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Shadow health secretary highlights cuts and 'biggest unaddressed health challenge' as he pledges Labour solution

A Labour government will preserve the right to counseling for mental health problems in the NHS constitution, same goes with people have a right to drugs and treatment for mental illness, Andy Burnham promise October this year.

Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said at a conference on mental health and wellbeing in Shrewsbury, that mental health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of the age, costing business £71m a day, or £26bn a year.

He laid blame on and accused the government of lessening the mental health budget and abandoning the national survey of investment in adult mental health services, which showed how much was spent yearly.

"There is growing evidence of highly vulnerable people being held in police cells and sleeping on camp beds in office space because no crisis beds are available," he will say. "The cost of living crisis is tipping many people over the edge and concerns have been raised over the suicide rate. It is imperative that the openness and transparency the secretary of state speaks of are brought urgently to mental health services so parliament can have a proper debate on what's happening to vulnerable people."

The suicide rate is increasing, Burnham reports, rising from 11.1 to 11.8 deaths per 100,000 populations between 2010 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Antidepressant prescribing is growing as well; there were 4,000 more prescriptions between 2010 and 2011, a 9.4% increase in a year.

Waiting times for counseling, or "talking therapies", are increasing, he said.  Between April and June this year, more than 80,000 of the 241,250 patients referred for counseling waited for longer than the 28-day target.

As an answer to a parliamentary question from Labour's Lord Hunt, the parliamentary under secretary of state Earl Howe confirmed last October that a national survey for 2012-13 had not been commissioned and said that current data on spending on adult mental health services in England was not available.

"We are currently working with NHS England to explore the use of data collected as part of the programme budgeting collection as a potential replacement," he said.

Burnham accused the government of hiding cuts to mental health spending.

Parliament voted for parity of esteem and we've now no way of knowing if that commitment has been delivered, he said.

"All the evidence we hear is that mental health services have been cut further this year and there's a crisis in mental health crisis care. Now the government is trying to hide the reality of what's happening."

A department of health spokesman said: "It's important to know how much the NHS spends on mental health. The old surveys only captured rough estimates of how much the NHS spent on mental health. We are currently working with NHS England to find new and better ways of capturing how much the NHS actually spends. This means there will be better information out there the local NHS can use to see how much they spend compared to other areas.

"We have clearly set out what services the local NHS must provide for people with mental health problems in our mandate to NHS England."

5th-Dec-2013 10:35 am - Reinforcing Boundaries and Saying No
It is often discouraged in our society to set off boundaries, to say no or to prioritize our own needs but it is time to learn that doing these things are not selfishness.  As we grow older from the time we were in our childhood, we were raised to be helpful and to look after others, repeatedly told ‘don’t be selfish’ or to ‘stop being so attention seeking, it’s not all about you’.
Self-sacrifice behavior is emotionally rewarding but can also be extremely damaging.  Know your limitations and the limitations of being to compassionate and sensitive to other people’s needs, you may end up straggling with your own identity, with what you want, need and what your boundaries are.  Not reinforcing our boundaries may cost you of the feeling overloaded, resentful and unfulfilled.  It is not healthy to say yes when really you want to say no.  You must learn to prioritize things and you must consider prioritizing taking care of yourself, especially if you have other people relying on you.
The air-plane metaphor, like in an emergency on an airplane you need to prioritize saving yourself first before other.  This explains why prioritizing your needs is not selfish but essential.
Homework – how to say no
Buy some time that will allow you to check in with yourself, it can hard to say no but instead try and get in the habit of not answering immediately. Instead say ‘I’m going to take some time to think about this’ or ‘I’ll call or text you back, I have to check if I can fit that in'.
Check in with yourself, reflect whether this is something you want to do and what affect it will have on your needs and wants.  Everything is difficult in the beginning specially when you feel disconnected from your feelings and needs, but over time it will become easier.  There are many mindfulness techniques that you can use to tune into yourself that I will talk about in a later article.
Consider your medium, if you are finding it hard to say no in person then why not say no via text or email.  If you feel nervous about saying no in person try role-playing what you want to say before hand with a sympathetic friend or counselor.  Then eventually you’ll get used to it and it will be easier.
The power of no, a small but complete sentence that can be very hard to say.  Practice saying it in the mirror repeatedly.  You’ll find that on repeating it’s just another word.  No scarier than any other.
Do not explain or apologize, be concise and there is no need to explain rather say ‘Thanks for asking me. But I can’t do that.’  You are opening yourself up to a negotiation by explaining thus giving the other person to persuade you.
Be kind to yourself, perhaps this will be hard and you won’t get this right the first time or even in the next times but that’s OK.  When you feel that you could have handled this situation differently try using it as a learning situation, not an excuse to mentally beat yourself up. It might feel uncomfortable at first, change often does. Learning to reinforce personal boundaries is a process not an end result.


