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MENTAL HEALTH APPS

06 November 2017

Technology is becoming more and more prominent in everyday life, and it can be a great resource when we need a little bit of support. So here we've made a list of some great apps for your wellbeing and mental health.

The NHS App library has lots of different apps, some of which have clinical evidence to show that they help some people (these ones are labelled ‘NHS Approved’) and others are currently undergoing testing to see how effective they are.

Check out some apps on the NHS site here!

 

Other Mental Health and Wellbeing apps:

headspace app

  • Headspace. (Anxiety, Meditation, Sleep, Focus, Mindfulness)

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Dare app

  • Dare. (Anxiety, Panic Attacks)

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Calm app

  • Calm. (Meditation, Sleep, Stress, Mindfulness, Focus, Relationships)

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elefriends app

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Silvercloud app

  • Silver Cloud. (Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Wellbeing, Chronic Illness)

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reasons2 app

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happier app

  • Happier. (Sleep, Productivity, Stress)

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catch it app

  • Catch It. (Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Wellbeing, Confusion)

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calm harm app

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stay alive app

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wellmind app

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SAM app

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fear tools app

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couch to 5k app

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smart recipe app

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RR recovery record app

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RR app

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stepfinder app

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mindshift app

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Hub of Hope app

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WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?

06 November 2017

We all have mental health and we all have to take care of it. It affects how we think, feel and behave as well as determining how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Our mental health can change over time. Some people call mental health 'emotional health' or 'wellbeing'.

What are mental health challenges?

Changes in mental health are very common, for example with the stresses and strains of life. But if these changes don’t go away, and start to affect our everyday life, this can lead to challenges with our mental health.  Over the course our lives, if we experience mental health challenges, our thinking, mood, and behaviour can be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health challenges, including our genes and life experiences.

How common are mental health problems?

Anyone can experience challenges with their mental health from mild stress to diagnosable mental health challenges, and it is thought that at any one time at least 1 person in 6 is experiencing a mental health challenge.

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

DEPRESSION & BIPOLAR

06 November 2017

Skip to: Depression, Bipolar

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What is Depression?

Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.

Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.

Some people think depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They're wrong – it is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression isn't a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together".

The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery.

Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.

They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety. There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains. However, some people may have little to no physical symptoms and are functioning professionals dealing with depression.

The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living. Most people experience feelings of stress, unhappiness or anxiety during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.

Luckily there are many ways of treating depression, the treatment you may receive will depend on the type of depression you have.

Different Types of Depression and possible treatments:

·         Mild Depression - wait and see, exercise, self-help groups

·         Mild to Moderate Depression - talking treatment, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling

·         Moderate to Severe Depression – antidepressants, combination therapy, mental health

What are the different treatments?

Wait and see: if you're diagnosed with mild depression, it may improve by itself. In this case, you'll be seen again by your GP after two weeks to monitor your progress. This is known as "watchful waiting".

Exercise: there's evidence that exercise can help depression, and it's one of the main treatments for mild depression. You may be referred to a qualified fitness trainer for an exercise scheme. You can also find out more about starting exercise and exercise for depression.

Self-help groups: talking through your feelings can be helpful. You could talk to a friend or relative, or you can ask your GP to suggest a local self-help group. Find out more about depression support groups. Your GP may also recommend self-help books and online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). 

Antidepressants: antidepressants are tablets that treat the symptoms of depression. There are almost 30 different types of antidepressant. They have to be prescribed by a doctor, usually for depression that's moderate or severe.

Combination therapy: your GP may recommend that you take a course of antidepressants plus talking therapy, particularly if your depression is quite severe. A combination of an antidepressant and CBT usually works better than having just one of these treatments.

Mental health teams: if you have severe depression, you may be referred to a mental health team made up of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists. These teams often provide intensive specialist talking treatments as well as prescribed medication. 

Talking therapy: there are different types of talking therapy for depression, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling. Your GP can refer you for talking treatment or, in some parts of the country, you might be able to refer yourself. Some talking treatments include; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Online CBT, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and counselling.

Mindfulness: Mindfulness involves paying closer attention to the present moment, and focusing on your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the world around you to improve your mental wellbeing. The aim is to develop a better understanding of your mind and body, and to learn how to live with more appreciation and less anxiety.

Who can help?

It's important to seek help from your GP if you think you may be depressed. Many people wait a long time before seeking help for depression, but it's best not to delay. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery. You can also refer yourself to other services designed to help with depression.

 

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What is Bipolar?

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another.

People with bipolar disorder have periods or episodes of:

·         Depression – feeling very low and lethargic

You may initially be diagnosed with clinical depression before having a future manic episode (sometimes years later), after which you may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. During an episode of depression, you may have overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, which can potentially lead to thoughts of suicide. If you're feeling suicidal or having severe depressive symptoms, contact your GP, care co-ordinator or local mental health emergency services as soon as possible.

·         Mania – feeling very high and overactive (less severe mania is known as hypomania)

During a manic phase of bipolar disorder, you may feel very happy and have lots of energy, ambitious plans and ideas. You may spend large amounts of money on things you can't afford and wouldn't normally want. Not feeling like eating or sleeping, talking quickly and becoming annoyed easily are also common characteristics of this phase. You may feel very creative and view the manic phase of bipolar as a positive experience. However, you may also experience symptoms of psychosis, where you see or hear things that aren't there or become convinced of things that aren't true

Symptoms of bipolar disorder depend on which mood you're experiencing. Unlike simple mood swings, each extreme episode of bipolar disorder can last for several weeks (or even longer), and some people may not experience a "normal" mood very often.

The high and low phases of bipolar disorder are often so extreme that they interfere with everyday life.

However, there are several options for treating bipolar disorder that can make a difference. They aim to control the effects of an episode and help someone with bipolar disorder live life as normally as possible.

The following treatment options are available:

  • medication to prevent episodes of mania, hypomania (less severe mania) and depression – these are known as mood stabilisers and are taken every day on a long-term basis
  • medication to treat the main symptoms of depression and mania when they occur
  • learning to recognise the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or mania
  • psychological treatment – such as talking therapy, which can help you deal with depression, and provides advice about how to improve your relationships
  • lifestyle advice – such as doing regular exercise, planning activities you enjoy that give you a sense of achievement, as well as advice on improving your diet and getting more sleep

It's thought using a combination of different treatment methods is the best way to control bipolar disorder.

Who’s affected?

Bipolar disorder is fairly common and one in every 100 adults will be diagnosed with the condition at some point in their life.

Bipolar disorder can occur at any age, although it often develops between the ages of 15 and 19 and rarely develops after 40. Men and women from all backgrounds are equally likely to develop bipolar disorder.

Who can help?

If you or someone you know is suffering with Bipolar Disorder, then we recommend getting help if you have not already done so. This can be by going to your GP and letting them know what is happening with your Mental Health, you can also refer yourself to a service that works with Mental Health Challenges.

 

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk .

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

PREGNANCY

06 November 2017

While many people are aware that you can become depressed after having a baby, it's less well known that many women experience anxiety during and after pregnancy. In fact, it's common to experience depression and anxiety together.

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health challenges during pregnancy, with around 12% of women experiencing depression and 13% experiencing anxiety at some point; many women will experience both. Depression and anxiety also affect 15-20% of women in the first year after childbirth. During pregnancy and the postnatal period, anxiety disorders, including Panic Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Tokophobia (an extreme fear of childbirth), can occur on their own or can coexist with depression.

Perinatal anxiety and depression are mental health challenges experienced during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth. You might hear it called:

  • Perinatal or antenatal anxiety and/or depression if you experience anxiety during pregnancy.
  • Postnatal anxiety and/or depression if you experience it after giving birth.

Perinatal mental health challenges are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects 12-20% of women, and covers a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, it can have significant and long lasting effects on the woman and her family. Perinatal mental health challenges can also have long-standing effects on children’s emotional, social and cognitive development.

