Tag Archives: mental health

Mental Health

e-Petition: Add Mental Health Education to the mandatory teaching curriculum for all schools in Wales

open quote / dyfyniad agored

When working for Mental – The Podcast to Destigmatise Mental Health, I am continually concerned by the lack of education in schools around mental health. With 1 in 4 of us experiencing mental illness every year according to the charity Mind, this seems to be a real and significant gap in our education system.


Over half of all mental ill health starts before the age of 14, and 75% of this has developed by the age of 18;

A 2015 survey found that 13% of adults (16 & older) living in Wales were reported to have received treatment for a mental health problem, an increase from 12% reported in 2014;

The overall cost of mental health problems in Wales is an estimated £7.2 billion a year.

The statistics are shocking, yet whilst there is a whole subject in the Welsh curriculum about our physical health in the form of PE, our young people are left without knowledge of even the most common mental illnesses.
Not only does this leave them unprepared & vulnerable when it comes to looking out for their own mental health, but also sets the standard that Mental Health is not discussed. This plants a seed of stigma that many carry for their whole lives.

We are keen to hear back from those in power on a more extensive plan to better the lives of Wales’s young people.


Mental Health education becoming mandatory teaching for all schools in Wales without the addition of any exams/homework on this subject.
Every child in Wales having the ability to access a qualified counsellor through their school.
Every school in Wales offering Mental Health training for its staff.

Please join our petition to help bring us one step closer to making these requests a reality for Welsh children, thus safeguarding the health of generations to come.

Thank you for reading, Annie Harris

Learn more about this petition & the team behind it at mentalpodcast.co.uk/petition

1. Source: Murphy M and Fonagy P (2012). Mental health problems in children and young people. In: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2012. London: Department of Health.

2. and 3. Source: Mental Health Foundation. Mental Health in Wales, Fundamental Facts 2016 (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/FF16%20Wales.pdf)

Please see https://www.change.org/p/get-mental-health-education-on-the-school-curriculum-mentalpetition-join-me-and-over-100-000-others for the national interest in this petition. We handed in the petition to 10 Downing Street on 3rd October 2018.

Sign here


The Top 20 Medications That Cause Memory Loss

Here is a list of medications known to have memory loss as a side effect:

  • for Parkinson’s — scopolamine, atropine, glycopyrrolate
  • for epilepsy — phenytoin or Dilantin
  • painkillers — heroin, morphine, codeine
  • sleeping pills — Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata
  • benzodiazepines — Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Dalmane
  • quinidine
  • naproxen
  • steroids
  • antibiotics (quinolones)
  • antihistamines
  • interferons
  • high blood pressure drugs
  • insulin
  • beta blockers (especially those used for glaucoma)
  • methyldopa
  • antipsychotics — Haldol, Mellaril
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • lithium
  • barbiturates — Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, phenobarbital
  • chemotherapy drugs

This list was assembled by Richard C. Mohs, Ph.D., former vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The Top 3 Types of Drugs That Cause Memory Loss

If you are taking any prescription medication, the odds are that it falls into one of these three categories of drugs known to cause memory loss and other cognitive problems:

The “Anti” Drugs

If you take a drug that starts with “anti,” such as antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antibiotics, antispasmodics, or antihypertensives, it’s likely that it will affect your acetylcholine levels.

Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter involved with memory and learning. Low acetycholine can lead to symptoms that resemble dementia including mental confusion, delirium, blurred vision, memory loss, and hallucinations.

Sleeping Pills

Prescription sleeping pills are notorious for causing memory loss.

The popular drug Ambien has been coined by some as “the amnesia drug.” Some users experience night terrors, sleep walking, sleep driving, and hallucinations.

Prescription sleeping pills have been found to put you in a state similar to being passed out drunk or in a coma while bypassing the restorative sleep your brain needs. There are much better ways to get to sleep!