A new study has found more than half the people in Ontario who reported they had major depression did not use physician-based mental health services in the following year.
"It's concerning to us that many Ontarians with mental health needs are not accessing clinician-based care," said Katherine Smith, the lead author and epidemiologist in the Centre for Research on Inner City Health of St. Michael's Hospital.
"Some people may seek non-medical types of support or care, such as clergy, alternative medicine, psychologists or social workers.  But we don't know for sure, so the gap remains of concern."
The study used OHIP data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. The findings appear in the journal Health.
A predictable one in four people undergo at one point in their lives from depression, which lessens quality of life, is linked with amplified disability and lower productivity at work.  More than twice as often as men women are diagnosed with depression.
Smith had set out to see whether gender plays a role in seeking mental health care.   As a general rule, about 10 per cent more than men women use mental health services, showing the fact they use health care services overall as much as than men.
More than half - 55.3 per cent - of people in Ontario with self-reported major depression had no contact with physicians for mental health reasons in the following year.  Additional research is needed to understand why, Smith said.
She said some ethnic groups may not be comfortable accessing physician-based mental health services or may prefer to use non-medical services. Stigma around mental illness may also deter some people, she said.
Men, as compared to women, have the tendency to delay seeing a doctor for minor mental health concerns, but will ask help as soon as a mental health problem reaches a definite threshold.
Among those with depression, she found the gender gap was small, only five percentage points.  Women were somewhat more likely than men to see a primary care provider for depression - 30.4 per cent vs. 24.6 per cent, except there was little gender difference in who sought specialty care, like from a psychiatrist.
Comparing to those people who could have had other mental health concerns without major depression, there was a significant gender difference: 21 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men had a mental health visit, a gender gap of 8 percentage points.
4th-Sep-2013 11:33 am - Teach Our Children Well

There would come a time when you wish that every aspects of life is as easy as arranging the lines of seven-year-old students.  It is like kindergarten students are more behave than the outside world.  Does school really affect the way we behave when we get older and done with school?
Isn’t the concept of lining up, or waiting your turn, or listening while someone else is speaking, something that is supposed to be hard-wired from the age of five onward, thanks to attending school should be a basic and common etiquette for adults?  Are people “misbehaving” in the adult world was an effect of their schooling when they were younger.
If schooling does indeed have a significant impact on us up until our adult years, how does it manifest itself in the everyday world of being a “grown-up”? And perhaps more importantly, are we thinking of education as a means to a positively practical end as we leave school behind us?
Canadians were raising their children and how it was negatively impacting their ability to function once they’d left home to go to university or work. Do not “helicopter parent” your kid rather spend the entire time wondering if it was possible that some of the struggles being discussed weren’t a result of an education that had misfired in shaping these youngsters’ skills sets.
Years back, things are better.  Today, students were being pushed through despite not having passed exams then blames the education system for not being the same as it was years before is a bit too get-off-my-lawn.  Before schooling seemed rigid and wildly archaic, meaning learning is far more than any generation.  Perhaps it was just a case of an education still being a good fit for the society it hoped to produce at the time.  Or maybe education is an organism in a constant state of flux, and sometimes the growing pains of one generation will greatly benefit the one coming up behind.
It all comes down to what a country/people/group wants an education to be.  The students should be more confident and self-aware.  They must think critically to be able to utilize deductive reasoning, to problem solve and so on.  Teach them skills that soon will be able to grow with them, and will evolve into useful tools for navigating their adult lives.  Success is not measured out in numbers on a chart and letters across a table.  The problem is we are all misbehaved, we can all sit nicely in a circle, raise our hands, and wait for our turn to talk. 
According to a study conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, among teens with substance use disorders, those who also have social anxiety disorder begin using marijuana at a mean age of 10.6 years — an average of 2.2 years earlier than teens without anxiety.
“This finding surprised us,” said principal investigator Alexandra Wang, a third-year medical student at the university. “It shows we need to start earlier with prevention of drug and alcohol use and treatment of social phobia [in children].”
The study was consisting of 195 teens ages 14 to 18 which 102 of them or 52 percent \ were teenage girls.  They met the current diagnosis of substance use disorder and had received medical detoxification if needed.
The researchers evaluated the participants’ history of drug and alcohol use and digged into whether they’d had any of three anxiety disorders: social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and agoraphobia.
Out of 195 teens, 92 percent had marijuana dependence and the most disturbing part was it is starting at the age of 13 years.  And on the other hand, 61 percent were alcohol-dependent, having started drinking at 13.5 years on average.  This shows that marijuana was the most popular drug of choice.
Teens with either social anxiety disorder or panic disorder were far more likely to have marijuana dependence, Wang said. Before marijuana dependence both of these disorders were more likely to occur.
More or less 80 percent of teens suffering from social anxiety disorder and 85 percent with panic disorder had symptoms of that disorder previous to the onset of their substance abuse.  In addition, panic disorder has a propensity to start before alcohol dependence and came about in 75 percent of alcohol-dependent adolescents.
According to the authors, there was no clear evidence showing whether agoraphobia came before or after either marijuana use or the first drink.
A limitation of the study, according to the research team, was that 128 (66 percent) of the teens were juvenile offenders who had received court-referred treatment for their substance abuse. These findings might not generalize to a less severely addicted population.
Yet again, interventions to lessen social anxiety might help avoid substance abuse in teens.
“We need to treat these young patients initially with non-pharmacologic means, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness meditation,” said Christina Delos Reyes, M.D., a psychiatrist specializing in addictions at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
Patrick Bordeaux, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Quebec, Canada, said that “comorbidities tend to be the rule in adolescents, not the exception.”
“Adolescents are more likely to have social and mental disorders that make them more likely to use drugs,” said Bordeaux, who was not involved with the study.
Everyone gets angry once in a while if we are mistreated or feel we have been “wronged” and it is a normal and healthy emotion, you have to handle it appropriately.  What we need to emphasized on is what we do with this anger.  It is time to seek help when you feel like your anger is not doing any good with your day to day life such as work, relationship, ability to achieve your goal and many more.  Anger management’s goal is to learn methods and new ways to control your anger.  Many people who suffer from this condition come to seek help to deal with their problem but most of the time, fear, resentment, and unmet expectations that are the root causes for their anger.  Trough counseling the problem is addressed and the anger soon dissipates.  After, the client is able to be aware that they do not have to be controlled by their anger.  One more thing is that they are not being the “victim” of others or society but rather they are responsible for their own actions and behaviors.
Some people just wouldn’t want to show their real self so they stick with the reputation of an angry person or sometimes it is their way to resent from other people from getting too close to them.  This may result to people afraid of you or if not disrespectful of you.  Communicating your needs and frustrations in an productive and respectful way people will tend to listen more just to learn about your needs and frustrations.
As stated earlier, anger is a normal emotion.  The objective is to deal with the underlying issues and feelings indentified with anger.  And the next goal is to learn healthy ways to deal with this emotion.  Some may think that letting the anger out is healthy until they realize that the have secluded themselves from the people around them like relationships to partners, children, co-workers and etc.  Added the fact that this can have a very negative impact on the way others see and treat you.
For some instances, this type of behavior might be modeled from past experiences from family members seen while growing up.  You can do something to cut the cycle before your children might end up having the same problem and before you isolate yourself from others.
Is it uneasy for you to compromise and acknowledge you’re wrong at times?
Accepting that you are wrong and compromising can be hard at first but consider that you cannot for all time get your way by being the loudest and most demanding. It does nothing but pushes people away.
Are you afraid to let your guard down and allow people to truly see you for who you are?
Other people are saying that if you wanted to achieve anything you must be aggressive, tough and in control.  Anger can have a repealing effect and sends you spiraling out of control.
Do you believe that no matter what, you always have to be right and opinions and viewpoints of others are a direct threat or challenge to you?  Oftentimes we get mad because we observe behavior in someone else that we see in ourselves.  This brings up sentiments that we do not desire to appear at or deal with.  Underneath the anger may be hurt, disappointment, trauma and resentments.  It’s vital to become aware of how your body is reacting to feelings of anger.
If you sense your self get tense, “see red”, find yourself clenching your fist and jaw, have trouble concentrating, find your breathing to be rapid and fast then maybe it is really time for you to seek help.  There are numerous other physical ciphers but these are a little you may notice.

