How Can Therapy Help With Bereavement..... by Dafina Ganeva


We all at some point in our life experience bereavement. Losing someone very close to us can make us feel the greatest emotional pain ever. Ripped from inside, empty, deeply depressed, sad, angry, desperate, losing all hope, joy and meaning in life and all that and the same time. It can make life extremely difficult for a long period of time. Simple every day tasks may feel impossible to accomplish for a while. And even though all that is very normal it might feel to us at the time as if we are the only ones who have ever been there and as if it will never get better. 

Losing my father when I was 13 years old was one of the most difficult things that ever happened to me. Therapy wasn’t popular back then and there and the adults around me were keener to help with my physical needs but didn’t know what to do with my emotions. So I had to carry that unresolved grief with me for the next 10 years of my life. Unable to speak about my father without bursting into tears or re-living the trauma of his death again and again.

 Getting the support we need during that extremely difficult time in our life can have an enormous effect on our future mental health. It is very important to allow ourselves to grieve and go through the grieving process in our own pace. Therapy can help with that by providing the space for us to do that. Talking about the loss, crying, exploring our feelings of anger or guilt in a safe environment can be life-saving. 

As a bereavement counsellor I have heard so many heartbreaking stories. Losing a baby, a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a suppose and sometimes more than one at the same time. All very different stories. All very sad. All unique. And yet people always say to me the same things. ‘No one wants to listen about it anymore.’ ‘I don’t want to upset people with my sadness.’ ‘I need to be strong for the ones who need me.’ ‘Life has no meaning.’ ‘It is so unfair.’ ‘How can I carry on?’ 

And they all do. They carry on. Some of them even stronger than before. As we don’t get over grief and grief doesn’t disappear. We learn how to live with it. It becomes part of who we are and then we grow around it.                       

Dafina Ganeva

The Eighth Annual Creativity and Wellbeing Week Will Take Place From 10-16 June 2019


Now in its eighth year, Creativity and Wellbeing Week has grown to nearly 350 events in London in 2018, with over 35,000 people attending talks, workshops, performances, exhibitions and discussions.

To build on the enormous success of the Week across London, they are now expanding to become a national event, as collaboration between London Arts in Health Forum and the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance.

London Arts in Health Forum and the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance  are working together to expand Creativity and Wellbeing Week into a national event, building on its enormous success across London.

Creativity and Wellbeing Week happened for the first time in 2012 and has grown to be a major festival highlighting work going on around arts and health and for updates about all their work, please sign up to receive our newsletter!   



All Pupils Will Be Taught About Mental and Physical Wellbeing...


Three new subjects will be universal from 2020 to ensure school prepares pupils for the modern world - health education, relationships education and RSE…

All children in England will be taught how to look after their mental wellbeing and recognise when classmates may be struggling, as the Government unveils new guidance for the introduction of compulsory health education.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

Growing up and adolescence are hard enough, but the internet and social media add new pressures that just weren’t there even one generation ago. So many things about the way people interact have changed, and this new world, seamless between online and offline, can be difficult to navigate. Almost twenty years on from the last time guidance on sex education was updated, there is a lot to catch up on.

Although sex education is only mandatory to teach at secondary, it must be grounded in a firm understanding and valuing of positive relationships, and respect for others, from primary age. In turn positive relationships are connected with good mental health, which itself is linked with physical wellbeing. So it is appropriate to make health education universal alongside relationships and sex education.

I’m very grateful to the many people who have fed into developing these new programmes, to equip youngsters better to deal with the world of today. It starts as it always did with the importance of friendship, kindness, taking turns; as well as learning about the pitfalls and dangers, including on the internet. It will help children learn how to look after themselves, physically and mentally, and the importance of getting away from the screen and the headphones. And it can help young people be resilient as they chart a course through an ever more complex world.

At primary school, pupils will learn that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life and why simple self-care – like getting enough sleep and spending time outdoors and with friends – is important.

Today’s announcement will follow the mental health support being made available by the NHS to a population of more than 470,000 children and young people across England in schools and colleges from September 2019.

The Department for Education is also funding training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges to ensure a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health and wellbeing.

Huge regional variations in the numbers of people subject to the Mental Health Act…


Six out of the ten areas with the highest rates were in London. 

The Mental Health Act is the law in England and Wales, which governs when someone can be treated for a mental illness without their consent. Approximately 20,000 people are subject to the Act in any given month, and in the last decade, there has been a 47% increase in detentions.

“These figures highlight what Theresa May called one of the “burning injustices” in Britain today: that if you are poor, from a black, Asian or minority ethnicity background and live in an urban area” Brian Dow, deputy chief executive at Rethink Mental Illness, said “you are much more likely to come into contact with the Mental Health Act if you have mental illness”. 

According to Rethink Mental Illness, the reasons behind the variation will be complex, but factors include deprivation, particularly in urban areas, which impacts on mental health. Most of the areas listed also have a higher proportion of people from BAME backgrounds, who are disproportionately detained under the Act. Cuts to local services can also lead to more people reaching crisis point, which is often when the Act comes into force.

