Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What is happening in the world with mental illness?

I've put a few YouTube videos up on the website to show a quick snap shot of what is happening worldwide with mental illness. It is apparent that a lot more needs to be done, especially in developing nations. One video that particularly touched me is the one on Bali, Indonesia.

I live in Perth, Western Australia, and Bali is a very popular desitnation for Australians, particularly West Australians, as on the west coast we are only a three hour flight from Bali, a beautiful tropical island.

To get to Bali costs about the same as going inter state in Australia and everything is so cheap in Bali. Getting tailored made clothes, jewelery, accommodation - it really is a tourist mecca.

I have not been there for a number of years, but the social worker in me came out last time I was there and I participated in a cultural walk, which takes you off the tourist track.

While I was in Bali what did strike me was the way a lot of tourists seemed to have a cultural bubble around them. It was as if the loacals did not exist other than to serve. The local culture did not seem to exist other than to be 'cute'.

Underneath the tourist trap lies another layer of Bali that is third world.

When you watch the video on Bali notice how mental illness is largely not recognised by the locals. Mental illness does not exist as they have not been educated in it. Therefore friends and relatives with mental illness are to be largely ridiculed, humoured and in some cases chained up to keep them out of the way.

It is a video that touched me heart.

If you have a story, please let me know by emailing

Sunday, September 27, 2009

When things go wrong ...

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will

When the road you're trudging seems all uphill

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh

When care is pressing you down a bit

Rest, you must - but don't you quit

Life is queer with its twists and turns

As everyone of us sometimes learns

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out

Don't give up, though the pace seems slow

You might succeed with another blow

Success is failure turned inside out, the silver tint of the clouds of doubt

And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit

It's when things seem worst, That you MUST NOT QUIT!

(Author Unknown)

Dyslexia affects mental health at work

“To be honest I avoid stressful jobs because I can't cope with stress. When you're stressed you're more disorganised.”

Most people know that dyslexia affects spelling, reading and writing. But what many people don't realise is that dyslexia may also have an important impact on mental well-being.

When they talk about their dyslexia, many adults mention feelings of anger at how they were treated in the past, frustration at not achieving their full potential, and the impact that their experiences have had on their self-esteem. These emotional barriers to learning are often difficult to overcome.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Perception Is Relaity. Evidenced through these great pics!

They say perception is reality. That is, we see the world through own "filter". The simplest example is the saying "An angry person lives in an angry world".

Just to show that we do not always get all of the picture, we can not be sure of what is going on all the time, look at these photos, because as they show, there are many filters operarting in our lives that we do not have any control over.

This then makes me wonder how many things do we view that if we changed some filters, or became more open to the fact that we do not know everything, it might help us see things and life in a better light?

Friday, September 25, 2009

What are the chances your future children will have bi polar disorder?

If your grandmother and your father had bi polar disorder (in other words, one of your parents and one their parents) should you be worried that if you have children they may develop bi polar?

All that is really known is that the illness does run in families therefore to be cautious it would be prudent to say there is a higher chance that your children may develop bi polar disorder. It seems the chance increases the more of your family members have the illness and how close you are to them, as in father or mother as opposed to distant cousins.

The genes that carry the illness have not been identified yet so a DNA check cannot necessarily check currently on your chances.

The study of twins is intersting in terms of if one has the illness then what are the odds the other will get it? To find this out read more about this article

Thursday, September 24, 2009

World Mental Health Day - 10 October 2010

World Mental Health Day on 10 October raises public awareness about mental health issues. The Day promotes more open discussion of illnesses, and investments in prevention and treatment services. WHO statistics for 2002 show that 154 million people globally suffer from depression, only one form of mental illness.

Mental, neurological and behavioural disorders are common in all countries around the world, causing immense suffering and staggering economic and social costs. People with disorders are often subjected to social isolation, poor quality of life and higher death rates.

Suicide a leading cause of death with young people

The World Health Organisation has released it's findings on the first world wide study on causes of death among young people, 10 to 24 years. Road traffic accidents, complications with birth, violence and suicide are the leading causes.

Mental illness disadvanted when compared to physical illness

On 1 January, 2010, at least mental health will be less disadvantaged in the USA when Medicare rebates are brought further into line with those of physical illness.

In Australia Mental Problems Are On The Rise

Statistics still show that in the next 12 months approximately 1 in 5 people will experience symptone of a mental disorder and nearly 1 in 2 people will experience such a disorder sometime in their life.

Study finds no evidence of autism surge in children

There has been concern that the MMR vaccination (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), may increase the incidence of autism in children. However it appears that a recent study in the UK doubts this. To read more, go to

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Whose point of view is right?

They say perception is reality, like an angry person lives in an angry world or a happy person basically see happiness all around. We can be standing right next to someone and see the world in an entirely different way! So what can we do to help us see ourself more clearly? Try these four areas.

Think of it like a box split into 4 areas, or 4 quadrants. One of the quadrants (Quad 1) is dedicated to what you know and what others know about you. This could be the things you have in common. We both like football, or we share the same hobbys etc.

Another quadrant (Quad 2) is dedicated to what we think about ourselves, that we think other people know or think about us, but in fact others do not agree. We have a blind area that is at odds with what others see regarding ourself. Or maybe it's what others know about our us, that we had no idea of! It is kind of delusional I guess! We may think we repspect other peoples' privacy, we are not a gossip and that we are proud that we do not share private information that another has given us. But the next thing you know we are in the lunch room at work spreading the information! "Have you heard about such and such .... well blah, blah"! When you confront someone who has this trait, strangely they do not see it as gossip or that they have broken someone's trust. Another example is that you could have a nervous laugh that only comes out in social situations, you aren't aware of it but other are.

On the other hand (Quad 3) there are things that we know about ourself that others do not. We may know why we are scared of lifts or elevators but we are too embarrassed to tell others. We always have an excuse why we need to take the stairs.

The final quadrant (Quad 4) is dedicated to what you don't know about yourself and what others do not know about you. This area is that kind of a twightlight zone. I have found being a counsellor and social worker, counselling is the ideal way of exploring those areas that lay in the twightlight zone. For example you may have arrived at a stage in life where you find you cannot hold down a relationship, you are looking at yourself and counting the failures or unhappy relationships that you have had. Why have you had a string of failed relationships? Rather than say "It was all their fault"! if you look deeper you will probably find it is a mystery. Counselling may help unravel those deeper bits of our prgramming that go way back. Other areas may include whether you are an angry person, have a short fuse, go about rescuing people (eg emotionally), worry too much about how other people see you - all that sort of thing. Others may see you as an angry person but neither of you know why this trait continues in your life.

The two areas, Quads 1 and 4, are kind of black and white. We know what we know (and others know this about us as well) and there are things we do not know that need some exploring (we don't know and others do not know about us).

So how does this idea of the 4 quadrants help us better understand ourselves? In Quad 1 it's pretty straightforward. There's agreement between our inner self and others on what we know (I love sport, I love reading etc). The other areas require us to be ready to receive feedback. Quad 2 requires us to be ready for feedback from others. This is sometimes not easy without getting defensive! In quadrant 4, what we know about us that others do not requires us to be confident and feel safe to tell others if need be.

If you are in a personal relationship and you have spent some time exploring and being open to all quadrants listed here and your partner has done likewise - wow you are in for one powerfully strong relationship!

Some of you may have recognised here that I am talking about Johari's Window. A well used concept to help us in our relationships (including work), better understand human dynamics.

To see the Quadrants in a diagram form, go to http://www.afbmh/org/johari_window.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

$20,000 cash to improve the life of a person with mental illness

Press Release:

The Association For Better Mental Health founder, Mark Lockyer, has announced that the Association will give to a person suffering from mental illness $20,000 to improve the quality of their life.

Mr Lockyer said he was aware that many people suffering mental illness led an impaired quality of life. Many could not hold down a regular job and so suffered financially. The mission of the Association is to ensure that no person suffering mental illness suffers in silence. It is hoped a grant of this size will help a sufferer experience some improvement in the quality of his or her life.

If someone would like to nominate them self, or a friend or family member would like to nominate a loved one. They may do so by visiting the web page$20000.htm where the details are outlined.

The old "I thought I could beat this"

This is story from Monday 21 September 2009. It features a prominent Australian politician. Read his ordeal.

Depression took Robb 'to hell and back'

Senior Coalition MP Andrew Robb says he has been humbled by the support he has received from both sides of politics since revealing that he suffers from a depressive illness.

The man once touted as a possible Liberal leadership contender is relinquishing his frontbench duties for three months while he gets treatment for his condition, known as diurnal variation.

The Member for Goldstein has lived with the illness - which makes him depressed and negative in the hours after he wakes up - for all of his life, but was forced to seek treatment after it became worse in recent times.

"It's a long-standing family joke that my wife would not discuss the state of our marriage before 8:30am and the kids wouldn't ask for money," he told Fairfax Radio.

Mr Robb said he was hoping to continue to keep his condition a secret while he was receiving treatment, and only told his three adult children about it last Friday.

He was forced to go public because it was a struggle to cope with adjusting to medication and in the last six weeks he had "been to hell and back".

"You don't turn around 50 years of body chemistry in three weeks," he said.

"No-one knew much except my wife and my personal assistant and a couple of other colleagues, not even my kids.

"I thought I can beat this and come good, but after a while I thought, 'This is madness."

Mr Robb says he feels "in a lot better frame of mind" since he went public and says colleagues on both sides of politics have been fantastic.

He has received phone calls from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his political adversary Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, as well as messages of support from those in his own party.

"It's been a humbling experience really," he said.

He has no plans at this stage to give up politics and expects to return to full duties once he recovers.

"I really want to get back in the front line firing so I'm going to use the next three months to try and do that," he said.

Things that can drive you mad!!


Can you cry under water?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to 'put your two cents in'... but it's only a 'penny for your thoughts'? Where's that extra penny going to?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they 'slept like a baby' when babies wake up like every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.

Why is 'bra' singular and 'panties' plural?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?

Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a haemorrhoid when it's in your butt?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Why, Why, Why Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting dead?

Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they know there is not enough money?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an 'S' in the word 'lisp'?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what colour bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, 'It's all right?' Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, 'That really hurt, why don't you watch where you're going?'

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

And my FAVOURITE......

The statistics on sanity is that one out of every four persons are suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

Do We Need Stress In Our Lives?

In a world of sabre-toothed tigers, the stress response kept us alive.
Does it still have a purpose?

If you asked parents of school-age children for an example of a stressful day, shopping for shoes and new school kit in the dog days of August would be right up there at the top. You fight with your kids about what’s “suitable”, endure queue-jumping mothers from hell and spend a ridiculous amount of money while getting zero gratitude from anyone.

The curious thing about stress, however, is that someone, somewhere, will adore the frenetic chaos that is John Lewis’s uniform department in late August. We all react very differently to stress, with one person’s stress being another’s energiser. Understanding why this is so forms part of the work of a unique stress research facility in the Henry Wellcome laboratories for integrative neuroscience and endocrinology at the University of Bristol.

One of the biggest problems in researching stress is finding a way to standardise a stress response. The Bristol stress research team, led by Professor Stafford Lightman, have developed a physiological stress test to which we all react in a standard way because our response to it is automatic. It involves recording someone’s blood pressure and heart rate, and then getting them to breathe — for just four seconds — an air mix containing 35 per cent of carbon dioxide. Normal air contains 0.03 per cent of this gas. And, while making a programme, Stressed Out, on the science of stress for Radio 4, that’s what I found myself doing.

At the start my heartbeat was 54 beats a minute and my blood pressure a healthy 110/65. Although my head said I was safe, when I began to breathe that mixture, my body disagreed violently. It thought I was being suffocated. My blood pressure instantly shot through the roof, to 193/65. My face, apparently, took on an expression of horror, I felt sick, my heart felt as if it were racing (although it wasn’t) and a wave of panic engulfed me. It was horrible. But as I gulped normal air again, my blood pressure returned to 110/65 within a couple of minutes. The point of this test is not the initial response, which is normal, but what happens after. In those who are chronically stressed, the return to prior values is much slower. Long-term stress has blunted their response to acute stress.

The acute stress response generated by this test is good news. A bear in the woods or a dark shadow in an alleyway will prompt a flood of the stress hormones — first adrenalin and then cortisol — preparing you for a fight, flight or fright. Robert Sapolsky, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University, summarised it: “Your body is turning off all the long-term building and repair projects. It’s do it tonight, if there is a tonight.” So blood pressure soars, enabling blood to be pumped at great speed to muscles for a quick getaway, energy stores are mobilised as glucose, you become more alert, the immune system is enhanced. It’s a wonderful adaptation should you come across a bear. “But too much of a good thing,” says Sapolsky, “and you’re in trouble.”

We have known for years that constant high levels of cortisol generated by stress take your body’s eye off the ball. Repairs aren’t done. Patrols for invaders aren’t sent out. You tire more easily. You can become depressed. Reproduction gets downgraded. The glucose and fatty acids on the loose in the bloodstream gum it up, increasing (along with high blood pressure) the risk of cardiovascular disease. And stress also makes body cells deaf to messages from the glucose-control hormone insulin, increasing the risk of diabetes. And there’s another big effect: the immune system is suppressed.

Recent work done at Bristol clearly demonstrates this, for instance, in the poor response of long-term carers to flu vaccines. Researchers have also turned their attention to the effect that chronic stress has on wound healing, in particular those with diabetic leg ulcers. If such an effect can be quantified, it may mean that interventions to alleviate stress may be the most effective way to prevent hard-to-heal ulcers ending in amputation.

But why are some people more affected by stress than others? “There are three main reasons,” says Lightman. “Our genes, our experiences in early life, and what’s happened to us recently.” We understand the latter. Bereavement, losing a job and divorce are all highly stressful events. Of great scientific interest are our stress “thermostats”, which switch our responses on and off again. Understanding how the “off” switch works is an important strand of the work in Bristol. The settings for our thermostats are partly inherited (our genes) but they can be reset during childhood and, indeed, during pregnancy. Work with animals suggests that emotional deprivation in early life causes heightened stress responses as adult animals. It’s likely that this is the case for people, too.

Resetting the stress thermostat in childhood is an important adaptation. It allows a child born into a difficult world to be constantly on the alert. But this alertness comes with a long-term price: heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression. There are also behavioural implications of raised stress hormones, such as greater levels of violence and risk-taking.

There is now an enormous body of work from scientists suggesting that early life experience, low social status and lack of friends are the three main psychosocial risk factors leading to ill-health and premature death. All seem to be mediated through higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. “Together these three things tell us about the stress associated with the quality of the social environment,” says Richard Wilkinson, the professor of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham medical school.

Since we now have epidemic levels of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, does this indicate that we live in a much more stressful world? The answer is a resounding no. If anything, we live much less stressful lives than our forebears. “It’s a privilege to die from stress-related diseases,” says Sapolsky, explaining that it is the elimination of other causes of death such as infectious disease that is responsible for pushing lifestyle diseases to the top of the agenda.

It is the need to protect the body from adverse effects of chronic stress that drives the work at Bristol. “Removing the cause of stress is one solution,” says Lightman, but of course that isn’t always possible. “Understanding the pathways in stress responses means that you can design drug therapies to block their effect.”

Given that stress is causing so much disease, has it outlived its purpose? Is a stress response designed for sabre-tooth tigers over the top when running for a bus? Again, the answer is a resounding no. We have modern equivalents of bears and tigers in road accidents and bombs on the Tube. Our stress response continues to keep us safe in emergency. But we need to find ways of preventing its harmful effect. Hopefully, the work at Bristol and elsewhere will give us clues how to tame it in the future.

Do you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Answer our simple questionnaire, compiled by doctors from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, to find out if you are likely to be suffering OCD

OCD is quite a common mental health problem. Many people have obsessional tendencies so they check things more than others do or take a long time to make decisions that others find easy. But sometimes the obsessions and compulsions can become so strong that they dominate or affect a person's life.

The more of the questions below that you answer positively to, then the more likely it is that OCD is a problem for you. The main symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder are recurrent obsessional thoughts or compulsive acts. Commonly they occur together.


1. Do you get awful thoughts repeatedly coming into your mind (they may be violent, obscene or simply senseless) even though you try to keep them out? You try not to think about them, but they won’t go away.

2. Do you keep thinking words, short phrases or rhymes that are unpleasant or shocking?

3. Do you spend a lot of time wondering whether you might have caused an accident or misfortune to someone? For example, you may worry that you have knocked someone over in your car.

4. Do you spend a lot of time worrying that your home is insecure? For example, because you have left doors on windows unlocked, or that you have left the cooker or the iron on.

5. Do you endlessly argue with yourself about whether to do one thing or another so you can't make the simplest decision?


6. Do you feel compelled to repeat the same action over and over again, even though you recognise that it is inappropriate or unnecessary?

7. Do you worry that you might become contaminated or infected, so that you repeatedly have to wash your hands or avoid situations or public places where you might come into contact with dirt?

8. Do you check things repeatedly. For example, checking that you have locked the front door several times before you go out, or switching a light on and off several times to check that it is off?

9. Are you are bothered, in a way that other people are not, if things are not in the exactly the right order, not balanced or not in the right place. For example, if books are not lined up precisely on a bookshelf.

10. Do you find it too difficult to resist thinking the obsessional thoughts or repeating the compulsive actions, because you become overwhelmed by worry or anxiety?

If you're worried you may be suffering from obessisive compulsive disorder visit your GP

Do You Have A drug Problem?

If you think you or a friend might have a problem with drugs answer our simple questionnaire compiled by doctors from the Royal College of Psychiatrists to find out

Substance misuse is often spotted by friends of the person misusing drugs rather than the user. Here are two guides, the first to spot misuse in yourself and the second, if you are worried for a friend or relative.


1. Is your use of drugs resulting in problems at work, school, or home, for example are you late, not completing tasks or achieving deadlines or neglecting your children?

2. Have you used drugs in a situation where it may be dangerous, for example driving or in charge of children?

3. Do you use despite having social or relationship problems caused or made worse by it?

4. Do you find you need to use more of your chosen drug to get the same effect it used to give you?

5. Do you find yourself using drugs over a longer period than intended, for example the day after a night out?

6. Do you ever feel a desire to cut down or control its use?

7. Are you spending more time in activities to obtain, use, or recover from the effects?

8. Have you stopped socialising, spending time with colleagues or taking part in leisure activities?

9. Are you continuing or feeling compelled to use drugs despite noticing physical or psychological problems that are made worse by them, for example do you take drugs even though you know it lowers your mood?

10. Has your use resulted in legal problems, for example being cautioned or arrested for disorderly conduct?

If you answer yes to a few or more of the questions above it is likely that you are misusing drugs. If you are worried contact one of the organisations below or speak to your GP.


Occasional use of drugs is often hard to spot in people close to us. However, if someone is using drugs regularly their behaviour may change. If you suspect a friend, family member or colleague may be misusing drugs, Look out for the following signs:

In Others look for:

1.Have you noticed unexplained moodiness?

2.Is their recent behaviour out of character, such as losing their temper easily or appearing unusually sedated or hyped up at times…they might not be able to cope with their usual responsibilities at home or at work, such as paying the household bills or being on time for meetings.

3.Have they lost interest in everyday activities or work?

4.Have there been any unexplained loss of possessions or money?

5.Are they becoming secretive and evasive about their lifes, such as where they have been, what they have been doing or who they were with?

6.Do they look tired and unwell?

7.Do they exhibit signs of being intoxicated or under the influence of something?

8.Are they angry when confronted about drug use?

9.Have you noticed unusual smells or objects in their home or on their person that are associated with drug use, such as silver foil or cigarette papers?

10. Have they had any involvement in criminal activity?

If you have answered yes to a few or more of the questions above it may be necessary to confront the person about their drug use. But do see kguidance first on how best to do this

Are you Stressed?

Feeling unusually anxious or stressed? Answer our simple questionnaire compiled by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to find out if you are likely to be suffering from severe stress or an anxiety disorder

Stress and anxiety are normal human feeling and can be useful, for example when we are expected to meet deadlines a healthy level of anxiety will spur us on to complete projects on time. Stress and anxiety become a problem when the feelings are strong enough to have a detrimental effect on your life or if they go on for too long. Eventually they can become an illness affecting your mental and physical health.

Anxiety disorders have symptoms in the mind and the body. If you answer yes to around half or more of the questions over each of the categories below, it may be an indicator that you are suffering from an anxiety illness.


1. Do you feel worried almost all of the time?

2. Do you feel tired or lacking in energy all of the time?

3. Do you have episodes of panic?

4. Are you unable to concentrate on a task for more than for as long as you used to be able to.

5. Do you feel unusually irritable, with tasks or people or get angry quickly?

6. Are you finding getting to sleep difficult or are you waking earlier than usual?


7. Do you ever experience a strong or rapid heartbeat?(sometimes known as “palpitations”)

8. Do you find yourself sweating excessively when you are not exercising?

9. Do you have regular or constant pain or tension in your muscles?

10. Do you find yourself breathing quickly or more heavily at times of anxiety?

11. Are you experiencing indigestion or diarrhoea?

If you're worried you may be suffering from an anxiety illness visit your GP

Are you Depressed?

Worried your blue mood might be turning black? Answer our simple questionnaire compiled by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to find out if you are likely to be suffering from depression

Most of us feel sad or miserable at times, but when these feelings are more severe than usual, go on for too long or interfere with everyday life, it often indicates that depression has become an illness.

This simple set of ten questions will assess your mood. If you answer yes to a few or more of the questions and have felt that way for a substantial period of time it may be an indicator of depression. If you agree with number 10, we would suggest you contact your GP immediately.

1. Do you feel unhappy most of the time?

2. Are you finding it hard to cope with things that used to be manageable?

3. Have you lost interest and enjoyment in activities that you used to enjoy?

4. Are you finding it harder to make decisions?

5. Are you having trouble sleeping?

6. Have you experienced a loss of appetite or have you lost weight?

7. Are you feeling worn out and tired?

8. Do you lack self-confidence in areas that you used to feel competent in?

9. Have you been avoiding other people or friends?

10. Do you ever contemplate suicide as a way out of your problems?

If you're worried you may be suffering from depression visit your GP and for help.

Are you an Alcoholic?

