New online programme helps beat bipolar disorder

A new online self-management programme to help those suffering from bipolar disorder has just been made freely available to the public. It was developed by Dr Daniel Smith, University of Glasgow, and colleagues at Cardiff University’s National Centre for Mental Health. aims to improve understanding about the condition and includes a wide range of advice to help those with the disorder manage it more effectively. It is the first of its kind to include interactive material and videos of both patients and professionals discussing the best approaches to long-term management.

Kenneth Lamont, Director of Bipolar Scotland, has tried the programme. He has had the condition for over thirty years. He said “I was initially impressed with the simplicity of the site, both in usage and in content. The information given was uncomplicated and jargon free and the site was also very interactive. Finally, the use of personal lived experience was a good idea, giving the impression, especially to those new to the , that the condition CAN be managed, given the potential chaotic symptoms that Bipolar Disorder can reveal.” Click here to continue reading. 

Neil Hilborn – “OCD”

A poet with obsessive compulsive disorder has taken the Internet by storm with a heartbreaking performance about falling in love.
And his bravery is inspiring others to share their own stories about overcoming limitations.
Neil Hilborn performed ‘OCD’ in June during the individual finals at the 2013 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam.
In the poem, through repetition and theatrics, Hilborn paints a painful but beautiful image of being in a relationship while dealing with OCD:

The first time I saw her everything in my head went quiet. All the tics, all the constantly refreshing images just disappeared. When you have obsessive compulsive disorder you don’t really get quiet moments… When I saw her, the only thing I could think about was hairpin curve of her lips or the eyelash on her cheek, eyelash on her cheek, eyelash on her cheek.

On Monday, after Redditor antron81 posted the clip to Reddit, Hilborn’s performance went viral.
He decided to do an impromptu Q and A on Reddit.
In the comments, Hilborn explains that the poem was written in 2011. The tics in the performance are intentional, he says, “but they are also .. actual tics. Sometimes in performance they become real.” Click here to continue reading. 

Benefit plans can help with mental illness, but many still afraid to use them


If you’re dealing with a mental illness, everyday tasks can begin to look like insurmountable obstacles.
And if you’re battling stress or anxiety, worries over how to cover your bills if the illness becomes too intense for you to do your job may be enough to push you down that deep dark hole.
Mental illness is a problem that affects one in five Canadians and that costs $6-billion in lost productivity a year, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada. It’s also reflective of how the workplace has changed.
“Jobs are not as physical anymore. The type of work, the pace of work, the nature of work has changed,” said Marilee Mark, vice-president of market development for group benefits at Sun Life Financial.
“When that changes, you also expect to see some differences in the types of illnesses that we’re going to see in the workplace.”
While insurance companies used to see more claims for back injuries when jobs were more physical, they’re now seeing a higher percentage for mental health, because the jobs are more sedentary, she said.
About 30% of short- and long-term disability claims are now attributed to mental health problems and illnesses.

If a person is employed, there are provisions under any standard group benefit plan that would cover the need for short or long-term disability, regardless of the cause of the illness. Click here to continue reading. 

Online Psychotherapy Stacks Up Well Against Face-to-Face

By  Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 30, 2013

Online Psychotherapy Stacks Up Well Against Face-to-Face As technology advances the delivery of medical care, telemedicine over the Internet is seen by some as a way to improve access to care while reducing costs.
In many settings, online psychotherapyhas taken the lead in providing this type of care.
Despite the obvious advantages, the central question of whether the online format is as effective as conventional face-to-face therapy has not been closely examined. But some preliminary studies have suggested the techniques are comparable.
Based on these earlier studies, University of Zurich researchers assumed that online therapy and face-to-face therapy were on a par.
Not only was their theory confirmed, the results for online therapy exceeded their expectations.
For the study, researchers reviewed the care provided by six therapists for 62 patients, the majority of whom were suffering from moderatedepression.
The patients were divided into two equal groups and randomly assigned to one of the therapeutic forms.
The treatment consisted of eight sessions with different established techniques that stem from cognitive-behavior therapy and could be carried out both orally and in writing.
Patients treated online had to perform one predetermined written task per therapy unit – such as querying their own negative self-image. They were known to the therapist by name.

“In both groups, the depression values fell significantly,” said Andreas Maercker, M.D., Ph.D., summing up the results of the study. To read more, click here.