The Mental Health Digest (22/10/17)

This week on The Mental Health Digest we have the breaking news that in the UK in the time it takes to have two children you can get access to mental health care – result! We have an amazing lady from Canada walking around Ireland to raise awareness for Mental Health. A group of researchers in Switzerland tell us something about the mental health of migrants that appears obvious to everyone else except the majority of western leaders. We also find out that If you want to avoid mental illness you should strive to be a terrible lawyer in Canada, and finally, Michael Phelps opens up to finally prove once and for all that mental illness is an actual illness.

Time for two children or a bit of mental health care? (The Guardian UK)

A National Health Service (NHS) Watchdog’s report revealed the extent of the mental health care of young people in the UK. And judging from the report the word ‘care’ is obviously being used rather loosely. That is because the report showed children under the age of 18 are waiting up to a year and a half for treatment. Just a quick reminder: Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people under 30. For those that didn’t know suicide is silent and can kill at any moment, from my non-medical background I’d say getting help in less time than it takes to have two children is probably going to be a good thing. Then again I’m just some liberal snowflake with mental issues – what do I know? I should say that in defence of these revelations the NHS did say that after years of underinvestment they are now beginning to see rises in the mental health budget to the tune of £100m or about enough to buy you one (injured) Paul Pogba.

Canadian walks 900km through Ireland to highlight mental health (The Irish Times)

The brilliant Maysen Forbes from Canada decided to undertake a journey that is typically reserved for Irish women in need of an abortion. She is currently undertaking a 900km trek across Ireland. In this amazing feat of endurance, strength (mental and physical) and presumably a superhuman ability to withstand blisters. She is doing this all in aid of mental health awareness and to raise money for Mental Health Ireland (donate HERE). I don’t know many mentally healthy people who could undertake such a journey let alone doing it with anxiety and depression for company. You can also follow Maysen’s journey through her blog and Twitter. I would highly encourage you to reach out to her, she is not only doing a great job of walking but she is a fantastic person to engage with too.

Asylum procedures can threaten mental health of migrants (Swissinfo)

It seems like the majority of western leaders at the moment think that abandoning your decimated homeland in search of salvage, across deserts, war-torn borders, open water and 1000 mile treks is a frivolous one in order to claim a few benefits. Rather than it showing the iron will of humans to survive against all odds. What do they do though when the surviving people (and they are people) make it to a country? Well, they hold them in migrant camps and asylum centres, where they face being deported in some sort of disgusting snakes and ladders game, where they get persecuted by certain sections of the media and ‘native’ population, where they are constantly moved from facility to facility and where they face an ambiguous legal situation. Amazingly a team of researchers discovered that this has a huge psychological impact on them, which includes depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses. Needless to say, even if they are granted asylum, which is not likely, you’d hardly imagine they’d be fit for work, let alone welcome.

Successful lawyers more likely to experience mental health problems (CTV News)

I’m a big believer in ‘Incentive Economics’, whereby we create a society where the incentives are set up in such a way that we do good things. An example of bad incentive economics is for-profit healthcare, because they have a huge incentive to keep you unhealthy or rob you blind through insurance. That is why the news in Canada that successful lawyers struggle more with their mental health than their less successful counterparts is quite the conundrum. As we are now in a position where, for good health, you are incentivised to be bad at your job. In all seriousness though, it appears to be due to the severe amounts of stress applied on winning the next case, which results in depressive episodes, which is counter to other industries. In most other jobs the wealthier you are and the more ‘successful’ you are the less you talk about mental health fewer depressive episodes you experience.

How Michael Phelps Conquered His Demons (Daily Beast)

The final mental health news story of the week came in the form of one of the most decorated Olympians ever, and by ‘one of the most’, I mean the most decorated Olympian of all time. Michael Phelps opened up about the mental issues he faced in a long-ranging interview. He discussed many of the things we already know but the most revealing aspect of this interview was the details regarding his mental health. Most interesting due to the fact that it happened to him. The good-looking guy with the six pack, the 28 Olympics medals and all the money you could ever need. He struggled mentally and it is important for young people out there to realise that it is an illness and it can happen to anyone – even the greatest Olympian of all time.

