Category: Depression


Understanding the Impact: The Men’s Mental Health Crisis in Autumn.

The natural world around us undergoes a remarkable transformation as the vibrant hues of summer give way to the warm, earthy tones of autumn. Leaves fall, temperatures drop, and the days shorten. While many find solace in the cozy atmosphere and the promise of pumpkin-spiced everything, for others, this seasonal shift goes hand in hand with an emotional transition.

For men in the United Kingdom aged between 25 and 35, the onset of autumn can present a unique set of challenges to their mental health. In this comprehensive blog post, we embark on a journey to explore the profound significance of men’s mental health during this distinct season. We’ll then unravel the myriad benefits that counseling offers as an invaluable resource for addressing the autumn blues head-on.

Prioritising Mental Health: A Vital Undertaking

Central to our discourse is the unequivocal importance of placing mental health on the same pedestal as physical well-being. In truth, mental health should always be considered as significant as one’s physical health. However, the issue often arises from the challenge of recognising and acknowledging one’s mental health concerns. Thia ia a challenge that looms prominently, particularly for men.

In this context, it’s crucial to acknowledge how societal expectations and entrenched stereotypes have played a role in perpetuating the notion that men should embody stoicism and unwavering resolve in the face of emotional turmoil. These deeply ingrained beliefs can make it profoundly challenging for men to break free from these constraints. With the knock on effect being they are unable to express their innermost feelings openly, and, most importantly, seek help when needed.

The Seasonal Struggle: Unpacking the Autumnal Impact

Autumn gracefully descends upon us, ushering in shorter days and longer nights, as nature readies itself for the approaching winter. This seasonal shift can cast a shadow over the emotional landscape of many individuals. As feelings of melancholy and fatigue take center stage. This phenomenon is often termed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and during this season, it emerges as an unwelcome companion for numerous souls.

Counselling for men

It’s worth noting that SAD does not discriminate; it affects people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. Yet, it’s vital to recognise that men, in particular, may face unique challenges in identifying and addressing its symptoms. The societal expectation for men to remain emotionally steadfast can lead them to dismiss or downplay these feelings. Often attributing them to transient, external factors rather than recognising the internal struggles they may be facing.

In this light, we unveil the intricate connection between the societal expectations placed upon men and their ability to navigate the shifting emotional terrain of autumn. The Autumnal Impact, as we refer to it here, serves as a reminder of the imperative need for open dialogues around men’s mental health, transcending stereotypes and forging paths toward emotional well-being.

The Significance of Counseling for Men During Autumn

Breaking the Stigma: A Crucial Step Towards Well-being

One of the primary reasons counselling holds exceptional significance in the context of men’s mental health is its pivotal role in dismantling the pervasive stigma that surrounds emotional expression and seeking help. Counselling stands as a beacon of hope, offering a safe and confidential sanctuary where men can candidly unravel their thoughts and emotions. Men can be liberated from the shackles of judgment or societal expectations. Within these therapeutic spaces, a transformative environment thrives. One that challenges conventional gender roles and empowers men to wholeheartedly embrace their emotional well-being.

Building an Emotional Toolbox: Equipping for the Season

Autumn, with its inherent beauty, also ushers in a unique set of emotional challenges. It’s during this season that the autumn blues can descend, casting shadows of stress, anxiety, or even depression. Counseling, like a seasoned guide, provides individuals with a treasure trove of invaluable tools, honed through years of therapeutic expertise. These tools, when wielded with care, enable men to navigate the intricate labyrinth of their emotions with grace and resilience. In the midst of the autumnal tempest, these coping strategies become not just beneficial but essential, offering a lifeline in moments of emotional turbulence.

“There is nothing impossible to they who will try.”

 Alexander the Great

Preventative Care: Nurturing Mental Well-being

Much like routine visits to a physician for physical check-ups, counseling emerges as a form of preventive care for mental health. Regular counseling sessions serve as vigilant sentinels, discerning and addressing latent concerns before they can evolve into more severe conditions. This proactive approach stands as a testament to your commitment to self-care—a dedication that ensures not just a healthier and happier you during the autumn season but also a more robust emotional well-being that reverberates throughout the entire year.

In essence, the significance of counseling during autumn transcends mere words; it is an embodiment of empowerment, resilience, and self-compassion. It extends a helping hand through the swirling tempest of the autumn blues, enabling men to steer their emotional ship with unwavering confidence. It’s a commitment to self-discovery, a refusal to be bound by stereotypes, and a pledge to embrace emotional well-being unreservedly. Amidst the rustling leaves and changing seasons, counseling emerges as a steadfast companion, offering solace and strength as you navigate the profound landscape of your emotions.

Taking the First Steps: Your Path to Men’s Mental Health in Autumn

For those men in the United Kingdom, aged 25 to 35, who are contemplating seeking counseling to bolster their mental health during the autumn season, embarking on this journey is a commendable act of self-care and resilience. Here, we provide you with practical guidance to initiate this transformative process:

1. Professional Guidance: Navigating with Expertise

Your first step towards embracing counselling is reaching out to a counsellor who specialises in men’s mental health. These seasoned experts possess a deep understanding of the unique challenges men often face when it comes to their emotional well-being. By seeking their guidance, you embark on a journey that is tailored to your specific needs and challenges. Through their expertise, you’ll find a compass to navigate the intricate terrain of your emotions.

2. Seek Recommendations: Trust in Personal Referrals

Don’t underestimate the power of personal recommendations. Trust in the experiences and insights of friends, family, or trusted individuals who have embarked on a similar journey. They can offer valuable referrals to experienced and empathetic counselors skilled in addressing men’s mental health concerns. It’s a testament to the strength of community and the support network that surrounds you.

3. Online Resources: Harnessing the Digital Frontier

In today’s interconnected world, a wealth of mental health resources is at your fingertips. Explore online platforms and resources that not only provide valuable mental health information but also offer options for virtual counselling sessions. This can be particularly advantageous during the autumn season when the inclination to stay indoors prevails. The digital realm extends a convenient avenue for seeking the support you need, irrespective of physical boundaries.

4. Embrace Self-Care: A Holistic Approach

Counselling, while invaluable, is but one facet of your journey towards enhanced mental well-being. In conjunction with seeking professional help, consider the incorporation of self-care practices into your daily routine. Simple habits like regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and engaging in mindfulness activities wield the potential for a profoundly positive impact on your mental health. These practices become your allies as you navigate the intricacies of the autumn blues, fostering a more robust emotional resilience.

Counselling for men

In summation, embarking on the path to men’s mental health during the autumn season is a testament to your commitment to self-discovery, self-compassion, and well-being. It is an investment in a healthier and happier you, not just for this season but for the seasons that follow. By taking these first steps, you not only unlock the potential for personal transformation but also contribute to the broader narrative surrounding men’s mental health—ushering in an era where emotional well-being is celebrated, and stereotypes are replaced with authentic expressions of self.

In Conclusion: Embracing the Seasonal Shift for Holistic Well-being

In summation, let us recognise that autumn transcends being merely a season of change in the natural world; it offers an exquisite opportunity for personal transformation and profound self-reflection. For men aged 25 to 35 residing in the United Kingdom, acknowledging the distinctive mental health challenges that accompany this season is a pivotal stride towards nurturing holistic well-being.

Embracing counselling as an invaluable resource for addressing the autumn blues signifies an act of profound self-compassion, resilience, and unwavering strength. It is not a fleeting choice but a resolute commitment to cultivating a happier, healthier version of oneself. This commitment that extends far beyond the confines of this particular season. By taking this path, you embark on a journey that celebrates emotional well-being, challenges stereotypes, and champions authenticity. A journey where each season becomes an opportunity for growth, transformation, and the unwavering pursuit of a more fulfilling, vibrant life.

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8 Questions You Might Be Afraid to Ask About Depression


Depression and anxiety can be really scary. Even though mental illnesses are common, they’re still stigmatised. That makes people who are suffering from these conditions even more reluctant to seek help because they fear being judged or misunderstood.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone: Millions of people struggle with depression and anxiety each year, but many don’t seek treatment for a variety of reasons. That’s why I’ve put together this list of questions you might be afraid to ask about your own depression—from how long it lasts to whether it affects your sex life!

1# Is depression a real illness?

Depression is a real illness. It’s not something you should be ashamed of, and it’s not something that means you’re weak or a failure. Depression is treatable, and there are plenty of people who have gotten through depression and come out on the other side stronger than before.

