Professor Stephen Hawking on different black holes: depression

Depression is called many things…black dog, the blues, the dumps.

And when depression strikes you can certainly feel you are in a deep, dark hole from which there is no escape.

Consider then the predicament Stephen Hawking finds himself in…locked in a crippled and useless body…if anyone should feel justified in feeling the effects of depression it would be him…right?

Professor Stephen Hawking alluded to depression in a lecture when he told his audience it is possible to escape from a black hole of despair.

The illustrious scientist made his comments at the Royal Institution in London, speaking on the eve of his 74th birthday.

In a Reith lecture for the BBC he told the 400-strong crowd that new thinking means that it is possible to escape from even black holes. ? Read more »

Medication not the way out of depression

Psychotherapist Kyle Macdonald writes

Ask most people what the first thing someone should do if they?re depressed or anxious and most will likely say: see your GP.

Likewise, most people would think the first treatment you’re likely to get offered would be medication, specifically anti-depressants. At least in New Zealand, you’d be right. But you might be surprised to know not only is this not good practice, it may also be unhelpful.

The two big mental health research and good practice agencies in the world, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence in the UK (or NICE which is a great acronym), and the American Psychological Association in the USA (the APA) are clear that the first line of treatment for depression and anxiety, especially in the mild to moderate range, should be talk therapy.

Not only that, but there is also a lot of studies that show that most of the anti-depressant medications aren’t very effective for mild to moderate range depression and anxiety, and certainly not as helpful as talking with a psychotherapist or clinical psychologist. Not only that but when therapy is combined with medication for severe depression, both in combination are more effective than either on their own.

This is why people like me get so fired up about the lack of funded and affordable talk therapy options available in New Zealand right now. Read more »


Face of the day

Humans of Dublin's photo.

Humans of Dublin’s photo-Facebook

Today’s face of the day has been at rock bottom and has clambered back up and made a happy life for himself. His story is the kind that I relate to. Very few people have it easy in life. I admire those who despite what life throws at them have the courage to do what needs to be done to get them back on track.

On February 5th I came down to wish my mother a happy birthday before I went to work and found her dead… She’d have been 45 that day. She was my best friend and my idol, and I was her only child. I was broken.
Read more »

Faces of the day

Appalling treatment: The Hussain family (from left to right: Father Nissar Hussain, 49, his children, Anniesa, 21, Miriam, 17, Leena, 14, Isaaq, 7, Sarah, 19, and wife Kubra, 45,) are regarded as 'blasphemers' by their neighbours

Appalling treatment: The Hussain family (from left to right: Father Nissar Hussain, 49, his children, Anniesa, 21, Miriam, 17, Leena, 14, Isaaq, 7, Sarah, 19, and wife Kubra, 45,) are regarded as ‘blasphemers’ by their neighbours

Read more »

Face of the day

Murray Wilson/ Fairfax NZ Mike King talks about suicide prevention and mental health at the MUSA Lounge at Massey University

Murray Wilson/ Fairfax NZ
Mike King talks about suicide prevention and mental health at the MUSA Lounge at Massey University

Today’s face of the day is Mike King. I was privileged to meet Mike earlier this year when I was waiting in the makeup room while Cam was getting ready to go on a show on Maori Television. He is a really lovely guy and is doing a really important job talking about suicide prevention and mental health. Guys like Mike have made it easier for men to ask for help and to talk about what they are going through. He is a role model and living proof that real men, real blokes, can suffer from depression just like the rest of us and can also get help and get better. Having lived with a husband with depression for ten years I know first hand how much it hurts both the depressed person and everyone around them. I suffered from depression myself for a few years so I know what it is like on the other side as well. Read more »

Half a mil to assist depressed farmers


Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced the increased training measures as part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities, announced by the Ministers at Fieldays.

The Ministers said that The Ministry of Health would work with RH?NZ to provide the increased training.

RH?NZ chairperson, Dr Jo Scott-Jones, said improving mental health outcomes and minimising suicide risk for rural populations was a top priority for all 34 members of RH?NZ. Read more »

Face of the day

Jamie Harrington -Facebook Humans of Dublin

Today’s face of the day Jamie Harrington shared his story on the?Humans of Dublin Facebook page earlier this week. It is a story that illustrates the power of three simple words, ” Are you okay? “

“I was just on my way to the American sweet shop to buy some Gatorade, when I saw this guy in his 30s sitting on the ledge of the bridge. I just thought, “wow…” I stopped and asked him if he was okay, but I knew from the look in his eyes he wasn’t, and he didn’t say anything either, but I saw tears coming from his eyes. I pleaded with him for a while to come down and sit on the steps, and eventually he did.

Read more »

Were you, or are you still, a picky eater? You could be mental


Children with severely selective eating habits were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or social anxiety than kids who consumed a wide variety of foods, the study found. Read more »

What is this illness that is depression?

What is this thing called depression?

Each person is different, for me depression is anger. It is all consuming and it takes over and the anger builds and seethes, then it breaks.

The best thing I ever did was be honest about depression, it is also the worst thing I ever did.

It was good because I finally knew what it was that was killing me. I could confront it, fight it and battle and boy that battle is tough. Every now and then it comes roaring back and it always will.

The worst part about being upfront about depression is the reaction of people to it. I am lucky I have very good friends and of course my Spanish Bride. But the suffering ?hurts every one.

I have learned with battling Depression for more than ten years that there are triggers. ?? Read more »

Lufthansa has some ‘splaining to do

 Photograph: Michael Mueller/AP

Photograph: Michael Mueller/AP

The Germanwings co-pilot said to have deliberately crashed his plane with 149 others aboard into the French Alps reportedly suffered serious depression six years ago.

Andreas Lubitz sought psychiatric help for “a bout of heavy depression” in 2009 and was still getting assistance from doctors, German daily Bild reported on Friday, quoting documents from Germany’s air transport regulator Luftfahrtbundesamt (LBA). Read more »