According to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, being forced to exercise may still help reduce anxiety and depression just as exercising voluntarily does.

People who exercises are more secluded against stress-related disorders even past studies have shown this. And scientists know that the perception of control can benefit a person’s mental health.  But an open question has been the topic of some debates   whether an individual, who undergoes the feeling of a forced to exercise, getting rid of the discernment of control, would still gather the anxiety-fighting advantages of the exercise.

Benjamin Greenwood, an assistant research professor in CU-Boulder’s Department of Integrative Physiology said people who may feel forced to exercise could include high school, college and professional athletes, members of the military or those who have been prescribed an exercise regimen by their doctors.

“If exercise is forced, will it still produce mental health benefits?” Greenwood asked. “It’s obvious that forced exercise will still produce peripheral physiological benefits. But will it produce benefits to anxiety and depression?”

To look for an answer to the matter Greenwood and his colleagues, as well as Monika Fleshner, a professor in the same department, designed a lab experiment using rats. Throughout a six-week period, a few rats stayed inactive, whereas some exercised by running on a wheel.

The experiment went this way; the rats that exercised were divided into two groups that ran a roughly equal amount of time while one group ran whenever it chose to, at the same time as the other group ran on mechanized wheels that rotated according to a predetermined schedule.  The motorized wheels turned on at speeds and for periods of time that mimicked the average pattern of exercise chosen by the rats that voluntarily exercised, for the study.

Then six weeks after, the rats were exposed to a laboratory stressor prior to testing their anxiety levels the next day.  The anxiety was measured by quantifying the length the rats froze when they were put in an environment they had been conditioned to fear.  It is likely what is happening to a phenomenon similar to a deer in the headlights.  Then the stress can be measured by, the longer the freezing time, the greater the residual anxiety from being stressed the previous day.  For assessment, some rats underwent to a test for anxiety without being stressed the day before.

“Regardless of whether the rats chose to run or were forced to run they were protected against stress and anxiety,” said Greenwood, lead author of the study appearing in the European Journal of Neuroscience in February. The sedentary rats froze for longer periods of time than any of the active rats.

“The implications are that humans who perceive exercise as being forced – perhaps including those who feel like they have to exercise for health reasons – are maybe still going to get the benefits in terms of reducing anxiety and depression,” he said.
2nd-May-2013 10:29 am - Strengthening The Marriage

Couples with thriving young children and struggling marriages aren’t a new sight in therapy office.  It can be a real challenge to shift from a married couple to married couple with kids.  Arguments and little fights can be healthy sometimes and couple without kids had the plenty of time to attend to their relationship while now that kid’s are present, their needs alone can leave both parents drained and exhausted. This could mean that at the end of the day couples will feel tired and no time for each other.
There are many reasons why divorce happen but one possible reason is parents tend to get overboard attending to their children while neglecting their responsibilities as a husband or wife.
Most of the parents can only have their alone time after the kids are in bed.  And what make things worse after your long day is both of you has barely the energy to even ask how each others day went because you cannot even pull up the covers.  When you reach this point maybe you are in the edge of your relationship.
It will help so much if couples will find time for each other; it is always a good idea to have a day for the parents alone.  Weekend mornings can be a good time whereas stress of the work week recedes and before the daily demands of the children start stacking up, couples sometimes find their best opportunity to shift into a mode where they can focus on each other.
It is also important to talk to your kids and explain that parents need time for each other too.  To make them busy, think of possible and safe way to make use of their time.  As soon as a couple acquires some uninterrupted time together, now other challenges appear to happen such as how are they going to use this alone time well.
Try not to do the following:
Never compare, do not weigh against whose life is harder
Do not complain and tell your partner the s/he doesn’t give you what you need
Expect your partner to instantly feel like being sexual
Give up on intimacy and plan the children’s week together
Some good ideas consist of:
Take turns listening to each other.
The listener tries to empathize and understand without trying to solve the problem
Massage each other while listening to nice music
Take turns appreciating yourself while your partner listens and smiles
Take a walk together in a beautiful place
Take a bath or hot tub together
Whatever you do, focus on being together
Pay attention to each other
And consciously try to say things that build a sense of connection.
Treating to your relationship in this technique is one of the most excellent things you can do for your children. And for sure you will enjoy it yourself!

According to Dr Gordon Patzer, author ofLooks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined, and one of the world’s leading authorities on physical attractiveness, a lot of what women notice in the first few minutes is appearance-based. “A substantial portion of the six features of a man are apparent, in terms of height, weight and overall physical attractiveness,” he says. And when appearances don’t make the cut, the door slams shut on further interactions. Here’s a list of things to keep that door open.
Physical stature: Don’t be a hypocrite and admit it, this matter, after all everything starts with attraction then the getting-to-know part after.  And again yep, you knew this already, we all do: size really do matters.  Height and weight are right on top of the list of things women notice. “Too much or too little of either immediately classifies the man as unattractive to women, and closes the door before less physically obviously features (such as confidence) can be determined,” says Dr Patzer. Take heart though, the acceptable range is influenced by the woman’s own height and weight.
Appearances and attractiveness: All right, we all agree in some point that beauty is skin deep, but it’s going to get women to discover what lies beneath.  As mentioned earlier, everything starts with attraction then the getting-to-know part after.  Agreed, attractiveness does include what you were born with, thanks to your mom and dad huh, but your genes alone can’t scuttle your chances.  It is very important that you know what to do with your hair, clothes, grooming and basic hygiene, basically how you present and carry yourself.  Women surely are not going to work hard to learn more about you if you can’t even make the effort.
Smile: put a smile in those lips, smile can make anyone look good!  After the  women are finished evaluating your overall build, women will look at your smile. “The ability to smile, particularly within the first few minutes of meeting, sends a welcoming, non-hostile signal to women,” says Dr Patzer. There is one proviso though  and you must take a good consideration of this one because this can make or break it, the smile must show off sensibly good-looking teeth or at least presentable and hygienic teeth. So what are you still waiting for, go and fix an appointment with the dentist!
Humor: One more rationale to show off those pearly white teeth! Women want men who have the ability to laugh and even better have the talent to make the woman laugh. That instantaneously gets you plus points!
Confidence: but never be overdo it.  Women find confident men attractive. According to Dr Sameer Malhotra, head of psychiatry and psychotherapy department at Fortis Hospital in New Delhi, within the first few minutes of meeting, women will not only suss out your level of confidence, they will also interpret the vibes you give out and how you think. “Women notice how clear or decisive you are and whether you approach things positively.” Just remember, like stated above, do not overdo it; cockiness and arrogance are not the same as confidence!
Conversation: Men have given the impression to womankind the characteristic of being strong and silent. Consequently women aren’t expecting you to have mad talking skills.  But instead, all you’ve got to do hold her attention. “We know (scientifically) that the more or longer that a woman gets to know a man, the more physically attractive he becomes in her mind,” says Dr Patzer. Forget the one-liners because women are looking for someone to keep up the conversation.
But the most advice is just be yourself, it is always great to be loved for who you are.
19th-Apr-2013 11:23 am - Falling In Love Addiction