Some people believe that depression isn’t an actual illness because there isn’t any proof that it affects the biological makeup of the brain physically like other conditions do—but we know more now than ever before about how complex our brains are, how they work together with other organs in our bodies to keep us alive every day without even thinking about it until something goes wrong somewhere along this system (like when someone becomes depressed).

Success is falling 9 times and getting up 10 – Jon Bon Jovi

#2 How long does depression last?

You may have heard that depression is a lifelong condition and will never go away. While this is true for some people, it’s not true for everyone: depression can last weeks, months or even years. You might also be wondering how long you’ll need to take to see a counsellor before feeling better. The truth is that there’s no way to predict how long it will take you to recover from depression—it depends on many factors, including what caused your symptoms in the first place (if we knew that, we could prevent it!)

Do you need help with depression?

If left untreated for too long without support from a professional as well as friends, family and loved ones then symptoms may worsen into something more serious such as suicidal thoughts.

Depression may come back but sometimes the symptoms are milder than they were at first, which means that we can help manage them through lifestyle changes and counselling sessions. But if you don’t learn how to cope with stressors, then this problem might reoccur in new ways.

You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think – A.A Milne

#3 Does having depression make me crazy?

You might have heard that depression is a sign of weakness or an indication that you’re crazy. The truth is much simpler: Depression is a real illness, and it’s not your fault. It’s not about being weak or crazy, but rather about having an imbalance of brain chemicals — specifically serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine — that can cause changes in your mood, sleeping patterns and energy levels.

When you have depression, you might feel like you’re constantly running on empty with no hope for relief in sight. But there are many ways to manage symptoms of depression so you can get back to living life again without feeling this way every day

While it may seem intimidating at first, don’t be afraid to ask questions about depression. It’s important to get a full picture of what causes this illness so you can make an informed decision on how best to treat it.

If you’d like to talk to me about depression, then please feel free to get in touch.

#4 What’s the difference between grief and depression?

Depression is not the same as grieving. Depression is a medical condition, whereas grief is a normal response to loss. Grieving involves processing your feelings through talking about them with others, such as a counsellor and doing things like writing in a journal, which helps you move on with your life. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important that you speak to a professional about getting treatment—medication or therapy—to manage those symptoms.

Depression can last for days or weeks at a time, but usually less than six months; if it lasts longer than that, it could be indicative of clinical depression.

Remember that grief is a healthy process, while depression is not. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important that you speak to a professional about getting treatment. I can help you to process your grief or help you to work through your depression.

If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it – Muhammad Ali

#5 Can I get depression again if I’ve had it before?

It’s normal to worry that depression will come back. After all, you’ve been through it before and it was hard. You’re not sure how you’ll handle it if it happens again.

Depression is a chronic illness, which means that it can be recurring. It may come back at any point in your life—and even after you’ve had years of feeling stable and happy—but there are things you can do to make sure that if depression hits again, you’ll know how to handle it better than last time!

If depression does come back, it’s important to remember that it isn’t your fault.

Depression is not a sign of weakness or laziness. It’s not something you can just “get over” with a little effort—depression is an illness that needs treatment from professionals, such as a counsellor like me, who understand the disease and how best to help people with it. If depression comes back again later in life, it can still be treated.

#6 If my family has a history of mental illness, am I likely to develop a mental illness too?

This question is one of the most common. It’s important to know that depression can be passed down from parent to child, or it can occur as a result of environmental factors. The National Institute of Mental Health (the leading agency for mental health research in the United States) states: “Genetics does not determine whether someone develops depression.” Instead, genetics likely play a role in how patients respond to life events and stressors.

If you’re afraid to ask yourself whether or not your family has a history of mental illness, don’t be. There are many factors that can play into whether or not you develop depression. If there is any cause for concern in your family, talk to a doctor or a mental health professional like me, about what steps you might take now to prevent mental illness later on.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new – Albert Einstein

Are you worried about your mental health?

Contact me now to arrange a safe and confidential space to talk through your concerns with a professional counsellor.

#7 Can a lack of sleep cause depression?

Does lack of sleep cause depression? Yes, it certainly can. Lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, stress and irritability which are all triggers for depression. When you’re not getting the right amount of sleep, your body doesn’t have enough time to repair itself from the day before. This means that any physical or mental issues you might have — like stress-related heart problems or mental exhaustion — will come back even stronger on top of each other.

Long-term lack of sleep can cause poor concentration, fatigue and even depression. If you’re dealing with these symptoms then it’s worth looking into how much sleep you’ve been getting recently because it may be affecting your mental health more than you think.

Some people want it to happen, some wish it could happen, others make it happen – Michael Jordan

#8 Can medication help with depression, and if so, why should I try counselling first (or at all)?

Medications for depression (along with medication for anxiety) are among the most prescribed drugs in the world, with over 6 million people in the UK alone, taking anti-depressants. Many people see ‘anti-depressants’ as a ‘magic bullet’ to their mental illness and while this isn’t always the case, many people see quick improvements in their mental health, particularly in the short term. However, many anti-depressants have adverse side effects such as;

  • feeling agitated, shaky or anxious.
  • feeling and being sick.
  • indigestion and stomach aches.
  • diarrhoea or constipation.
  • loss of appetite.
  • dizziness.
  • not sleeping well (insomnia), or feeling very sleepy.
  • headaches.

the list above is not exhaustive!

There is nothing impossible to him who will try – Alexander the Great

It’s also worth bearing in mind that anti-depressants are often prescribed on a ‘trial and error’ basis, where the drug will be changed to another type if the patient isn’t getting the intended relief.

When it comes to talking therapy such as counselling, the results have proven to be longer-lasting than with medications.

Counselling can help you to identify what is triggering your depression and help you to develop coping strategies. Moreover, by seeking counselling for depression, you have an opportunity to learn what triggers your reactions to specific things such as fears, places or certain situations. By working with a counsellor for depression, you can develop lifelong techniques to battle your depression.

I hope by answering these questions about depression, it’s given you a clearer understanding of what depression is. If you think you have depression and you’d like to speak to a counsellor, then please do get in touch. You can also take a look at one of my other blog post ‘4 answers to your questions about depression‘.

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Winter depression Cornwall

Might you be struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

SAD is a type of depression. It comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is also known as winter depression and people in Cornwall will be affected by it, just like anyone who lives where it starts to get dark before 4pm at this time of year.

With the official start of Winter season just a few days away, it seems a suitable to write about Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a form of depression that people may feel the onset of, now the days are shorter and colder. Indications of SAD may be one or a combination of:

  • A low mood that won’t go away.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Struggling to get up in the morning.
  • A yearning to eat combined with weight gain.
  • General irritability.
  • An overall sense of malaise.

The symptoms of SAD can be treated, in a similar way to other forms of depression with talking therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT isn’t the only treatment that can help. Others that may have a relieving affect include:

  • Exposure to natural sunlight.
  • Regular exercise including walking.
  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
  • Antidepressants (GP prescription).
  • Light therapy via a special lamp called a light box.

SAD is an acknowledged condition and any counsellor will treat your case with care and compassion, just like any other form of depression. If you live in Cornwall and would like to talk through improving your response to wintry days, do not hesitate to contact me. I also offer SAD sessions via Zoom.

Suicide: the bane of masculinity

As I casually flicked through my Twitter feed I remember the feeling of sadness at seeing another icon of my youth, Keith Flint of ‘The Prodigy’ had committed suicide.  The feeling instantly took me back to how I felt in July 2017, when Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, committed suicide too.  I was heartbroken.  The music of both The Prodigy and Linkin Park elicit fond memories from my teenage years and fill my head and my heart with thoughts and feelings of an optimistic youth with his best years ahead of him. 

This is the gift both Keith and Chester gave to me and I will forever be grateful to their pioneering geniuses.  Gifts given to me and millions of fans around the world who were uplifted by the energy in both their music and their on stage performances and consoled by the poignancy of their lyrics.

Chester Bennington

When we lose icons like Chester and Keith as well as men like Chris Cornell from Soundgarden and Audioslave to suicide, it brings the subject to the fore and creates discussions but how many men are seeing suicide as a serious threat to both themselves and their families? Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45.  Bigger than any cancer. 

Keith Flint

Suicide claims more lives of British men under 45 years of age than anything else, so shouldn’t we be doing something about it? While suicide affects women, it doesn’t claim nearly as many lives, with the figure being roughly a third of the male suicide rate and yet there is a higher rate of depression diagnosis in women. 

There are 15.5 male deaths per 100,000, in the UK, compared to women, with the figure standing at 4.9 female deaths per 100,000.  The figures for death by suicide in the United States and Australia, both show similar trends.  Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, in Australia and in the United States, that figure rises to men being 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than women.

So why do more men commit suicide than women?

Well, we can identify several ‘risk factors’ and one of the biggest risk factors I am aware of and a risk factor many of my male clients identify as a major issue, is communication, or lack of it.  We could put it down to women being more “open” and willing to share their thoughts, feelings and emotions, while men “bottle it up” and feel less able to tell their loved ones or friends what “going on for them” but is it as simple and as straightforward as that?

For too long I feel it is true that western society has for generation after generation encouraged men to be “strong” and to not admit when they are struggling but that’s why many of my clients who seek counselling for men contact me because they realise that they do need to talk to someone.  The problem is, by the time they come to me for counselling, they’ve already had many years of experience of not talking about the anxieties

And its not just how men feel emotionally either.  If there is something physically wrong with a man, they are less likely than women to put themselves into the vulnerable position of asking for help.  The ‘Health and Social Care bill’ found that men visited their GP’s 20% less frequently than women.  It’s not that men don’t have the same issues as women but it’s that men are less likely to share a problem preferring to resolutely say “I’ll be fine”.  This attitude puts men at a greater risk of suicide.

Counselling for men

What are the other risk factors?

While it’s not unusual to hear of women in the UK drinking excessively, the Samaritans advise that men are more likely to turn to alcohol to when they are in distress, with alcohol being a known risk factor for suicide.  Another major risk factor of male suicide is employment.  Men are traditionally the “main bread winner” so when unemployment rises as a result of economic downturn, we see an increase in the number of suicides.   

A study by Bristol, Manchester and Oxford University, estimated that an additional 1,000 suicides and “30 to 40 thousand” attempts were made as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.  While money worries can understandably contribute to a man considering suicide, the reduction in finances, is the tip of the iceberg.  Simon Gunning, the CEO of Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) says “We’re brought up our entire lives to judge ourselves in comparison with our peers and to be economically successful.  When there are economic factors we can’t control, it becomes very difficult.”

What can be done?

To reduce the number of male deaths by suicide, attitudes towards talking about suicide need to change.  If we become more comfortable about talking about suicide, we can become more able to help someone who might be suffering with suicidal thoughts.  Here are some ways you can help someone you feel could be contemplating suicide:

Know the warning signs:

  • Mood changes – a sudden change from sad to happy can appear as though someone is in “a better place” but it could also be because they have decided that they are prepared to commit suicide.
  • Withdrawal – be aware of people who are not going out or socialising as much as they once did.
  • Changes to sleeping and eating patterns – someone who eats or sleeps excessively can be a warning sign as much as someone who can’t sleep or doesn’t eat.
  • A lack of energy or seeming “run down” – someone who is lethargic may be struggling.
  • Poor personal hygiene – if someone isn’t showering, brushing their teeth or wearing clean clothes, could be suffering from poor mental health.
  • Drink/drugs/gambling – excessive drinking, gambling and drug taking, can be warning signs that someone has “more going on in their lives” than they are letting on.
  • Recklessness – a person who is “risk taking” may be in danger.
  • Anger issues – Someone who is easily irritable or seems “always angry”, is possibly struggling with mental health issues.

What can I do to help someone who may be suicidal?

  • Be there for them.  Give them space to talk, if they need it.
  • Don’t pressure them to talk to you if they really don’t want to.
  • It’s also ok to ask someone if they feel suicidal.  While it can be a scary thing to do, it shows the person that someone is paying attention to them, which can make a difference.
  • Try to help the person explore their feelings and it may seem hard but try not to be judgemental if the person is drinking too much or dependant on drugs.  They probably realise that already and if they feel judged they’re more likely to respond negatively and reject your help.
  • If the person agrees, remove anything that could be used to take their life.
  • Get some help – you can call a GP’s surgery, 999 or take them to A&E but stay with them.
  • Get support – it’s tough hearing that someone you love or care for is thinking of suicide and it can leave many people feeling upset.  Get support from other friends or family members but if you don’t feel you are able to, there are agencies who can support you.

Useful contacts

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