How do you know when your drinking is out of control? Take our simple questionnaire, compiled by doctors from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, to find out

Many people drink alcohol for enjoyment, so it can be hard to know when regular use of alcohol has developed into a serious problem. Many of the problems associated with alcohol misuse are caused by having too much to drink at the wrong place or the wrong time If you think you may be drinking too much answer the following questions.

1. Do you ever worry that you drink too much?

2. Have friends or family expressed concern about you about your drinking habits?

3. Do you find you can drink a lot without becoming drunk?

4. Do you need to drink more to have the same effect?

5. Have you tried to stop drinking, but found that you were unable to for more than a few days?

6. Do you carry on drinking even though it is interfering with your work, family or relationships?

7. Do you need a drink to start the day?

8. Do you get shaky, sweaty or anxious a few hours after your last drink?

9. Have you experienced blanks in your memory, where you can’t remember what happened for a period of hours or days?

10. Is your judgement affected by alcohol, so that you do things that you normally wouldn’t, such as starting fights or arguments, having unprotected sex with strangers or becoming violent.

If you answer yes to a few or more of these questions, it is indicator of alcohol misuse.

If you're worried you may be suffering from alcoholism, have a problem with alcohol or just want to cut down your intake visit your GP

40 Celebrities Who Have Depreesion

40 Celebrities who have depression

1. George Michael: Singer

"Twelve years of depression and fear and lots of other bad stuff. It was as if I had a curse on me. I couldn't believe how much God was piling on at once."

2. Uma Thurman: Actress

"Nobody seemed to have any perspective any longer. Those were low points. But we got through it."

3. Jack Dee: Comedian

"Depression is something that has always figured in my life but now I'm dealing with it. I wish I'd done this years and years ago because it's been really helpful."

4. Kylie Minogue: Singer

"You get such a kick and then suddenly it's all over. That's good ground for uncertainty and depression. I usually burst into tears."

5. Paul Gascoigne: Footballer

"Everywhere I looked life seemed to be full of problems and they were just going to go on and on. It was never going to get any better."

6. Katie Price/Jordan: Model

"I was a psycho woman. It felt like something in me that I had no control over."

7. Russell Grant: TV presenter

"It is a maze of total confusion... it can get to the point where you don't care if you live or die."

8. Frank Bruno: Ex-boxer

"It's like a kettle. If it's a kettle, you turn the kettle off, you know what I mean? I wish I could put a hole in my head and let the steam come out. The steam was getting so high and the pressure was just getting a little bit much for me."

9. Ben Stiller: Actor

"I have not been an easygoing guy. I think it's called bipolar manic depression. I've got a rich history of that in my family."

10. Meg Mathews: Noel Gallagher's ex-wife

On the recent news of her going into rehab: "I can confirm Meg is receiving treatment. She is suffering from depression and needs time out."

11. Lord Bragg: Broadcaster, author and president of Mind

"Occasionally now I feel a wang that goes in my head - once you've got it you've got it. The [illness] was quite severe, leaving me deeply unhappy and frightened."

12. Neil Lennon: Footballer

"It's a bit like walking down a long, dark corridor never knowing when the light will go on."

13. Carrie Fisher: Actress

"Mania starts off fun, not sleeping for days, keeping company with your brain, which has become a wonderful computer, showing 24 TV channels all about you. That goes horribly wrong after a while."

14. Keisha Buchanan: Singer, Sugababes

"With depression, you can go in and out of it and not really know whether it's still there or not. Sometimes I'd find myself bursting into tears for no reason."

15. Ben Moody: Musician

"I was horribly depressed, and I felt like I had failed as a band leader, a professional, as a person."

16. Jim Carrey: Actor

"I was on Prozac for a long time. It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it for ever."

17. James Dean Bradfield: Manic Street Peachers

"I became a completely dysfunctional, miserable person, completely uncommunicative and aggressive."

18. Trisha Goddard: TV presenter

"I was in danger of having my children taken away from me when I needed five weeks in psychiatric care... There is the smiling depressive which is the biggest time bomb and when they go they usually go with a bang, which was me..."

19. Linda Hamilton: Hollywood actress

"The lows were absolutely horrible. It was like falling into a manhole and not being able to lift the lid and climb out."

20. Bill Oddie: TV presenter

"Chemicals will help you and medication will help you perhaps overcome it initially, but it won't work permanently if you don't follow it up with quite intense psychoanalysis of some sort."

21. Melinda Messenger: Model and TV presenter

"I felt suicidal. I couldn't stop crying. I remember thinking, 'wouldn't it be great if the car crashed and I died?'"

22. Mel C: Former Spice Girl

"There is always a fear the depression could return but I do all the right things. I try to get the right amount of sleep because I know that I need sleep to function and I need to eat properly and to do some exercising."

23. Lenny Henry: Comedian

"That's where depression hits you most - your home life. It doesn't affect your work. I can't do this zany, wacky, funny thing any more. I haven't been like that for a long time."

24. Denise Welch: Actress

"I lost all sense of reality. I basically had what was a nervous breakdown."

25. Sophie Anderton: Model

"I think it backfired. It wasn't what I expected, it was difficult. I didn't expect them to throw so many mind games into it. I didn't expect to be so emotional, but I asked for it really. I'm a glutton for punishment."

26. Winona Ryder: Actress

"You have good days and bad days, and depression's something that, you know, is always with you."

27. Graeme Obree: Cyclist

"When you're depressed, everything becomes distorted."

28. Sarah Lancashire: Actress

"My twenties were a write-off. It's a cruel illness, because you can't see it and you can hide it so well."

29. Richard Dreyfuss: Actor

"I said to my doctor, 'You gotta test me, there's something wrong with me that I would be behaving this way.'"

30. Ruby Wax: TV presenter

"Depressions are very cyclical, they happen once every five years. When I was on TV, yes I was effervescent, you can't fake it. It [depression] comes like the pox."

31. Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard): Musician

"When I was sectioned for six months, that was one of the worst experiences of my life, not being able to go out and have freedom. Having experienced it, it's almost inexplicably awful."

32. Brooke Shields: Actress

"I just felt as though I would never be happy again, and as if I had fallen into a big black hole."

33. Gail Porter: TV presenter

"It's horrible, horrible, horrible. It took a year and a half until I found out that I had post-natal depression."

34. Tony Slattery: Comedian

"There's psychomotor agitation, where you're endlessly pacing, and you can't sleep and you're short-tempered."

35. Stephen Fry: Actor and director

"I may have looked happy. Inside I was hopelessly depressed."

36. Robbie Williams: Singer

"The depression isn't about anything, it's not about 'woe is me'. It's like the worst flu all day and you can't kick it."

37. Caroline Aherne: Actress

"I try to piece together what I did and why I did it, but it's just a big blackout."

38. Hugh Laurie: Actor

"I clung to unhappiness because it was a known familiar state."

39. Sinead O'Connor: Musician

"I had developed manic depression... the main symptom is the constant voice in the head telling you to kill yourself."

40. Dame Kelly Holmes: Athlete

"I became depressed and I cut myself with scissors and stuff."

Monday, September 21, 2009

World Health Organisation definition of mental health

Here is WHO's definition of mental health - Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

I wonder how many of us go with the last part "able to make a contribution to her or his community" How many of us are caught up in own world to contribute to the greater community? I guess all you have to ask is what voluntary or charity organisations do you belong to? Food for thought!

Having a bit of an off day

As usual I'm no doubt being hard on myself. So indulge me if you will. My chance to go blahhhh. I gave up full time work as a Social Worker on May 22nd this year. For many years I've had this inclination to work for myself. I have tried it previously but back then I was another person. Sounds weird but back then I hadn't really discovered who I was so I led a life largely directed by others. Nothing out of the ordinary but to give you an idea back then I was a radio announcer. Eventually I left because the industry is too ego driven and I didn't feel as though I fit in.

I got to a stage where I had the opportunity to go to university, or college as some say. It was more out of desperation! In Australia you can get "Austudy" which is a government payment to go to university or study. I'd quit radio (and an entertainment business I had - now that's another story!) so I was desperate for money. The interesting thing was I had always been keen on psychology from a very early age. Having come from a working class background, I was the only one to go all the way through school, graduating with a university entrance. But no one else in my family had accomplished such a feat so the idea of even more study was too daunting at the time so I quit study.

Then, 13 years later I thought "why not"? So I did it (for the study and the Austudy!). As an adult, divorced, looking after my then 3 year old son, I went to university to study psychology. Eventually I changed to Social Work. I prefer the broader outlook on things that Social Work offers. I studied for 5 years and graduated with an honours degree. After a couple of years of Social Working I must have been a a glutton for punishment because I went back to study and did a post graduate course in teaching and went and taught in schools. Hmmmmm too hard! That lasted 3 years. So then I went to work for the Justice Dept as a Social Worker, The Department for Child Protection, a youth centre specialising in adolescent mental health, hospitals and the Family Court. I also had my own counselling practice.

Fifteen years after those experiences here I am trying to 'gel' it all together with my entrepreneurial spirit. Well I guess it's entrepreneurial or I'm crazy! Why? Well I've had a couple of "bolt up out of bed" experiences since leaving work on 22 May this year. The first was after much research on the web. I did literally wake at some crazy hour of the morning and think that I wanted to form an Association that had something to do with mental health.

Well that was the beginning of this Association. Then I thought "how is anyone going to know about it"? Well I'm working on that with things like Twitter (by the way thanks for reading, potential fellow member of the Association!).

The next time I bolted upright was about 4 nights ago. I thought people might take interst in the Association if it becomes philanthropic (this is someone who does not have much cash mind you!). So I thought I would love to be able to offer someone or some mental health related organisation a hand. What better than $20,000 cash! So that is my current plan. I want to give away $20,000. I know how I want to do it but the organising of it is still in the making. You see I'm doing everything at the moment. Web design. Blog site. Everything. Why? Well I've heard some people pay thousands to get this work done by professionals. I don't currently have that kind of money.

Anyway. By 31 March 2010 I will give away $20,000 to someone or an organisation who has been affected by mental health issues or helps support such people. Ok I'll tell you how I'm going to do it. People just need to write to me about themselves, a loved one or a close friend and tell me how that person could benefit with the money. Of course an organisation could tell me how they could benefit with the money in further supporting people. You know as I'm writing this I think I will firstly give the $20,000 to someone who is suffering from mental illnes or a friend, family member, advocate acting on behalf of a sufferer of mental health. Then next year I'll do the same, that is give away $20,000 to an organisation. Yes I think that is how I will do it!

So where do I get $20,000? Well membership to the Association. It is $50US for a year for a sole membership. Of course people like you are going to ask what do you get for that money? Well one of the benefits is in being part of a community. It is doing things like supporting others in the ways I am talking about here. I, by myself could not giveaway $20,000 but as a member of an Association that had many members (power in numbers) yes I could. So that's why I'm doing it.

Another plan I have is to giveaway laptops with internet access. My brother Keith died in 2005, in part because of the distress he endured with schizophrenia and paranoia with psychotic episodes. Before he died, in the fact the couple of years leading up to his death, I would regularly talk to him. Or more listen. I'm getting teary writing this bit! We'd talk for hours about life. He was a gentle soul. Often confused. Sometimes not making sense but always gentle. He couldn't hold down a job because of his condition. Eventually he died. I went to his government assisted home and I felt so alone. That is how he lived. A tiny little place with very few creature comforts. An old television and that was about it and thank god the phone. You see live I live in another state so it wasn't easy to physically link up with him. We did it over the telephone.

I love the internet. I really get lost in it. My brother never had that opportunity because of mental health induced poverty. I would love now to give away a laptop a month with 2 years internet access to a member, so that they can enjoy communities like this. That's a goal of mine. That's what I see. People with mental health issues being part of the Association. Am I making sense here?

Yeh I know, how is someone like my brother going to be able to afford to join at $50? Good question. Any answers? The membership money is important. Without it none of this is possible. Perhaps I could include a donation section as well, for those who cannot afford the $50US for a year?

So my current goals are to giveaway (I guess you call it a grant - not needed to be paid back) $20,000 to help a person with mental illness. I want to start giving away a laptop a month with two years internet access included (we'll use the person's local internet service provider no matter where they live in the world - of course providing there is internet access, that's another issue!). Then there is my revised plan of giving away another $20,000 to a not-for-profit (NGO) organisation, that does good work in supporting, someway, people with mental health issues.

I also want to have at least 10,000 members by the end of 2010. So if you can help spread the word, please do so. I will be very grateful.

As usual I've blurted it all out! No secrets here. These are my plans. They will only grow and get bigger as the Association gets bigger. If you are tempted to join - wow thank you! Here's the web site to visit to join Even if you just visit and give me some feedback I'd appreciate it.

Have you really read all this blog??!! You deserve a medal!!

Bye for now. Mark :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

If you're bored (well today is Monday!). Try some of these

From the website:

If you get one little laugh by the end of it it's been worth it!

Bored? Listless? Help is at hand!
Pass away the pointless hours with our list of things to do when you're bored

Things you can do with absolutely nothing
Things you can do with very little
Things you can do with another person


Blink wildly and then close your eyes really tight for an interesting light show
(Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
See a variety of blobs, stars and flashes. Try to make out shapes and see if your subconscious is trying to send you a message (perhaps that funny shape is saying, 'send all your money to'?)

See how long you can hold a note
(Amusement Potential: 4-20 minutes)
Not that much fun, but it sure passes the time. Play with a friend, or try to beat your own personal best. Inhale deeply and then try and make a noise for as long as you can. Earn extra points for making your partner laugh or ending on an amusing note.

Try to not think about penguins
(Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
This is especially hard, because by trying too much, you remember what you were trying to avoid thinking of. If you try too little, you end up thinking about penguins anyway.

Scratch yourself
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Go ahead, scratch yourself now. Even if nothing itches, go ahead. Doesn't that feel pretty good?

Repeat the same word over and over until it loses its meaning
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Pick a random word out of a magazine and say it aloud to yourself until it becomes a meaningless set of noises.

Pinch yourself
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
What is pain? Why is it unpleasant? There's nothing physical about it - it's all in your mind. Plus, after pinching yourself for awhile, boredom will seem nice next to being in pain.

Try to swallow your tongue
(Amusement Potential: 1-2 minutes)
There's not much to say about this one. It is possible, but really stupid.

Make Star Trek door noises
(Amusement Potential: 1-2 minutes)
Stand by an electric door to a bank or something and make that silly "Scccccccchwop" sound heard whenever people popped on to the bridge to hang with Captain Kirk.

Look at something for awhile, shut eyes, study after image
(Amusement Potential: 2-5 minutes)
Another great time waster. It takes about 30 seconds of staring to create an after image, and the image is then viewable for about the same length of time. Fun to combine this one with pushing on your eyes.

Make a low buzzing noise
(Amusement Potential: 15-30 minutes)
Hours of fun in libraries! Keeping a totally straight face and looking nonchalant, make a low pitch humming/buzzing noise and see who reacts.


See what's in your neighbour's rubbish/trash
(Amusement Potential: 20-30 minutes)
You can learn a lot about people by what they throw out. You might uncover some dark secret about them. Plus, they might be throwing out something with value that still works, like a VCR or some porn mags.

Watch TV, repeat everything said in Italian accent
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Sort of entertaining. Include flamboyant shoulder shrugs for added impact, or go for a Marlon Brando set of grunts.

Pretend all humans will die except for people in room with you
Amusement Potential: 10-20 minutes)
What would you do if this really happened? Would the group stay together, or would there be factions? Who would join what group? Remember, there would only be power for a few days before the plants ran out of fuel or broke. To travel, you would always have to be near cars to siphon gas out of. Best to do with people you know.

Step off a curb (with no cars around) with eyes shut, imagine it's a cliff
(Amusement Potential: 2-5 minutes)
To get any benefit out of this one, you have to have a good imagination. Don't step off immediately, build up to the jump. Study the ravine below. Feel the winds at that altitude. Step off and...AHHHHHH!!!!!

Try and sound Welsh
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
The key to sounding Welsh is to make sure that your voice goes up at the end of the sentence, so that everything sounds like a question. Throw in a superfluous 'isn't it?' at the end of everything you say and you're halfway there. Isn't it?


Have a water gargling contest
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Put a glassful of water in your mouth and see how long you can keep gargling for. Award yourself extra points for loud and amusing gargling noises, and minus points if you laugh.

Stare at the back of someone's head until they turn around
(Amusement Potential: 2-5 minutes)
This works on the "I have the feeling I'm being watched" principle. Conduct an experiment-does this really work?

Have a "Who is less competitive" competition
wonder (Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Trying to win at this will make you lose. Trying to lose makes you win which makes you lose. Not trying at all makes you lose which makes you win which makes you lose.

Pick up a dog so it can see things from your point of view
(Amusement Potential: 3-5 minutes)
Think about it: your dog has only seen the house from a viewpoint from 6" to 2' high (15 to 60 cm for all you metric fans). It's never seen the tops of counters, what you keep on your desk, the tops of shelves, etc. Try looking at things from its point of view, too.

