS can use to see how much they spend compared to other areas.

"We have clearly set out what services the local NHS must provide for people with mental health problems in our mandate to NHS England."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reinforcing Boundaries and Saying No

It is often discouraged in our society to set off boundaries, to say no or to prioritize our own needs but it is time to learn that doing these things are not selfishness.  As we grow older from the time we were in our childhood, we were raised to be helpful and to look after others, repeatedly told ‘don’t be selfish’ or to ‘stop being so attention seeking, it’s not all about you’.
Self-sacrifice behavior is emotionally rewarding but can also be extremely damaging.  Know your limitations and the limitations of being to compassionate and sensitive to other people’s needs, you may end up straggling with your own identity, with what you want, need and what your boundaries are.  Not reinforcing our boundaries may cost you of the feeling overloaded, resentful and unfulfilled.  It is not healthy to say yes when really you want to say no.  You must learn to prioritize things and you must consider prioritizing taking care of yourself, especially if you have other people relying on you.
The air-plane metaphor, like in an emergency on an airplane you need to prioritize saving yourself first before other.  This explains why prioritizing your needs is not selfish but essential.
Homework – how to say no
Buy some time that will allow you to check in with yourself, it can hard to say no but instead try and get in the habit of not answering immediately. Instead say ‘I’m going to take some time to think about this’ or ‘I’ll call or text you back, I have to check if I can fit that in'.
Check in with yourself, reflect whether this is something you want to do and what affect it will have on your needs and wants.  Everything is difficult in the beginning specially when you feel disconnected from your feelings and needs, but over time it will become easier.  There are many mindfulness techniques that you can use to tune into yourself that I will talk about in a later article.
Consider your medium, if you are finding it hard to say no in person then why not say no via text or email.  If you feel nervous about saying no in person try role-playing what you want to say before hand with a sympathetic friend or counselor.  Then eventually you’ll get used to it and it will be easier.
The power of no, a small but complete sentence that can be very hard to say.  Practice saying it in the mirror repeatedly.  You’ll find that on repeating it’s just another word.  No scarier than any other.
Do not explain or apologize, be concise and there is no need to explain rather say ‘Thanks for asking me. But I can’t do that.’  You are opening yourself up to a negotiation by explaining thus giving the other person to persuade you.
Be kind to yourself, perhaps this will be hard and you won’t get this right the first time or even in the next times but that’s OK.  When you feel that you could have handled this situation differently try using it as a learning situation, not an excuse to mentally beat yourself up. It might feel uncomfortable at first, change often does. Learning to reinforce personal boundaries is a process not an end result.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mental Health Services Usage by People with Depression

A new study has found more than half the people in Ontario who reported they had major depression did not use physician-based mental health services in the following year.

"It's concerning to us that many Ontarians with mental health needs are not accessing clinician-based care," said Katherine Smith, the lead author and epidemiologist in the Centre for Research on Inner City Health of St. Michael's Hospital.

"Some people may seek non-medical types of support or care, such as clergy, alternative medicine, psychologists or social workers.  But we don't know for sure, so the gap remains of concern."

The study used OHIP data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. The findings appear in the journal Health.

A predictable one in four people undergo at one point in their lives from depression, which lessens quality of life, is linked with amplified disability and lower productivity at work.  More than twice as often as men women are diagnosed with depression.

Smith had set out to see whether gender plays a role in seeking mental health care.   As a general rule, about 10 per cent more than men women use mental health services, showing the fact they use health care services overall as much as than men.

More than half - 55.3 per cent - of people in Ontario with self-reported major depression had no contact with physicians for mental health reasons in the following year.  Additional research is needed to understand why, Smith said.

She said some ethnic groups may not be comfortable accessing physician-based mental health services or may prefer to use non-medical services. Stigma around mental illness may also deter some people, she said.

Men, as compared to women, have the tendency to delay seeing a doctor for minor mental health concerns, but will ask help as soon as a mental health problem reaches a definite threshold.

Among those with depression, she found the gender gap was small, only five percentage points.  Women were somewhat more likely than men to see a primary care provider for depression - 30.4 per cent vs. 24.6 per cent, except there was little gender difference in who sought specialty care, like from a psychiatrist.

Comparing to those people who could have had other mental health concerns without major depression, there was a significant gender difference: 21 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men had a mental health visit, a gender gap of 8 percentage points.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teach Our Children Well

There would come a time when you wish that every aspects of life is as easy as arranging the lines of seven-year-old students.  It is like kindergarten students are more behave than the outside world.  Does school really affect the way we behave when we get older and done with school?
Isn’t the concept of lining up, or waiting your turn, or listening while someone else is speaking, something that is supposed to be hard-wired from the age of five onward, thanks to attending school should be a basic and common etiquette for adults?  Are people “misbehaving” in the adult world was an effect of their schooling when they were younger.
If schooling does indeed have a significant impact on us up until our adult years, how does it manifest itself in the everyday world of being a “grown-up”? And perhaps more importantly, are we thinking of education as a means to a positively practical end as we leave school behind us?
Canadians were raising their children and how it was negatively impacting their ability to function once they’d left home to go to university or work. Do not “helicopter parent” your kid rather spend the entire time wondering if it was possible that some of the struggles being discussed weren’t a result of an education that had misfired in shaping these youngsters’ skills sets.
Years back, things are better.  Today, students were being pushed through despite not having passed exams then blames the education system for not being the same as it was years before is a bit too get-off-my-lawn.  Before schooling seemed rigid and wildly archaic, meaning learning is far more than any generation.  Perhaps it was just a case of an education still being a good fit for the society it hoped to produce at the time.  Or maybe education is an organism in a constant state of flux, and sometimes the growing pains of one generation will greatly benefit the one coming up behind.
It all comes down to what a country/people/group wants an education to be.  The students should be more confident and self-aware.  They must think critically to be able to utilize deductive reasoning, to problem solve and so on.  Teach them skills that soon will be able to grow with them, and will evolve into useful tools for navigating their adult lives.  Success is not measured out in numbers on a chart and letters across a table.  The problem is we are all misbehaved, we can all sit nicely in a circle, raise our hands, and wait for our turn to talk.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Teens with Social Anxiety Engage in Earlier Alcohol, Marijuana Use

According to a study conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, among teens with substance use disorders, those who also have social anxiety disorder begin using marijuana at a mean age of 10.6 years — an average of 2.2 years earlier than teens without anxiety.
“This finding surprised us,” said principal investigator Alexandra Wang, a third-year medical student at the university. “It shows we need to start earlier with prevention of drug and alcohol use and treatment of social phobia [in children].”
The study was consisting of 195 teens ages 14 to 18 which 102 of them or 52 percent \ were teenage girls.  They met the current diagnosis of substance use disorder and had received medical detoxification if needed.
The researchers evaluated the participants’ history of drug and alcohol use and digged into whether they’d had any of three anxiety disorders: social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and agoraphobia.
Out of 195 teens, 92 percent had marijuana dependence and the most disturbing part was it is starting at the age of 13 years.  And on the other hand, 61 percent were alcohol-dependent, having started drinking at 13.5 years on average.  This shows that marijuana was the most popular drug of choice.
Teens with either social anxiety disorder or panic disorder were far more likely to have marijuana dependence, Wang said. Before marijuana dependence both of these disorders were more likely to occur.
More or less 80 percent of teens suffering from social anxiety disorder and 85 percent with panic disorder had symptoms of that disorder previous to the onset of their substance abuse.  In addition, panic disorder has a propensity to start before alcohol dependence and came about in 75 percent of alcohol-dependent adolescents.
According to the authors, there was no clear evidence showing whether agoraphobia came before or after either marijuana use or the first drink.
A limitation of the study, according to the research team, was that 128 (66 percent) of the teens were juvenile offenders who had received court-referred treatment for their substance abuse. These findings might not generalize to a less severely addicted population.
Yet again, interventions to lessen social anxiety might help avoid substance abuse in teens.
“We need to treat these young patients initially with non-pharmacologic means, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness meditation,” said Christina Delos Reyes, M.D., a psychiatrist specializing in addictions at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
Patrick Bordeaux, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Quebec, Canada, said that “comorbidities tend to be the rule in adolescents, not the exception.”
“Adolescents are more likely to have social and mental disorders that make them more likely to use drugs,” said Bordeaux, who was not involved with the study.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Anger Management: How To Deal With Anger

Everyone gets angry once in a while if we are mistreated or feel we have been “wronged” and it is a normal and healthy emotion, you have to handle it appropriately.  What we need to emphasized on is what we do with this anger.  It is time to seek help when you feel like your anger is not doing any good with your day to day life such as work, relationship, ability to achieve your goal and many more.  Anger management’s goal is to learn methods and new ways to control your anger.  Many people who suffer from this condition come to seek help to deal with their problem but most of the time, fear, resentment, and unmet expectations that are the root causes for their anger.  Trough counseling the problem is addressed and the anger soon dissipates.  After, the client is able to be aware that they do not have to be controlled by their anger.  One more thing is that they are not being the “victim” of others or society but rather they are responsible for their own actions and behaviors.