There are different types of depression and anxiety that can happen during and post-pregnancy:

  • Postpartum ‘blues’: (affecting 60-80% of all new mothers) is often expressed as frequent and prolonged crying, anxiety, irritability, poor sleep, quick mood changes and a sense of vulnerability. It usually occurs within the first three days following birth, continues for up to two weeks and is usually self-limiting.
  • Postpartum depression & anxiety: (affecting 15-20% of all new mothers) is more debilitating and longer lasting than the ‘blues’ and is characterized by despondency, tearfulness and more intense feelings of inadequacy, guilt, anxiety and fatigue. There may also be physical symptoms such as headaches and rapid heart rate. A lack of feeling for the baby is of special concern. These feelings can appear any time during the first few months to one year after the birth. Unfortunately, women experiencing this form of depression rarely seek treatment although almost all respond well.
  • Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth: is usually triggered by trauma during the time leading up to, during delivery or shortly afterwards. It can effect up to 6% of mothers. The trauma leads the women feeling that either her life or the life of her baby is at risk.
  • Postpartum psychosis:(found in 0.1% of new mothers) is a serious, but relatively rare disorder, with reactions such as extreme confusion, refusal to eat, delusions, auditory hallucinations, hyperactivity and rapid or irrational speech. Most of these reactions occur within 3-14 days following the birth. Psychosis is serious and requires immediate medical attention and at times medication and hospitalization.

How do I know if I have perinatal or postnatal depression or anxiety?

A mother may:

  • Feel constantly tired
  • Cry often for no apparent reason
  • Feel panicky
  • Worry excessively about her own or the baby’s health
  • Have a lack of feeling for the baby
  • Have difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Have problems concentrating
  • Have frightening thoughts or fantasies
  • Feel an overwhelming sense of loss

What are the treatments?

There are a range of treatment options for depression and anxiety, any of which you might find useful to treat perinatal and postnatal anxiety and/or depression.

  • Talking treatments. You're likely to be offered cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or your local mental health services may run specific counselling or group programmes for anxiety. You can speak to your doctor, or contact your local services to find out what they offer.
  • Self-help resources. Your doctor could give you access to online CBT programmes, or prescribe self-help books to help you learn to manage your anxiety.
  • Medication. There are several different drugs that can be helpful in managing anxiety. If you have any concerns about taking medication during pregnancy or breastfeeding, you can always discuss this with your doctor.

You may be offered a combination of medication and a talking treatment. Many people find that taking medication helps them feel stable enough to get the most out of a talking treatment. However, other people find medication or talking treatments alone are more helpful.

If there are long waiting lists for talking treatments in your area, your doctor may recommend that you try an antidepressant to help you manage your mental health in the meantime.

What can I do to help myself?

Although the best way to treat depression is to seek help from a healthcare professional, there are steps you can take yourself to reduce your chances of developing depression and help you recover once you've been diagnosed.

Try to:

  • look for the positive things in your life, however hard that may seem
  • involve your partner or someone you're close to in your pregnancy and baby
  • make time to relax
  • be open about your feelings
  • ask for help with practical tasks like grocery shopping and household chores
  • find out about local support groups (check out our Who Can Help page)
  • make time to rest
  • eat well  
  • find time to have fun
  • organise small treats every day, such as a workout or a coffee with friends

Try to avoid:

  • doing too much – cut down on other commitments when you're pregnant or caring for a new baby
  • getting involved in stressful situations
  • drinking too much tea, coffee, alcohol or cola, which can stop you sleeping well
  • moving house
  • being too hard on yourself or your partner

If you're looking for other women's pregnancy challenges, here's a link to a life story about a woman who suffered with post-natal anxiety.

Who can help?

  • Anxiety UK - was established to promote the relief and rehabilitation of persons suffering from agoraphobia and associated anxiety disorders, phobias and conditions, in particular, but not exclusively, by raising awareness in such topics.
  • No Panic - No Panic is a registered charity which helps people who suffer from Panic Attacks, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and other related anxiety disorders including those people who are trying to give up Tranquillizers.
  • The NHS - has useful information and tips on how to cope with perinatal and postnatal depression and anxiety.
  • Tommy's - are an organisation that provides accredited midwife-led pregnancy health information for parents-to-be, and funds research into the causes of pregnancy loss.
  • PANDAS - Pre And Post Natal Depression Advice and Support (PANDAS) help support and advise any parent who is experiencing a perinatal mental illness.  They also inform and guide family members, carers, friends and employers as to how they can support someone who is suffering.
  • CPSL MIND - Mind have lots of helpful advice and information online about the different kinds of support you can get and they also run lots of workshops and courses. If you would like to self refer to Mind, We have added their Referral Form here and a link to their different services and referral forms!
  • CPSL MIND have several services available, for example: 

