What’s catching my eye: 18.8.2018

1 Self-Renovators: This podcast offers a nice gentle dig at self help which is often quite hilarious

2 Some nice notes on self compassion:

3 Male suicide: My eyes will be on the television programme on BBC2 on Wednesday at 9.30pm …. Suicide is the biggest killer of males under the age of 50.

4 The Essay on Radio 3 is often hit and miss but this one hit all the right notes – its about Iona as a spiritual retreat and sounds just the place to go to escape from a busy world, narrated eloquently by the featured poet:

What is catching my eye 30th July


1 Okay college has just broken up, but some students will be focused on how they will cope with a new college environment or maybe want to feel better next term. A great website is students against depression, full of useful exercises and ideas:

2 This App. looks potentially useful in that it explores self harm and alternatives for young people:

3 This organisation looks like it does some potentially valuable work with children and adolescence:

4 Charities in Bury have been receiving some good support of late, from Bury Council and this Directory is full of good contacts:


5 I like BIG in Mental Health (a charity in Bury) especially their programme of speakers:
Recovery Group

What’s catching my eye 5th July 2018

Now I am working in a Child and Adolescent Service I am drawn, more than ever, to aspects of prevention of mental health illness.

Perhaps, more than any other area, child and adolescent mental health should be protected and resourced with a special focus on prevention. To do so makes sense. The more we can prevent mental ill health developing the less likely are we to create life long suffering and dependence on much stretched services.

There is plenty of interesting research out there but recently I received articles on folic acid and sever mental ill health:

My interest with social media and facilitating mental health drew me to this research. I am working on a package that is bang in line with the Draft NICE Guidelines on Depression:


What’s catching my eye:21st May 2018

1 This study again points towards disruption of circadian rhythms as a link with depression. The recent introduction of expensive agomelatine may work for particular depressions characterised by circadian disruption but is not without its side effects:

2 Independent article tells us what we all should know:
3 Self harm is an obvious area for concern, this study points to what may and may not work for adolescents who self harm:

4 Ed Watkins (2016) book on rumination-focused cognitive behavioural therapy is a gift that keeps on giving, I keep on reading and getting little nuggets of advice from it regardless of whether I am practicing it in pure form.


What’s catching my eye: 9th May 2018

1 Government’s Green Paper on mental health of children get a rather lukewarm response:

2 A critical point in protecting the future of our children – better support for Mums mental health:

3 This Course on Self Care in Manchester looks interesting and inexpensive:

4 Exercise prevents depression across the age groups: Harvey et al (2017) Exercise Prevents Depression, but not Anxiety: Results of the HUNT Cohort Study The American Journal of Psychiatry DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16111223

5 A BBC Podcast that always inspires, a lovely piece of broadcasting “Sould Music”:


What’s catching my eye (and ear): Saturday 28th of April, 2018

1) A rather moving BBC podcast on trauma much of it featuring reflections on the holocaust so an emotional piece of listening which deserves repeat listens:

2) Not dissimilar, a fascinating programme on humiliation whicjh also features Paul Gilbert who is linled with compassionate approaches and depression:


3) All in the Mind the BBC Radio 4 programme is back. In this episode there is applause and quite right too for people working in mental health.


4) A number of interesting reports are coming out about Depression and its links with genetics. This study in Nature,com was picked up by the Guardian:

This is also reported in the Guardian:
And also in pschcentral:

What’s Catching My Eye: 16th April, 2018

Always interesting, Ruby Wax in the Radio Programme “Frazzled” discussing mental health and mindfulness (beware starts with the end of the previous radio programme: The Archers – truly depressing)

This is a link to the Café mentioned in Ruby’s programme:



An engaging video on mindfulness in the workplace:

Nice BLOG via a Mental Health Tweet:
“Service users value their conversations and relationships with care coordinators more than they do care plans” Read @SchrebersSister’s blog on the #COCAPP study by @cityalan et al #equipmh

Ball tampering and poor nursing – strange bedfellows? Not at all!

photos for blog
I may be in the minority feeling compassion for the Australian Cricketers caught up in the ball tampering incident. If nothing else, it taught me a lot about stress and how it is managed.
In the aftermath of the Francis Inquiry (yes the two are linked) I asked a senior nurse what kept him from cutting corners or downright neglecting his patients and he said his value base, and added it is that that makes him resilient. To further illustrate this he explained that there had been pressure on him to conform to poor practices but he had been able to resist because of his good nature which had always been present.

Now if you recall, the Australian Cricket Captain tearfully explained that his behaviour was out of keeping with his value base. This begs the question: why is his value base so brittle for him to ignore it and land himself and everyone connected with it in so much trouble?
No doubt we will find out more in the weeks to come, but I suspect it was the enormous stress placed on his team to perform to perfection, and if not, at least give the appearance of perfection.
Burn out and nursing and medicine are known as high risks amongst those with perfectionist tendencies, so it makes sense to suggest that this cricket team strove for this and got their fingers burnt and then burnt out.
Cricketers, I imagine, like nurses have fragile support systems and without which can consider practices that are alien to them. Or, as we witnessed in the marvellous BBC TV programme “Hospital” on BBC 2, if you aren’t prepared to let your standards slip you just leave the profession  and move on, increasing the pressure on those who remain. There must be better solutions than this.
Cricketers and nurses and doctors deserve better support than they are currently accessing. This is especially so when they lack self compassion – compassion for self and compassion for others are related.  If they cant access their own self compassion they deserve it from others who can provide it; from professionals and the world at large. A fascinating area and why my current studies in this area are so worth it.

Whats catching my eye: 26th March


What makes for an Effective therapist:

BBC Podcast about the meaning of resilience:

Free online Course on professional resilience:

Mental health services still in need of improvement:




Lessons from the nursery

I learnt early in my career as a cognitive behavioural therapist that regardless of technique, unless a relationship exists between person and therapist, therapy is likely to stall. No wonder then that I learn so much from books on attachment. This is probably the most readable of the books that I have read in this area – a real delight:
Music, G. 2017, Nurturing natures: attachment and children’s emotional, sociocultural and brain development, Second edn, Routledge, London
A book packed with learning, it doesn’t come close to the learning from experience in looking after children As a grandparent who. week in week out. looks after grandchildren it provides powerful reminders of how valuable the role of caregiver is (and how lonely it sometimes gets).
Every week I get first hand how children learn about emotions and how to express them in a healthy way. Caregivers need the strength and sensitivity to absorb strong emotion, contain them, and so hand them back in a moderated form. Wilfred Bion first described the process of holding on to difficult emotions and this has been described in later books (ie Rahm, in Hart 2017*) on the benefits of holding on to the “dangerous projects” of babies.
The loneliness comes on the back of self criticisms when we doubt whether we are good enough parents and grandparents or carers (Loughran, 2017). It is also on the back of breaks in contact as defensive reflection-in-action sets in. Here the child is faced with a (professional) parent whose reflections turn into rumination. All fascinating stuff.

*Hart, S.(. 2017;;, Inclusion, play and empathy: neuroaffective development in children’s groups, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London.

Loughran, C. 2017, “Transformative Holding: A Reflection on the Legacy of the Smith School for Social Work Thesis”, Smith College Studies in Social Work, vol. 87, no. 4, pp. 361
Other things catching my attention:

Professor Karen Harmer makes a plea, on this podcast, for a holistic approach to treating mental health illness. Identifying that medication, exercise and psychological therapies may have overlapping effects:

Podcast regarding research into psychological therapies for suicidal behaviour delivered by Professor Rory O’Connor: