Why Do People Kill Themselves?

Prof. Rory O’Connor

Rory O’Connor (@suicideresearch) is Chair in Health Psychology, Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing at Glasgow University where he also leads the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory, the leading suicide and self-harm research group in Scotland.

He is co-editor of “The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention“, Deputy Chief Editor of Archives of Suicide Research, and Associate Editor of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

As well as serving on the Scientific Review Board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, he also sits on the Scottish Government’s national suicide and self-harm implementation and monitoring group.

In today’s conversation we explore some common myths about suicide, why men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide and the role and responsibility of the media when it comes to reporting on this particular issue.

We discuss the development of Rory’s theory of suicidal behaviour and his mission to discover what separates the few people who die by suicide from the vast majority who don’t, the effectiveness of suicide awareness campaigns, why suicide should never be seen as a cop out and suicide attempts never dismissed as attention seeking.

We also spend a good deal of time exploring some practical advice for people, and the friends and relatives of those people, who are themselves feeling suicidal.

 

 

Integrated Motivational Volitional (IMV) Model of Suicidal Behaviour

 

Recommended Links

Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab

Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide – Samaritans

How to Help Someone who is Suicidal and Save a Life – HelpGuide

How to make a suicide safety plan – SuicideLine

Books Mentioned in This Episode

     

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: Colin Knowles


CRISIS HELPLINES

UK & ROI

Samaritans

166 123

Available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This number is FREE to call and won’t appear on your bill. You do not have to be suicidal to call.

USA

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1 800 273 8255

Available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This number is FREE to call, but may appear on your bill (please check with carrier). You do not have to be suicidal to call.

Live outside the UK or US?

For a comprehensive list of international helplines, or to find a crisis centre in your area please click here!

Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health

Prof. Graham Thornicroft

Prof. Graham Thorniocroft (@ThornicroftG) is Professor of Community Psychiatry at King’s College London, Consultant Psychiatrist for South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Chair of Maudsley International.

Graham has authored or edited over 460 peer-reviewed papers and 30 books including “The Oxford Textbook of Community Mental Health“, and the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion, “Shunned: Discrimination Against People with Mental Illness”.

In today’s episode we discuss the origins of stigma, from the etymology of the word itself to historical depictions of mental asylums. We draw lines of distinction between concepts such as ignorance, prejudice and discrimination and how each of these manifests in the real world.

We explore how the media depicts mental illness, how stigma is actually measured and quantified by researchers, the importance of anti-stigma campaigns such as Time To Change and the ways in which they’ve proved successful.

We touch on the recent trend in anti-stigma campaigns aimed specifically towards men, we ask if discrimination is ever justified, and most importantly Graham gives a few tips on how people with mental health issues can navigate the potential minefield of disclosure.

 

Recommended Links

Time to Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination

Mental Health Awareness Week (UK) – Mental Health Foundation

Mental Health Month (US) – Mental Health America

Books Mentioned in This Episode

     

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: Mark Chinnick

The Not So Simple Act of Caring

Prof. Fiona Lobban

Prof. Fiona Lobban (@fionalobban) is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Lancaster University, and Co-director of the Spectrum Centre.

She is also co-editor of “A Casebook of Family Interventions for Psychosis“, and the lead researcher in the Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit (REACT) study, to see whether an online intervention is helpful for close friends or relatives of people with bipolar disorder or psychosis.

Lizzi Collinge (@LizziCollinge) is a Labour County Councillor for Lancaster East, representing over 10,000 people, with a particular focus on health, social care, and disability equality.

Lizzi Collinge

She also works as part of the REACT research team, supporting participants to use the REACT toolkit, and has first-hand experience of caring for somebody with a severe mental health issue.

So, what does caring for somebody with severe mental health issues involve, and who typically takes on this role?

In today’s episode we discuss the emotional impact that being a carer can have, such as feelings of self blame, isolation and the threat of social stigma, and thus why carers are more susceptible to developing their own mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

We explore how caring can alter, and sometimes destroy, the dynamics of certain relationships, the impact that caring can have on people’s social lives, the art of knowing when to step in and take control versus knowing when to step back and let go, and why communication is the key to avoiding anger and resentment.

We look at some of the costs involved in caring and how it can sometimes affect a person’s ability to work, the kind of support that already exists for carers and what needs to improve, the importance of speaking to other people with lived experience in keeping up morale, and all-in-all, why carers are ultimately the unsung heros of our mental health system.

 

Fiona’s Recommended Links

REACT – Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit

Young Carers and Getting Help – YoungMinds

Support for Young Carers – ReThink

Books Mentioned in This Episode

          

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: Hernán Piñera

Insomnia and the Art and Science of Sleep

Prof. Jason Ellis

Jason Ellis (@JasonGEllis101) is Professor in Psychology at Northumbria University, and Director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research, a purpose-built facility designed to study and treat disorders of sleep and wakefulness.

He’s the author of “The One-week Insomnia Cure: Learn to Solve Your Sleep Problems“, and in 2013 served as resident sleep expert on BBC One’s two-part series Goodnight Britain.

In 2015 he led the first ever study to attempt to treat insomnia in the acute phase – before it becomes chronic – and found that almost three-quarters of participants saw improvements in the quality of their sleep following a single one-hour therapy session.

Jason has presented his research at numerous conferences around the world, and is also actively involved in both public and professional engagement activities, speaking at the British Science Festival, TEDx Conference, and the National Science Learning Centre.

In today’s episode we discuss insomnia and how it relates directly to mood and mental health. So, what is sleep and why does it matter? How do a couple of sleepless nights turns into chronic insomnia for some people, and nothing more than a few groggy shifts at work for others?

We discover how the quality of our sleep can predict your likelihood of developing depression, why seasonal affective disorder is more of a sleep problem than a mood disorder, how daytime napping could be a sign of underlying health concerns, and the limits of medication.

We also discuss some of the more curious aspects of sleep, such as why we sometimes start body popping just as we’re about to nod off, why couples shouldn’t share a duvet, why none of us should be shy when trying out a mattress in the bed shop, why playing Candy Crush at bedtime could be messing up your circadian rhythms, and also how having sex in the kitchen could potentially help you sleep more soundly.

 

Jason’s Recommended Links

Northumbria Sleep Research Laboratory on Facebook

Books Mentioned in This Episode

          

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: Jacob Stewart

Bipolar Disorder: Seeking Peace Between Darkness and Chaos

Prof. Steven Jones

Professor Steven Jones (@lancsspectrum) is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Lancaster University, and Director of the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research (@SpectrumCentre) conducting translational research into the understanding and psychological treatment of bipolar disorder and other related conditions.

He’s the editor and author of a number of books including “Coping with Schizophrenia: A Guide for Patients, Families and Caregivers“, and “Coping with Bipolar Disorder: A CBT-Informed Guide to Living with Manic Depression“.

So what is bipolar disorder, and how does it differ from plain old depression?

In this episode we untangle the various manifestations of bipolar including bipolar types 1 and 2, and cyclothymia. We discuss the nature and duration of mood swings and what triggers them, and we examine the concept of mania and manic episodes and how these affect people’s thoughts and behaviours.

We also explore mixed affective states, where the person experiences depression and mania simultaneously, and why this can increase the risk of suicide in people with bipolar.

We discover why both adolescence and middle age are times when people are particularly susceptible to the onset of bipolar, the causal link between sleep deprivation and mania, the controversial topic of bipolar in children and whether or not it actually exists, treatment options, personality variables, issues of cultural context, and loads more in between.

 

Steve’s Recommended Links

The Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research

Bipolar disorder: assessment and management – NICE

Understanding Bipolar Disorder – BPS

Books Mentioned in This Episode

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: Al King

Alcohol Addiction: Brain Disease or Behaviour Problem?

Prof. Matt Field

Matt Field (@field_matt) is Professor of Psychology at the University of Liverpool, where he heads up the Addiction Research Group, investigating the cognitive, biological and social processes involved in addiction, with a focus on alcohol addiction and cigarette smoking.

He is co-author of Essential Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, and a regular contributor to the Mental Elf and other online resources on the topic of addiction. In 2009 he was the recipient of the British Psychological Society Spearman Medal, and since 2014 he has been an advisor for Alcohol Concern’s Dry January campaign.

In today’s episode we discuss the topic of alcohol abuse and addiction, and it’s relationship to mental health.

So, what exactly is the difference between alcohol abuse and addiction? Does alcohol addiction run in families, and who is most susceptible? We discuss the alcohol paradox; that is, why people in deprived communities have higher levels of alcohol-related ill health than people in non-deprived communities, despite drinking the same amounts of alcohol.

We discover why stopping drinking is only half the battle in overcoming alcohol addiction. What you can do, as a friend or relative, to help somebody with a drinking problem. What the government could – but seemingly won’t – do to help reduce the amount of alcohol related harm. We also tackle the most controversial question of all: whether or not is alcohol addiction a brain disease or a disorder of choice?

Want to see whether or not YOU are drinking too much? Check out this 7-day unit calculator from DrinkAware which will calculate how much alcohol you consume over an average week and indicate whether or not your intake could be affecting your health.

 

Matt’s Recommended Links

Down Your Drink – Helping you make decisions about your drinking

Alcohol Concern – Promoting health; improving lives

NHS Alcohol Portal

Books Mentioned in This Episode

     

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: Matthias Ripp

Priests, Potions, Prisons, and Prozac: The History of Mental Illness

Prof. Greg Eghigian

Greg Eghigian, is Associate Professor of Modern History and former Director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Penn State University.

He is the editor and author of numerous books, including “From Madness to Mental Health: Psychiatric Disorder and its Treatment in Western Civilization“, and the forthcoming “Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health“. He is also co-founding editor of the scholarly blog, H-Madness, and Section Editor for Psychiatric Times History of Psychiatry.

In today’s episode we trace the history of mental illness from ancient Palestine, and the Greek physician Hippocrates, right the way up to Prozac and self-help gurus.

On the way we encounter exorcisms, bloodletting, witch doctors, magic spells, Islamic hospitals, mental asylums, country house retreats, Sigmund Freud, the advent of pharmacology, deinstitutionalization and the rise of psychotherapy.

Special thanks to Allison Foerschner whose brilliant article “The History of Mental Illness: From Skull Drills to Happy Pills” inspired this episode.

 

Greg’s Recommended Links

H-Madness – A blog exploring the history of madness

Books Mentioned in This Episode

          

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: Wikimedia

Dying to be Thin: Anorexia and Bulimia

Prof. Ulrike Schmidt

Ulrike Schmidt is Professor of Eating Disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, and Consultant Psychiatrist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

She’s the recipient of the King’s College London Graduate School Supervisory Excellence Award 2012-13, and a National Health Service Innovation Award for the development of a computerised intervention for young people with anorexia nervosa and their carers.

Ulrike has written over 160 academic papers, around 50 chapters for standard textbooks, and co-author of the popular self-help book “Getting Better Bite by Bite: A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders”.

In today’s episode we discuss the three main eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.

Are eating disorders a illness peculiar to young white women, or is anybody susceptible? What causes somebody to develop an eating disorder? Is it all about looking good, or are there deeper issues at play? We discuss the stigma and misconceptions surrounding eating disorders, the long term physical consequences, and we even delve into the bizarre world of Pro-Ana and “Thinspiration” web sites web sites where eating disorders are both promoted and celebrated.

 

This episode is also available as a video podcast on YouTube.

Ulrike’s Recommended Links

Kings College London Eating Disorders Research Group

Freed from Eating Disorders on Twitter: @FREEDfromED

Books Mentioned in This Episode

          

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: Christy Mckenna

Foundations of ACT and the Limits of CBT

Steven C. Hayes, PhD

Steven C. Hayes, PhD (@stevenchayes) is Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the developer of Relational Frame Theory (RFT), an analysis of human language and cognition, and the creator of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

He’s the recipient of numerous awards including the Nevada Psychological Association Psychologist of the Year Award, a B. F. Skinner Award from Palo Alto University, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

He’s the author of more than 530 scientific articles and 38 books, including the  #1 selling “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life“, and his TEDx talks “Psychological flexibility: How love turns pain into purpose” and “Mental Brakes to Avoid Mental Breaks” have racked up 150,000 views and counting.

In today’s episode we talk about the foundations ACT and the limits of CBT. What exactly is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and how does it differ from, and improve upon traditional CBT?

We discuss the concept of psychological flexibility and its role in either preventing or provoking the development of mental health issues. We ask whether or not there is value in addressing issues from your past, the importance of self-compassion during periods of psychological distress, how to discover your own personal values, and putting it all together, in Steve’s own words:

“How to back out of the war within, come into the present moment, focus on what we care about, and get on with the business of living.”

Steve’s website: stevenchayes.com

 

Steve’s Recommended Links

Psychological flexibility: How love turns pain into purpose – Steve’s first TEDx talk

Mental Brakes to Avoid Mental Breaks – Steve’s 2nd TEDx talk

ACT for the Public – Yahoo Group

Association for Contextual Behavioral Science

Book’s Mentioned in This Episode

               

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: martinak15

Why Procrastination Makes You Depressed (and Depression Makes You Procrastinate)

Dr. Tim Pychyl

Dr. Tim Pychyl (@procrastwitate) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, and the Director of the Centre for Initiatives in Education at Carleton University, in Ottowa, Canada. His psychological research is focused on the breakdown in volitional action commonly known as procrastination, and how it relates to personal health and wellbeing.

He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards including the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, a Graduate Mentoring Award and the inaugural recipient of the University Medal for Distinguished Teaching.

He is the author of “Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change“, the host of the iProcrastinate Podcast, writer of the brilliant Don’t Delay blog at Psychology Today, and founder of the Procrastination Research Group.

In today’s episode we explore how procrastination relates to things like depression and anxiety, we discuss the emotional factors that initiate and drive procrastination, and how it can affect not only your mental, but your physical health and wellbeing, by increasing your chances of things like coronary heart disease.

We discover why we’re terrible at forecasting our future moods and why you’ll never “feel like doing it tomorrow”, how to grease the wheels of productivity and boost your willpower, and why Homer Simpson might have something very profound to teach us about how we treat our future selves.

 

Tim’s Recommended Links

Procrastination.ca – Home of the Procrastination Research Group

iProcrastinate Podcast

Don’t Delay – Tim’s blog at Psychology Today

Books Mentioned in This Episode

                                   

 

Enjoy this episode?

Please share it with your friends or leave us a positive review on iTunes or Stitcher 🙂

Image courtesy: MattysFlicks