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.

Apps for Mental Health and Wellbeing

There are so many apps available to download that are meant to improve our daily lives and help us with all sorts of things. So many icons all competing for space on our crowded smartphone and tablet screens.

Apps can be really helpful and are definitely worth exploring but of course they are never a substitute for medical advice. It’s also worth bearing in mind that many are free to download but some have in-app purchases.

Here are just a few that you might like to try, we’d love to hear your feedback on these or others that you have found beneficial and those that haven’t worked for you and the reasons why.


Headspace uses mindfulness and meditation to help you perform at your best each day. The app’s mission is to provide you with the essential tools to enable you to live a happier and healthier life. Headspace has hundreds of themed mindfulness and meditation session to support you.

Moody Me

This app allows you to track your mood fluctuations and provides detailed graphs, charts and calendars allowing you to track the causes behind each mood. The app also has functionality for you to create a gallery of your photos to visit to cheer you up.


This is one of the most popular meditation apps, with over 9,871 free meditations from over 2,000 teachers, in over 25 languages. Many people join this group because of its community aspect as you can see how many people are meditating at the same time as you. This is particularly helpful to those that experience some isolation from working from home or for those that work alone.


Elefriends if an app form Mind, and has online access to an online community for peer support. It has been downloaded in excess of 13,000 times. “We all know what it’s like to struggle sometimes, but now there’s a safe place to listen, share and be heard”.

Chill Panda

This app offers the opportunity to learn to relax by measuring your heart rate and suggests tasks to suit your state of mind. The tasks include simple breathing techniques and light exercise to take your mins away for your worries.


Developed by Dr Rose Aghdami, psychologist (currently on sabbatical from Cardinal Clinic) this is a mind skills programme to help those that struggle with stress and anxiety cope with life and work challenges. You are able to develop, practice and apply resilience skills at your own pace.

How to choose the right app

  • If you are seeing a mental health practitioner it’s a good idea to ask them for recommendations
  • Check your personal data is being held in accordance with data protection law
  • Ask if the app is approved by a regulatory body
  • Ask whether the app has undergone any clinical trials to demonstrate its clinical effectiveness
  • If the app is for an internet forum, check for moderators and posting guidelines

Research shows that apps that are supported by a mental health practitioner, are on average, more than twice as effective as those developed without professional expertise according to a review in the British Medical Journal by Simon Leigh and Steve Flatt, from the Psychological Therapies Unit in Liverpool.

A major benefit of using an app is that it can be used anywhere at any time and many of them are free to use. They can also help you feel more in control of your own mental health.


World Mental Health Day Review

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World Mental Health Day Review


Each year World Mental Health Day is on October 10th and each we do something to acknowledge the day.

This year we hosted an educational event for schools. This was following the themes from the World Health Organisation ‘Young people and mental health in a changing world’.  We welcomed over 35 people to the Clinic for a free to attend all day workshop.

The Adolescent Brain:  Kerstin Thirlwall

The first talk was given by Kerstin Thirlwall, Child & Adolescent Clinical Psychologist – The Adolescent Brain. Kerstin looked at what happens as we transition from childhood to adulthood as our brain undergoes major structural changes. Kerstin presented information that showed normal developmental progression of the adolescent, how these changes are likely to present themselves in daily adolescent experiences, and how adults can support healthy development during this incredible phase of maturation.

Attachment and Neuroscience – Dr Clare Gates

Dr Clare Gates, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist delivered the next talk – Attachment and Neuroscience. Dr Gates discussed the ways in which our relationships can have an impact on the developing brain and looked at ways in which we can utilise this knowledge to protect young people from mental health problems.

The Role of Parents and Carers in Anorexia Nervosa – Dr Irene Yi

After a well earnt coffee break, Dr Irene Yi, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist presented The Role of Parents and Carers in Anorexia Nervosa. Dr Yi explained treating young people with Anorexia Nervosa is difficult, time consuming and costly. Dr Yi focussed on a parents’ psychoeducation group approach as an early treatment intervention, which has been shared country-wide to all specialist eating disorder services.

Why Children Self Harm – Dr Beth Kremer-Collins

The next speaker was Dr Beth Kremer-Collins, Child & Adolescent Clinical Psychologist who discussed Self-Harm. Beth looked at some ideas as to why children self-harm, some facts about it, what can be done to help children and their parents. The session gave practical advice for teachers and other professionals, on how to manage the behaviour and where to get additional support from.

