How to Mind Mental Wellbeing; HEALTH: With the Pressures of 21st-Century Living Come the Side-Effects of Stress and Depression - but the Stigma That Went with These Issues Is Fast Disappearing

Article excerpt

THERE is still something of a stigma attached to mental health in this country.

As society becomes ever more stressful and business and educational requirements get higher and higher, so our mental health can suffer.

But there are simple ways to avoid a melt-down - here we reveal some simple tips to create a healthier and happier you.

FORMER comedian Pamela Stephenson has spent the past 17 years of her life dealing with the mind.

She meditates every day, takes exercise as often as she can and laughs a lot - which is unsurprising when you consider she's married to Billy Connolly.

But it's all part of a process of keeping her mind healthy, says the New Zealand-born writer. As a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Los Angeles, Pamela believes that millions in this country are suffering needlessly, because of our 'stiff-upper-lip' attitude to mental health. "Here, there's still something of a stigma even though things are getting a bit better, with more discussion in the media, and some brave people have come out and talked about their struggle with depression," says the 57-year-old. Among them is TV star and writer Stephen Fry, one of the guests on her hit More4 series Shrink Rap,

Other A-list celebrities who have revealed their battles with depression include Robin Williams, Sharon Osbourne and Robbie Williams.

While Sporty Spice Melanie Chisholm says her proudest achievement is having overcome depression.

Heather Clelland, chief executive of Voices4Choices, an independent user-led organisation supporting people with mental health problems and addictions across Coventry and Warwickshire, said mental illness was on the rise. "A lot of it is to do with the stresses of day-to-day living which affect us all." And although most people were more likely to come forward for help with mental health issues, there was still a challenge to reach out to ethnic communities where mental illness remained a 'hidden' disease.

She said this was a main focus for campaigns around World Mental Health Day, which is on Wednesday, October 10. "Experts estimate one in four of us will suffer from some kind of mental distress in our lifetime, and some suggest that figure is nearer one in three.

"This can range from mild depression to psychosis so it is a broad range of problems. …