The Many Heath and Sleep Benefits Of Music

Music is an incredible tool for emotional health, daily performance, and sleep.

Music is a regular fixture in my daily life. I listen to music to keep me motivated while I exercise, to relax and distract me when I travel, and for a quick creativity boost when I’m writing. My family—especially my kids—have music playing around the house all the time. I also use relaxing music to unwind before bed. Music is an especially effective part of my own Power Down Hour on nights when my brain is wired or I’m feeling tense.

Music is an incredibly therapeutic tool for emotional health, daily performance, and sleep. It has been used as a healing therapy for most of human history. Ancient Arabic cultures had musicians working alongside physicians. The Greeks used music to treat mental illness. After WWII, musicians were brought to US hospitals to aid the healing of soldiers’ physical and emotional trauma.  more

Tech firms enter the business of campus mental health care

At many college counseling centers therapists are overwhelmed and students are forced to wait weeks for an appointment, even as more of them seek help for anxiety, depression, and sleep and eating disorders.

Christie Campus Health, a Lexington start-up that will be launched Wednesday, thinks it has a solution: technology.

Christie, an arm of the Mary Christie Foundation, plans to partner with colleges and universities to handle the overflow of short-term counseling needs, using a network of therapists who are available online or over the phone.  more

How pets improve mental health issues, from depression to PTSD

Cuddle power should not be underestimated: a growing raft of studies shows that furry friends can help people experiencing a host of issues

The comforting padding of feet across the otherwise silent house, the welcoming nudge of wet nose on arm and the soothing sense of unconditional love can make lives tainted by mental health more bearable.

Formerly love-deprived Nell, my rescue spaniel, loves her cuddles, and she “asks” for them on a daily basis. The strength of her unconditional and innocent sense of love is palpable and we both derive comfort and a sense of calm from that closeness.

Just by stroking, sitting next to or playing with a pet can help to relax and calm someone with a mental health condition. Dogs especially will encourage their owner to seek exercise and thereby meet other dog-walkers, creating vital social connections. A growing raft of studies has shown that pets can help with numerous issues linked to mental health from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to addictions, stress and feelings of loneliness.   more

‘I call my OCD Olivia’

Catherine Benfield wasn’t diagnosed with OCD until she was was 31, after she had her first child, though it would appear she’s had it all her life. She recovered with the help of therapy – and by creating a character who personifies her obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

“She’s got the big ears, because she’s like a startled hare, she’s listening out.
“She’s bedraggled, because she’s been through a lot and she’s normally having some kind of panic.
The big eyes are about making sure she’s keeping an eye out for danger.
“The big legs – for running,” like a frightened hare, says Catherine Benfield.

Olivia
Presentational white space

You have now met Olivia.

She is a visualisation – a character created by Catherine to personify the condition she has lived with since she was a child.
The O in Olivia stands for OCD, an abbreviation for obsessive-compulsive disorder.
People are often mistaken about OCD, Catherine says. So many people think it’s about being very fastidious and organising your pens very precisely on your desk but it’s actually a serious anxiety-related mental health condition, involving intrusive obsessive thoughts, images and fears.

In an effort to prevent one of her fears coming true, Catherine would feel compelled to carry out a repetitive physical or mental act – in technical terms the fear is the “obsession” and the repetitive act is the “compulsion”. This would provide temporary relief from the anxiety, but then it might return, compelling her to repeat the behaviour again and again.

As a teenager she was terrified to be the last one to leave the house, because of the fear that it would burn down once she had gone – she would compulsively check the cooker was switched off and switches unplugged. And to ensure everyone was safe she would compulsively lock all doors and windows, and remove all trip hazards. These routines could take hours to perform, and if one thing disturbed the process she would start all over again.  MORE

100 Voices: Laura Sheeran On The Need to Talk About Suicide: #NowWereTalking

We invited a 100-strong chorus of artists, writers, musicians, broadcasters, sports stars and more to contribute to Now We’re Talking, a mental health campaign, run in partnership with Lyons Tea and Pieta House. Laura Sheeran shares her story…

I can’t say that I’ve battled with depression or suffered any serious mental health issues – and I’m very lucky to be able to say that – but many of my friends and family have. I’ve known so many people who’ve died by suicide. The first time I lost somebody that I cared about to suicide I was 11. My mom’s best friend died by suicide and she took her two children with her. It was the most horrific, tragic thing ever. So as a kid I became aware of these things.   more

I’m a 6 Ft, Hefty Man, But That Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Be Depressed

Being a third-world country, mental health is not one of our top priority problems, but it is a rising one and a serious one.

