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Postnatal Depression: A Darker Shade of Blue

Elaine Hanzak

Elaine Hanzak (@elainehanzak) is an author and speaker who uses her experience with postnatal depression and bereavement to deliver keynote presentations on overcoming loss and perinatal mental health.

She is the author of two books, “Eyes Without Sparkle: A Journey Through Postnatal Illness“, which today’s discussion is based on, and the follow-up “Another Twinkle in the Eye: Contemplating Another Pregnancy After Perinatal Mental Illness“.

In 2016 Elaine was nominated for the “Cheshire Woman of the Year” Award for her contribution to community services, and in 2017 she was a finalist at the British Journal of Midwifery Awards in the category of contribution of a non-midwife to mid-wifery practices.

In today’s episode Elaine shares her experience of postnatal depression. How despite dreaming of motherhood her entire life, a traumatic labour, months of sleep deprivation, and the pressures of aspiring to be the perfect mum, eventually caused her to spiral into a period of depression, self-harm, psychosis, and eventually being admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Having since made a full recovery, Elaine tells us what the experience has taught her about motherhood and life, and she also offers some simple self-care practices to help future mums avoid a similar fate.

 

Related Links

Hanzak.com – Elaine’s website

Elaine Hanzak Facebook Page

Maternal Mental Health Alliance – a UK coalition improving the mental health of women and their children during the perinatal period

Book Recommendations

     

Image courtesy: Jake Guild

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How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill

DJ Jaffe

D.J. Jaffe (@MentalIllPolicy) is a writer and activist whose work is focused on improving care for the 4% of people who are the most severely mentally ill, including those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

D.J. is the founder and Executive Director of Mental Illness Policy Org, a think-tank dedicated to providing law enforcement, the media and policy makers with unbiased information on issues affecting the seriously mentally ill.

His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall St. Journal, and he is the author of the controversial and well-reviewed, “Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill“.

In today’s episode we discuss the distinctions between serious and non-serious mental illness, why anti-stigma and anti-suicide campaigns are misguided, the damaging myths about serious mental illness perpetuated by the media, and ultimately how mental health advocates are failing the very people they profess to be trying to help.

 

Related Links

Mental Illness Policy Org – Homepage

8 Myths About Mental Illness – by D.J. Jaffe

Mental Illness Policy Org – Facebook Page

National Alliance on Serious Mental Illness – Facebook Group

Book Recommendations

                                   

Image courtesy: MJ Klaver

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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

          

 

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Image courtesy: Hernán Piñera

Psychosis, Susceptibility and Early Intervention

Prof. Alison Yung

In this episode we explore the topic of psychosis, susceptibility and early intervention. What is psychosis? How real are hallucinations and delusions? Are the likes of Fight Club and Mr Robot accurate depictions of psychotic episodes, or just Hollywood hyperbole? Who is most susceptible to this illness, and what can we do to intervene?

My guest for today’s episode is Professor Alison Yung (@alisonryung). Alison is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manchester, Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, and Director of Undergraduate Education for the Institute of Brain Behaviour and Mental Health at the Manchester Medical School.

In 2009 she received the Lilly Oration Award for prominence in psychiatric research in Australia and New Zealand, and in 2010 was the recipient of the Richard J Wyatt Award “for remarkable contribution to the area of early intervention”.

She is the author of than 150 publications, a body of work which in 2014 helped her make it onto the Thomson Reuters list of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds”, as one of the 100 most highly-cited researchers in the field of psychiatry and psychology.

 

 

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