Suicide- 87% on antidepressants

The stats also reveal that more than 87% of people were taking antidepressants at the time of death, while 44.6% were on drugs used in psychoses and related disorders.

New figures have revealed that almost three quarters of all suicides in Dundee were among men.

The latest statistics released by the NHS show that there were a total of 147 suicides in Dundee between 2009 and 2015, of which 109 were men.

The figures also show that the majority of men who committed suicide in the city were employed in senior positions, such as managers, while 43% of men who committed suicide were unemployed, disabled or living off their own means.

One Dundee dad who knows only too well the devastation and heartbreak caused by suicide is Phil Welsh.

Lee Welsh, 27, of the city’s West End, took his own life in August, leaving his friends and family devastated. Phil called for a crisis centre — similar to one in Edinburgh, which is open 24/7 and provides community based, emotional and practical support at times of crisis — to be set up in Dundee.

Phil told the Evening Telegraph: “Not until Lee died did I appreciate just how many men took their own lives.

“Lee’s death left our family heartbroken and we’re doing everything we can to stop this happening to other families.

“We would like to see a crisis centre set up in Dundee similar to the one in Edinburgh where people who feel suicidal can turn.”

The Tele previously told that Lee had battled mental health issues for almost a decade prior to his death.

Lee’s suicide prompted his parents to campaign for more action to help people with similar issues and following his death, the website Not in Vain for Lee was established.

He said: “If through this focus we can prevent one family from enduring the heartache we as a family are currently suffering, then Lee’s death will not have been in vain.”

Rob Burns, development manager of Dundee’s mental health service the Hearing Voices Network, said that the figures relating to men did not surprise him.

Mr Burns said men who have taken their own lives may not have spoken to anyone about the issues they are experiencing.

He added: “It is really quite frightening the number of people who take their own lives.

“We are very aware that up until now men have not been as willing to come forward to talk about their mental issues or other things that are concerning them as women have been.”

“I would think the men in Dundee who have taken their own lives have not previously spoken to anyone about their concerns.

“We are currently doing a lot of work to get men to open up, including taking on more male volunteer supporters.”

The majority of men — 64% — who took their own lives were also single, compared to just over 18% who were married or in a civil relationship.

The figures also revealed that 36 suicides took place within five years of discharge from a mental health service.

More on this story


Two types of drugs you may want to avoid for the sake of your brain – Harvard Health

If you’re worried about developing dementia, you’ve probably memorized the list of things you should do to minimize your risk—eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and keeping your mind and soul engaged. In addition, some of the drugs you may be taking to help you accomplish those things could increase your risk of dementia. In two separate large population studies, both benzodiazepines (a category that includes medications for anxiety and sleeping pills) and anticholinergics (a group that encompasses medications for allergies and colds, depression, high blood pressure, and incontinence) were associated with an increased risk of dementia in people who used them for longer than a few months. In both cases, the effect increased with the dose of the drug and the duration of use.

These findings didn’t come entirely as a surprise to doctors who treat older people. “The Beer’s List published by the American Geriatrics Society has long recognized benzodiazepines, antihistamines, and tricyclic antidepressants as potentially inappropriate for older adults, given their side effects,” says Dr. Lauren J. Gleason, a physician in the Division of Aging at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Such drugs are on the list because they share troubling side effects—confusion, clouded thinking, and memory lapses—that can lead to falls, fractures, and auto accidents.

Full article:


Anti-depressants: ‘I’ve lost my identity and who I am’

“I’ve lost my job, I’ve lost my social life, I’ve lost my career, I’ve lost my identity and sense of who I am.”

James Moore says he ‘doesn’t feel the same person as before’ since becoming hooked on anti-depressants that were prescribed to help ease panic attacks.

The former civil servant said if he had been given a proper warning of the risks, he would never have taken them.

The Welsh Government said it had put in an extra £4 million in psychological therapies in the past two years.

James has been been unable to stop taking the medication since starting it 2012.

