Food for thought: our genes aren’t the tight fit I thought

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A very interesting couple of weeks in the media.I am forever grateful to Podcast Hour for continuing to give me interesting stuff to listen to.

All Hail Kale is just one of them. A podcast which provides a fairly robust look at the evidence behind various fads including some new perspectives on nutrition which, despite my years of experience in health, had many surprises for me.

This episode looks at neurofeedback which helps redirect attention away from unhealthy preoccupations such as porn. I also learnt that our genetic load is only part inherited and that most of it is acquired from such things as touch and mood! A listen that has that Wow factor.

The Observer Magazine last Sunday (10th March, 2019) had an interesting feature from Eva Wiseman which whilst being very thought provoking misfires by targeting the wrong elephant in the room. Anxiety is fundamentally good for us and the main damage is caused in trying to control it. #evawiseman #anxiety

But if anxiety is sky high if you can’t accept that this is a good thing then this website may help you get some temporary respite but I wouldn’t try to hard to totally get rid of such a natural emotion.

And as if we didn’t already know, this article adds to the growing interest in the piling pressure on our young students to perform perfectly.

Sleepless? Techniques for when counting sheep isn’t working

Sleeplessness is regarded as the most common mental health symptom experienced and these websites are a good source of information. One of these days I will get round to summarising the common threads.

Mathew Walker’s 2018 book on the science of sleep is frequently applauded although I found it a rather bleak read and short on what can help.

1 One for the teenagers from the NHS

2 The Royal College of Psychiatrists discuss sleep problems in childhood and adolescence: for parents and carers

3 Another helpful leaflet from the NHS on how to get to sleep

4 The Mental Health Foundation also offer some help on how to sleep better

5 Mind provide some good information in this leaflet.

Have a good nights sleep


What’s catching my ear: 4th February, 2019



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No apologies for my fondness of podcasts when there are so many powerful podcasts around.
1 Kirsten Neff forever associated with compassionate approaches is interviewed here and marvellous lines just flow enough for them to be great reminders for whenever we get in trouble. Simply wonderful.

2 Similarly, the podcast featuring Joseph Burgo is a profound listen. It made me consider shaming experiences as opportunities rather than as events to be avoided at all costs. Initially I was quite sceptical but the longer you listen the greater his credibility grows – a treat that I will relisten to.


What’s catching my eye: 28.1.2019

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1 Suicide prevention. Important area and a publication that could easily have missed my eye (but thanks to Twitter…). Its the Suicide Prevention Plan

2 Types of depression. Interesting article although people who are depressed may lack the desire to do their own self analysis

3 Love podcasts and looking forward to listening to these Tedtalks on the important area of empathy

4 Preventing child mental ill health. A book that is definitely on my buy list


What’s catching my eye: January 7th, 2019


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1 Andrew Marr this week (7th January, 2019) is covering depression in “Start the Week” radio programme and will offer some interesting perspectives including ditching material aspirations, ditching the computer and getting out in the daylight.
2 Looking forward to the new NHS Plan to be launched today (7th January, 2019) and how it might emphasise prevention of mental ill health and more resources for children with poor mental health. And not before time, money on young people and children and their mental health is money well spent.

What’s catching my eye: 14th December, 2018

1 CBT Articles. As always, there are fascinating studies in the latest Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy Journal (January, 2019).
CBT isn’t for everyone, and Kate Hanson is comparing the effects on depression of reading two self help books – one written from a positive psychology perspective and the other using a CBT approach. Hanson finds that both have an impact on depression but makes the point that a book written using a positive psychology approach may appeal to those who have unsuccessfully tried CBT.
I like the article written by Shafran and colleagues who note that getting early help for anxiety and depression can lead to more positive outcomes. The article appeals to me because it discusses the role of what is technically called psychoeducation: helping people learn about mental health symptoms and what treatments are available and where, and destigmatising mental ill health through education.
In their study, Shafran and colleagues are interested in whether self monitoring of symptoms can lead to seeking help. It confirmed to me that I also need to better track improvements as therapy progresses – I do track progress but need to share this more effectively with the people I work with.

2 Children at Christmas. Working in children’s mental health services it has really brought it home to me how Christmas can be a time of crisis for some people. So its good to see organisations such as Young Minds doing their bit to encourage people to stay well or seek support if needbe.

3 Digital IAPT – anyone? Needs some staying power and I must confess I haven’t read every word but there is enough interesting points in this article by Mark Brown to deserve a second and probably a third read.

What’s catching my eye: 23.11.2018


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1 Depression types. All in the Mind is always a useful listen especially as it points us to some useful research. Included here, is an interesting discussion of research into whether talking therapies affects the brain. This is described by Professor Dalgleish, and whilst it makes for a good headline I am not entirely convinced that depression could be 1600 different things.

What I also liked about this episode is the idea that having negative thoughts isn’t always a negative thing and Dalgleish describes his research on emodiversity.

The importance of negative experiences is also picked up in this marvellous Start the Week episode where the ever present Professor Haidt makes a case for adversity as a way of facilitating resilience and maybe acceptance of diversity.

2 Teenage Depression. As someone committed to working with teenage depression, I am keen to support sharing on the topic of depression especially when it comes from the lips of young men as cited in this website.

3 Children’s Mental Health. Child Commissioner in her recent analysis makes a case for more money for children’s mental health services. Always fails to confuse me how politicians can not understand how by investing in children’s mental health now will prove such a financial and emotional cost saving in the future.
4 Need for Health workforce planning. I wish I had a pound for every time I had heard we need a long term plan for the health workforce, I wouldn’t need to work at my ripe old age. Lets hope they put some serious thinking (and action) into this one.


What’s catching my eye: 6th November, 2018


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1 Benefits of telling your story. This neat short discussion of the importance of writing your story which got me thinking how in much of my work I encourage people to list their thoughts and even better describe some of those thoughts that seem to create difficulties in order that it invites a different perspective.

2 Teaching emotional intelligence. All the very best with this programme that encouragers children in school to manage their emotions more effectively. Much of my CBT work with children often land on the difficulties of staying with and processing complex feelings as they arise.

3 Benefits of looking after each other. A fascinating article on the search of happiness could well involve caring for other people or the better treatment of others. The work of both Kahnemann (“Thinking Fast and Slow”) and Haidt are mentioned and this has got me hunting down their work.