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  • Writer's pictureJo Magowan

Mental Health Awareness Week

The importance of mental health has climbed the agenda in recent years. And with around one in four people estimated to suffer with mental illness at some point in their life, this is a welcome shift. Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual campaign which aims to bring to light this complex and widespread issue.

Living with a mental health problem can impact all aspects of daily life, making even routine activities feel more difficult to cope with. And with the addition of lockdowns, restrictions and reduced support services, this year has been particularly challenging.

In Brighton, the Preston Park Recovery Centre (PPRC) aims to respond to the higher than average prevalence of mental health conditions in the area. Using an approach that is based on the well-respected Recovery model, the team at PPRC work collaboratively to encourage clients to stay in control of their life despite mental health challenges. Personalised recovery plans draw on a range of services such as employment and welfare advice, skills training, creative activities and holistic support and healthcare.

Included in this broad and integrated offer is low-cost homeopathic support, provided by local organisation, Homeopathy in the Sussex Community (HISC). HISC’s in-house homeopath at the centre is Michael Bird who runs a popular and busy weekly clinic, working with complex mental health conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, trauma, Schizophrenia and Psychosis.

For Bea, 32, accessing homeopathy with Michael has been transformational. Diagnosed ten years ago with Borderline Personality Disorder, Bea has to cope with a variety of mental health challenges such as extreme and unpredictable fluctuations in her emotional state, often experiencing intense feelings of rage, shame, panic and despair. In the past, these overwhelming emotions have brought devastating consequences, including self-harm and even attempts to take her own life.

Bea started accessing HISC’s service at PPRC shortly after her diagnosis, and using homeopathy has been a critical part of her recovery journey to find more peace and stability. “Seeing Michael on a regular basis is a really positive example of continuous care. I haven’t been able to find that anywhere else and it makes such a difference, especially when I am in crisis. It’s been amazing”.

Sleep disturbances are a common feature of many mental health disorders and before using homeopathy, Bea described herself as a chronic insomniac; “I just couldn’t sleep and would be awake all night, sometimes even painting at 3am because I was so wide awake. And life is even harder to manage when you’re sleep deprived. But when I took the homeopathic remedies, it literally changed my life; I was finally able to sleep at night.”

Michael Bird - Homeopath

Homeopathy treats every person as a unique individual and Michael selects each remedy after considering the physical, emotional and mental state of his clients. So, as Bea points out, homeopathy can also provide support when there are physical complaints too. “It’s all related actually. If I am anxious, I hold tension in my neck and shoulders and then I struggle with the pain. And when I am overwhelmed and stressed, I get terrible mouth ulcers. Michael can prescribe remedies for whatever is going on for me; he looks at the whole picture and finds the right remedy for me at that particular time. It is so useful.”

Bea recognises the benefits of homeopathy – it is a gentle, safe and effective system of medicine that has been in use around the world for over 200 years. Of course, conventional medication is sometimes needed too and Bea is currently on anti-depressants prescribed by her GP. But the homeopathy works beautifully and safely alongside these, as part of an integrated approach to managing her complex and long-term mental health needs. Thanks to her hard work and commitment to self-care, Bea is currently enjoying the stability of a job and secure housing. Right now, she is on maternity leave looking after her beautiful new baby.

Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity for all of us to focus on, and talk about the importance of mental wellbeing. And after the difficult and challenging year that we’ve all been through, this has never been more relevant. To donate to HISC’s work so that Bea and others can continue receiving the care and support they need and deserve, please give here.


For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week, and to seek help:

Find out more about HISC at:

Read about Preston Park Recovery Centre:

Discover more about homeopathy at:

Photo credit: Shane Rounce on Unsplash

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