I want to share my experience of the journey battling depression and OCD, and shed some light on the problems I faced, which no one else should.

The first time, at the age of 20, when I talked to my parents about my depression and OCD, and about wanting to visit a psychiatrist, their reaction was not at all what I had expected. Belonging to a Jaat family from Rajasthan, I was the first person to raise such an issue in my not-so-open family. Besides they didn’t want anyone to know that their elder son has ‘gone crazy’. After five years of suffering, visits to psychiatrists, and almost a year of medication, I am back to therapy. Now I’m even more scared to tell my parents or friends about it.

That was probably the worst time of my life.

Suffering from depression is difficult. I lost my friends when I confessed to them about my condition. And suddenly, I was socially outcasted. This was the time when I needed emotional support, but all I got was cold looks.

Being over 6 feet tall and having a good physique also proved to be a problem causing peer pressure of presenting myself to the world as a strong and manly, while I was all broken inside. Honestly, being manly was the least of my problems.

Being a social outcast with no one to support you can be a pretty saddening.

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Kylie Minogue opens up about anxiety battle: ‘there are voices in my head’

Kylie Minogue has opened up about her mental health a year after she split from her husband-to-be.
The Australian pop star, 49, is adored by millions around the world as the princess of pop, but her personal life has not been so lucky.
Privately she has been harbouring mental health challenges, admitting in a new interview: “I probably would benefit from [counseling].”

On the cusp of releasing her 14th studio album, Golden, she told gay magazine Attitude: “There are a lot of voices in my head.
“I guess part of that is our brains, they’re problem solvers, tick tick tick tick tick…
“[When I’m feeling anxious] I put the kettle on and make a cup of tea… But if I knew the answer I would do it and I would have no anxiety.
“They say that the fast track to happiness is gratitude and it’s true, just think that thought.”  more

Mental health: Finding someone to talk to

‘I’ve had a good experience compared to other people’

Karla says she knows she’s been lucky. Her experience of accessing mental health care has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I’ve got two long-term health conditions but it was this year that it became a real issue. In January I did attempt suicide,” she says.

Karla, who lives in Derby, adds: “I got CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) really quickly, within a couple of weeks. And in that time, I was seeing my GP pretty much every day. He made time to make sure I was OK.

“It doesn’t happen very often that people have that experience. I was really fortunate to have a GP who took the time. The access can be such a problem.”

And she says her CBT made a significant difference. “The therapist helped me through a lot of things. I’m officially in recovery from depression and anxiety. I’m in a far better place.  more

Building Strength And Resilience After A Sexual Assault: What Works

Emily R. Dworkin, a senior fellow at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, studies how the social interactions of trauma survivors can affect their recovery. She was also the lead author of a paper published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review in 2017 that looked through more than 100,000 studies conducted in the last 50 years and found nearly 200 relevant ones on the relationship between sexual assault and mental health to analyze.

What she found, Dworkin says, is strong evidence that sexual assault is associated with an increased risk for multiple forms of psychological harm “across most populations, assault types and methodological differences in studies.” Too many survivors still face stigma and internalize that blame, and that can make it harder to seek help. And while some types of therapy have been shown to be helpful, she says, more information on evidence-based treatments for survivors “is critically needed.”

Sexual assault [any type of sexual activity or contact that happens without the consent of both people] began getting research attention in the ’70s as society as a whole was going through a feminist awakening, and it kind of developed at the same time as PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], which was then known as “combat trauma.” Many things can lead to depression or anxiety. People with PTSD relive the trauma in the form of intrusive memories, nightmares, or even flashbacks. They avoid things that remind them of the trauma.  more

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Can Be Contagious

PTSD sometimes spreads from trauma victims to the people who care for them, including rescue workers, spouses and even therapists

IN BRIEF

  • When caregivers, rescue workers or family members attend to someone with post-traumatic stress disorder who has suffered a horrible experience, a number of them develop “secondary” PTSD, without themselves having witnessed the traumatic event.
  • Stories of trauma, it seems, can become etched into memory as if they were the hearer’s own experiences. This memory transfer may occur because the brain regions that process real and imagined experiences overlap considerably.
  • The more that caregivers or family members empathize with a victim and the less able they are to maintain emotional distance, the more likely it is that they will experience secondary trauma.  more