Thanks for reading The Mental Health Digest this week, I’d love to tell you what will be on next week but it hasn’t happened yet. That is why it is called ‘news’, because it is new. For those not familiar with this series, it is a roundup of the week’s mental health news and it is posted every Sunday. If you haven’t seen it before that is because today is the first, so well done you, you got here first, you can claim to be into it before it was cool – and it is cool. Very cool.


  1. helentastic67

    What!? So, crazy and a child, no help. Racy and 2 kids they come running? I don’t know anyone with 2 kids that has time for a mental breakdown. And not to mention I can’t have kids! But I have mental health issues! I can’t live in the UK! Got it. Cheers,H


  2. Planetkirsty

    Amazing post – it’s awful that so many young people are being overlooked and are not getting the help they need. I have a generalised anxiety disorder and depression and it took them years to diagnose me because I was forever on waiting lists. Even now, at 22 I’m on a waiting list for CBT and have been for quite some time. The lack of rescources for mental health is astounding. Mad props to Maysen Forbes for her journey across Ireland too. 💕

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Paul Green

      My pleasure! I don’t think I’d make the best mentor but if there is anything I can help will feel free to ask. On WP private messages aren’t possible but you can through twitter or facebook!


  3. RobbyeFaye

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have enjoyed looking through yours and am looking forward to reading more soon.
    The whole world needs a drastic, dramatic change in how mental illness is viewed, articles like yours with information about people like Michael Phelps helps. After all, if it can affect him, it can affect anyone, right? And, unfortunately it affects WAAAAAAAAAAAAY too many people.
    Have a great day!!

    Liked by 1 person

          1. RobbyeFaye

            Thanks, Paul. Sometimes, it’s both easier and harder to open up on social media. The anonymity factor helps, but then again, do I want that out there in perpetuity? A conundrum for sure. However, I felt it was a much-needed post. Thanks for reading it.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. lorraineambers

    Thanks for introducing Maysen, her blog is great. The health service is struggling. It’s a subject that frustrates me, they need more funds to help vulnerable people. I ended up going private but thankfully my daughters school is great and have stepped up to her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. crackedreality

    I’ve had various forms of “help” on the NHS. About eight years ago I had a similar experience of having to wait a hell of a long time before getting any help and by then I had moved out of the area and so they told me I’d have to be put onto another waiting list for the area I was in.

    The second time was a lot quicker but not at all helpful. Within a month or so I had an appointment and I spent some time talking to a counsellor who really didn’t offer any advice and just wrote some notes down on my “progress”. After a month or so my time was running out so I had to decide if I wanted further “more in depth” therapy or to stop going to therapy. I chose the first one.

    My “in depth” therapy was CBT. I had a great time and after about five or six weeks we were beginning to build up an idea of things to do and fixes and just general mental well-being stuff. Then he told me that I only get 12 sessions on the NHS. You literally only get 12 hours with a counsellor before they believe you should be cured or that the counsellor isn’t doing his job properly and they revert you back to step one. (You have to spend the first couple of weeks telling them the information you told the previous counsellors because apparently they don’t share information).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul Green

      If having depression isn’t already bad enough you have to go through an equally depressing process.

      That sounds awful, I’m glad people are sharing these stories though because without them nothing will change.

      I really wish the best for you and I hope you get the (proper) care you need.


  6. emergingfromthedarknight

    Mental health issues with a deeply complex emotional basis can affect ANYONE. It makes me laugh when people seem amazed that some one supposedly “with everything” materially or physically is suffering, as if appearances and possessions or careers are really the deepest issue. When I went to AA for a while something important I heard was not to judge or assume or compare my insides with others outsides. We can never know what another human being has suffered and its great when the stigma can be reduced by those like Michael Phelps opening up to dispel myths and illusions.

    Liked by 1 person


    Good Evening, Paul. I must say that this was an incredible read and I am so pleased that I came across yours.
    I started a blog around mental health awareness, as well as journal entries on my own personal experience. My main objective is to break the stigma surrounding all that is mental health illness/disorders.
    Again, I found this very insightful and look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. maxinesusanallen

    Fab read. I still find that people roll their eyes at Mental Health. I now shame them when they do.
    Sadly for us in our family we know how real it is. Being someone having lost my brother to suicide I know how real it is and how real it still is within our family the rawness of our loss. Thank you simple as thank you for writing so well about Mental health.
    I am just about to write a training pack to deliver mental heath awareness in elderly care. Mental health doesn’t care about age.


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