The 46-year-old has suffered insomnia, panic, nausea, shaking spells and anxiety during the three times he has tried to come off anti-depressants.

“It has been a huge personal cost to me,” said the married father-of-one from Rogiet in Monmouthshire.

“I feel like I’m in the middle of a marathon and I really don’t know whether I’m going to get to the end and over the finish line intact or not.”

Campaigners in Wales say there is a lack of tailored support and treatment for people struggling with anti-depressant dependency.

People like James, unable to stop taking them, say they have to deal with “devastating” symptoms of withdrawal alone.

A psychiatry professor said the drugs were over-prescribed and patients are not fully aware of the potential risks.

The Royal College of General Practitioners Wales (RCGP), however, said GPs tried to prescribe “in the best interests of patients” and, used appropriately, anti-depressants can be “an effective part of treatment”.

But Dr David Healy, professor of psychiatry at Bangor University, said patients were often not told of the risks of dependency as doctors had not been told themselves.

“They haven’t been told, for instance, that you can get hooked to these drugs and it may be close to impossible to come off them,” he said.

“Back in the late 80s when the drugs came on, first the expectation was you’d be on them for three, maybe six months. The idea they’d be on them for a year, or five years or 10 years was inconceivable back then. But that’s what happened,” he added.

At the end of last year, campaigners brought a petition calling for action on prescription drug dependence and withdrawal to the Welsh Assembly. They want assembly members to urge the Welsh Government to act.

However, their concerns are disputed by other medical professionals. A major report has been published and found that for many patients, anti-depressants work, although it did not look at long-term use.

Dr Adarsh Shetty, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales, said: “I see in my routine clinical practice, people who have benefited from them tremendously.

“So I would really advise people to talk to their doctor, their GP or their psychiatrist if they have any worries about anti-depressants and any concerns about dependence on anti-depressants. It is really important to stress they are not addictive medications.”

Dr Jane Fenton-May, of the Royal College of General Practitioners Wales, said GPs always “endeavour to prescribe in the best interests of patients” and “engage patients in a discussion about what is best for them as an individual”.

The RCGP said it recognised there was a “lack of alternative treatments”, there “can be difficulties in obtaining the necessary support” and supported calls for improvements in this area.

The Welsh Government said “there are a wide range of treatments other than medication available for depression” and it had invested an additional £4m in psychological therapies over the past two years.

“Patients are encouraged to speak with their GP, who would be able to help them make informed decisions about their care”, the spokesman added.

Full article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-43169946

Living with the mental and physical impact of medication.

Having worked with older and disabled people over the last 13 years in the third sector, my experience of clients knowledge and understanding of their prescribed medication can sometimes be astounding.

I essentially help people get their homes adapted, maintained and made safe so that they are able to live independently. This can also involve general advice and assisting with benefit and disability allowances applications.

Many of my clients are aged over 70 and come from an era where whatever their professional, whether it be a doctor, nurse or specialist say or prescribes, that is what they believe is right. They feel that it is disrespectful to challenge or refuse the medication. Very few will stand up and say they don’t agree.

Even if the medication they are taking makes them feel worse, very few will go against the advice of their GP.

I do not confess to be a medical expert but in my experience with older and vulnerable people, I can identify particular health problems and noted side effects. Long term pain killer use as well as being addictive also can cause memory loss. Many people don’t know that and worry that Dementia is setting in. Majority of people are on gastro pump inhibitors to prevent or heal ulcers and stomach problems. Usually originally caused by other medication. These should only be used short term as they in turn can cause other more serious health problems and coming off them can also experience extreme versions of what the medication was for.

When asking many of my clients which medication they are taking, the usual answer is “lots” or I’m rattling. If asked what each is for, many don’t actually know. They may have been told many years ago but can’t remember. When asked do they read the information leaflet, if they were interested at all some say it’s in too small print or they get the dosette box with no leaflet. This is probably not the case but as they get older it is taken for granted that their health is going to suffer, medication may make some things more bearable and so best not to know the effects or if it might be addictive. Even when medication is reviewed, many don’t like to admit to any problems. I find much of this out when applying for mobility allowances such as Attendance Allowance. This is possibly the only time they will be completely honest about all their health problems.