The charity says the Act is out-dated and in dire need of reform to ensure the many people who come into contact with it are treated with dignity and respect.

Social Media and Indications of Depression in Teens...


Signs of depression in Teens…


The significant characteristic of a major depressive episode is a period of at least two weeks during which there is either depressed or loss of interest or pleasure all activities. For children, expect to see irritability rather than depression other signs of depression to watch for:

  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities

  • Irritable and moody

  • Reduced self-care

  • Substantial weight loss or weight gain

  • Moods of hopelessness

  • Insomnia or sleeps too much

  • Fatigue and loss of energy

  • Expressing feelings of worthlessness

  • Unwarranted guilt

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Difficulty making choices

  • Complaints of headaches, stomach aches

  • Social isolation

  • Suicidal thoughts, actions, or plans.

 Royal Society for Public Health in the UK surveyed 1500 young people, ages 14 to 24, to define the effects of social media use on problems such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and body image. They Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat all had negative effects on mental health



One in six people who have experienced money problems (16%) have experienced suicidal thoughts because of this.


One in six people who have experienced money problems (16%) have experienced suicidal thoughts because of this.

An online survey by YouGov of 2,000 UK adults found that one quarter of adults who have experienced money problems (25%) said they felt guilty about their money problems and 41% felt embarrassed. While just under 3 in 10 (28%) didn’t talk about these problems to anyone, and half of all adults (50%) said they wouldn’t know where to get support.

Half of British adults with a debt problem has a mental health problem, according to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. Debt problems increase the chances of poor mental health – people with debt problems are twice as likely to develop major depression. The more debt a person has, the more likely they will have a mental health problem.

This is leading to unhealthy behaviour. People who have had money problems revealed that they drank more alcohol (15%) and smoked (13%) more to cope.

People reported feeling stressed (65%), anxious (62%), angry (20%), isolated (23%) and depressed (44%) as a result of their money worries.

Money issues are widespread with nearly 3 in 10 (27%) of people have struggled to pay bills or rent. Mental Health UK estimates that four million people in the UK are at risk of mental health issues because they’re having financial difficulties.

Mental Health UK offers free information, support and advice for anyone affected by mental health and money issues through its Mental Health and Money Advice service.

 “People feel embarrassed and isolated, and don’t know where to get help. Instead they bottle up feelings of stress, anger and depression, and turn to unhealthy things like smoking and drinking” Brian Dow, Managing Director of Mental Health UK said “We want more people to be aware of the link between money troubles and mental health problems, to recognise when they might be struggling, and be able to reach out for help when they need it.”


The More Mentally Unwell You Are, the Longer You Wait for Care...


In a survey Rethink Mental Illness carried out with 1,602 people with, or caring for someone with, a mental illness:

·       28% were not referred to an appropriate service by their GP

·       56% did not receive treatment in the appropriate time

·       51% found they did not receive treatment for a sufficient and appropriate length of time

·       20 people* said they had thought about suicide following inadequate treatment for their mental health conditions

Anne*, a carer who took part in the survey, said:  

“These answers are on behalf of my husband, who sadly took his own life six weeks ago. There was inadequate support and too long a wait for crucial therapy. He was originally under the home treatment team after a suicide attempt, then transferred to the mental health team after a few weeks. The level of care and support under this service was appalling, despite my husband constantly expressing suicidal thoughts. I truly believe that, if he had received talking therapy sooner, he would still be here.”

Kay*, who took part in the survey, told us:

“I’ve been in recovery since 2013 and I’m now tired and suicidal. I want counselling, someone to talk to without judgement, but I was told that counsellors don’t like to take on people with my diagnosis, which is borderline personality disorder. I’m struggling with rejection and loneliness as it is. This in itself makes me more suicidal and dead inside.”

Brian Dow, deputy CEO at Rethink Mental Illness said:

“What we want is right treatment, right time but what we too often have is wrong treatment, too late. Thousands of people find themselves in desperate situations every year, but have to contend with long waits, bureaucracy, and a severe lack of choice about their care. The result is that far too many people reach crisis point before getting help.

*Some names have been changed to protect poeple's anonymity. 

About the data

The statistics used in this report appear in Right Treatment, Right Time and are based on a survey of 1602 people with either direct or carer experience of mental health care in England.

The survey ran between August and September 2018.




New figures, released on Time to Talk Day (1 February), reveal two thirds (66%) of people in the UK feel they have no one to talk to when it comes to personal conversations on topics such as mental health, money problems and relationships. When asked why, the top reasons were: never being able to find the right time, or the right place.

Time to Change commissioned the independent survey of over 2,500 UK adults to mark Time to Talk Day, a nation-wide push to get people talking more openly about mental health. The data reveals that many people are missing out on support from those around them, simply because they cannot find the ‘perfect’ time and place to open up. This year marks the fifth Time to Talk Day and the theme is Right Time, Any Place providing everyone with the perfect chance to be more open about mental health – whatever they are doing on the day.

The day was launched at the aptly dubbed ‘Walkie Talkie’ building, one of the tallest, iconic buildings in London where Time to Change champions will start conversations with members of the public, showing that conversations about mental health can happen anywhere. Further conversations will took place in the Sky Garden, where Time to Change champions were be stationed. Stephen Fry, Fearne Cotton, Frankie Bridge, Nicholas Pinnock and Sean Fletcher have also joined thousands of people and organisations to back the campaign by having conversations in the most unlikely locations, from the middle of a cinema to the top of a mountain.

Time to Talk Day was established by Time to Change, the campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health problems, led by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The day was created in recognition of the fact that people talking and sharing their experiences changes the attitudes of those around them. This year was the first time the event was UK-wide as Time to Change partners with See Me Scotland, Change Your Mind Northern Ireland and Time to Change Wales. The message also went global with support from campaigns as far as the USA and Hong Kong.

Over 2,500 workplaces hosted their own activities including Virgin Trains and Highways England. PG tips will facilitated chats over a cup of tea through its donation of thousands of tea bags made available as part of a ‘chatter box’ full of resources for supporters. In addition 1,300 people in the community– such as lollipop people, mountain rescue groups, gardeners, runners and librarians and 800 schools took part.

Sue Baker OBE, Director of Time to Change, said: “People still think there is no right time or place to talk about mental health – that it’s something that should be whispered about in quiet corners. We all need to work hard to change and remove the barriers to talking. Conversations have the power to change lives, wherever they take place. So whether you’re at home, at work, in the cinema, or even in the car, Time to Talk Day was the perfect chance to be more open about mental health.”



Nine in Ten young people tell friends and family they are ‘fine’ even if struggling with a mental health problem

New research released by the mental health anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change, reveals that when asked, nearly nine in ten (88%) 16-24-year-olds would tell friends and family they are ‘fine’, even if struggling with a mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety[1].

When asked why, responses suggest young people doubt whether those around them really want to hear the honest answer.

The top concerns were1:

·       I don’t want to burden people (59%)

·       Just because people ask how you are, doesn’t mean they really want to know (52%)

·       I’d only talk if I was confident my friend or family member really wanted to listen (45%)

The national survey highlights that young people seek permission to talk about their mental health, beyond the questions ‘How are you?’ or ‘Are you ok?’ To tackle this, Time to Change is urging people to ‘Ask Twice’ if they think a friend or family member might be struggling with their mental health. The campaign says the simple act of asking again, with interest, shows a genuine willingness to talk and listen.

‘Ask Twice’ is the latest campaign from Time to Change which encourages young people to be more supportive of friends who might be experiencing a mental health problem.

While there has been a positive shift[2] in the way mental health problems are viewed in England, insight shows that in practical terms many people are still unsure of how to be more supportive.

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said “When we consider that 75% of all mental health problems are established by the age of 24[3], it’s all the more important that young people feel supported. Our research shows that asking ‘Are you ok?’ is often not enough. Asking twice is a simple, effective way to show that you’re asking for real and ready to talk and listen.”

Adam Howard, 18, said “During sixth form, I experienced intense social anxiety, to the point where I was frightened of walking past groups of people. I was very reluctant to tell my teachers and friends due to the fear of being judged. Many of my peers were quite loud and boisterous and I think that influenced my decision in not talking.

“More recently I have met so many supportive people and become more able to open up. Rather than saying ‘I’m fine’, I am now more honest about my feelings and people are happy to listen. It can still be very hard to say I’m struggling, however when someone checks in, it makes me feel less alone and that people genuinely care about how I’m feeling.”

Time to Change has compiled some tips on how to support a friend who is experiencing a mental health problem:

·       Reach out – get in touch by text, call, or face-to-face

·       Take it seriously, listen and don’t judge

·       Do something you love together – you don’t need to change your behaviour

The research was conducted by Censuswide with a nationally representative sample of 2,012 general respondents between 10.08.2018 - 13.08.2018, of which 342 respondents were aged 16-24. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles*




Understanding Autism: A Workshop For Counsellors And Psychotherapists...


What is Autism?

What does it mean to be on the Spectrum?

How do I support someone who identifies as ASD and their family members?

Communication and how it shapes our understanding of the world is central to our work with clients and their families. People with ASD tend to function differently to neurotypicals (people who don't have ASD) in terms of social interactions, communication and the way they perceive and shape their world. This workshop is specifically aimed at increasing counsellors' understanding of this complex spectrum and to encourage participants to explore how to work effectively with someone who identifies as Autistic or Aspergers.

The workshop will be a combination of presented material, experiential work and discussion, including the opportunity to discuss clients in a non-identifying and confidential manner, time permitting.

 Facilitated by Kerrie Gaelen, a BACP accredited counsellor. Kerrie has extensive experience - both personal and professional - of both autism and working with families and parenting.

 To book, contact Kerrie on 07963 950654 or email on

Venue: Croydon Buddhist Centre, Croydon

Workshop fee: £65

Date: Saturday 23th March 2019 9.30am (for a 10am start) until 5pm