Complex Assessment ASD – Amanda Owen

The final speaker of the morning was Amanda Owen, Child & Adolescent Clinical Psychologist who addressed Complex Assessment ASD. Amanda asked “Is it that they can’t or is it that they won’t?” Amanda described the process and purpose of neurological assessments and how they can inform the approaches that might be helpful with children with learning and behaviour difficulties at school.

The afternoon session was delivered by a multi -disciplinary panel and offered the delegates the opportunity to discuss case studies and problems they are currently facing in school. The panel was led by Dr Fivos Cacoullis, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and clinical lead for the Clinic’s Child & Adolescent services.

The feedback we received was outstanding and we were delighted to have been able to provide this much needed educational support to a forum of people facing mental health challenges with young people each day.

Thank you so much for putting on the Mental Health Awareness Workshop. Quite honestly, I thought it was the most thought-provoking and interesting educational meeting I have ever attended. The speakers were all engaging and well organised and the subject matter of the presentations was consistently fascinating – and important with regard to understanding young people.

Luke:  Claires Court Senior Boys School

Thank you so much for an amazing day and your hospitality. It was so interesting and informative, also great to be able to be able to meet the speakers.

I am really grateful for the PPTs attached, it will enable me to feed back to my department.

Please keep in contact with any future events that I may be able to share with my colleagues.

Jean:  Gumley House School

Just wanted to say a big thank you for such a wonderful day yesterday. All speakers were very knowledgeable in their topic. I enjoyed the venue and the thoughtful nourishment. A day very well spent. thank you.

Liz:  School Nursing Team, Achieving for Children

World Mental Health Day

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October every year.

“The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide”.


World Mental Health Day was observed for the first time on October 10th 1992. It was started as an annual activity of the World Federation for Mental Health by the then Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. When the day was first set up it didn’t have a theme each year as it does now, its aims were general ones of promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public on relevant issues. In the first three years one on the main activities to mark the day was a 2-hour global telecast through the US information agency satellite system from studios in Talahassee, Florida.

In 1994, for the first time, it was suggested to have a theme for the day and this was used first time that year.  It was “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World.”  After the campaign feedback was received from 27 countries with notable national campaigns from England and Australia.

In 1995 with assistance from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) the planning kit material was translated into Spanish enabling distribution into South America. The World Federation for Mental Health later arranged for the translation and printing of the kits into Spanish and French. Many years later the materials have been translated into Spanish, French, Hindi, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic.

World Mental Health Day Themes

Since 1995, the World Federation for Mental Health has chosen a theme to be promoted in tis planning kit each year. The themes used have been:

  • 1996 Women and Mental Health
  • 1997 Children and Mental Health
  • 1998 Mental Health and Human Rights
  • 1999 Mental Health and Ageing
  • 2000-2001 Mental Health and Work
  • 2002 The Effects of Trauma and Violence on Children & Adolescents
  • 2003 Emotional and Behavioural Disorders of Children & Adolescents
  • 2004 The Relationship Between Physical & Mental Health: co-occurring disorders
  • 2005 Mental and Physical Health Across the Life Span
  • 2006 Building Awareness – Reducing Risk: Mental Illness & Suicide
  • 2007 Mental Health in A Changing World: The Impact of Culture and Diversity
  • 2008 Making Mental Health a Global Priority: Scaling up Services through Citizen Advocacy and Action
  • 2009 Mental Health in Primary Care: Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Mental Health
  • 2010 Mental Health and Chronic Physical Illnesses
  • 2011 The Great Push: Investing in Mental Health
  • 2012 Depression: A Global Crisis
  • 2013 Mental Health and Older Adults
  • 2014 Living with Schizophrenia
  • 2015 Dignity in Mental Health
  • 2016 Psychological and Mental Health First Aid
  • 2017 Mental Health in the Workplace

This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is Young people and Mental Heath in a Changing World.

Getting Involved

There are lots of ways you can get involved and participate in World Mental Health Day.  This year we are supporting the Mental Health Foundation’s ‘Tea and Talk’ initiative.

