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Prince Harry

Prince Harry: I sought counselling after 20 years of not thinking about the death of my mother and two years of total chaos in my life

Prince Harry has disclosed that he sought counselling after enduring two years of “total chaos” while still struggling in his late twenties to come to terms with the death of his mother.

The Prince says in an interview with The Telegraph that he “shut down all his emotions” for almost two decades after losing his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, despite his brother, Prince William, trying to persuade him to seek help.

Disclosing that he has spoken to a professional about his mental health, he describes how he only began to  address his grief when he was 28 after feeling “on the verge of punching someone” and facing anxiety during royal engagements.

Describing the “quite serious effect” that losing his mother had on his personal and professional life, he tells how living in the public eye left him feeling he could be “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions”.

The Prince, now 32, turned to counsellors and even took up boxing. He says he is now in “a good place”.

Prince Harry has decided to give an unprecedented insight into his past in the hope it will encourage people to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

He has spoken to Bryony Gordon for the first episode of her podcast, Mad World, in which she will interview high-profile guests about their mental health experiences. READ and WATCH MORE by clicking here


Source: The Telegraph

What is Mental Health?

What is mental health?

Everyone has mental health. It involves our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and it affects how we think, feel, and act.

It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

How common are mental health problems?

One in four adults in the UK are likely to have a mental health problem at some stage in their lifetime, experts believe.

The overall number of people with mental health problems has not changed significantly in recent years, according to the mental health charity Mind.

In Europe, it is estimated that 83 million people experience a mental health condition every year.

According to statistics from the Royal College of Psychiatrists:

  • Anxiety – which involves feelings of unease, worry and fear – will affect 5% of the population at any one time
  • Bipolar disorder – which causes people to have manic and depressive episodes – will affect one in every 100 people
  • About 20% of people will become depressed at some point in their lives
  • One in every 150 15-year-old girls will get anorexia, and one in every 1,000 15-year-old boys
  • Schizophrenia – which can cause people to have hallucinations, delusions and paranoia – affects about one person in 100 people.

How do we define mental health?

Mental health problems are defined and classified to help experts refer people for the right care and treatment. The symptoms are grouped in two broad categories – neurotic and psychotic.

Neurotic conditions are extreme forms of “normal” emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Psychotic symptoms affect around one in 100 and these interfere with a person’s perception of reality, impairing their thoughts and judgments. Conditions include schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

What can cause mental health problems?

The exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known but a combination of physical, psychological and environmental factors are thought to play a role.

Many mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder can run in families, which suggests a genetic link.

Experts believe many mental illnesses are linked to abnormalities in several genes that predispose people to problems, but don’t on their own directly cause them. So a person can inherit a susceptibility to a condition but may not go on to develop it.

Difficult life events can then trigger a mental illness in a person who is susceptible.

According to the charity Mind the following factors could potentially trigger a period of poor mental health:

  • childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect
  • social isolation or loneliness
  • experiencing discrimination and stigma
  • the death of someone close to you
  • severe or long-term stress
  • unemployment or losing your job
  • poverty or debt
  • homelessness or poor housing

What are the most common disorders?



Source: BBC

Why must so many women suffer?

Why must so many women suffer?

It costs £83 to treat postnatal depression.

A report shows only 7% of women with pregnancy-related mental health problems get the specialist care they need. We need a more holistic approach

Postnatal depression – would you recognise it? I didn’t. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of how these things manifest themselves in women, until my own pregnancy proved otherwise. What followed was not smiles and love, but a growing emptiness consuming my world from the inside out.

Looking back, I can see how conspicuously absent discussion of such emotions is from our preparation for motherhood. The fact that we don’t know enough about postnatal depression, and rarely acknowledge the mental health implications of starting a family, means it’s hard to spot – in ourselves and in the women we know and love.

But a new study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has found that 81% of women surveyed had experienced at least one episode of a mental health problem during or after their pregnancy – and only 7% of women with pregnancy-related mental health problems, such as postnatal depression, received they specialist care they needed.

Postnatal depression wasn’t mentioned in the runup to the birth, so I took a cross-that-bridge approach. Not that I’d have to, of course – it was something that happened to other women. I’d imagined a palpable motherly sadness, ghoulish and more fitting in verses of Sylvia Plath than in the lives of a real woman. Even when I felt so heavy I might solidify, I didn’t recognise what was happening to me. I didn’t spot it taking root in my own mind, and neither did anyone else.

You wait so long to meet your baby, dreaming of a different flavour of love and how complete and content you will feel. When it doesn’t come you don’t want to admit it. You can’t. You feel like a freak. You feel undeserving of your child. You watch everyone around you lost in button noses, tiny fingers and baby lotion, and wonder why you’re so broken. Anything other than joy is anathema to society’s image of motherhood, so you don’t speak up. You decide to work around it until it goes away. READ MORE


Source: The Guardian

Paintings reveal early signs of cognitive decline, claims study

Paintings reveal early signs of cognitive decline, claims study

Psychologists believe they can identify progressive changes in work of artists who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease

The first subtle hints of cognitive decline may reveal themselves in an artist’s brush strokes many years before dementia is diagnosed, researchers believe.

The controversial claim is made by psychologists who studied renowned artists, from the founder of French impressionism, Claude Monet, to the abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning.

While Monet aged without obvious mental decline, de Kooning was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease more than a decade before his death in 1997.

Alex Forsythe at the University of Liverpool analysed more than 2,000 paintings from seven famous artists and found what she believes are progressive changes in the works of those who went on to develop Alzheimer’s. The changes became noticeable when the artists were in their 40s.

Though intriguing, the small number of artists involved in the study means the findings are highly tentative. While Forsythe said the work does not point to an early test for dementia, she hopes it may open up fresh avenues for investigating the disease.

“I don’t believe this will be a tool for diagnosis, but I do think it will trigger people to consider new directions for research into dementia,” she said.

The research provoked mixed reactions from other scientists. Richard Taylor, a physicist at the University of Oregon, described the work as a “magnificent demonstration of art and science coming together”. But Kate Brown, a physicist at Hamilton College in New York, was less enthusiastic and dismissed the research as “complete and utter nonsense”.

Forsythe and her colleagues used digital imaging software to calculate how a mathematical feature called fractal density varied in artists’ paintings over their careers. The seven artists included Monet, Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall, who all aged without obvious brain disease; Salvador Dali and Norval Morrisseau, who developed Parkinson’s; and de Kooning and James Brooks, another abstract expressionist who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1985, seven years before his death.

Fractals are geometric patterns that repeat themselves at different size scales. They are seen in nature in the branching of trees and rivers, and in the craggy contours of coastlines. In paintings, fractals appear when patterns made by the tiniest brush strokes repeat on larger scales. The fractal dimension is a measure of fractal complexity, where an artwork with a large fractal dimension has a high ratio of fine to coarse fractal patterns. READ MORE


Women’s genes change during PMT, scientists find, raising hope for cure

Women’s genes change during PMT, scientists find, raising hope for cure

A treatment for pre-menstrual tension (PMT) could be on the horizon after scientists found that genes go haywire as hormones change during a woman’s monthly cycle.

Up to 80 per cent of women complain of irritability, depression and anxiety in the days leading up to their period but it was widely believed to be a mood disorder triggered by fluctuations in chemicals in the brain.

For around one in 20, the condition is so severe that they need anti-depressants and can suffer disabling headaches, severe fatigue and aching muscles.

Now scientists have discovered that in women who suffer PMT (also called premenstrual syndrome or PMS) the change in hormones before their period radically alters how their genes function. Some genes, which should become active actually dial back, while others which should be quiet become more energetic.

Researchers from the National Institutes for Health (NIH), in the US, described the finding as a significant breakthrough because it proves for the first time that women are not simply suffering mood swings. In fact, their whole biology is out of joint.

“This is a big moment for women’s health, because it establishes that women have an intrinsic difference in their molecular apparatus for response to sex hormones – not just emotional behaviors they should be able to voluntarily control,” said Dr David Goldman, of the NIH.

Researchers believe that women who suffer from severe PMT are genetically much more sensitive to surges of hormones, which occur throughout the menstrual cycle.

To test whether the sensitivity was having an impact on cells, the team looked a white blood cells from women with severe PMT and compared them to the cells of women who never suffer symptoms.

White blood cells express many of the same genes as brain cells, so studying them can give a window into what is happening in the brain. READ MORE


6 Critical Things Marriage Counseling Taught Me.

6 Critical Things Marriage Counseling Taught Me.

The initial year of our marriage was perfect. My wife and I were the envied couple, and everyone wanted to know the secret recipe of our marriage. Both of us were succeeding in our professional as well as personal lives. It was all cheesy ‘love is in the air’ kind of romance, and I could not have asked for anything more. But as they say, like all bad things, good things fade away too. As the time passed by, we started to deal with life’s circumstances together. The reality of life hit us in the face, and no vacationing or traveling could make us escape it this time.

Having arguments became our normal routine, and love was lost somewhere between our egos and power struggle. Before things could go from bad to worse, marriage counseling came into the equation. A professional outlook on our marriage helped us in getting the spark back in our relationship. It assisted us in dealing with our fears, expectations, anger and passive-aggressive behaviors that arise when the going gets tough. Here are the things I learned from marriage counseling that I was not aware of before, that helped me in sorting out my marriage.

  1. Figure the Trigger of your Partner

A trigger is something that is present in every individual. It is a preexisting condition, which sets off when someone says or does something. It is shaped from all the experiences you have had in your life – from childhood to adulthood. The reaction towards such triggers is uncontrollable. To form a stronger bond with your spouse, you should be aware of the “push-buttons” triggers that can elicit negative reactions. For example, if your spouse had an alcoholic parent, you getting drunk could be a trigger.

There a lot of different types of trigger, we are unaware of. These include; resentment trigger, respect trigger, despair trigger, value trigger, and stagnation trigger that you should avoid at all costs. These bring back past memories and cause a negative emotional reaction. You may not be responsible for it, but you will surely bring back the repressed memories and feelings of your spouse.

  1. Figure your Trigger

While your spouse has triggers. You too have ones. We all have repressed memories in our unconsciousness that creep up when they are triggered. Therefore, we should be aware of the things that upset or anger us. May be there is something about our spouse that we don’t like, some habit of theirs that irritates us so much that it is a deal breaker in the relationship. It is important to communicate it to them gently, so that they can avoid it to keep the marriage intact. So before you figure your partner out, you need to know yourself. As the famous psychologist, Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” In other words, our triggers are our teachers.

  1. Soft Emotions vs. Raw Anger

Most of the time, our reaction to pain, fear, and hurt is anger. People mask their pain behind the façade of anger because it is easier to show rage than your vulnerable side. It is a defense mechanism that helps us in hiding our fears, weaknesses, embarrassments, and guilt. You need to learn to express your anger in a software and more vulnerable way to your partner. Anger fuels anger and further damage the marriage, but the expression of pain will really make your partner wonder what went wrong. … READ MORE



Eight ways to eliminate stress at work

Eight ways to eliminate stress at work

More people than ever are suffering from stress in the workplace, yet many feel they cannot tell their employers.

Modern life can be challenging and, at times, stressful. The difficulties of balancing the competing demands of the workplace and our personal lives can affect the most capable of people.

A new report from health insurer BHSF Breaking the Cycle has highlighted the vicious circle many employees and employers are caught in when it comes to stress.

According to the study, a quarter of employees took time off work in the past year due to stress. Despite this staggeringly high figure, more than half of employees admitted they feel unable to approach their employer about a stress-related problem. With the majority of employers lacking the knowledge to recognise symptoms and prevent levels of stress escalating, the cycle continues unbroken.

If you or one of your colleagues is feeling the mounting pressure, here’s how to tackle stress in the workplace.