Some people just wouldn’t want to show their real self so they stick with the reputation of an angry person or sometimes it is their way to resent from other people from getting too close to them.  This may result to people afraid of you or if not disrespectful of you.  Communicating your needs and frustrations in an productive and respectful way people will tend to listen more just to learn about your needs and frustrations.

As stated earlier, anger is a normal emotion.  The objective is to deal with the underlying issues and feelings indentified with anger.  And the next goal is to learn healthy ways to deal with this emotion.  Some may think that letting the anger out is healthy until they realize that the have secluded themselves from the people around them like relationships to partners, children, co-workers and etc.  Added the fact that this can have a very negative impact on the way others see and treat you.

For some instances, this type of behavior might be modeled from past experiences from family members seen while growing up.  You can do something to cut the cycle before your children might end up having the same problem and before you isolate yourself from others.

Is it uneasy for you to compromise and acknowledge you’re wrong at times?

Accepting that you are wrong and compromising can be hard at first but consider that you cannot for all time get your way by being the loudest and most demanding. It does nothing but pushes people away.

Are you afraid to let your guard down and allow people to truly see you for who you are?
Other people are saying that if you wanted to achieve anything you must be aggressive, tough and in control.  Anger can have a repealing effect and sends you spiraling out of control.

Do you believe that no matter what, you always have to be right and opinions and viewpoints of others are a direct threat or challenge to you?  Oftentimes we get mad because we observe behavior in someone else that we see in ourselves.  This brings up sentiments that we do not desire to appear at or deal with.  Underneath the anger may be hurt, disappointment, trauma and resentments.  It’s vital to become aware of how your body is reacting to feelings of anger.

If you sense your self get tense, “see red”, find yourself clenching your fist and jaw, have trouble concentrating, find your breathing to be rapid and fast then maybe it is really time for you to seek help.  There are numerous other physical ciphers but these are a little you may notice.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Anxiety and Stress Benefits From Forced Exercise

According to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, being forced to exercise may still help reduce anxiety and depression just as exercising voluntarily does.
People who exercises are more secluded against stress-related disorders even past studies have shown this. And scientists know that the perception of control can benefit a person’s mental health.  But an open question has been the topic of some debates   whether an individual, who undergoes the feeling of a forced to exercise, getting rid of the discernment of control, would still gather the anxiety-fighting advantages of the exercise.

Benjamin Greenwood, an assistant research professor in CU-Boulder’s Department of Integrative Physiology said people who may feel forced to exercise could include high school, college and professional athletes, members of the military or those who have been prescribed an exercise regimen by their doctors.
“If exercise is forced, will it still produce mental health benefits?” Greenwood asked. “It’s obvious that forced exercise will still produce peripheral physiological benefits. But will it produce benefits to anxiety and depression?”

To look for an answer to the matter Greenwood and his colleagues, as well as Monika Fleshner, a professor in the same department, designed a lab experiment using rats. Throughout a six-week period, a few rats stayed inactive, whereas some exercised by running on a wheel.

The experiment went this way; the rats that exercised were divided into two groups that ran a roughly equal amount of time while one group ran whenever it chose to, at the same time as the other group ran on mechanized wheels that rotated according to a predetermined schedule.  The motorized wheels turned on at speeds and for periods of time that mimicked the average pattern of exercise chosen by the rats that voluntarily exercised, for the study.

Then six weeks after, the rats were exposed to a laboratory stressor prior to testing their anxiety levels the next day.  The anxiety was measured by quantifying the length the rats froze when they were put in an environment they had been conditioned to fear.  It is likely what is happening to a phenomenon similar to a deer in the headlights.  Then the stress can be measured by, the longer the freezing time, the greater the residual anxiety from being stressed the previous day.  For assessment, some rats underwent to a test for anxiety without being stressed the day before.

“Regardless of whether the rats chose to run or were forced to run they were protected against stress and anxiety,” said Greenwood, lead author of the study appearing in the European Journal of Neuroscience in February. The sedentary rats froze for longer periods of time than any of the active rats.
“The implications are that humans who perceive exercise as being forced – perhaps including those who feel like they have to exercise for health reasons – are maybe still going to get the benefits in terms of reducing anxiety and depression,” he said.