It has long been established that there are links between deprivation and poorer mental health. This article [here] details a tragic case where financial stress led to a suicide. It goes on to list indications that an individual is experiencing such stress and contains some links to organisations who may be able to offer support.
This article [here] reports that a number of new medicines for depression (and anxiety) are being tested. These new treatments include drugs that have been available for a number of years, but have been previously used for other purposes. One such example is the illicit psychedelic drug LSD, which may remedy some of the negative changes to the brain that can occur in depression. Of course it is important not to take any such drugs unless under medical supervision.
We all have an internal body clock that can be disrupted through events such as mobile phone alerts that occur when we are due to go to sleep or during the night. These articles [here and here] report that individuals with disrupted body clocks are up to 10% more likely to experience a mood disorder. This has obvious implications for the benefit of regular sleep routines that suit our 'clocks' and also the avoiding of distractions in the bedroom.
This article [here] reports a finding that those who tend to eat alone also tend to be less happy. It describes the meal table as being a 'place of conversation, storytelling and closeness'. The article goes on to describe the benefits of a good (real life) social network (as opposed to an online one).
Having a baby is a massive life event that requires a huge adjustment. Some women develop symptoms of depression (and anxiety) following the birth. The article lists some tips which may be useful in helping new mothers to stay well. [here]. In England, increased resources are becoming available to help mothers in this situation [see here].
This article [here] describes some methods of increasing levels of happiness. Probably one of the most powerful and easiest to consider for most people is engaging in exercise. The article suggests that surprisingly little exercise can make a difference. This topic is mentioned in more detail within other posts.
It is well established that exercise can help to improve symptoms of depression. However, a study [report here] has looked at this relationship from another angle. It indicates that stopping exercise may trigger the disorder.
This article [here] describes this condition which is defined as 'not a single event but a process in which everyday stresses and anxieties gradually undermine one’s mental and physical health'. The signs and symptoms are listed as well as some example approaches to help overcome the issue.
A personal account is given here of the development and experience of depression (and anxiety). The sufferer did not respond to medication and unfortunately does not seem to have tried the recommended psychological treatment for her condition. However, the good news is that she has managed to improve her symptoms with meditation training via an app called 'headspace' [details here].
The possible negative effects of social media has often been described in the media [e.g., here]. Images on these platforms can make children feel anxious and inadequate. Also it is a vehicle for negative interactions, for instance online bullying. However, for children living in care, the social connections that these platforms offer can increase a sense of belonging and connectedness in a way that is likely to have a protective effect in terms of mental health for this vulnerable group [see here].
This article [here] describes a developing understanding about the impact that diet can have upon mental health. It states that a lack of 'nutrients' such as magnesium, omega 3 and probiotics can directly affect the brain and so influence the development of psychological problems.
Many people develop seemingly destructive behaviours as a means of coping with difficult feelings or situations. This video clip [here] describes one individual's experience of literally pulling her hair out as an example of this (a habit that is called 'trichotillomania'). More commonly, individuals use alcohol as a dysfunctional means of coping. This article [here] describes a study that has found that up to 60% of adults use alcohol as a means of coping with the stresses in their lives.
Some people who experience a psychological difficulty feel that they must be weak in character in some form. However, anyone can develop a mental health issue. One famous example of a strong character who experienced depression is Winston Churchill. He referred to the condition as 'the black dog' [e.g., see here]. Here a boxer describes the effects of experiencing a mental health issue.
People often feel better after spending time in natural settings. This article suggests some reasons behind this [here]. In particular, the article is about 'body image' but some of the suggested causes would seem to be relevant to other issues as well.
Mental health difficulties have been long thought to fuel creative geniuses such as Vincent van Gogh and Sylvia Plath. These two articles describe how creative activities can be helpful in combating psychological difficulties, see [here] and [here]. Can you think of a creative activity that you would enjoy doing?