It’s your employer’s interest to deal with this too

Good people are hard to find. Employers don’t want to see a previously hard-working and conscientious employee sliding into low productivity and potentially long-term sick leave. So it’s in your employer’s interest, as well as your own, to help you deal with stress or mental health issues.

Talking about stress is key

Communication is a building block for eradicating the stigma attached to mental health in the workplace. To break the cycle, employees and employers must openly address mental health problems and the worry that can come with asking for support. In our experience, it’s important for employers and employees to create a forum to talk about stress and mental health issues without fear of judgement.

If you don’t ask you don’t get

Employers can only help you if you let them. Far too many employees suffer in silence with the employer oblivious to their internal pain and torment. My experience is that most employers want to help but they can only get involved if you let them. Intervention could be as simple as getting more support from a line manager. But you won’t know what help is available unless you ask.

You’re not alone

One in three people have experienced mental health problems at work, according to the report, so there is every chance that your employer has dealt with similar situations before. Given timely and appropriate support, most people can manage any mental health problems in line with the demands of the job and get themselves better and back to full productivity. READ MORE


Anti-depressants ‘no more effective than counselling’

Anti-depressants ‘no more effective than counselling’

New research published in the BMJ suggests that for moderate to severe depression, talking therapies can be just as effective as anti-depressants

Anti-depressants are no more effective than counselling in tackling depression, a BMJ study has found.

The research comes amid soaring levels of prescribing of the drugs, with a doubling in the numbers doled out in the last decade.

Researchers examined 11 trials which compared modern antidepressants such as Prozac with psychological approaches, usually involving cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

The study found no statistical difference between drugs and therapy when it came to their effectiveness for moderate to severe depression.

The UK now has the seventh highest prescribing rate for antidepressants in the Western world, with around four million Britons taking them each year – twice as many as a decade ago.

Mental health charities have raised concerns that the drugs are often doled out because they are cheaper and there are long waits for other help, such as counselling.

Last year a report found that one in 10 patients seeking talking therapies waits more than a year before their needs are even assessed.

Guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence says those with moderate to severe depression should be offered a combination of medication and counselling, with account taken of a patient’s preferences.

Researchers led by Danube University analysed the results of 11 randomised controlled trials, involving more than 1,500 patients.

Some were on modern antidepressants – known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – while others were having regular counselling sessions.

Overall, there was an improvement of around 45 per cent in depression scores among patients in both groups, the research found. READ MORE


Happiness depends on health and friends, not money, says new study

Happiness depends on health and friends, not money, says new study

Landmark research says tackling mental health issues more effective than reducing poverty for increasing happiness rates

Most human misery can be blamed on failed relationships and physical and mental illness rather than money problems and poverty, according to a landmark study by a team of researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Eliminating depression and anxiety would reduce misery by 20% compared to just 5% if policymakers focused on eliminating poverty, the report found.

Lord Richard Layard, who led the report, said on average people have become no happier in the last 50 years, despite average incomes more than doubling.

The economist and former adviser to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown said the study, called Origins of Happiness, showed that measuring people’s satisfaction with their lives should be a priority for every government. The researchers analysed data from four countries including the US and Germany.

Extra spending on reducing mental illness would be self-financing, the researchers added, because it would be recovered by the government through higher employment and increased tax receipts together with a reduction in NHS costs from fewer GP visits and hospital A&E admissions.

“Tackling depression and anxiety would be four times as effective as tackling poverty. It would also pay for itself,” he said.

The report supports the arguments put forward by Layard over several decadesthat social and psychological factors are more important to the wellbeing of individuals than income levels.

“Having a partner is as good for you as being made unemployed is bad for you,” he said.

The report claims that state-run organisations, including schools, must become more focused on tackling anxiety and mental health issues.

“This evidence demands a new role for the state – not ‘wealth creation’ but ‘wellbeing creation’,” Layard said. “In the past, the state has successively taken on poverty, unemployment, education and physical health. But equally important now are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam mania and much else. These should become centre stage.” READ MORE