Connecting Mums, 6 week short intervention courses for mums who are socially isolated, this course also offers tips and tools on management and prevention for mental wellbeing. Mums can bring along their babies to the sessions and we have volunteers on hand to help look after the children while mum interacts in a group environment, babies are in the same room as mums. We deliver these from a number of different children’s centres in Peterborough.

Mums Matter, 8 week targeted intervention course, this course is for Mums who are that bit more poorly, we deliver the courses in children’s centres and pay for a crèche for the children, the crèche is always in the same building as the mums and we work with the mums in a separate room, this course is designed to help mums manage the everyday and dispel the myths. We use tools such as CBT, mindfulness, meditation and work on self-esteem.

We are launching a Mums Monthly Peers Support group that will be starting on the 2nd July 2018, this will be held at First Steps Children’s Centre, it will take place on the first Monday of each month from 1000 – 1200, this is a peer led support group and the volunteers that lead the group have accessed our services. Mums can bring children along to the group.

CPSL MIND can accept Mums who are pregnant and have a child who is up to 2 years old, Mums can self-refer by contacting them on 01733 362990 or they can accept professional or other organisations referrals.

Local Support - Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Authority Support: 

  • Health Visiting service– The health visiting service is a universal-progressive, needs-led, evidence-based service for children to age 5 years and their families, delivered by specialist community public health nurses.

    Family Nurse Partnership- The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is a structured home visiting parenting programme, delivered by specially trained family nurses, from early pregnancy until the child is two years old to vulnerable teenage mothers. The family nurse and the young parent(s) commit to an average of 64 planned home visits over two and a half years.

    Peterborough Connecting Mums- Cambridgeshire, Peterborough & South Lincolnshire MIND (formerly Peterborough & Fenland MIND) deliver perinatal mental health programmes. Peterborough City Council have commissioned this organisation to deliver 5 perinatal mental health programmes per annum (Connecting Mums & Mums Matter), which have been specifically designed, piloted and evidenced by CPSL MIND.

    Presently, the programmes only operate in Peterborough and have an annual reach target of 45 women, although some partners/family members are also supported in a 'supporter' session, which is part of the Mums Matter course. From a commissioning perspective, the local authority are continuing to invest in this for the 2018/19 financial year, however ongoing funding is unclear; it is anticipated that this need will be picked up through the Better Births transformation.

    Early Help Hub - Single point of contact for all Early Help Assessments, Family Plans and Reviews that have been completed by any agency. Here's the Cambridge County Council Support Hub website.

    Child & Family Centres/Children’s centres- Deliver evidence-based parenting programmes and targeted support for Domestic Abuse in conjunction with the Early Help offer.

    Health Improvement antenatal- Address lifestyle/behavioural factors- smoking, diet & obesity, physical activity, drugs & alcohol, sexual health. Delivered by Everyone Health  in Cambridgeshire and Solutions for Health in Peterborough.

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk .

BEREAVEMENT

06 November 2017

What happens when you go through bereavement?

It is devastating when you lose someone close to you. Everyone’s experience of grief is unique, but there are some common things that lots of us will feel. You might feel numb, angry, exhausted or guilty for something you did or didn’t do or say. Your mind will be distracted so you may also find it hard to concentrate as well as you would do normally. These feelings are normal and will pass, but it can take time.

