Managing Mental Health When You Start College Or University.

(image: Pexels: Ketut Subiyanto)

Going to college or university is one of the most exciting life events we experience, but it can also be one of the most daunting. This is a period of upheaval and change, which often triggers a mixture of emotions. If you’re preparing to start a new course or move to a different town or city, here’s a handy guide to managing mental health.

Make your new base feel like home

One of the best ways to settle into a new area and adjust to a different routine and environment is to make your new base feel like home. Whether you’re living in student accommodation or you’re renting a flat or a house, try to be proactive in creating a homely, welcoming feel. Decorate your bedroom and turn it into a sanctuary that makes you feel relaxed and calm. Put photographs up on the walls, use soft furnishings to add a cosy feel and choose colours that you love. Create a space that celebrates your style and personality and makes you feel safe and comfortable. 

Socialise

Making friends is one of the biggest challenges for students. Some people are naturally very sociable and they’ll start conversations and build relationships without even thinking about it, but for others, creating bonds is more difficult. