Blue Monday 2020?

Feeling a bit low and flat after all the hype and celebrations over Christmas and the new year? Then you are not alone. The third Monday is January has been awarded the title of Blue Monday – a combination of post-Christmas blues, unpaid credit card bills arriving and cold dark nights. It might also be due to not keeping to new year’s resolutions that you’ve made with good intentions.

Although this date now receives much publicity and is recognised by many, it was all started by a PR stunt in 2005. A travel company, Sky Travel claimed this date had been identified as the most depressing by a professor who used a unique formula to arrive at the date.

Many experts dismiss Blue Monday and remind us that depression is a serious condition that can affect people on any day. Dr Martin Carroll, Clinical Psychologist tells us “Many of us can feel low through the dark months of the year. So, don’t worry, if you continue to follow your New Year resolutions and feel good about how you are living your life.”

1 in 6 people will experience depression during their life. It can be extremely debilitating. It is important to remember that depression is different from feeling down or sad. Unhappiness is something that everyone feels at some time. Symptoms of depression include low mood, but also low levels of energy and other indications, such as changes in appetite, concentration difficulties, low self-esteem and hopelessness about the future. Furthermore, for depression to be considered a significant problem warranting treatment it must persist for at least two weeks. If you are suffering from depression, then it is a serious problem and needs to be addressed. Fortunately, there are both medications and psychological therapies that can help.

If you are concerned about yourself, a family member or friend, it is best to speak to your GP in the first instance.

If you are feeling a bit blue there are several things you can try to help lift your mood:


Exercise reduces stress hormones and allows you to sleep more deeply leaving you feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

Get Outside

Sunlight can boost the amount of serotonin in the body. In the winter months the amount of serotonin in the body can dip due to shorter days so it’s important to get outside as much as possible. Even going out during your lunch break can make a difference.

Eat Healthily

Eating foods that promote serotonin can also help. The winter leaves us craving carbohydrates, these are an important part of our diet but it’s vital we strike the balance.  If you feel the need to snack fill up on foods such as walnuts, bananas and tomatoes, these all contain serotonin and can help lift your mood.

Take a Nap

Taking a quick power nap can be helpful. The nap should last between 10 and 20 minutes and be taken when you start to feel sleepy or when you begin to lose concentration. Many people have a dip in energy at about 3pm making this the natural time. Of course, this isn’t going to be appropriate for everyone – you may be at work or on the school run!

Be Tech Smart

Being constantly connected technology can cause a negative impact on your mood. It’s a good idea to switch off from emails and social media at least 90 minutes before going to bed. Instead read a book, listen to some music or have a relaxing bath. A regular wind down routine like this will help alleviate the feelings of anxiety and allow your mind to relax and help you have a good night’s sleep and prepare for the day ahead.

Happy New Year from the team at Cardinal Clinic!

Coping with an eating disorder at Christmas

For a person with an eating disorder, Christmas can be a really difficult time. There is usually an abundance of food and of course sitting down to the family Christmas dinner. This expectation of eating with the family and often an extended group of people is stressful.

It’s good to remember that each family has their own traditions at Christmas and sitting down to the meal is only part of it, being together with the people you hold dear is important. Going for family walks, sitting down to watch a film together can all be part of your traditions and can remove some of the focus away from the meal.

At Christmas we often get together with relatives and friends that we may not have seen for some time. This can be a really difficult time for the person with the eating disorder as their appearance may have changed significantly since they last saw them. They may be concerns around comments they may make – even if they are well intended. A person with an eating disorder is likely to be feeling really anxious about the possibility of eating with a person/people that they do not usually eat with. They may have very strong views on what they feel they can and cannot cope with whilst other family members may feel that Christmas should not be dominated by an eating disorder.

There are ways in which you can be mindful about not causing more distress to the person with the eating disorder whilst still keeping Christmas on track:

  • A major pressure point is going to be the Christmas meal so consider inviting only close family and friends – people they are used to eating with.
  • So, you still see other family and friends – consider getting together and doing something where a meal is no the main focus – perhaps going for a walk or a more informal get together.
  • Speak to your guests in advance so they are aware that however well-meaning their comments might be they can be misconstrued and upsetting. Comments such as “You look well” can be misinterpreted by a person with an eating disorder and they may think the suggestion I that they have put on weight. “I’m stuffed” after a big meal and other comments about the quantity of food being consumed is also unhelpful.
  • Guests might be concerned about saying the wrong thing and causing upset, however, it’s a good thing to keep the conversation going at the dinner table as it’s a good distraction from eating. Also, making really positive statements such as “I’ve really been looking forward to seeing you” are a really good way of starting the conversation.

The Christmas meal

It can be a good idea to have a Christmas meal earlier in December so the person with the eating disorder can prepare. It is also worth thinking about how you are going to organise the Christmas meal and what you can out in place to help.

  • It can be useful to plate up some food not just for person with the eating disorder but for all the guests. This way, they can have an agreed portion of protein and carbohydrate and a choice of vegetables. This way they are not singled out and it doesn’t draw extra attention to them.
  • Consider the triggers for their anxiety and try to address them and the way in which you serve the meal.
  • It can be really useful for the person with the eating disorder to sit next to someone who they know will be on their side and help them through this difficult time. It makes it easier if there is a sense of trust and understanding.
  • Have something planned for after the meal, perhaps sitting down together to watch a film or a game, this can be a good distraction.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity.

Helpline 0808 801 0677

Youthline 0808 801 0711

Studentline 0808 801 0811

12 Days of Christmas

“Technology has transformed family life over the years. It can bring us together or keep us apart. Use technology sensibly this Christmas to help celebrate with friends and family. And if your devices are becoming divisive, Christmas could prove an ideal time for a techno-detox. Going cold turkey is a lot easier if you are surrounded by the people you love.

 – Dr Martin Carroll, Clinical Psychologist


“Loneliness can be accentuated at Xmas time and one can be tempted to fill up the loneliness still leaving you dissatisfied. However, if it’s possible to sit and reflect on your feelings then the pain of loneliness may pass, leaving you with possibilities for being involved with others or in activities that mean something to you. There is a difference between running away and walking away from loneliness. “

– Narendra Keval, Chartered Clinical Psychologist


“Press the Pause button – remember to take breaks at regular intervals during all the busyness. Taking just a few minutes at regular intervals to ground yourself, take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself that you deserve some Christmas compassion too can do wonders to calm your stress levels down.

 – Louise Watson, Chartered Counselling Psychologist


“Take some time for yourself, if you are feeling recharged you will manage everything else much better. Breathe, think about what is actually important and try to cast aside everything else. Go back to basics, get the board games out, go for long walks, and just simply enjoy being together.”

 – Vicky Carroll, Psychotherapist


“The festive period often involves overindulgence, with promises to get healthier put off to the New Year. Remember that every day is a day to make healthy choices – saying no thank you to that extra drink (or yes please to those extra veg!), and keeping active over the holiday season can help end the year the way you want to start the next!”

– Dr Niraj Arora, Consultant Psychiatrist


“Family Christmases can be stressful, especially these days when Christmas seems to start in November! Don’t aim for “Perfect” aim for “Good Enough”. Kids will appreciate time watching “Elf” and eating shop bought mince pies with Mum and Dad far more than they’ll appreciate eating a perfect, made from scratch, six course feast with frazzled parents! “

– Toria Tutt, Psychotherapist


“Pause, take a breath, remember it’s only a day, enjoy it and remember things don’t have to be perfect in order to have fun and make great memories! “

– Dr Kavita Deepak-Knights, Chartered Clinical Psychologist


“Christmas is full of warmth and love for some, for others it is cold and lonely. Taking the time to listen and care, or be able to reach out for care and to be heard, are important in equal measure at this time of year.“

 – Dr Niraj Arora, Consultant Psychiatrist


“Take some time out every day to do something for yourself. Whether it’s a CBT thought diary, enjoying a solitary brew, phoning your best friend for a chat, or taking the dog out for a walk remember how important it is to invest time in your mental well being.”

– Toria Tutt, Psychotherapist


“Christmas can be a special time of year to create meaningful memories for children, but It can also be a very stressful and overwhelming time for parents feeling numerous demands and high expectations. I think it is important to try and take some pressure off yourself, allocate tasks, for example, ask family members to bring dishes, get aunt and uncle or grandparents involved, ask them to play with the children whilst you get on with cooking the dinner. Also allocate tasks to the children, laying the table and decorating the Christmas tree, they love to be involved, even if they complain about it or it ends up looking not quite the way you would like it!!”

– Vicky Carroll, Psychotherapist


“Christmas can be a busy time, with lots to do, presents to buy, people to meet and fun to be had. It can also be a chaotic time and it is very important to look after yourself. If you are taking prescribed medication, ensure you take it regularly. Make sure you have enough medication to last you the holidays as many General Practices and pharmacies will be closed on these days. The NHS Choices website( will guide you to finding the nearest pharmacy to you.”

– Dr Jane Perera, Consultant Psychiatrist


“Christmas can be a time of excess; food, drinks, parties, late nights.. Do everything in moderation and remember the value of being able to enjoy the moment with family and friends. If you do drink, be careful, be safe and do not drink and drive. It is not worth it. Happy Christmas from all at Cardinal Corporate.”

– Dr Jane Perera, Consultant Psychiatrist


Mental Health in the Retail Sector


Retailers call for changes in workplace mental health


There has been a great deal of discussion about mental health in the workplace, we tend to think about it in respect of those that work in an office environment. However, The Grocer reports that more than 50 business leaders including RetailTrust Chief Executive Richard Boland, WH Smith chief Stephen Clarke and British Independent Retails Association boss Andrew Goodacre have all signed an open letter to Theresa May urging that workplaces are obligated to make provisions for mental health first aid in the same way they are for physical health.

Theresa May has always been a strong advocate for improving mental health provision since she became Prime Minister, this was a pledge in her manifesto.

“Thriving at Work”

The report “Thriving at Work: a review of mental health and employers” commissioned by Theresa May is January last year identified the main points as:

  • Around 15% of people in work have symptoms of a mental health condition
  • Around 6% of people with a long-term mental health condition lose their job each quarter – amounting to 300,000 people each year. This compares to around 4% of those with a physical health condition

The authors Lord Dennis Stevenson (mental health campaigner and former HBOS chief) and Paul Farmer (chief executive of mental health charity Mind) said that everyone, not just people with long-term mental health conditions, has a mental health status, which can move between “thriving at work” to “struggling at work”.

Some of these people will be off sick. However, the report stresses that people with mental health conditions can still thrive at work if they are given the right support.

Mental Health Ill Effects

The key effects of mental ill health include:

  • People being off work (absenteeism)
  • People being in work but being unable to work effectively (presenteeism)
  • Increased workload for the rest of the workforce
  • Increased turnover of the workforce
  • Lack of career progression for those people with a mental health condition

The costs to employers are estimated at:

  • £8 billion for absenteeism
  • £17-£26 billion from lost productivity for presenteeism
  • £8 billion for staff turnover

Of course, costs varied widely between different private sector industries and were higher for the public sector.

Where’s Your Head At?

Where’s Your Head At? Is a campaign which will improve the mental health of the nation by ensuring employers look after the wellbeing of their workforce.

They have delivered a petition to Downing Street calling for the law to be changed. They want to guarantee that it’s easy for everyone to talk about their metal health at work in the same way we discuss our physical health and to ensure there are trained colleagues on site to point staff in the right direction to get help.

WH Smith has been at the forefront of promoting access to first aid for both physical and mental health.

Across more than 1,400 shops in 24 countries, the world’s oldest national retail chain has 150 fully qualified mental health first aiders. 

This matches the number of physical first aiders across the business.

They have invested £250,000 into training all of its 1,100 line managers in mental health first aid skills.

Christmas Giving

Christmas and a time for giving

With all the hype and the promise of amazing discounts everywhere including ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ we often feel under enormous pressure to ‘give’. This doesn’t always have to be something that is materialistic, we can give time, appreciation and of course love.

Traditionally, we give presents as it reminds us of the gifts given to Jesus by the three wise men of gold, frankincense and Myrrh. All over the world families and friends give presents to each other. But what about the people that don’t have anyone or can’t afford to give a gift?

Many people choose to make a charitable donation, however, if you really want to reach someone and make their Christmas extra special there are other things you can do:

Buy a gift for someone in a Refuge

You can buy a gift for a woman or child in a refuge. Not being at home due to abuse and escaping domestic violence can be really distressing.  Many of these people have very little and this can really make a difference. You can see the list of gifts and how to help here:

Refuge Children’s Gift Scheme

Donate to your local Food Bank

Figures from the Trussell Trust show that in the year to March 2018, 1,332,952 three-day emergency food supplies were delivered to people in crisis across the UK – a 13 per cent increase on last year.

This marks a considerably higher increase than the previous financial year, when it rose by 6 per cent.

Of course, the need doesn’t diminish over the holiday period and as well as every day necessities you can also donate Christmas treats. You can make a donation at many supermarkets when you are doing your own shopping or directly to your local food bank.

You can find your nearest centre if its operated by the Trussell Trust here or a general search if they are not in your area.

Buy a homeless person a meal

Most of us will sit down to a huge Christmas meal and generally over indulge over the holiday period. You can help a homeless person by reserving a place at Crisis at Christmas, it costs £28.18 and this is what they receive:

  • A warm welcome and good company
  • Three nutritious, hot meals daily, including a delicious Christmas dinner
  • A bed for the night, if needed
  • A chance to shower, freshen up and get clean clothes
  • A health check and treatment from a doctor, optician and dentist
  • Expert help with mental health and addiction problems
  • Advice on housing, employment and benefits

Additionally, a way out of homelessness for good through Crisis’ year-round training, education and support.

To find out more, the Crisis website is available here.

Help a missing person

Missing People offers a lifeline to the 180,000 people who run away and go missing each year in the UK. They are an independent charity funded by donations and they search for missing people on behalf of the friends and family left behind and provide specialised support to ease their heartache and confusion. Their free, confidential helpline is available 24 hours a day by phone, text and email to support missing children and adults, and their loved ones.

To volunteer or make a donation, please visit the website here.

Alcohol Awareness Week

“19th – 25th November 2018” – input new date for 2021

Alcohol Concern is a national charity setup in 1984, who work to reduce the problems associated with alcohol.  Every year they run an Alcohol Awareness Week to promote a specific aspect of this work.  In [2021], the theme of the week is [FIND OUT THEME FOR ’21]’.

Alcohol is the third major health hazard in the world after heart disease and cancer.  It could be seen as the first as it contributes to both of these. As a result, the cost to the NHS is huge as well as personal and family loss.

Alcohol: The Facts

  • If invented today, alcohol would probably be banned (Recognised by the World Health Organisation)
  • An estimated 1.6 million people in England are dependent drinkers
  • There is a very strong link between alcohol and mental health issues
  • A large number of people gradually start to change their drinking habits as alcohol becomes a form of self-medication, a sense of relief drinking, a reward, to change how they feel, and for some, this develops into alcohol dependence.

Drinking Too Much?

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines for both men and women is to keep health risks from alcohol at a low level it is advisable not to drink more than 14 units per week on a regular basis.

One unit of alcohol (10ml) is the equivalent to:

  • A single measure of spirits (ABV 37.5%);
  • Half a pint of average strength (4%) lager;
  • Two- thirds of a 125ml glass of average strength (12%) wine;
  • Half a 175ml glass of average strength (12%) wine;
  • A third of a 250ml glass of average strength (12%) wine.

The guidelines state pregnant women should abstain from drinking entirely, previously they had been advised that they could safely drink one or two units at most per week.

Mental Health & Alcohol

A joint report this year by the Institute of Alcohol Studies and the Centre for Mental Health concluded that a there is a major problem within the NHS. It stated ‘Some 86% who use alcohol treatment services also have a mental health difficulty and many people with mental health problems misuse alcohol. Yet few get effective help from either alcohol or mental health services.’ The report recommends an urgent review of funding and support for those suffering both alcohol addiction and mental illness.

Drugs & Alcohol

Drugs and alcohol directly affect the brain and may mimic or cover important symptoms, making an accurate diagnosis practically impossible. As an example, alcohol is a depressant, therefore it triggers low mood.

Deputy Matron, Sally Pincott and lead for alcohol services at the Clinic explains ‘Many people with drug and alcohol problems start using because of an underlying mental health problem. It can be very frustrating for patients and their loved ones to be denied direct treatment for depression or other mental health issues.  The evidence demonstrates that it is futile to treat the depression if the patient is still taking a substance that will keep triggering it.

Seeking Help

Someone might need help with their drinking if:

  • They are unable to control the amount they drink
  • Their behaviour changes due to their drinking
  • Their drinking is causing a problem in their everyday life

It can be very difficult to start the conversation when you are concerned about someone’s drinking but using phrases such as:

  • “I was wondering if perhaps you drink less your health/well-being may improve?”
  • “I’ve noticed you are not exercising as much as you used to.”
  • “I’ve noticed you don’t seem as positive and upbeat about everything since you’ve started drinking more. I’m only mentioned this because I care about you.”

It’s always best to avoid using harsh criticisms and making judgements as this is likely to antagonise the situation. Using labels such as ‘alcoholic’ will cause distress and the person is likely to become defensive.

If you are concerned, encourage the person to speak to their GP. The following websites contain a lot of useful information and guidance.

Alcoholics Anonymous UK  0800 9177 650
Al-Anon (for family and friends of alcoholics)  020 7403 0888
Alcohol Concern 0300 123 1110
Mental Health Foundation 020 7803 1100
Drinkline 0300 123 1110

Cardinal Clinic runs 10 day and 14 day alcohol detox programmes.  If you’d like more information about our services in this area please click the following link:  Alcohol Detox Programmes


Drink Aware:

Institute of Alcohol Studies:

Mental Health at University

A recent study has suggested the number of students who seek mental health support whilst studying at university has increased by 50% in the last 5 years.

The National Union of Students said young people are under ever increasing pressure to perform. 83 universities provided full data for the period 2012 to 2017 showing the number of students seeking help rose from 50,900 to 78,100. The number of students going to university dropped slightly over the same period.

Reports have shown that 1 in 4 students will experience a mental health problem whilst at university. The impact is more than half state they struggle to complete everyday tasks. Rising tuition fees, insufficient maintenance loans and increased pressure to succeed have all been cited as reasons for the increase in those seeking help.

Perhaps also as it becomes more acceptable and de-stigmatised to talk about our mental health this could be a contributing factor to the rise in students seeking help. Many students report one of the biggest problems is the financial strain going to university places on them.

The majority report anxiety and depression as the most common form of mental health illness and studying is a contributory factor.

Mental health should be taken as seriously as physical health; especially at university when students are experiencing new things, meeting new people and are away from family and friends and their support network. The impact for students with poor mental health can be devastating. We would always suggest talking to someone and asking for help.

How to get Help

Nearly all universities have a student support team, the Student Union can be a good place to start to obtain further information regarding access. The service is often referred to as a Wellbeing Centre and many universities also have a counselling service where support for anxiety, depression and grief, for example, can be arranged.

Some people don’t feel comfortable accessing help from university, GPs can refer to support services.

Before University

The scope of mental health provision can play a part in choosing which university to go to, further information of what’s available can be found on the universities’ home page.  Accessible support may include:

Daily drop-in sessions

Where any student can speak to a counsellor or health advisor without an appointment.

Coping mechanisms and exam stress

Learning relaxation techniques and time management strategies.

Evening support

A telephone advice service that operates in the evenings and some offer online chat too.

Stress management workshops

Stress for a student can come from a number of areas and advice and coping techniques are delivered.

Online therapy

Courses are accessed via the student’s laptop and cover topics such as managing anxiety, managing depression, managing stress and body and self-image.

Support Services

As well as support available at university there are many organisations that offer dedicated phone lines, email correspondence and walk-in centres, these include:

Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction, like all addictions, is often linked to other mental health problems. Addiction problems can sometimes start as a way of coping with feelings that you are unable to manage and deal with in another way.

The BBC reported that calls to The National Gambling Helpline were 29,899 in 2017-18, up from 22,875 in 2013-14.

There are many types of gambling addiction, gambling is not restricted to slot machines, playing cards or visiting casinos. Purchasing a lottery ticket, entering a raffle and making a bet with a friend – these are all forms of gambling.

The reasons why people gamble differ. Some people may feel they have such huge financial problems that can only be resolved by gambling what little money they have in the hope of a big win to change their lives. Unfortunately, in reality, what often happens is the person feels that they need to keep gambling to recoup their losses and the cycle continues.

There is another form of gambling where the person is taking the risks to enjoy the emotional highs that come with perilous behaviour. In order to stop the person needs to recognise they have a problem and be willing change.

What causes a gambling addiction?

There can be many causes of a gambling addiction; the desire to make money, the roller-coaster of high emotions, the social status of being considered as a professional gambler and sometimes the exciting and entertaining factors related to the gambling scene.

Even though sometimes they do win, most gamblers don’t and the win rarely covers the amount of money they have already lost. Most gamblers do not even come close to breaking even.

What are the signs of a gambling addiction?

The signs of a gambling addiction can be the same as for any other form of addition but things to look out for include:

  • Feeling the need to be secretive about gambling
  • Experiencing problems controlling the gambling habit
  • Gambling when you cannot afford to
  • Friends and/or family express concerns about your gambling

As with any addiction, it is the overwhelming feeling that you cannot stop. If you feel that you just want to have one more try or thinking about quitting makes you feel anxious, you should think about talking to your GP in the first instance.

Emotional symptoms

There are many different emotional responses to excessive gambling and these can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal feelings

In extreme circumstances, it may even cause the gambler to trying to take their own life. Losing everything to gambling can be totally devastating and leaves the person feeling hopeless.

Physical symptoms

Excessive gambling can cause depression, anxiety and self-harm in some. Therefore, there can be physical indications of a problem including signs of sleep deprivation which may result in a pale complexion, weight gain or weight loss, skin outbreaks such as acne and looking generally unwell.

Effects of a gambling addiction

A gambling problem can often co-exist with other addictions such as alcohol and/or drugs. Sometimes people turn to using excessive amounts of alcohol or illicit drug taking as this can alleviate the anxiety caused by the gambling. Some turn to using substances to self-medicate to reduce the stress levels caused by the gambling lifestyle.

Getting help

In the first instance, you may want to talk to a close friend or family member. It’s always advisable to make an appointment with the GP to discuss what help is available.

The following websites also provide some guidance and support.

Gamblers Anonymous

The site offers various help for the compulsive gambler including a Forum, Chat Room, Literature and a meeting finder


GamCare is the leading national provider of information, advice, support and free treatment for anyone affected by problem gambling.

National Problem Gambling Clinic

The National Problem Gambling Clinic is part of the national system of treatment provision for problem gambling in the UK. The system includes other providers such as GamCare and The Gordon Moody Association.

Beating Addictions

Beating Addictions was formed to offer a unique reference point on how to treat and overcome an addiction.

NHS Live Well

NHS resource with links to other organisations and tips for recovery.

In-Patient Care


In-Patient Care


Some patients really benefit from coming into hospital for in-patient care as it offers an intensive treatment programme with 24-hour care and a live-in facility.

In-patient care can provide a sometimes much needed structure and is highly effective in treating a wide range of mental health challenges including depression, anxiety, alcohol addiction and stress. Sometimes time away from your everyday living situation can be beneficial as this can remove any negative influences that might be impacting on your mental health.

We do understand that in-patient care can sometimes be an overwhelming and daunting prospect. However, we will be with you every step of the way from requesting a GP referral to answering any questions you may have. We also offer support groups for your family to help them understand and support you not only while you are in hospital but when you are discharged and back at home.

Safe Environment

Our hospital is regulated by and registered with the Care Quality Commission and delivers treatment services under the terms set out in the Health and Social Care Act and Mental Health Acts. In our most recent inspection (February 2017) we were rated Good in all five areas:

  • Safe
  • Effective
  • Caring
  • Responsive
  • Well-led

The Programme

At Cardinal Clinic you will take part in the group therapeutic programme that runs throughout the day. Group therapy aims to motivate, educate and facilitate change. Group therapy enables members to share feelings and experiences in a safe environment, members can gain insight and strength.

