Brits have definitely lost their stiff upper lips with 1 in 5 having consulted a counsellor or psychotherapist and half knowing someone who has.
This is according to a survey by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy. They say six years ago only two-thirds of us believed in seeking this kind of help for depression or anxiety and now more than 9 out of 10 do. And only half thought it appropriate after a divorce or relationship breakdown and now it’s 85% of us.
Over a million people a year receive treatment for mental health problems and many of these are likely to be women aged between 35 and 54, separated or divorced, and living alone as single parents.
Many people believe that there is not enough talking therapy and doctors are too keen on medication that treats the symptoms but doesn’t get to grips with the causes and with 39 million prescriptions a year for depression you can see their point.
Meanwhile in America Californian scientists believe they are on the point of a breakthrough in developing a vaccine to tackle stress that with a single injection will relax us without slowing us down. Dr Robert Sapolsky believes that he can now alter brain chemistry to create a “focussed calm”.
This genetically engineered alternative to yoga and pills uses a modified herpes virus to get modified genes into the brain. It short-circuits the feedback caused by stress so you don’t have lingering feelings of tension and will be less likely to continue to snap at people after a stressful event.
So far it works in rats but the scientists are optimistic that they can develop this for humans in the near future. Given how many people suffer at the moment this will probably be welcomed but we shouldn’t forget that stress symptoms exist to warn us something is not right.