The truth behind suicide and the suicidal mind

Edwin. S. Shneidman states:

“In almost every case, suicide is caused by pain, a certain kind of pain – psychological pain, which I call psychache. Furthermore, this psychache stems from thwarted or distorted psychological needs’ (The Suicidal Mind, 1996, p.4)

Suicidal death is an escape from overwhelming pain.

The question we should be asking is “Where does it hurt? And “How can I help you?”

Shneidman also looks at some common truths and factors about suicide. These are:

  • The common purpose of suicide is to seek a solution to end the pain.
  • The common goal of suicide is cessation of consciousness. Dissociating from the painful reality.
  • The common stimulus in suicide is psychological pain. Pain is at the core of suicide.
  • The common stressor in suicide is frustrated psychological needs. These cause the pain and push the person into suicide.
  • The common emotion in suicide is hopelessness-helplessness. It feels like there is nothing the person can do (except end their pain via death) and nobody that can help them (with the pain they feel).
  • The common cognitive state in suicide is ambivalence. This is the tug war between life and death. Not wanting to live, not wanting to die but wanting to end the pain and death feeling like the only solution. Suicidal people feel forced into this, it is not a want but stemming from the need to end the pain. When the need becomes greater than the want, suicide wins. This is the result of great distress and great desperation.
  • The common perceptual state in suicide is constriction. Black or white thinking. All or nothing.

Shneidman states:

“Suicide is not best understood as a psychosis, a neurosis, or a character disorder. It is a transient psychological constriction, involving our emotions and intellect”. “There was nothing else to do.’ “The only way out was death’. “The only thing I could do was this’.

  • The common action in suicide is escape or egression.
  • The common interpersonal act in suicide is communication of intention
  • The common pattern in suicide is consistent with life-long styles of coping. Individuals who have lost their lives to suicide, have been fighting for far longer than we realise, it’s an accumulation of unprocessed life events that can trigger the final act. Those more prone to automatically use the flee survival response are made vulnerable.

What doesn’t help people who are suffering is the myths that surround suicide that need to be eliminated and based on lack of empathy and total ignorance.

Suicidal people are not selfish, cowards, weak or attention seeking, not only are they in great psychological pain, but did you know that the part involved with empathy is shut down? When overwhelmed our nervous system shuts down and parts of our brain become inactive. In that moment, suicidal people are not thinking, this ability is disabled, they are trying to end their pain.

Also children and adolescents commit suicide, do we think of them as weak, cowards…or do we see them as dsyregulated individuals in great distress unable to regulate and soothe selves?

Suicidal idealisation and suicide itself is common and normal, we need a relational approach to this not a pathological approach. We need to stop pathologising human experiences. We need to stop shaming people who open up to us and label them attention seeking, let’s substitute attention seeking with connection seeking. Suicide can escalate when individuals are made to feel unsupported and isolated.

If someone brings our attention to the fact they are hurting, we ask where are you hurting? We don’t say people are seeking attention when they have had an accident and are injured, the doctor or paramedic may ask, can you tell me where it hurts? Can you show me where you are hurting? and assistance will immediately be given. We also don’t leave an individual who is bleeding profoundly to bleed alone so why do we emotionally? why is the waiting list and support for people in distress so long, requiring them to have to wait years even for assistance? Why are children being dismissed because they are told they are not suicidal enough for help?

Myths not only are callous, judgmental and inaccurate but also contribute in making others feel further unsupported, misunderstood, stigmatised, punished, isolated and alone, increasing the pain and risk. This is the root of the problem and this rises suicidal feelings and the risks of suicide.

We see in films the kind act of putting an animal in pain out of its misery and suicidal people feel like they are doing the same for themselves as well as a kind act to those they love in the way of removing the burden they feel they are. They don’t want their loved ones to see them in pain and have to experience that pain every day and feel that death would give them freedom from this. They know that their death would also cause pain, but they don’t see this as worse of a pain than to see a loved one dead inside and in pain whilst alive. It is excruciatingly painful and difficult for someone to end their life, and an indication of how bad that psycheache is. Nobody likes pain, think of what we do, when we have a toothache, we reach for medication to help alleviate the pain, when we are in severe psychological pain such as deep injuries and needing surgery we are given anaesthetic to take away the pain, imagine living with this pain with no anaesthetic day after day. For a suicidal person living can feel like being burned alive each day.