Who among us isn’t snowed under that feeling when someone is fluttering us and at the same time confusing us, that total fascination with the object of our desire, that faith that this time we’ve found the one we are looking for all along.  Maybe the most wonderful feeling in the world is the feeling of in love. We are overwhelmed and drown in confusion.  Then it will occur to us with the gradual realization that yet again, it was just another fairy tale without a happy ending.
The first 50%, which is sexual attraction, is the natures desire to procreate so we have that overwhelming urge to get it together, meaning the biological drive to have sex.  Consequently, great sex which is very much pleasurable and rewarding in more ways is one reason why seeks opportunity to be together.  This is according to some skeptics and the other 50% is projection.
The second half is a bit harder to explain, first, what is projection?  Projection is what we wanted our partner will be.  It is the dream or our fantasy of an ideal partner, how they treat or act towards us.  Someone only has to be apparent for a little sense of some of the distinctiveness but at the same time we should be able to feel those sexual tingles of attraction and the rest we will fill in our imaginations.  And because we are overwhelmed with happiness we will disregard any erudition that will resist to the possible sight.
If you are addicted in falling in love maybe you need to slow down and re-think, process the things first. What you know now may not be enough; it will take time to know someone.  Meaning, if we stop, slow down, and pay attention we might pick some things along the way that may tell us that he/she may or may not be the ideal person.  But remember there is no such thing as perfect; all of us have faults and flaws but as well as good qualities.  We must keep in mind that we have to remain full guarded of whatever may come and we owe it to our self and to the other person to get to know each other in the delightful process of falling in love.
Our past experiences can affect our projections of what is ideal for us that may prompt us to have particular qualities onto sequence of potential partners. We are often depending our present wants to those we didn’t achieve from a failed relationship that lead to us finding a potential partner that will make up we think we deserved and never got enough of. All of us basically want the same thing, attention, acceptance, approval, to name a few.  If time comes someone pays attention to us, we immediately feel that this maybe it.
For a deep relationship to yourself first and have the sense of self-awareness, this is the best “cure” for the serial falling-in-love-followed-by-disappointment trap.  Every one of us has a unique biography and by exploring this in detail we can often find out what particular projections we are likely to be making and why.
Aside from this will permit us to begin agreeing to conditions of premature relationship that might be driving us, this is also owning every positive projection one is putting on to the other partner.  Who wouldn’t want a faithful partner, all of us values fidelity. If you are intact with the belief that they are endlessly fascinated in everything that interests you, that means you value and seek companionship and shared ideals.  If you want to start to seek these characteristics openly, you must own the said desires.  Therefore, you may start learning how to evaluate all the information that you have about the way they behave and most importantly to have the self-esteem to avoid people who don’t genuinely offer these.
And if you are finding these ways hard to face alone you can always seek help trough a counselor.  They are always willing to work with you without being judged. They will help you identify your own personal drivers, to help you build your self-esteem and identify and take back your projections. Counseling is a relationship itself. Find a counselor that is focus on developing healthy ways to live the life that brings out the best in you. Counseling leads to self-love and will make us prepared to find real love with others.
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