Belfast Mental Health Talks -January 2018

There will be four talks on Monday evenings in January on ‘Mental Health Issues in the Community’.
The talks are on the topics of ‘What is Depression and what Treatments are Available? , Overcoming Suicidal Thoughts, Understanding and Coping with Addictions, and ‘Anxiety and Stress Management’.

Belfast Mental Health Talks -January 2018

Meetings are Mondays 8,15,22,29 January 7-30-9-30, at the Forth Spring Inter Community Group 373-375 Springfield Road, BT12 7DG.

On each evening there will be a presentation of the topic followed by questions and a tea interval.
After the tea interval there will be an optional brief reflection on the Spiritual issues associated with these mental health issues.
Dr Stephen Critchlow who has had many years’ experience as a consultant psychiatrist in Northern Ireland will lead the talks.
The talks are hosted jointly by Mr Ed Peterson (Clonard Monastery) and Rev. Colin Duncan (Methodist Church)
Father Michael Murtagh (previous rector of Clonard Monastery) comments in the introduction to Dr. Critchlow’s new book

Mindful of the Light-practical help and spiritual hope for Mental Health’
‘Dr. Critchlow has spoken on many occasions to groupings at Clonard Monastery , Belfast.
Those attending found his talks most interesting, easy to follow and practical to implement.
His combination of modern psychiatric study with a living spirituality was unique and inspiring’.

All are welcome to Belfast Mental Health Talks-January 2018


Measuring our Stress

Measuring our Stress

Last time I talked about our stress levels at Christmas. I mentioned that if we are too stressed then we might not function to the best of our ability. I talked about trying to find and stay at our optimal stress level. (Too little stress can be as bad for us as too much) One question I left us with was’ How can we measure the stress in our lives?

Measuring our stress

Here is a picture of me holding a diary given to me by a good friend for next year.

One way of measuring our stress is to carry out a diary of the stress in our lives each day for a week and see what stresses we are under. Each day we can write down the situations or problems that are causing us stress and write next to this  how stressed we are feeling on a score of 1-10. Then we can add in how we coped with this particular stress. This process can be quite revealing. As well as the more obvious pressures, there may emerge relationship difficulties, unresolved problems from the past, bad habits etc.  We can then look at this list after a few days and begin to ask ourselves the question, ‘What can I change on this list? ‘ ‘Are there any ways to avoid some of this stress?

Writing down what causes us stress can be very helpful. Instead of the stressful thoughts going round and round in our minds they are now on paper and can be examined carefully. Then we can begin to take responsibility for the stress in our lives, and I will talk more about this later. More about this can be found in my book- Mindful of the Light-practical help and spiritual hope for mental health

Next time I will look at unhelpful ways of dealing with stress, having discussed measuring  our stress.

Dublin Mental Health Talks -19th & 20th January 2018

Here you will find details of my up-coming Dublin Mental Health Talks on 19th & 20th January 2018.

Mental Health is high on the agenda in Ireland. Many people are struggling to cope with a mental health issue themselves or in their own family. Others wonder how they can practically help a friend or relative with a mental health issue.  After the busyness and stress at Christmas many find it difficult to feel positive about the year ahead in the grey days of January.

There seem to be so many questions and so few answers!

Dublin Mental Health Talks – 19th & 20th January 2018

Dr Stephen Critchlow, a retired psychiatrist, over the last several years has been leading talks on mental health in many places in the UK and Ireland and will be holding a series of three talks in Dun Laoghaire on 19th and 20th January 2018. He will talk on Anxiety and Stress Management, Understanding Addictions, and What is Depression and what Treatments are available?

Dublin Mental Health Talks

The talks are being held in THE KINGSTOWN SUITE, ROYAL MARINE HOTEL DUN LAOGHAIRE, starting at 7-30 on the Friday evening and 9-00 (for 9-30) on the Saturday morning on 19th and 20th January.

Dublin Mental Health Talks

Each talk will be in two parts. The first part gives a clear description of the topic with practical pointers as to how we can help ourselves or others. Then there is  time for questions followed by a short break. In the second part there is a  short, optional spiritual reflection on the topic being discussed. Many have found these talks very helpful and they are suitable for carers, sufferers, professionals and all those interested in mental health. The book, Mindful of the Light-practical help and Spiritual hope for Mental Health is a further useful resource on these  topics. Entry is free although donations are welcome! So plan to come to these Dublin Mental Health Talks on 19th & 20th January 2018.


Stress At Christmas

Stress at Christmas is something that affects nearly all of us. There is the pressure of all that has to be done. The presents – Christmas dinner – what to do with Aunt Sally this year – or even sometimes the stress of being alone and feeling that no-one cares. Looking at stress at Christmas and trying to understand the stress we are under can be the first way to begin to try and reduce it.

Understanding Stress at Christmas

This picture from the wall in my office is one way of saying that we all have stress in our lives. Too much stress however is not good for us. This graph ( from my book Mindful of the Light) shows the effects of too much stress.
When we are asleep or bored our arousal levels are low and we are not doing much. As we get ready for work, for example, we are becoming mildly alert.  When we are doing a demanding task, so our stress levels rise until we are performing at our optimal level.

Effects of too much stress

If the stress increases further we may become anxious and panicky and – here is the important thing to remember – our level of performance goes down. We do not function so well. So, the more stressed we are the less efficient we become. This is why it is important not to get too stressed, particularly with everything happening at this time of year as Christmas approaches! Are there any ways we can examine our stress levels and work out how to reduce them?

In my next blog I will talk about how we can measure our stress at Christmas using a simple technique.