Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Face to face
Two different articles from The Guardian, both relating in some way to mental health.
Firstly, How to beat depression - without drugs, looks at the work of Dr Steve Ilardi, and his book, The Depression Cure: the six-step programme to beat depression without drugs. Dr Ilardi isn't saying anything particularly new, but he does note one thing especially:
Social connectedness is important to Ilardi. In The Depression Cure, he argues that the brain mistakenly interprets the pain of depression as an infection. Thinking that isolation is needed, it sends messages to the sufferer to "crawl into a hole and wait for it all to go away". This can be disastrous because what depressed people really need is the opposite: more human contact.
Which is why social connectedness forms one-sixth of his "lifestyle based" cure for depression. The other five elements are meaningful activity (to prevent "ruminating" on negative thoughts); regular exercise; a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids; daily exposure to sunlight; and good quality, restorative sleep.
And social connectedness is the focus of the second article:
the lack of face-to-face interaction can make the world wide web a lonely place sometimes. But fear not, for not only can you use the web to order your takeaway and DVD, now you can also use it to order the friend you share them with.
Rent a Friend, which already offers its services in the US and Canada, is being launched in the UK this week to give people the chance to overcome their British reserve and hire someone to keep them company. Unlike the myriad dating websites, which cater for everything from a long-term relationship to a no-strings fling, Rent a Friend advertises itself as "strictly platonic", while also emphasising that it is not an escort agency.
So face-to-face contact may be coming back into its own.