Mental Health Awareness - We All Have A Mental Health

On Sunday 2nd June 2019, Lotus Prime Care participated in the Oshwal Health and Care Awareness Fair. We started the day by speaking to people of all ages on the mental health stand answering questions about mental health. We spoke to individuals about careers in psychology, what is the role of a clinical psychologist, when to seek help, how to seek help, supporting relatives and facts about different mental health conditions.  We had some very interesting and thought-provoking discussions about the links between the mind and body, about the prevalence of mental ill health worldwide and the stigma of mental health in different communities. Later on in the day, Dr Chirag Gorasia gave a talk on mental health (for more details on the content, see our article). The key messages from the day were that we want to promote and create greater awareness of mental health difficulties and our collective responsibility for looking after both our own mental health and the mental health of others.

We believe mental health is just as important as physical health. It is okay not to be okay - seeking help should not be seen as a sign of weakness.  Lotus Prime Care strives to promote awareness of the importance of looking after your mental health and we are very passionate about this. This is a key part of our values. If you feel you need help with your mental health, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us by going to our contact us page.

Part of the ethos of Lotus Prime Care is to promote awareness of mental health and we enjoy attending events to speak to people of all ages about mental health. If you would like us to come and speak to your organisation please send us an email

Breaking the silence – it's ok not to be ok

After years of silence mental health is something that has finally hit the mainstream media. A number of celebrities and well-known people have recently shared their own personal battles and experiences of mental health difficulties and there have also been a number of campaigns to raise awareness around mental health difficulties.

But does this really affect our community in today’s day and age? Surely most of us come from well-established and financially stable families. As a community of British Indians, we are predominately well educated and work in some of the most regarded professions – so why should we be worried about mental health difficulties? The truth is that like most other health difficulties, mental health difficulties does not discriminate against class, race, creed or gender.

In the UK, 1 in 4 adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health difficulty in any one year, and one in six experiences this at any given time. The most common mental health difficulties are depression and anxiety. A recent study showed that approximately 9% of people meet diagnostic criteria for clinical depression and/or anxiety in Britain. Whilst an increasing number of people are seeking help and accessing treatment, some stories end in suicide. The suicide rates of 16-24 year-old women of Asian origin is three times that of 16-24 year old women of white British origin. So, suddenly the figures now hit home – yes this does affect our community and our loved ones. But what are we doing about it? How can we help to support each other? Why are we not talking about mental health in the same way as we talk about physical health?

Mahatma Gandhi famously said “be the change you want to see in the world” If we as a community want to see change in the way we talk about mental health then we need to make it ok to talk about mental health, we need to accept that this does affect our community and we need to understand more about mental health difficulties. We also need to acknowledge that mental health difficulties occur in tandem with physical health difficulties.  We need to start thinking about health from more of a biopsychosocial perspective, meaning that we need to acknowledge that as well as a biological component, health also has a psychological and social component.

So, what should you do if you or someone else is experiencing mental health difficulties? In the same way as you might seek medical assistance when you are worried about your physical health, it’s important to get help if you are worried about mental health. As with most things your first point of call could be your GP who can then make a referral for you to see an appropriate mental health service. Often this may also be provided at your own GP practice. Some NHS and charity supported mental health services also accept self-referrals so it’s worth finding out what is available in your local area. You can also access help privately and this may also be funded by your private health insurance. If you do choose to seek help outside the NHS it is important to ensure that the person who you see is sufficiently qualified to provide treatment. You can check this by seeing if they are registered with a body like the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) or the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP). Normally the most effective treatment for mental health difficulties is talking therapies like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Talking therapies are usually provided individually but sometimes they may be provided in the format of group or family/couples therapy. Medication is also an effective treatment option, but results are in most cases better when medication is combined with talking therapies. If you do choose to take medication it is important that this is managed by a psychiatrist and is regularly reviewed.

We will all cross paths with people who have struggled with mental health difficulties in our day to day lives knowingly or unknowingly. As a community we need to change the culture of this topic and make it ok to talk about mental health and suicide. Mental health is not a sign of weakness but often a sign of strength. Many stories of mental health difficulties end positively with individuals making a recovery or maintaining remission. Let’s try and make more stories of mental health, stories of success.

Team sports may be superior to individual exercise in treating depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in the UK. Although cognitive behavioural treatment is the recommended treatment for these disorders, recent research has suggested that exercise may be a possible treatment option specifically team sports.

Benefits of exercise

Exercise has been shows to be beneficial for the biological element of depression whereas team sports may impact the biological, cognitive and social aspects making it more effective for depression sufferers than simply exercise alone. Often people suffering with depression withdraw themselves from their friends and families. Team sports encourage socialisation and may help to break the avoidant cycle by providing a social support system. They may also help to keep someone engaged in sport as there is a sense of accountability to the team. Another benefit of using team sports as a treatment for depression is it is something a client can start doing straight away either whilst on a waiting list, or instead of. 

Limitations to using exercise as a treatment option

Although there are numerous benefits of using exercise as a treatment for mental health. It is important to note that for some people it may not be possible, for others it may not be effective and also, it may not be the sole treatment but used in combination. Depression may be comorbid with other conditions including physical conditions that may limit the exercise opportunities for an individual therefore not making it an effective treatment. Additionally, there is a cost involved including a team membership as well as petrol to get to training and games and kit that some may not be able to afford. Furthermore, for someone suffering with severe depression, just the idea of getting up and getting dressed can appear challenging let alone getting up, getting dressed and doing sport. However, for those suffering with more mild depression, exercise could be beneficial. For some, exercise may only be effective when used alongside other treatments such as CBT or medication.

To conclude, it seems that team sports may have an additional benefit in alleviating depression symptoms over exercise however we must bear in mind as with other therapies the limitations, to prevent sufferers feeling they should be able to “run away” their depressive symptoms.

This article was written by guest writer Emily Gulvin, Sports, Exercise and Mental Health Awareness Blogger