Mind in Croydon Advocacy at the Bethlem

Mind in Croydon’s  Advocacy Service now has a base at the Bethlem Royal Hospital – more details to come via their website http://www.mindincroydon.org.uk or call 020 8763 6730

Schizophrenia linked to social inequality

Higher rates of schizophrenia in urban areas can be attributed to increased deprivation, increased population density and an increase in inequality within a neighbourhood, new research reveals.

Dr James Kirkbride, lead author of the study from the University of Cambridge, said: “Although we already know that schizophrenia tends to be elevated in more urban communities, it was unclear why.

“Our research suggests that more densely populated, more deprived and less equal communities experience higher rates of schizophrenia and other similar disorders. This is important because other research has shown that many health and social outcomes also tend to be optimal when societies are more equal.”

The scientists used data from a large population-based incidence study conducted in three neighbouring inner-city, ethnically diverse boroughs in East London: City and Hackney, Newham, and Tower Hamlets.

427 people aged from 18 to 64 were included in the study, all of whom experienced a first episode of psychotic disorder in East London between 1996 and 2000. The researchers assessed their social environment through measures of the neighbourhood in which they lived at the time they first presented to mental health services because of a psychotic disorder.

Using the 2001 census, they estimated the population aged 18-64 years old in each neighbourhood, then compared the incidence rate between neighbourhoods. The incidence of schizophrenia, and other similar disorders in which hallucinations and delusions are the dominant feature, still showed variation between neighbourhoods after taking into account age, sex, ethnicity and social class.

Three environmental factors predicted risk of schizophrenia: increased deprivation, which includes employment, income, education and crime; increased population density; and increased inequality, the gap between the rich and poor. Results from the study suggested that a percentage point increase in either neighbourhood inequality or deprivation was associated with an increase in the incidence of schizophrenia and other similar disorders of around 4 per cent.

Dr Kirkbride added: “Our research adds to a wider and growing body of evidence that inequality seems to be important in affecting many health outcomes, now possibly including serious mental illness. Our data seem to suggest that both absolute and relative levels of deprivation predict the incidence of schizophrenia.

“East London has changed substantially over recent years, not least because of the Olympic regeneration. It would be interesting to repeat this work in the region to see if the same patterns were found.”

The study also found that risk of schizophrenia in some migrant groups might depend on the ethnic composition of their neighbourhood. For black African people, the study found that rates tended to be lower in neighbourhoods where there were a greater proportion of other people of the same background.

By contrast, rates of schizophrenia were lower for the black Caribbean group when they lived in more ethnically integrated neighbourhoods. These findings support the possibility that the sociocultural composition of our environment could positively or negatively influence risk of schizophrenia and other similar disorders.

Dr John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, said: “This research reminds us that we must understand the complex societal factors as well as the neural mechanisms that underpin the onset of mental illness, if we are to develop appropriate interventions.”

The research, led by the University of Cambridge in collaboration with Queen Mary (University of London), was published in the journal ‘Schizophrenia Bulletin’.

#RT via Bridget via http://www.wellcome.ac.uk

Next Week’s Dragon Delights

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How to Get Over Regret

Regret. We’ve all felt it at some point. Some of you are feeling it right now, and you are suffering because of it.

Something did or did not happen the way you wanted. You did or didn’t do something the way you wished you would have. And you want more than anything to be able to rewind time and get a do-over. You’ve replayed scenarios over and over in your head, thinking of all the things you could have done or said. You’re trapped in a shoulda/coulda/woulda perspective, and it’s a miserable place to be, isn’t it?

As much as you are aware that regret is a miserable place to hang out, you cannot seem to be free of it. But I have good news: Liberation from regret is 100 percent possible! And it is essential to your well-being that you commit to letting go of regret. Why? Well, because it feels awful, and feeling awful does not support the co-creation of an awesome life. Regret keeps you in the past, and when you are consistently looking behind you, you do not notice what is right in front of you. And, when you are hanging out in regret, you may be feeling depressed and beating yourself up — and that’s not useful in any way!

So how do you get out of regret? First, understand that when you are experiencing regret, you are evaluating a situation that happened in the past with the awareness you have in the present.

Let me break it down: Something happens. You react, you make a choice, you take an action. Then time passes. And you think about what happened. You analyze it, obsess over it and talk ad nauseam about it with your friends. You continue to gather more information and knowledge. Then you take all this awareness and information that you have now, and beat yourself up because you did not know it then. It is totally unfair and unreasonable to take what you know now and use it to beat yourself up for what you didn’t know then.

Please take this in: You really truly did the best you could at the time! Trust me. And until you really take in this truth, you will stay stuck in regret.

The wonderful thing about regret is that it gets your attention and offers you a tremendous opportunity for learning and transformation. But in order to do that, you have to let go of the shoulda/coulda/wouldas!

Now that you have the awareness that it is unreasonable to use what you know in the present to judge your actions in the past, you are ready to move on to a three-step process that will support you in fully moving out of regret.

Step One: Look for the lessons. Take some time to do some journaling about what you learned from whatever it is that you are regretting. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about someone else? What patterns do you see? What are you noticing about your reactions and responses? All situations in life are rich with learning. When you look at your past, view it from a learning-oriented perspective rather than a shoulda/coulda/woulda perspective.

Rewinding time is not possible, but “do-overs” actually are. Of course, we cannot get a do-over of the exact same situation, but the universe will deliver to you similar situations where you will get to practice what you learned. The first time it happened, you didn’t know any better. The second time you’ll know a little more, so you can do a little better.

Step Two: Take action. Regret keeps us stuck in the past, so ask yourself what you need to do right now to support yourself in moving forward. Is there support you need? Is there a conversation you need to have? Are there some boundaries you need to set and hold yourself accountable to? Regret is a reactive response. Identifying and committing to action steps you can take now is proactive. Reactive responses keep you stuck; proactive responses move you forward. You want to move forward, don’t you?

Step Three: Forgive yourself! This is the most important (and often most challenging) part. We all make so-called mistakes. Remember, you are a human being, so stop placing an expectation on yourself that you are supposed to get it “right” all of the time! Remember the truth: You did the best you could. You did the best you could. You did the best you could with what you knew at the time. Really. I encourage you to say to yourself, “I forgive myself for buying into the misunderstanding that I did something wrong. The truth is that I was doing the best I could.” Repeat that several times. Breathe. Take it in.

You do not have to suffer from regret. You can stop beating yourself up; it is not serving you. Learn, take action, forgive and stop looking behind you. Turn around. See what is right in front of you… and, better yet, what lies ahead.

With love, 

For more by Christine Hassler, click here.

#RT via http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Thoughts on worrying

Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles: It takes away t

Do you have experience of managing the highs and the lows? Would you come and support others develop their ways of coping? Paid opportunity

We are looking for someone to come and talk to our group for people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and discuss our plans for the group. We are running a group in a community mental health team at St Giles House. This group is intended to support people to manage the ‘highs and the lows’.

We would like someone who has had experience of this diagnosis and have some sense of recovery or moving on and can discuss this with the group and would be able to share their experiences of managing with highs and lows in the first session.

This will involve coming to the group for one hour and meeting with the organisers for one hour a few days beforehand, at the persons convenience.

The group is on 10th January 2013

We would like the speaker from 2pm

Please contact Jo Allen at St Giles House on 020 3228 1800 from the 3rd January.

This will be paid at PC rate (£15 p/h)

Dragon Delights for 24/12/12

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