I base my practice both in the NHS as a clinician and in my own clinic as a private therapist on what I consider to be The Five Pillars of Good Mental Health.

Primarily and often surprisingly, I consider good quality sleep to be the most basic fundamental need, not only for good mental but also for good physical health. Without it our brain goes haywire. It is the foundation for all other activities and practices to achieve a balanced mind. Without it we become psychotic, prone to physical illness and unable to function. We can explore about how poor sleep affects us, what qualifies as good sleep and how to achieve it.

Secondly, diet and nutrition. The second pillar of health but also good mental health. High carbohydrate, low nutrient based diets lead not only to poor physical function, but also to chemical dysfunction in the brain. Supplements are not always adequate as they are not bio-compatible. So we can consider how we treat mental illness using medication, but more importantly how we can often treat and prevent mental illness using nutrition taking into account the brain/gut connection.

Exercise is known to boost the feel good chemicals of the brain and research is showing how a healthy mind is supported by a healthy body. (With any diagnostic process in the NHS we try to rule out physical causes before diagnosing mental illness.) Exercise has also been shown to be at least as effective as medication in treating depression. Imagine what proactive exercise can achieve.

Connection to others forms the basis of socialisation and often forms the basis of our “purpose” in life. However, isolation and loneliness are common amongst those with mental health problems. It is often this lack of connection that perpetuates depression and has also been highlighted in research regarding organic illnesses such as dementia. Loneliness, social isolation and lack of purpose not only act as precursors to poor mental health but also perpetuate it.

Finally introspection. Some people call it prayer, some call it meditation. Either way, focusing on yourself and having “down time” not only recharges your batteries, it also helps to promote mental stability. Time alone allows us to get to know ourselves, take a break from the world and refocus. You would never set out on a journey without being prepared. This is how we can prepare for our daily lives.

Optimising these principles can be the basis for not only a healthy body but also a healthy mind.

Initial Consultation and subsequent sessions: £40 per hour