Pull out a hair, stick in someone's ear
(Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
Best done to sleeping people. Added challenge in having no one else around, because then you can't blame it on anyone else. Try to beat your record number of times before the person catches on.

Pour water in hand, make sneeze noise, throw water on back of person's neck
(Amusement Potential: 5-15 minutes)
Always a good gag. For an even bigger reaction out of the person, act like you're not sorry at all for what they think you did. Comment instead on how big that sneeze was or about how there was a lot of mucus in that one.

DISCLAIMER: Obviously, a lot of these suggestions are really dumb things to do, so don't take them seriously.

Friday, September 18, 2009

45 lessons to help you through life!

I borrowed the following "45 lessons life taught me" from Victoria Baum's website Victoria is @PositiveAdaptn on Twitter. See if you can pick out your favourite from below, a few will make you laugh! Happy reading :-)

Published May 28, 2006 in "The Plain Dealer"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

“Age is a matter of the mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter."
"Be happy while your are alive. You are dead for a lot longer."

Consider practicing at least some of Ms. Brett's, (and your own), life lessons today and just see how much better you 'Think, Feel and Do'!

You will definately smile after this!

Check out this YouTube video - - really inspirational :-)

Workplace stress and counselling

Treatment can help workers with mental health problems return to near-normal productivity, but not treating people who have high levels of mental stress seemed to have the same effect, a new study reports. Researchers looked at statistics regarding mental health and productivity levels in more than 60,000 Australian workers. The workers who didn't have symptoms of mental health problems were the most productive on the job. Those who were in treatment for psychological issues reported lower levels of distress over time, suggesting the treatments were working. Their productivity levels were low at first during treatment but returned to near-normal, according to the study, which appears in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The brain's reward center and links to ADHD

A problem in the brain's reward center may be behind symptoms like inattention associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), new research suggests. According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, the motivational problems seen with the condition, which is often associated with children but can persist into adulthood, appear to stem from a reduction in dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in the nervous system that is considered a hallmark of ADHD. The study used positron emission tomography (PET) brain scans to measure markers of the brain's dopamine system in 53 non-medicated adults with ADHD and a comparison group of 44 healthy adults.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Remember to breeeeeathe!

Believe it or not a lot of people forget to breathe properly when they get stressed or anxious. It must be because we go into the 'flight or fight' response. That's a left over from cave man and woman days when life was very much about survival. If you were walking along in your leopard skin outfit (maybe saber tooth tiger matching top and bottoms??!!) and some mean beast (no not your partner - more like a woolly mammoth!) came along, there was a strong tenedency to go "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" and run - or fight.

When that happened our autonomic nervous system kicked in, often without us knowing and all sorts of things happened to our body, like our eyes focused more on the object of danger. When the flight or fight response kicks in we also don't concentrate on things around us as much. The blood starts to go to our legs and arms and less so to our stomach (not much point in digesting food with imminent death in sight!) and of course our breathing changes to shallow, short breaths. A few other things change aswell but I guess you get the message.

Of course now days there's not too many woolly mammoths roaming the street (well none really if you really needed to know), so this left over protection device tends to react to more mundane things like a bit of stress or anxiety. Not that I'm trying to minimise stress or anxiety but it's not quite like trying to avoid the jaws of a monster! But then again may be it does feel that way sometimes!

The point of this post is to remind ourselves to breathe and recognise what is going on with our body at these times. It's a perfectly normal thing and can be overcome by observing. You know observing is a powerful thing. So often we are caught up in being us! We are there, totally focused, deep in the experience, which is great if it's a very pleasurable experience like eating chocolate - ha ha! But a handy hint when things are not so good is to become the observer. Recognise the signs of what is happening, especially with our bodies (faster heart rate, sweating, shallow breathing etc) and then take action. That includes breeeeeeathing. Short circuit the flight or fight process by doing something like breathing differently. Deep breath in, hold it for a second, then breathe out. For me the magic number seems to be 20. I can never seem to get to 20! At around maybe 10 to 13 I am much calmer. So count each breath, make the breaths long and deep, and observe!

Early detection of schizophrenia, paranoia and psychosis

Further to my twitter today. Good news in the area of schizophrenia, paranoia and psychosis. I had a brother who had this - awful, awful, awful! So anything than can help in this area must be good news.

Scanning technology has helped researchers pinpoint the part of the brain that appears to be where psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia begin, a new study says.

The research could help doctors diagnose these types of disorders in their early stages and help scientists develop more effective drugs, according to the report in the Sept. 7 issue of the Archives of Psychiatry.

In the study, researchers at Columbia University in New York City scanned the brains of 18 people at high risk for psychosis, using a novel high-resolution application of functional MRI technology, an imaging method that tracks which parts of the brain are most active.

Seventy percent of the participants who went on to develop disorders such as schizophrenia had very high activity in a region of the hippocampus known as the CA1 subfield, the study authors found.

"Right now, the odds of knowing who will go on to develop schizophrenia from [early indications] is only a little better than a coin toss," first author Dr. Scott A. Schobel, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, said in a news release. "We're hoping that applying this imaging technique can enhance our knowledge of who might go on to develop schizophrenia and related disorders, since early diagnosis and early intervention are so important."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hi and Welcome from the founder of AFBMH, Mark Lockyer

Hi and welcome! It's great to have you aboard. I hope you get the most out of YOUR Association! Please feel free to contribute to this blog with ideas and suggestions for how we can make things better and more productive for our members - you! Of course the main aim of the blog and the site is to encourage discussion and support for fellow members.

Have fun!

Mark Lockyer