‘Dear Stranger’: an inspiring anthology of letters on happiness

A few months ago I was asked to contribute a letter to an anthology being published by Mind and Penguin. The remit was to write a letter to a stranger on the subject of happiness, to be interpreted however I and the other 49 contributors saw fit. When I first clapped eyes on ‘Dear Stranger’, […]

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Nick Clegg interview: Dealing with mental health “is a national duty.”

Recently, I was in hospital overnight for an operation when the nurse on duty came in with some painkillers. “The doctors said I can take this, too,” I told her, revealing the small white tablet in my hand. When I explained it was an antipsychotic for my bipolar, her expression changed. I could only imagine […]

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Single-Parenting and Mental Health

The other day my eight-year-old son caught me dancing in the bathroom. “Not that you’d ever want to, but if you did that in a nightclub you’d probably catch a man.” Hilarity filled the house, as it so often does. His daily pint-sized views on life generally guarantee that. As it’s Mother’s Day today, I’m […]

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Anti-psychotic meds & ‘offsetting’: can metformin help us ‘have it all’?

Recently I’ve been teaching my eight-year-old about the principle of ‘offsetting’. “If we pay 99p for a second-hand book rather than £7.99 for a new one, you’ll still have enough money left for a small Lego set,” I tell him. He likes it because it feels like he’s constantly getting a bonus (“I get two […]

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Reflections on postnatal depression

Like many adults, I seem to spend much of my time trying to remember things – you know, remembering to collect the dry-cleaning before they auction it off to the highest bidder, remembering where I put my keys (in my bag, apart from that time when the dog was sleeping on them), remembering not to […]

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How to Help Young Adults with Mental Health Problems

As I drove home from a recent night out, a young woman stumbled out of the darkness into the road ahead of me. She was extremely distressed (not to mention totally lost) so I offered to drive her home. During our journey, Lara* told me that her dad hated her and she hadn’t seen him […]

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Anxiety nation: what can we do about it?

    Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off today and this year’s theme is anxiety. I recently wrote a feature on anxiety for Psychologies magazine in which experts told me we are living in ‘anxious times’. So how anxious are we and why? Are we getting the help? And what can we do about it? […]

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Mental health and laughter: a pathway out of depression?

‘Puerile’. That’s how one of my best friends recently described my sense of humour. I like to think I’m a bit more sophisticated than that, but on reflection, no – it’s a fair cop. I have a remote controlled fart machine which has probably used up more batteries than any other gadget in my house. […]

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Cave-dwelling: depression, ‘wobbles’ and seeing the light

Once, as an outdoorsy, devil-may-care teenager, I went caving. Wading through the black, up to my nose in chilly water, I found it thrilling…until I had to shimmy my way along a horizontal passageway just inches wider than my body and I thought I was going to be stuck in the cave forever. I got […]

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The Sun & mental health: come on, you can do better…

As a former health writer and deputy health editor at The Sun, I’ve spent many an occasion batting off laughs, sneers and suggestions that Britain’s favourite red top couldn’t possibly ‘take health seriously’. When I wrote for the health section of the country’s biggest selling national newspaper, I felt privileged to have an opportunity to […]

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