Speaking to someone can help, and you may get all the support you need from family and friends. If you don’t feel able to open up to people that you know, or you feel you are struggling, then there are organisations and sources of support that can help. These include:

  • Cruse Bereavement Care - Offers face-to- face, telephone (0808 808 1677) and email (helpline@cruse.org.uk) support.
  • Help is at Hand – A booklet specifically written for those bereaved by suicide by those who have also been affected by suicide. The booklet gives practical information as well as details of further support.
  • Samaritans – Provide a safe place for you to talk. They will listen and try to understand what you’re going through and help you make your own decisions that are right for you. You can get in contact with them via telephone (116 123 [free 24 hour helpline]), email, letter or face-to- face.
  • CPFT Bereavement Support Group - These are held on the second Monday evening of each month, but please ring to check the date if you were not at the previous meeting. The meetings take place from 6pm-7.30pm at: Quaker Meeting House 21 Thorpe Road Peterborough PE3 6AB. If you are attending the group for the first time, it’s really important you contact us first so we can get some details from you and have a chat about the format of the meetings. Please give us a ring (details in leaflet link).

Sometimes it isn’t just your own grief that you have to deal with, but that of your children. Children need time to grieve too, and it’s important to try and talk to them about their feelings as well as your own. Try to encourage them not to hide their feelings, but instead talk about them. As much as possible try to keep to the routine that your family had before the death to give a bit more stability, as hard as this may be.

These services provide specific support for young people and their families who are bereaved

  • Hope Again - Provides advice for young people after the death of someone close to them including personal stories of other young people who have been bereaved.
  •  Child Bereavement UK – supports families and educates professionals when a child or baby of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care - Offers face-to- face, telephone (0808 808 1677) and email (helpline@cruse.org.uk) support.
  • Stars Children's Bereavement Support Service - Stars provides specialist bereavement support and counselling for any child or young person, aged 0-25 years who has experiences the death of someone close to them. We also provide support for young people when someone close to them is dying. Email: info@talktostars.org.uk, Telephone - 01223 863511.
  • Grief Encounter - A national service providing support to bereaved children and teenagers including e-counselling and materials to help to support bereaved children. Email: contact@griefencounter.org.uk, Telephone: 02083 718455.
  • Centre 33 - Provides free counselling to young people aged 13-25 years. Email: help@centre33.org.uk, Telephone: 01223 316488.
  • Compassionate Friends A charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause. Email: helpline@tcf.org.uk, Telephone: 034512 32304.
  • YMCA Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - Provides free counselling to young people ages 13-25years. Email: counselling@theymca.org.uk, Telephone: 01733 373170.
  • Keep Your Head - Provides details of more services and information on children's mental health.
  • Kooth - Kooth is a free, confidential counselling service, provides mental health self-help information and support online for people aged between 11 and 19 years.

Other local healthcare services:

  • Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice - The hospice’s family support team offers individual and group support pre and post bereavement. Trained staff and volunteers also facilitate the monthly walking group Wayfinders. Support for bereaved children aged six to 11 is available through the Charlie Chimp Club.
  • Arthur Rank House Hospice, Cambridge - Offers bereavement support to the families of patients who have received care from one of their services. Keith Morrison (Chaplain), Email: keith.morrison@arhc.org.uk, Tel: 01223 675777
  • Sue Ryder St John's Hospice - Offers bereavement support to families and friends of patients cared for at the hospice. Jane Maxfield, Family Support & Bereavement Co-ordinator.
  • The Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre - The Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre based at North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech, is a day centre supporting people who are living with a life-limiting illness. They also run a support day three times a year for bereaved relatives.
  • Cambridge University Counselling Service - This free service is for enrolled students and staff of the University of Cambridge.
  • Anglia Ruskin University Counselling and Wellbeing Service- The Counselling and Wellbeing Service is available to all students at Anglia Ruskin University and offers a free and confidential service to promote mental health and wellbeing.

Voluntary organisations

  • Age UK - Provides advice and information for older people through an advice line‚ publications and website.
  • The Samaritans - Provide confidential emotional support at all times of day and night.
  • Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counselling - Provides an individual counselling service with a range of fees according to ability to pay.
  • Cogwheel Trust for Counselling - The Cogwheel Trust is a charity, motivated by its Christian ethos, working throughout Cambridgeshire to improve the emotional and psychological well-being of local people. 

For more information on bereavement and dealing with grief please visit the NHS Choices bereavement webpage. Click here for a printable bereavement leaflet full of services for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area.

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk .