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Dads in a Dark Place

Mark Williams

Mark Williams (@MarkWilliamsFMH) is the founder of Father’s Reaching Out and co-founder of International Father’s Mental Health Day (19th June).

After experiencing a traumatic labour during the birth of their son Ethan in 2004, both Mark and his wife Michelle struggled with crippling anxiety and post-natal depression.

While Michelle recovered, Mark continued on a downward spiral which eventually culminated in suicidal ideation and a complete nervous breakdown.

After finally seeking help, Mark has since made a full recovery, and now makes it his life’s mission to raise awareness of perinatal mental health issues in fathers.

Mark has spoken around the World at over 150 conferences and events, and has written about fathers’ mental health in several publications.

He has appeared on numerous TV news outlets and has also appeared in television documentaries concerning mental health including Channel 5’s “My Secret Past” discussing post-natal depression.

In 2012 he was awarded “Local Hero” at the Pride of Britain Awards and Inspirational Father of the Year.

 

Recommended Links

Father’s Reaching Out

Dads Cymru

Dads Matter UK

Fathers Mental Health Network

Maternal Mental Health Alliance

Postnatal depression and perinatal mental health (Partners Page) – Mind

Books Mentioned in This Episode

               

 

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Image courtesy: Andrés Nieto Porras

The Gift of Listening

Jenni McCartney

Jenni McCartney (@SamaritansJenni) has been a volunteer at Samaritans for more than 30 years, and in 2015 was elected Chair of Trustees, representing the charity’s 21,000 volunteers.

As part of her role she writes a blog for Samaritans’ internal website, delivers speeches at the Council of Samaritans and at branch AGMs, and spends time travelling round the 201 branches dotted throughout the UK and Ireland to meet with volunteers and help spread the word.

In recognition of these efforts, Jenni has been awarded the CharityComms Inspiring Communicator Award for her work engaging with volunteers, and for representing Samaritans in the media.

In today’s episode we learn about the history and formation of Samaritans, how and why Jenni first became a volunteer and, more importantly, why she decided to stick with it for more than thirty years.

We explore the most common reasons people turn to Samaritans, how it evolved from a suicide prevention line into an emotional support service that anybody could call for any reason, why Samaritans policy is primarily to listen without giving advice, and how this approach can often be more effective in helping callers find the answers they’re looking for.

We also explore what it’s like to be a volunteer answering calls, what’s involved in the training process, what you actually say and do when a call comes in, how you learn to help other people deal with their negative life experiences without letting it affect your own emotional well being, but ultimately, how listening to other people’s problems is, more often than not, a rewarding experience for both parties.

 

Recommended Links

Samaritans – Home Page

Samaritans Volunteer Sign-up Page

Books Mentioned in This Episode

 

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Image courtesy: Alon

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

     

 

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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!

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

          

 

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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

 

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Image courtesy: Al King

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

                                   

 

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Childhood Mental Health and Raising Confident Kids

Prof. Sam Cartwright-Hatton

Samantha Cartwright-Hatton (@SamCH_ClinPsych) is Professor of Clinical Child Psychology and Senior Clinical Research Fellow at University of Sussex. She works as one of the clinical advisors to Anxiety UK, and in 2009 she received the British Psychological Society May Davidson Award in recognition of her research into childhood anxiety.

She’s the author of “Coping with an Anxious or Depressed Child: A Guide for Parents and Carers“, and “From Timid To Tiger: A Treatment Manual for Parenting the Anxious Child“.

In today’s episode we talk about depression and anxiety in preadolescent children, whether nurture or nature plays the biggest role in the development of childhood mental health, how you may be inadvertently teaching your child to be fearful of the world and how to stop doing so, why it’s more important to praise effort over ability, the seven confident thoughts that children need to grow up happy and confident, and why Sam is in favour of installing a communist dictatorship.

 

Sam’s Recommended Links

Anxiety UK – National charity helping people with Anxiety.

Books Mentioned in This Episode

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Image courtesy: Guilherme Jofili

Depression and the Problems of Diagnosis

Prof. Chris Dowrick

We begin this podcast adventure exploring the topic of Depression. How do we define depression? Is depression the result of a “chemical imbalance”? Can you be genetically predisposed to it? Why are doctors so quick to prescribe medication? And is your GP even trained to spot depression?

My guest for this episode is Professor Chris Dowrick (@cfd1951). Chris is Professor of Primary Medical Care at the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool, general practitioner with Aintree Park Group Practice, an honorary consultant in primary care for Liverpool Primary Care Trust, and a non-executive director for Mersey Care NHS Trust.

He’s also a member of the NICE guideline development group for depression and chronic physical disease.

He’s the editor-in-chief of the international journal Chronic Illness, and the author of the book “Beyond Depression: a new approach to understanding and management“, which forms the basis for today’s conversation.

Check out Chris’s blog: wellbecoming.blogspot.co.uk

 

Books Mentioned in This Episode

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Image courtesy: Paolo De Angelis