Mental Health Stories From The News

Here are a couple of mental health news stories which caught our eye this weekend and we thought you might find interesting.

Both come from the Guardian website's Science section the first deals with the issue of the legal restraints imposed by UK law on dealing with depression and the second looks at the problems surrounding our current way of diagnosing certain mental conditions.

The first story is entitled Magic mushrooms' psychedelic ingredient could help treat people with severe depression and was penned by the website's Science Editor Robin McKie.

The story looks at how drugs derived from magic mushrooms - which contain could psilocybin - could help treat people with severe depression but according to Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London the UK's strict drugs laws are preventing research into this area.

Professor Nutt - who was sacked as the chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009 after clashing with government ministers on the dangers and classification of illicit drugs - has found that psilocybin appears to stop patients suffering from depression from dwelling on themselves and their own perceived inadequacies and makes them feel happier just weeks after taking the drug.

However, his ongoing researach into this area is encounterating difficulties as magic mushrooms - and therefore psilocybin - are rated as a class-A drug and the active chemical ingredient cannot be manufactured unless a special licence is granted.

The second news was covered by the regular Guardian columnist Vaughan Bell who is visiting senior research fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.

In his weekend column called News from the borders of mental illness he discusses new research which is challenging the polarised views of how best to define, diagnose and treat conditions such as schizophrenia.

He discusses the issues surrounding the classification of "mental illness" and whether this is fundamentally flawed and the key issue of whether different diagnoses such as schizophrenia, bipolar or depression represent distinct disorders have specific causes or are just convenient ways of dividing up these conditions for the purposes of treatment.

If you have a mental health news story or event you would like us to highlight on this blog please contact us via email at or on 029 2050 4516.