Not every suicidal person wants to end life, it’s not that they don’t want to live but they fear living or life more than death. For others they may feel trapped in limbo where they fear living and they feel dying just as equally. These individuals may find themselves experiencing suicidal ideation but not making plans. This is a torment in its own right. Suicide is trying to find a solution to a problem, it is the trauma response of flight mode. Attempts are ways to self soothe when one is emotionally dysregulated and overwhelmed by so much emotional and psychological pain within. One doesn’t need to suffer from a mental illness, even if mental illness is a high risk and many lose their lives to a mental illness far too many times, this is why we must have the support we need to help those in need but the support for mental health as always been scarce and the world has long not be trauma informed.

What also doesn’t help is that we live in a world that causes systematic trauma alone through oppression and exploitation such as racism, capitalism, misogyny…and one that doesn’t meet human needs. A world where emotions are frowned upon and vulnerability which is courage seen as weakness, victim blaming is engrained in our culture and all these things woven into the fabric of our society alone is enough to make any strong, healthy or mentally healthy person, emotionally bleed.

Not all people that are suicidal are necessarily depressed because many times what is pathologically labelled as a disease is in effect an emotional reaction and therefore rather a dis-ease (as Peter Levine states) and also if we look at the word depression it means to press down, push down and this is what we are asked to do with our feelings and emotions. Many times, what we feel is dismissed with phrases such as: “just think positive”, “It could be worse”, “things happen for a reason” …making one feel alone and misunderstood and their pain further silenced. We further create more distress to an already distressed individual through hospitalisation where they can be forced by police into an ambulance, sedated and treated like dangerous violent criminals. In past, mental illness treatments were barbaric and abusive to the point they would make you suicidal.

When our survival is threatened and pain overwhelming the real aim is to end the pain, it’s to find a solution. Suicide isn’t primarily in my view about self destruction although the act itself has this element, but rather it is a form of self protection. It’s a reaction to a threat so great, the threat of never being the same, the threat caused by overwhelming fear for our life or our reputation, the overwhelming of shame. It can be a different threat to different people as all of us are individuals with individual circumstances. I believe it’s the threat that leads to what distressed individuals come to see as the only solution. It is not intentional and rational, it is determined by various social and biological forces. Like us humans it is complex and needs to be given the attention it deserves and victims and survivors of suicide or attempted suicide(s), need to be given the dignity and justice they deserve.

If something so heavy is falling on us and it threatens to crush us, chances are without support we cannot free ourselves and the weight of something we cannot possible hold alone will come crashing and potentially kill us. Something has happened or happens that has metaphorically ended a person’s life before suicide ends it physically as in kills the body. Many times, we fail to see that the person who we have lost to the world, was trying to survive, wanted to survive and intended to survive and had been strong for so long and yet we fail to see this is the case in a lot of suicides. We just label them cowards just like soldiers in wars who developed PTSD and could no longer bring themselves to function or fight. We cannot judge anyone or ourselves even by the same standards when we are faced with a threat or when we are in great distress. When are needs are not met and we are starved and deprived of these needs or need to survive.

An example is, if we are safe and regulated and have security and resources and say we are thirsty, we will drink something that is drinkable, if we were in a desert for days and the threat of death by dehydration was looking us in the eye, in despair we would drink poison just to quench the thirst, this would lead to death but our intention was not death, it was to ease the discomfort, to find a solution even if it came with repercussions. Our choices, our behaviours, our actions, our thoughts, all change when faced with things.

So we can’t judge and compare, victims of suicide with someone who feels safe and in a calm state because of this. Another example is seen even in animals, scorpion suicide was long featured in Iberian folklore, but George Bryron’s 1813 poem: The Giaour, brought attention to it. When ringed with fire and faced with no means of escape, the scorpion was said to end the threat by thrusting its sting into its own back which would see it dying. A bee will sacrifice their life to string to protect itself from threat. Suicide is an act to protect self from the threat of overwhelming emotional and mental pain.

We can also consider the IFS (internal Family system) modality, which is an approach that doesn’t pathologise rather normalises aspects within ourselves and looks into them with a lens of compassion and curiosity not judgement. It is of the belief that our mind is made up of sub-personalities, this is why we can experience conflicting emotions, because there is more to us than just one part. We are made up of many parts. That is why many suicidal individuals may have a part of them that wants to live and a part of them that wants to die with the latter taking over.

IFS claims that these parts are divided into exiles (parts of us that are wounded, vulnerable, traumatised), protectors (these are pro-active and try to protect the exile parts from becoming wounded again and experiencing emotional flooding which overwhelms us), and finally the firefighters (these parts are reactive and try to end the pain, these are the parts that can have us feel suicidal or act on suicide). So what we see, is that suicide is an act of self protection, an attempt to protect self from pain and like a firefighter the goal is to put out the fire (pain), everything else isn’t important and will get destroyed, just like suicide ends the pain but destroys the body in order to do this which results in a life lost.

I have aimed to argue and present my argument that suicide has absolutely nothing to do with a character deficit and as Aphrodite Matsakis states when talking of trauma:

“At some point in your life you have probably cut your finger with a knife. If the blade was dull, you may have suffered only a little nick. If the blade was sharp, you may have bled all over. If the blade was very sharp and the force behind it was great enough, you might even have lost part of your finger. The extent of your injury depended more on the sharpness of the blade and the power behind it than on the toughness of your skin. Given enough force, even extremely tough skin would not protect you from the knife, and anyone else in the same situation would also be injured, even if they had the toughest skin in the world. The same holds true on a psychological level. There are events in life that would almost make anyone ‘bleed all over’.

What I mean by trauma is anything that affects our ability to function, what happens inside us. Even the things like losing a job, a breakup/divorce, the loss of security, loneliness…

In addition, we need to change our language around suicide. Don’t say: They committed suicide, they had a failed attempt, they are attention seeking. Alternatives and the truth are, they died by suicide, they were in psychological pain, they are asking for support and help. People don’t commit suicide, they are driven to suicide. Let’s end the stigma and stop hurting those that are already hurt and in pain by words, myths and ignorance.

Let’s get educated and spread the love! Let’s remember those that have made attempts and survived along with those who have lost a loved one and those that have lost their lives to psycheache.

Reference: Edwin. S. Shneidman, The Suicidal Mind (1996

Copywrite: Antonella Zottola

This article is copywrite protected and no content may be reproduced or used for any purpose without the permission of the author.

 

Society; an issue in male depression and suicide

Depression is the illness of those that have been strong for too long.

For many years, men, in particular, have been more likely to go through with their suicide attempts. It is only now that the world is holding a light to the darkness that men have lived in, with the numerous suicides of male celebrities and the media willing to expose story-lines that challenge the realities of this subject and illness that has claimed the lives of numerous men.

Depression itself has been long misunderstood, leading to little help and support available and further damage done to sufferers.

Much medication, whilst helpful, has extremely severe side effects that can contribute to the suicidal state one feels in, and lead to the zombification of emotions. This can increase the despair for some.

Whilst there is absolutely no shame in taking them and some are helped, they tackle the symptom but do not heal and get to the core of the psychological pain and the cause. This is why a treatment of medication and therapy is ideal along with a change of diet, as diet can affect our moods and it has been scientifically proven that diet can play an integrative role; we only need to see that certain vitamins such as B vitamins can make a difference in symptoms such as tiredness and fatigue.

The next damaging thing at play is gender stereotypes and in particular, toxic masculinity, the way we tell boys and men not to cry, we kill their natural emotional being, we don’t allow them to be sensitive and this can be seen by the damaging and abusive comment of ‘man up’. We expect them never to be or feel vulnerable, we imply that if they cannot protect themselves and be strong at all times that they are then weak and lesser of a man is the negative message we give them.

We don’t allow men to be men, to be humans with all that is part of the human experience which is to feel, to have emotions, be able to freely express and talk about them. In general as a society, we have a stigma on being open about our emotions. Men are being made victims by society before being made victims of depression.

An example is when others can be quick to attack those that do so on social media and unfriend them even, comments like ‘this isn’t a place to talk about your problems’ or ‘don’t wash your dirty laundry in public’. So when people reach out, they feel shut down and alone and rejected. Men are taught to bottle up their feelings and that’s what they do until the pain is too much and they can’t see any other way out or lose hope that the world or anyone will ever understand their hell.

As a society, when people want to reach out to us, we silence or dismiss them with things such as: ‘don’t be so pessimistic’, ‘others have it far worse’, ‘don’t be a drama queen’, ‘it will be okay’… because we are uncomfortable sitting with pain, so these comments may seem helpful but are not. Comparing our pain to those that have it worse, invalidates the sufferer’s pain and means that we will never acknowledge it or give it justice because someone will always have it worse.

Pain cannot and should never be measured, nor should anyone attempt this or tell us how we should feel or what we are feeling.

Further isolation and despair is caused by those who suffer from depression because we give out the message that we don’t like hanging around those who appear ‘negative’, and this is how depressed people can feel and this can lead to them isolating themselves and feeling lonelier. This can silence them and prevent them from reaching out and fearing judgement if they do.

Then we have the stigma of suicide. Many professionals’, even counsellors, find this subject hard and unable to work with it. It is important to be able to handle such a difficult subject with clients if we are to help them. Suicide for many years has carried a stigma, victims who died this way didn’t even get a proper burial. Families of someone who has passed away in this manner find it hard to reveal the cause of death as they want to protect the dignity of their loved ones who are harshly and wrongly labelled and judged as being cowards selfish; how could they do this to their families? All become victims apart from the victim who was killed by the disease of depression, just like cancer and other illnesses kill people. One would not have acted on this if depression had not killed them with pain, a pain that they want to kill rather than themselves. Therefore, many will find it hard to admit and open up about their suicidal state, the shame of this and the shame that men ‘need’ to be so-called ‘strong’.

Depressed men like any other sufferer, have been strong for so long, this is the truth. To be human means to be vulnerable, to be human means to feel. Most of the time depression and distress and issues occur because we are being denied that right to be free, to be our authentic selves and because we live in a society that isn’t meeting our needs. We are always in competition, always expected to work insane and unnatural hours in employment, we are more disconnected than ever.

Whilst depression is mental and biological, to me personally, I feel that depression is a natural reaction to having been emotionally strong for so long and that at the core, it is an emotional disorder before anything else.

Changing our beliefs, challenging damaging gender stereotypes and conditioning, creating a healthier and supportive environment and world – one where connection is encouraged and greater awareness, knowledge and education on mental illnesses exists, alongside recognising the importance of a healthy diet in our lives can do so much. We are killing all that is needed instead of killing what is driving so many men to their premature graves.

Saving our humanity contributes to saving lives.

The Truth Behind DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder)

All mental illnesses are surrounded by a lack of understanding as to what causes them and a lot of stigma and myths. One form of complex psychological condition which is often incredibly misrepresented and misunderstood yet draws much fascination is DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), formerly known as and recognised by the term Multiple Personality Disorder.

The misrepresentation of this is often seen with the ignorant and negative and rather insulting portrayal of it by the media who uses it more often than not in horror films. It rarely depicts a true and accurate representation and rarely places individuals who suffer from it in a positive light, but rather a dark light where they tend to be the ones that commit the crimes in horror stories.

This invalidates the pain and experience of survivors and that feeling of being invalidated hurts in a way that cannot be erased. These negative labels and representations are not only inaccurate but painful to see and hurtful to sufferers.

The real truth and real horror lies within what happened to those who suffer from this. It is not a sign of madness, badness or criminality. It is a perfectly normal reaction to abnormal events; it’s a creative way of survival, of surviving horrors done to those who suffer from it. These horrors commence in early childhood when the individual was young, often experiencing repetitive and extreme abuse and unable to cope, too overwhelmed by indescribable and incomprehensible traumas and who developed DID as a means of survival.

The definition of dissociation is the disruption of the normal integrative processes of consciousness, perception, memory, and identity that define selfhood.

This copying mechanism tends to then become reinforced and conditioned and part of a normal way of being in order to keep surviving. It is a highly creative way where the child learns to adapt to the horrors it cannot escape. The child cannot escape the trauma physically so they find a creative way that allows them to “get away” by doing so mentally, emotionally, psychologically (through their heads).

What the child is trying to achieve is an extremely effective defence against severe physical and emotional pain, or the anxious anticipation that follows that pain. This process is thereby created by the child so that the child’s thoughts, feelings, memories and perceptions of the traumatic experiences can be separated off psychologically, allowing them to function as if the trauma had not occurred. Blocking the painful trauma allows survival of unspeakable mistreatment to escape and in doing so also allowing the escape from powerful emotions such as pain and fear/terror.

The result is a split in parts of self and fragmented memories. Each protector created by the splitting process becomes a different identify in itself yet all form part of the same person. In fact we all play different roles in life and act differently in each context. We may act differently with parents than we do alone with friends and act differently at work than at home even if our parts of self (unlike DID sufferers) are integrated.

We all dissociate at some level. In a mild form of dissociation where we may lose touch with conscious awareness of our immediate surroundings; examples include getting lost in a film or book, or when we forget where we placed our keys, or when we may have had a traumatic experience. As we can see dissociating is normal. DID is dissociating at a higher level and is therefore an extreme example and form of dissociating. The person with DID experiences memory loss that is too great to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

As we have seen, DID is a consequence of extreme abuse in early childhood. The genesis of DID therefore occurred due to the most typically extreme, repeated forms of neglect, physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse. Children that have been witnesses or subjected to different traumas such as war, torture, accidents, natural disasters, medical trauma, terrorism, sexual exploitation and abuse in other ways, such as but not limited to human trafficking, or sadistic ritual abuse have also developed DID.

90% of cases are believed to be linked with a history of abuse. The child doesn’t have the capacity to deal with such trauma and therefore the mind finds a way to cope and survive this, resulting in DID.

Many people can have more than two protectors – the average can go up to 14-15 and some can have up to 40. Each protector represents an event where abuse took place and each protector is given a job or purpose, such as the protector, the fighter, the child, the parent. Each one has different personality aspects and can be of any gender or age, regardless the gender of the person or their actual age.

The person experiencing DID isn’t always aware of the splitting process. The protector that manifests may be aware of another’s existence, but not vice versa. The protectors may be triggered by stressors. The various protectors may refuse each other, conflict with one another, be hostile to one another or not want to acknowledge the others existence. Depersonalisation can occur, which is defined as a state in which one’s thoughts and feelings seem unreal or not to belong to oneself. It is important to keep in mind that although these alternate personality states may appear to be very different, they are all manifestations of a single person. The condition involves identity fragmentation rather than a creation of separate personalities. Hence why the name Multiple Personality Disorder was changed in 1994, to a more accurate reflection of the condition and now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Some individuals with DID may experience amnesia in the form of what is known as “dissociative fugues” which is a case where the person with DID travels and does not remember doing so.

People with dissociative disorders may experience any of the following: depression, sleeping disorders, addictions, panic attacks and anxiety, mood swings, phobias, PTSD, suicidal ideation, self harm, psychotic symptoms and eating disorders, along with physical ailments such as headaches, time loss, amnesia, spacing out and out of body experiences.

Unlike the media portrays, many people that suffer from DID are not evil or criminals – they have been victims of indescribable cruelty. They are good and normal people that deserve our understanding, respect and who are inspirational in their courage and strength.

It is important to highlight the the goal of therapy is not to eliminate a person’s protectors, but to embrace them and incorporate them into the person’s sense of oneness. There are ways that people can do the healing without being re-traumatised, in fact doing so in certain cases can prove damaging and dangerous. We need to go at the clients pace and respect this and respect that trauma can be healed without the need for details of the events. Other therapies that help are creative forms and cognitive treatment.

DID is a creative tool that the mind creates to survive; it is a normal response and reaction to abnormal events. Better understanding and representations are needed to help those with this condition and recognising the normality of this considering the events that led to it, we see how extraordinary the mind is, how it helps us survive and how extraordinary these people are who deserve our love and respect and for their condition to be portrayed accurately, and for this to be seen not as a defect but as the manifestation to trauma. Let us not ask what’s wrong with people who have mental illnesses but rather what happened. Many of these conditions are the result of human pain, not human deficits or madness. Let us give justice to this pain.

Food and Mental Health

Many people don’t pay much attention to their dietary lifestyles or find it hard to accept that diet can make a difference in regards to our psychological well-being.

The truth is that it certainly can. There are foods that contain vitamins and minerals that can help prevent, reduce and manage mental illnesses, they do this by contributing to the maintenance of optimal neurological functions and maintain balance of neuro-chemicals in our brains. Food can help fight off inflammation of the brain.

It is possible that sometimes when we suffer from poor mental health what may be contributing to it can be a deficiency in these minerals and vitamins and so it is important to have an holistic approach to our psychological sessions as counsellors that bares this aspect in mind and to also get clients to consider this information alongside their therapeutic healing.

Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors are not taught about the importance of nutrition and the links that can be made to overall health. So it is important that we are enlightened by this knowledge and share it with our clients to help them further into healing.

A healthy diet in general is part of well being and should be encouraged regardless, this is avoiding sugar (cutting down), eating fresh food and whole foods that remain in their natural state and not processed so avoiding processed foods and junk food. Eating more fruits and vegetables and preferably eating a plant based diet alongside reducing amounts of fizzy drinks, coffee and alcohol. One doesn’t need meat to obtain protein in their diet and meat can also be processed leading to poor health, in addition ethical issues are attached to eating meat. Wholegrain products are also healthier than white alternatives to rice, pasta and bread, so substitute white with brown.

