Archive for April, 2008

Is it stigma – or discrimination – or ?

April 28, 2008

Is it stigma

-when your friends don’t ask you to go with them ‘in case it is too tiring for you?’

– when school friends don’t accept a second invitation to your home now they have met your mum/dad?

– your relatives explain away your ‘circumstances’ untruthfully?

– you need the support of an advocate to get your point of view heard?

– when you are forgiven most things ‘because of your problem?’


John Prescott and Bulimia

April 25, 2008

Well, has John Prescott done any favours to people experiencing eating disorder?   Some have criticised him for ‘cynically’ not revealing this personal problem until he published a book.   That is quite a judgement to make when you can’t know that.  On the basis of that judgement it has been argued that more harm than good has been done to public understanding of eating disorders.  However, I wonder just what IS the public understanding of eating disorders.  I have never had the feeling that there is a public reservoir of goodwill towards those who suffer this debilitating illness, whether anorexia or bulimia, but rather have heard comments expressing irritation, disbelief, and sometimes disgust.   Just maybe his honesty has brought a few to realise that many people are affected by this issue, and to reconsider their previously held views?  I hope so.  I was outraged by some media reportingof this announcement.  The word ‘CONFESSED’ was used in some reports.  What do they mean ‘CONFESSED’?  That word usually (always?) implies admission of a wrong doing and possibly a wish to put something right.   So what is the wrong doing here?  Which takes me back to public perceptions – and the criticisms suggesting cynicism.  Personally I am usually glad when public figures are able to talk about problems they have experienced with mental health issues, and overall feel that such openness probably results in more good than harm.   What do you think?  It would be good to hear from people who suffer this condition, and have their views.

BBC News – Health.

April 25, 2008


The following comes from the BBC News Health section and you may have some comments to make??


Anti-depressants’ ‘little effect’

Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, has announced that 3,600 therapists are to be trained during the next three years in England to increase patient access to talking therapies, which ministers see as a better alternative to drugs.

Patients are strongly advised not to stop taking their medication without first consulting a doctor.

The researchers accept many people believe the drugs do work for them, but argue that could be a placebo effect – people feel better simply because they are taking a medication which they think will help them.

In total, the Hull team, who published their findings in the journal PLoS Medicine, reviewed data on 47 clinical trials.

They reviewed published clinical trial data, and unpublished data secured under Freedom of Information legislation.

They focused on drugs which work by increasing levels of the mood controlling chemical serotonin in the brain.

These included fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Seroxat), from the class known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), alongside another similar drug called venlafaxine (Efexor) – all commonly prescribed in the UK.

The number of prescriptions for anti-depressants hit a record high of more than 31 million in England in 2006 – even though official guidance stresses they should not be a first line treatment for mild depression.

There were 16.2m prescriptions for SSRIs alone.

The researchers found that the drugs did have a positive impact on people with mild depression – but the effect was no bigger than that achieved by giving patients a sugar-coated “dummy” pill.

People with severe symptoms appeared to gain more clear-cut benefit – but this might be more down to the fact that they were less likely to respond to the placebo pill, rather than to respond positively to the drugs.

HAVE YOUR SAY When used correctly and appropriately anti-depressant therapy saves lives Stephen Brown, Birmingham

Lead researcher Professor Irving Kirsch said: “The difference in improvement between patients taking placebos and patients taking anti-depressants is not very great.

“This means that depressed people can improve without chemical treatments.

“Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed to provide a benefit.”

Professor Kirsch said the findings called into question the current system of reporting drug trials.

Reviewing guidance

Dr Tim Kendall, deputy director of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Research Unit, has published research concluding that drug companies tend only to publish research which shows their products in a good light.

He said the Hull findings undermined confidence in the ability to draw meaningful conclusions about the merit of drugs based on published data alone.

He called for drug companies to be forced to publish all their data.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently reviewing its guidance on the use of antidepressants.

Marjorie Wallace of Sane commented: “If these results were upheld in further studies, they would be very disturbing.

“The newer anti-depressants were the great hope for the future…. These findings could remove what has been seen as a vital choice for thousands in treating what can be a life-threatening condition.”

Dr Andrew McCulloch, of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “We have become vastly over-reliant on antidepressants when there is a range of alternatives.

“Talking therapies, exercise referral and other treatments are effective for depression.

“It is a problem that needs a variety of approaches matched to the individual patient.”

Dr Richard Tiner, of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said there was no doubt that there was a “considerable placebo effect” from anti-depressants when treating people with mild to moderate symptoms.

But he said no medicine would get a licence without demonstrating it was better than a placebo.

Dr Tiner said: “These medicines have been licensed by a number of regulatory authorities around the world, who looking at all the evidence, have determined that they do work better than placebo.”

Story from BBC NEWS: 2008/02/26 11:36:21 GMT



Most Women Have Disordered Eating Behaviors–I’m not surprised.

April 25, 2008

The following post is from the ‘blog’ oiseaux – if you want to see the whole post then click on this link.

According to Self Magazine, 75% of women have disordered eating behaviors or symptoms consistent with eating disorders. So why am I not surprised by this?

