Adam’s Message

We are all stepping into this crisis together, unsure of the next turn and facing an uncertain future. But, take hope from this, we are all working together, to support one another, reaching out to those most in need and reassuring the vulnerable members of our society. Having faced the unknown myself, I can promise you it won’t always be like this. We will come through this, hopefully stronger, more accepting of one another and more caring towards each other.

Stay safe, stay healthy.

Adam Shaw
Shaw Mind

James’ Message

Dear Friends, in these troubled times more than ever we need to recognise the importance of reaching out and helping people wherever we can. In the corporate world I believe strongly that the CEO is the Chief Culture officer and he or she sets the tone for the character and well- being of the company and its personnel.

I am sure good leaders will clearly emerge and be recognised after this crisis; as those who engaged with and supported their colleagues right through the ranks of the organisation — from the top to the very bottom.

I have always believed in the acronym “TEAM” – Together Everyone Achieves More. There is no” I “in team.

The good times will return and the key assets of any company are it’s people. So let us all be strong, compassionate, responsible and caring leaders during this Crisis. The sun will shine again.

Do take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Dr. James Espey OBE
Shaw Mind

Lauren’s Message

I know that many people suffering from mental health problems will be finding the current climate particularly stressful. Possibly, even more so for those with certain types of problems – anxiety, OCD, health anxiety, or those who suffer from depression and are confined to home.  Please remember that this situation is anxiety-provoking for everyone – with or without a pre-existing mental health disorder.

In anxiety and depression, people who are left alone with their worries and intrusive thoughts, can spiral quickly into a difficult and distressing place. For anyone suffering from an anxiety or obsessional problem, depression or indeed any other mental health problem, being disconnected and isolated from other people exacerbates their problems.

Social distancing, self isolating, quarantine, or a city lockdown does not mean you should disconnect from others. If you know someone suffering from anxiety or depression, or indeed any other mental health issue, please reach out to them. Check they’re coping OK. Offer them support, and have a catch up, skype and have a cuppa together.  If you are suffering from poor mental health, please reach out to someone.  People don’t always know that you need help and they most likely need the connection as much as you do.

These days we have many ways of connecting with someone – facebook, insta, twitter, text, skype, zoom, whatsapp, email, and even old school talking on the phone. Take a breath, and connect with someone – it might be what helps you through the day!

And keep remembering, this will pass, and the world will keep turning. It might look and feel a bit different, but there have been many global revolutions that change the way we operate, and often for the better.

Take care and stay safe.

Dr. Lauren Callaghan
Trustee and Clinical Committee member
Shaw Mind

Az’s Message

Exactly 100 years ago a prohibition was placed on alcohol in the USA and since then various drugs have been the subject of prohibition.  Today we find ourselves in an unprecedented time in civilisation where social contact is now prohibited.

Mammals all form attachment relationships especially between mother and infant.  As humans we are essentially pro-social beings.  Our mind is our on-board computer whose operating system relies on interacting with other minds in order to maintain optimal functioning. This keeps things in check, especially if our thinking starts to ‘go a bit off’ whereby interacting with others such as friends and partners and family May have a ‘correcting’ effect on our mind.

We all know that when we are deprived of interaction with others we can go a bit ‘stir crazy’ and this forms the basis of some custodial penal interventions such as ‘solitary confinement’.

So we now find ourselves in social lockdown. The very meeting up with those close to us now frowned upon and the subject of prohibition. For some this will be a prolonged period of being alone. For others it is the enforcement of remaining within a home along with family members from which there may feel to be no escape.

In both these scenarios there is a ‘dosing’ problem with the ‘dose of interpersonal interaction’. Those with prolonged enforced solitude having an under-dosing of interpersonal contact and social starvation. Those confined with families may feel that they are over-dosing on interpersonal contact with family whilst underdosjng on interaction persons outside the house (rather like a socially unbalanced diet).

For those feeling that they are not getting enough interaction with others it is essential to supplement this with contact via telephone, texts, emails, FaceTime and innovative online measures available such as meeting up via Zoom, House(party) or other online interaction platforms.

Those feeling suffocated by household members need to work out a system whereby the exposure to each other is managed by boundaries to reduce the experience of social overdosing. Measures could be geographical within the home such as having dedicated spaces or time in spaces to yourself (a study, bedroom, the garden, the shed). It may be taking your designated time out of the house away from others such as doing your daily walk / run / food shopping by yourself to clear your head and achieve some mental space.

This enforced social disruption and isolation is counter to everything which human social evolution has achieved to date.  As such we experience it as unwelcome.  The isolation can be experienced as intensely lonely and very difficult for some of us some of the time.  One thing I am telling my patients who are struggling is the consolations that’s everyone else is in a similar boat. Unlike Cinderella who couldn’t go to the ball whilst her sisters did, at the moment we are all Cinderella and no one is going to any ball. We are not missing out – there is no ball- and remembering that we are all in this together is a paradoxical socially cohesive concept to bear in mind during what feels like an otherwise asocial time.

Dr. Az Hakeem
Trustee and Clinical Committee member