• Lesley Barker

Depression & Anxiety (sound familiar?)

If, like me, you’re prone to depression, this can be one of the worst times of the year and the facts around mental health are alarming

  • About a quarter of the population will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common mental disorder in Britain

  • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men and about ten percent of children have a mental health problem at any one time

  • Depression affects 1 in 5 older people

  • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women and self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population

  • Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder

  • Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the UK and elsewhere, yet it is still under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated.

  • Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with almost 9% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis. (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)

  • About half of people with common mental health problems are no longer affected after 18 months, but poorer people, the long-term sick and unemployed people are more likely to be still affected than the general population. (Better Or Worse: A Longitudinal Study Of The Mental Health Of Adults In Great Britain, National Statistics, 2003

These statistics are extremely concerning but for sufferers it shows that you are not alone. Far from it. So what can you do about it? If you have gone to your GP you are most likely prescribed anti-depressants and in some cases CBT which can really help some people but it’s not the answer for everyone. Talking therapies and counselling are also helpful and it’s good to talk but some sufferers simply don’t want to talk about their situation and a great example of this is PTS, when talking about it simply re-traumatises the sufferer.

Depression and anxiety usually find their origins back in early childhood, usually after a significant event and can be triggered by a trauma in adult years such as bereavement, redundancy, family problems and chronic illness and sometimes there is no clear reason for its onset. Depression can cause negative thoughts which create helplessness, feelings of worthlessness and not being in control. It is the thoughts that are crucial here. If you change the thoughts you can change your state.

In my years of working as a therapist I have seen many patients who were depressed and anxious and it’s amazing how quickly this can be lifted. In fact I wish I’d known someone like me when I was a sufferer. Now I can actually see it coming and I can avoid it. Sometimes just talking it through can do the trick and Mindfulness practices can be very useful too.

Overall I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that you take notice of the words you are telling yourself and the pictures you create in your mind. When they are dark and negative, which it will be when you're in a depressive state, you will be creating a negative hypnosis which can produce a mental ‘prison’ however, when your words and pictures are positive and colourful the opposite is the case. So be aware of what you are saying to yourself and if you catch yourself, change the words and the pictures and gradually you will be amazed at what a difference it will make because it will, in time, change your mind and your beliefs, and ultimately your beliefs create your reality.

If you’d like to discuss anxiety and depression or anything else I am available at

Lesley_barker@hotmail.com or call 07747 752860


Statistics provided by the Mental Health Foundation

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