Women are bombarded on a daily basis by the physical standards society imposes on us. I am very defensive of eating disorders themselves, but I don’t turn a blind eye to the pressure of media. I can’t really. I know it exists, especially because I feel it too. I don’t think the media causes eating disorders and I don’t think society does either. But they often play a role in the course of eating disorders for some people. And even those without eating disorders are frequently behaving as if they do. It’s as if we’re creating generation after generation of sad women who have increasingly horrible and dangerous relationships with food.

If even the AARP’s media is afraid of depicting older women at times, what are women supposed to think? And what are men supposed to think–that once they get older they can’t be seen with a woman their age? Now, I’m not attacking the AARP. They run a lot of ads that are very age-positive and geared towards women. But you must admit, these images are ridiculous.

Objectively, we all know that the subtle messages images like these give us are absurd and impossible. Nevertheless, they are difficult to ignore when they are in your face all the time. And I don’t believe the media invents these things: I believe they reflect attitudes and perspectives of the majority.

What these images tell me is that it’s okay for men to age, and that they, in fact, age rather gracefully even if they happen to lose their taut, youthful bodies. Women, however, must maintain flawless skin, a thin physique and a youthful face. Naturally (and even artificially) this is impossible for anyone.

One of the biggest hurdles for me in my struggle for self-esteem is throwing off what I have always believed, which is based on what these messages and other people have said about me. And I believe that is something that all people (women especially) must do.

I believe the majority of young women would rather die or be terminally ill than gain 50 pounds or look “too old”. Sad but true.

 I am pleased to be able to bring you this post by but want to say that altho I acknowledged its source and provided a link I should first have sent an e-mail to the author informing them of my interest.  I apologise for that oversight (new things to learn every day) and am glad that permission was given despite my failure, because I believe it is a very useful reflection.


Stigma and Discrimination

April 18, 2008

Ignorance + Prejudice + Discrimination = Stigma

Professor Graham Thornicroft


Mental health services should use proven ways of getting people into work, says leading expert

April 18, 2008

The following is from the website of The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health.

18 March 2008

Supported employment offers people with mental health problems a chance to get work, to achieve recovery and to lead fulfilling lives, a leading US expert said in London last night.

Delivering the 2008 Sainsbury Centre Lecture, Professor Robert Drake called on mental health services in the US and the UK to help people to get and keep employment in ways that are proven to work.

Prof Robert Drake said: “Over the past 20 years, supported employment has enabled many people to attain competitive employment. It has energised the field of psychiatric rehabilitation and enhanced our optimism about recovery.

“Yet much remains to be accomplished. Our hope that ineffective practices such as day treatment would be largely replaced by supported employment has yet to happen. Mental health services continue to use antiquated models that fail to help people to achieve their ambitions in life.

“Supported employment does not work for everyone. But research is opening up new possibilities that should help us to continue to make remarkable progress in the next two decades.

“We need to ensure vocational support is truly integrated with mental health care and to reallocate funds from ineffective services to those that work. Mental health services can easily demoralise and debilitate people with severe mental illness. We need to get better at motivating people and activating their sense of hopefulness about the future.

“Improvements are also needed to in-work support when people get jobs, to help them to succeed in satisfying, long-lasting jobs that they consider meaningful careers.”

Responding to the Lecture, Dr Rachel Perkins said: “Too often it is argued that, because the situation in the USA is so different, what works there will not work in the UK. Our work in South West London and other parts of the country, as well as European wide research, show that this is not true.

“Supported employment can be incorporated into routine clinical practice. It has enabled hundreds of people to get and keep work. It also helps people to keep their jobs. People who develop mental health problems are twice as likely to lose their jobs as those with other health problems. But if employment specialists are integrated into community mental health teams the risk is substantially reduced.

“If mental health professionals are pessimistic about people’s employment prospects they end up ‘writing themselves off’ as unable to work. Nationally, half of mental health service users think they are unable to work because of their mental health problems. In the London Borough of Merton, where supported employment is the norm, only a quarter say they are unable to work. And if people believe they can work then all too often they can.”

Professor Robert Drake is Professor of Psychiatry and of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, New Hampshire, USA.

Network meeting planned for 23.4.08

April 17, 2008

There will be an informal discussion at The Sessions House, Usk to replace the intended Network meeting.  This will start at 1.30 as usual, and will end by 3.30pm.  The reasons for this change are to do with the work involved in setting up the Anti Stigma and Discrimination Event for the following week.   If you are a service user or carer in Monmouthshire, and would like to come along to talk about an issue or idea, then you will be very welcome as always.  

Self Injury podcast – Young Minds.

April 17, 2008

Intended for young people who are experiencing feelings about self harm.


BBC Health – Managing your anger

April 17, 2008

James Tighe

Everyone feels their anger is justified when they’re actually angry. Equally, we’ve all looked back and realised we may have overreacted. But for some people, anger can become a problem that needs to be addressed.

Finding anger difficult to cope with?

April 17, 2008

If this is a problem for you, or a friend,have a look at this site:-