HEALTH MAT­TERS

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

DR Paul Bowen, clin­i­cal chair of NHS East­ern Cheshire CCG, and GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton TACK­LING some of the per­sis­tent taboos and mis­in­for­ma­tion on men­tal health has been in the news re­cently, af­fect­ing every­one from pop­stars to princes.

It is an area as a GP I feel strongly about.

A large pro­por­tion of my work is in­volved in man­ag­ing men­tal health is­sues.

One of the big­gest chal­lenges is help­ing pa­tients ac­cept and un­der­stand their di­ag­no­sis.

One such di­ag­no­sis, de­pres­sion, will un­doubt­edly af­fect you or some­one close to you at some point in their life. It can man­i­fest in many ways, from loss of in­ter­est and con­fi­dence, to anger or anx­i­ety, or sleep­less­ness and con­fu­sion.

Peo­ple un­der­stand­ably feel they can shake off the symp­toms, and there is ev­i­dence that self-help is ben­e­fi­cial but guilt and low self-es­teem make it dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to seek help.

The re­al­ity is that de­pres­sion can af­fect any­one, young or old, rich or poor, suc­cess­ful or un­lucky.

The most un­help­ful thing some­one can say is ‘pull your­self to­gether’. It’s a bit like ask­ing some­one suf­fer­ing from an epilep­tic seizure to stop fit­ting.

De­pres­sion is a crip­pling, dis­abling com­bi­na­tion of symp­toms that leave the suf­ferer at times un­able to ask for or ad­mit they need help, there­fore only ex­ac­er­bat­ing their con­di­tion.

As a GP, a lot of my time in that first im­por­tant con­sul­ta­tion is spent recog­nis­ing how im­por­tant it is that they have sought help, and that their re­cov­ery is more likely now they can ad­mit that the part of their brain that con­trols their mood has stopped work­ing as well, and that they can­not ‘think’ them­selves bet­ter.

In­sight, ac­cep­tance and un­der­stand­ing de­pres­sion and other men­tal health con­di­tions are the key foun­da­tions to re­cov­ery.

The next steps, which can in­clude a change in life­style, prac­ti­cal sup­port, coun­selling and talk­ing ther­a­pies, time off or a change of work, com­ple­men­tary ther­a­pies, and medicines, can all fol­low.

But it is that brave de­ci­sion to seek help which is of­ten the turn­ing point. Talk­ing about it, both pri­vately or in pub­lic, can only help break the taboo and bust the myths around these im­por­tant, com­mon con­di­tions.

The CCG now com­mis­sions talk­ing ther­apy ser­vices and well­be­ing ser­vices to com­ple­ment the other men­tal health sup­port avail­able through your GP and men­tal health providers.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www. mytalk­ingther­a­pies.com. There is also help­ful in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice at www.mind.org.uk.

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