Your treatment at Cardinal Clinic is delivered by a highly skilled multi-disciplinary team who will work in partnership with you. They will ensure you reach your goals and the best outcome for your recovery. Each patient is treated as an individual and your care plan will be tailored to reflect this. You will be assigned a nurse-team who will co-ordinate you care and be your main point of contact during your stay.

Length of In-Patient Stay

The length of time you are in hospital will be discussed with you by your consultant and your progress will be continually monitored. Any changes will be quickly implemented and you will always be kept informed.

During your stay, as you improve, you will be given the opportunity and expected to have periods of leave outside the clinic and to your home, to assess how you cope in your normal environment.

What to Expect

During your stay you will have one of our individual en-suite rooms. You will be required to take part in the group programme that runs through out the day.

All meals are provided and any special dietary requirements can be catered for by our in-house team of chefs.

What to Bring

We are often asked what in-patients should bring with them when they are admitted to Cardinal Clinic.  This is our advice.


It is not necessary to bring any psychiatric medication with you (e.g. sleeping tables, anti-depressants) but please bring medication for your physical health such as blood pressure tablets as these will incur a charge of we order them for you.


Please bring casual clothing including jogging bottoms and comfortable shoes so you can take part in the relaxation and yoga classes. We have a heated indoor swimming pool that you and your family can use during your stay so please bring swim wear. You will also need to bring personal toiletries.

We have a patient laundry with complimentary washing powder and fabric softener that you can use during your stay.

Personal Possessions

We recommend that you do not bring items of value to the Clinic. There is a small safe in your bedroom which you will be able to store your purse/wallet and mobile phone but it is not big enough for a laptop.


Cardinal Clinic is set in beautiful grounds in which you can relax and unwind. Our building is unique and some parts date back to 1600’s when Oakley Green as little more than a pastoral clearing in the middle of the forest of Windsor. Situated on the outskirts of Winsor, easily accessible from the M4 and close to Heathrow airport. An ideal place for recovery.

Private Healthcare: Paying for Care


Paying for Private Healthcare Treatment


Patients choose private treatment for a variety of reasons but often because it provides quick access to a clinician and therefore avoids what can sometimes be long waiting lists. When we are anxious about the health and wellbeing of ourselves or a loved one uncertainty can often make us feel apprehensive, receiving a diagnosis and support as soon as possible is very beneficial. We also know the benefits of early intervention for someone experiencing a mental health problem may include: 

  • Lower risk of relapse 
  • Effective treatments are provided as soon as possible with potential to reduce stress and improve prognosis 
  • In some mental health conditions, it may affect progression of illness

Paying for treatment and what to expect can be unchartered territory and if you are unfamiliar with the process, a little daunting. 

 Most private hospitals have 2 options:

Private Medical Insurance (PMI) 

Some patients have medical insurance, either privately or through their employment. As with all insurance, policies do vary and we recommend checking with your provider for your level of cover. We also recommend you contact your provider and request preauthorisation. They will provide you with a number that you will need to give to your private provider prior to treatment commencing. 

Cardinal Clinic is recognised by all the major insurance companies.



Patients can also pay for their treatment and many do choose this route. Most hospitals accept all major credit and debit cards or bank transfers. For out-patient appointments you are usually required to settle your account on the day of your appointment. For In-patient care you are required to pay a deposit and this usually equates to one week’s stay in a mental health hospital. Hospitals looking after physical health may have different policies.

NHS Patients 

Some private hospitals do have NHS contracts and are part of NHS Choices so you could receive treatment at a private hospital via the NHS.  This is an NHS scheme that allows patients in England to choose the hospital they want to go to for their treatment and book an appointment at a date and time that suits them. For each hospital, a specific list of treatments is available that are covered by the scheme. For more information on the NHS e-Referral System, visit the NHS Choices website 

Cardinal Clinic does not have any NHS contracts so we are unable to accept NHS patients.