The Mental Health Foundation, who are the UK’s leading mental health research charity run their national campaign Tea and Talk every year. This can take place on or around October 10th.  All you have to do is get together a group of friends, family or colleagues, put the kettle on and invite them to make a donation to the Mental Health Foundation. There are loads of resources available on their website including a fundraising pack to order and recipes for cakes.

Cardinal Clinic and World Mental Health Day

This year we will be supporting the theme by running a free to attend educational workshop for people working in schools. Our Child and Adolescent team will be covering a variety of topics:

  • The Adolescent Brain
  • Attachment and Neuroscience
  • The Role of Parents and Carers in Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa
  • Self-Harm
  • Complex Assessment ASD

The presentations will be delivered by child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychologists and the workshop will conclude with a question and answer session hosted by a multi-disciplinary panel.

N.B. Please note this event is now full but you can register for future educational events by email


Occupational Health Workshop

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Occupational Health Workshop


On Wednesday September 19th Cardinal Corporate hosted a round table event for Occupational Health and HR professionals.

Dr Niraj Arora, Consultant Psychiatrist and Dr Jane Perera, Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director addressed the following issues:

  • Absenteeism, Presenteeism and Mental Health
  • When referral can support key mental health objectives
  • Diagnostic criteria for common workplace mental health issues
  • Mood disorders, anxiety disorders, addictions
  • Prevalence
  • How do pole present
  • When is it time to seek expert referral

The half day workshop gave each delegate the opportunity to discuss real time issues they are facing within their organisations and on behalf of clients. Dr Arora and Dr Perera were able to offer a clinical insight and, in some instances, suggestions for handling these sometimes potentially litigious circumstances.

The group looked at best practice and how best to support employees who are facing mental health problems in order to keep them in work wherever possible and minimising the impact on their colleagues.

The workshop was able to provide a safe environment for the attendees to share their experiences and learn from each other as well as reinforcing the common challenges we all face dealing with mental health in the workplace.

We’d like to thank the delegates from some of the region’s leading occupational health companies and occupational health departments for their valuable input during this session.

If you are interested in attending a future round table event, please contact Sara, Head of Corporate Relationships

Mental Health in the Movies


Mental Health in the Movies


The subject of mental health still has stigma attached and for some seeing characters brought to life in movies can help destigmatise this sometimes-uncomfortable subject matter. However, these characters can be portrayed to extreme and as murderers and villains too.

We looked at films with powerful portrayals and insights into an individual’s mental health. If these films are not familiar, you may wish to explore them.  read on for our top 5 mental health movies:

Top 5 Movies Portraying Mental Health Issues

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

The Oscar- winning drama charts the life and works of famed economist John Forbes Nash Jr., a brilliant man plagued by the anguish of mental illness. Played by Russell Crowe, Nash makes ground breaking contributions whilst experiencing life with schizophrenia.

Black Swan (2010)

A psychological thriller set in the world of the New York City ballet. The film depicts a young woman’s decent into fear and paranoia. Played by Natalie Portman, Nina a committed ballerina takes the lead part in Swan Lake whilst she begins to experience a deterioration in her mental health. Some have suggested that Nina’s hallucinations and delusions makes paranoid schizophrenia a characteristic diagnosis, she may also have a differential diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Good Will Hunting (1997)  

This is a great movie about finding the right therapist. The lead character is Will Hunting, a young genius who fails to realise his talent until it is discovered by the award-winning mathematician, Professor Lambeau played by Robin Williams. He agrees to counsel Will to enable the boy to find his destiny.

Mr Jones (2013)

Mr Jones portrays a character who is living with bipolar. Mr Jones, played by Richard Gere, experiences impulsive moments whilst living with bipolar. After one particular episode he finds himself in a mental health hospital and assigned a psychiatrist. The film follows his developing relationship with his psychiatrist played by Lisa Olin.


We couldn’t not mention the classic ………

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

When Randle Patrick McMurphy played by Jack Nicholson gets transferred for evaluation from a prison farm to a mental institution, he assumes it will be a less restrictive environment. However, the disciplinarian nurse Ratched runs the psychiatric ward with an iron fist. This keeps the patients browbeaten through abuse, medication and sessions of electroconvulsive therapy (Interestingly this is still used today for treatment resistant depression). The battle of wills that ensures between McMurphy and Ratched soon involves all the other patients.

Have your own ideas about classic movies portraying mental health issues?  Why not let us know in the comments…