mental health

Mental Health Awareness Week

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Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health more openly. The message of this year’s campaign focused on “surviving or thriving”, and how we can cultivate mental good health rather than asking why so many people today are living with mental health problems.

It is said that by the year 2030, the leading cause of illness around the world will be depression (mentalhealth.org). At The Italian Medical Centre, we are proud of our commitment to talking about mental health and understanding how our mental health and wellbeing can affect our physical wellness, or feed into other issues. As an Integrated Medicine Clinic, most of our services and consultations seek to understand more about you as a unique being, looking at all of the factors that can affect our health and wellbeing, rather than just one area.

If you have been struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, addictions or an eating disorder, we can help you in a safe and nurturing environment. Whether it’s your first step to finding help, or you’re looking to understand your mental health issues from a different perspective, we can provide a variety of tailor-made services to support you, from GP consultations to counseling, psychotherapy, and homeopathy. You can find out more about our services here.

Remember, you are not alone. So often, the first step towards getting help or working towards cultivating stronger wellbeing can be just reaching out to a trusted person or loved one and telling them how you feel. It’s amazing what the power of talking can do for us, and even more so when you realise that someone understands.

If you have more urgent concerns and need emotional support, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day through a free and entirely confidential support line. There are also charities dedicated to supporting, and raising awareness of, those with mental health issues such as Mind.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

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As the days will soon start to get shorter and weather becomes more bitter, many of us find ourselves feeling persistently low in mood or becoming more irritable, and often don’t know the reasons why. We often blame the changes of weather for our mood changes, remarking on how much of a “miserable day” it is, but did you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a recognised mental health disorder? Those who suffer with SAD will find their mood and energy is much more affected by autumnal and wintery changes, which can also worsen symptoms of depression. We may also find ourselves craving heavier meals more often, something commonly associated with the comforts of winter, which can lead to an increase in weight gain and affect our confidence levels further.

But what causes SAD? The exact causes are still unknown, but many professionals draw links between the decrease of light across autumn and winter, which can also disrupt your body’s internal clock as it relies on natural light.

If you feel you may suffer with SAD you can try changing a few lifestyle aspects such as increasing your exercise routine, getting outside more to take advantage of the natural light on these short days, or practising mindfulness to tune into how you are feeling. Alternatively, at The Italian Medical Centre we offer a range of holistic services that focus on you as a whole in order to treat your needs in the best way. Whether psychological services or nutritional advice, we can find the best treatments to support you.