Dairy products also contribute to inflammation especially in terms of skin disorders and even mental health (casein the  protein in milk being the offender) and therefore should be avoided where possible. Many alternatives to milk (oat, almond, rice, coconut, cashew, hazelnut milk) are to be found and much calcium is obtained in vegetables such as: broccoli, potatoes, onions, aubergines.

Scientists have also linked gut health to mental health so a staple of a healthy diet can be beneficial to overall well being. Poor gut health has been linked to memory disorders such as: dementia and Alzhiemer’s disease.

Another food to avoid in relation to poor gut and mental health is gluten. Gluten is not a natural substance and our bodies struggle to digest it. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and spelt. Mental illnesses associated with it include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, ADHD, autism and eating disorders.

So what vitamins and minerals have studies shown to help mental health?

Let’s look at some of these:

  • Vitamin B’s

A lack of B vitamins not only leads to fatigue but deficiency of these vitamins especially B12 and folic have been linked to depression. Some studies claim that folic acid may reduce depression when taken in conjunction with vitamin B12. Deficiency in folic acid is also believed to lead to anxiety. This is because the role of B vitamins is producing brain chemicals that can affect our mood and brain function. Therefore, it’s important to consider that something such as a deficiency many be causing or contributing to this mental illness and that by regulating the body and brain with the necessary needed vitamins can help reduce depressive symptoms brought on by B vitamin deficiency alongside psychological counselling. Niacin (B3) and Thiamin (B1) can also alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia and alcohol abuse.

  • Magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, managanese

Studies have shown that deficiencies in these minerals can lead to anxiety, depression and other psychiatric disorders. These minerals all aid in the function of neurotransmitters. They can be found in dark, leafy greens such as spinach.

Magnesium has long been known for its calming properties on the nervous system and according to studies can help alleviate panic attacks, anxiety, depression and anger. So if you suffer from panic attacks, depression or anger and anxiety, you may have a magnesium deficiency. Foods that contain magnesium are avocados, vegetables (and green leafy vegetables), bananas, nuts and seeds.

Copper overload can result in emotional meltdowns, frequent anger, anxiety, depression. It is very easy for copper overload to result. Its role is in assisting the immune system, the endocrine system, and the nervous system. Copper deficiency can lead to anger problems, mood disorders and ADHD. Foods that contain cooper are: lentils, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, chickpeas.

Iron is essential for normal neurological function. Deficiency can present itself as anxiety, depression, irritability, and even poor concentration. In the research article published by BMC Psychiatry, the researchers, concluded that “Iron deficiency increased the risk of psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and developmental disorders.” Foods that contain iron are: artichokes, spinich, broccoli, beans, lentils, dried fruit.

Zinc deficiencies can play a role in depression, it also plays a role in brain functions such as in the functions of neurons and therefore can help with things such as neuroplasticity moods. Foods that contain zinc are: whole grains, beans, nuts.

Managanese aids in brain development and functions, and is essential for human survival. A deficiency can lead to impaired memory, mood changes and mental illness such as anxiety. Like with any minerals too much can also be harmful and lead to side effects, these include symptoms resembling Parkinson’s disease, such as shaking (tremors). Foods that contain managanese are: cabbage, spinach, potatoes, beans, seeds, nuts, vegetables (such as asparagus).

  • Omega 3

Studies in adults suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. You don’t need to eat fish to obtain omega 3, it can come from other sources such as walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed.

As we have seen a good diet and food can make a contribution towards our mental well being so it should never be dismissed or ignored.

Not all people respond to anti-depressents and medication and these can come with side effects. A natural way through diet and psychological counselling therapy are important for overall mental health but a healthy diet is important for general physical health and refers to all of us not just those who suffer from a mental illness, as a healthy diet can help prevent numerous aliments and contribute to a healthier and longer life. For people where medication is necessary, a change in diet can still make a difference.

Important notes to consider is that these deficiencies cannot always be measured by blood or urine samples by doctors, as some such as Zinc deficiency would not show up. Also it is recommended that if you try supplements it is important that you consult a health care provider before starting any kind of supplement regimen. A general overall healthy diet will provide us with the sufficient and necessary vitamin and minerals, however supplements can be needed at times, this is okay as long as one doesn’t rely solely on them and that they compliment rather than substitute a healthy diet.