Myth 1


Antidepressants are given out too readily- and they don’t even work

Overall, following antidepressant treatment, a person is 10 times more likely to experience an improvement in their depressive symptoms than any increase in suicidality. The guidelines that doctors follow suggest antidepressants be prescribed in cases of moderate or severe depression- that is, when the condition is having a truly negative effect on a person’s quality-of-life.
No doctor will hand out antidepressants just because a patient is ‘sad’.

Prof Carmine Pariante King’s College London


Myths about mental health debunked by experts



Myth 2


Self-care is only for people who already have a mental health condition

If you knew that you had a family history of diabetes you might take certain steps to reduce the chances of developing it yourself- you might exercise more frequently and eat more healthily. In the same way people who have a family history of mental health conditions might be at a higher risk of developing a mental health condition themselves. These people should be offered guidance to help prevent them from developing a condition.

Dr Sri Kalidindi Institute of Psychiatry


Myth 3


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is only a military issue

PTSD affects approximately 7% of the population. The most common cause is being the victim of a serious crime. PTSD arises when you feel your life is in danger, you feel out of control and you are extremely frightened. It is a normal response to an abnormal event. A diagnosis of PTSD is made when a person has experienced a life threatening trauma and also presents with a series of symptoms, such as the inability to function on a day-to-day basis.

People with PTSD may be unable to study or work. Their relationships are affected. There are a range of social personal and financial consequences for the individual as well as their family and friends. Some of the symptoms of PTSD such as depression, anxiety and sleep disorders, mean a lot of people try to self medicate by drinking. This creates additional problems. Some substance abuse is also common.

Prof Gill Mezey University of London


Myth 4


Depression doesn’t affect older people

Depression is the most common mental illness in older people. But while 50% of younger people with depression are referred to mental health services only 6% of older people are. The risk of depression only increases with age; it affects 1 in 5 older people living in the community and 2 in 5 of those living in care homes. This mental health condition is 7 times more common in people with 2 or more chronic physical conditions- and the number of chronic physical conditions a person has will typically increase as they get older. Many older people are led to believe depression is a normal part of ageing but this is not true. While depression in older people is common, it is shockingly under recognised even by health professionals.

Dr Amanda Thompsell South London and Maudsley NHS trust


Myth 5


Mental health just isn’t as important as physical health

Approximately one in 4 people experience a mental health problem in any given year. Nearly one in 3 people with a long term physical health condition has at least one coexisting mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. And mental health problems can exacerbate a person’s physical illness, prolonging recovery and increasing the cost of treatment to the NHS by an estimated 10 billion per year.

One of the starkest facts we must all face is that people with severe mental illness die on average 15 to 20 years earlier than those without
The majority of these premature deaths are avoidable. As well as being over 3 times more likely to have a physical health problem people with mental illness also experience more risks to remaining physically well. Smoking rates are approximately twice as high and alcohol misuse and obesity rates are about 50% higher than for general population. But in the UK, mental illness accounts for around 23% of the disease burden, yet we invest less than 6% of the annual health research budget in mental health. This amounts to 115 million per year. By contrast cancer received 25% of this budget. Meanwhile, the number of Psychiatrists employed by the NHS has fallen by 4% since 2014, and a 15% cut in the number of mental health nurses working in the NHS since 2010.

Prof. Sir Simon Wessely Kings College London


Myth 6


You can’t lead a normal life if you have a serious mental illness

There are dangerous misconceptions harboured about serious mental illness. When people think of schizophrenia they are imagine violence. They think psychosis and a picture of a padded cell. But every day I see evidence of people with serious mental illness in the most commonplace of environments. Many of my patients are in mainstream employment. I treat civil engineers, teachers, nurses and indeed other doctors. Our treatment allows patients to get involved with meaningful activities and maintain good relationships.

Dr Paul Rowlands Royal College of psychiatrists


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Trustees/Directors report for the year ending 31 December 2016


Objects of the charity principal activities and organisation of our work.

The charity is constituted as a company limited by guarantee and is therefore governed by its memorandum and articles of Association. It was incorporated on 20th of October 1998.

The charities objects and its principal activities continue to be those of preserving and protecting mental health by the provision of a counselling service for all sections of the community who are suffering from psychological distress or relationship problems and to advance education and training in counselling.

Contributions towards the cost of the service are reduced for clients who are unable to afford the full cost of the service.

Responsibility for governance of the charity rests with the Board of Trustees. The executive committee meets regularly to manage its affairs at an operational level.

There is an unpaid Director and two part-time administrators who manage the day-to-day administration of the charity. There is a part-time counselling coordinator who manages the clinical aspects of the service and a part-time publicity officer to promote the service.


Voluntary assistance

Compass Counselling depends on the commitment and dedication of many people who contribute voluntarily to the running of the service. These include:

Counsellors
Supervisors and Trainers
Volunteers who have assisted in promoting the service
Professionals providing accounting and bookkeeping services
The Directors and Trustees themselves
Paid Staff who have worked more than their contracted hours

It is estimated that this assistance amounted to approximately 44,000 in the year and no charge was made for these services.
The Trustees thank everyone and acknowledge that the service could not have run without this voluntary input.


Development, activities and achievements in the year 2016

Working, through a rigorous appraisal procedure, to achieve on-going accreditation as a service with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

30% increase over the year in the number of client referrals. Requiring additional supervision, administrative staff and counsellors who are now in place.

Our evaluation procedures continue to show a majority of participating clients achieving a significant improvement in their mental health.

We continue to write personally to 170 doctors to update them on our activities and provide them with guidance on referrals, particularly in response to research which as identified that outcomes are greatly improved if people are offered a choice of their treatment programme.

We have continued to develop our website with articles and comments of general interest.

Increased involvement with a National Counselling Network to promote the value of one-to-one counselling and psychotherapy.
A comprehensive review of the Guidelines for Good Practice in counselling services which was set up by the NCN.

Strong emphasis on keeping costs down and increasing client numbers has enabled us to turn a significant budget deficit into a small surplus at the end of the year.

We continue to work with our local MP in his initiative to ‘Support our mental health services’ and to forge links with Clinical Commissioning Groups to emphasise the contribution made by Compass in assisting people who cannot be helped by NHS treatment programmes.

Seminars and reading groups are set up to assist and encourage our counsellors with their professional development.
Involvement in the wider community, especially Oakhaven Hospice, providing supervision groups for staff.

Offering a basic ‘taster’ day for those interested in finding out more about counselling and the benefits it has to offer.


Future developments

We will be making further initiatives to promote our service to GPs outside our local area who do not currently refer to us.

We will be setting aside a Designated Fund called a Contingence Reserve to help meet expected costs in the future. This will ensure the continuation of the service in the longer term.

We will be looking at ways to expand our training activities for the benefit of our counsellors and create a source of income by attracting counsellors from outside our agency. Our emphasis will be on the psychodynamic approach.

In recognition of evidence that mental health services are not reaching or appealing to the older section of the population we will be putting particular emphasis on promoting our services to this group and reducing the stigma that is often experienced.

Copies of the accounts of Compass Counselling (New Forest) Ltd. are available on request.

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