Even when medication is reviewed, many don’t like to admit to any problems. I find much of this out when applying for mobility allowances such as Attendance Allowance. This is possibly the only time they will be completely honest about all their health problems.

Why when in hospital are patients woken up to be given sleeping tablets?

Just because someone is getting older, their health problems should be diagnosed by listening to the problems not just throwing medication at it.

We know that we can learn about controlling some health issues by diet, exercise or relaxation therapies, why aren’t older people being offered more of this instead of them having to take 4 or more, some up to 15 different medications in one day.

How many of those medications are addictive or have extreme side effects or will be fatal if forgotten to be taken.

I always believed that we are told to understand our own bodies first then ask advice, but it seems if many people have the audacity to make their own opinion of their medication of diagnosis this will be frowned upon.

I have had occasions where I have had to leave homes of clients because their spouse has become irate even verbally abusive. The explanation is that it is the medication causing it or that I shouldn’t visit before a certain time in order to give the medication time to kick in. Again not being a medical expert I cannot say that these are true effects or if they are used as an excuse for behaviour. But if more education to the medication available and being prescribed was available and in simple terms and people were given more choices instead of told?

Many older people when they start suffering with physical health problems start to suffer with depression and anxiety or are diagnosed bi polar. I can see the downward spiral to many of these peoples lives when given medication rather than alternative therapies or counselling about lifestyle or even just changes to their daily routine. When asked about their health issues, they start with the mental health rather than the obvious physical problems. They feel powerless and give up. Those not taking up the medication can often combat this and mange to regain the control of their life, regain their social life and try and help others.

When asked about their health issues, they start with the mental health rather than the obvious physical problems. They feel powerless and give up. Those not taking up the medication can often combat this and mange to regain the control of their life, regain their social life and try and help others.

Many thanks to our contributor:


Three mental health centres in the Vale of Glamorgan are set to close down




Three centres which support adults with mental health difficulties are set to close down, it has been revealed.

The Amy Evans Centre in Barry , Hafan Dawel in Penarth and Cowbridge Health Centre will all shut in September, with their respective teams joining forces and moving to Barry Hospital.

While mental health charities say the decision will lead to a more comprehensive service being provided under one roof, there are fears moving them further away from some people’s homes could cause harm to patients.

Full Story

Wales’ ‘devastating’ suicide figures revealed

Rates in Wales are the second highest among the regions of the UK, according to official data.

Suicide rates in Wales are the second highest among the regions of the UK, official figures have revealed.

Rates among men are significantly higher than among women in Wales, according to the data from the Office of National Statistics.

The figures show that Wales is only just behind Scotland in terms of suicide rates, with a rate of 11.8 per 100,000 people, compared to Scotland’s rate of 15.

full article

Key trends from the Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2017

  • In 2015 there were 6,639 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • 6,188 suicides were registered in the UK and 451 in the Republic of Ireland.
  • The highest suicide rate in the UK was for men aged 40–44.
  • The highest suicide rate in the Republic of Ireland was for men aged 25–34 (with an almost identical rate for men aged 45–54).
  • In England and the UK, female suicide rates are at their highest in a decade. Rates have increased in the UK (by 3.8%), England (by 2%), Wales (61.8%) and Northern Ireland (18.5%) since 2014 – however increases in Wales and Northern Ireland may be explained by inconsistencies in the processes for recording suicides in these countries.
  • Female suicide rates have decreased in Scotland (by 1.4%) and the Republic of Ireland (by 13.1%) since 2014.
  • Male rates remain consistently higher than female suicide rates across the UK and Republic of Ireland – most notably 5 times higher in Republic of Ireland and around 3 times in the UK.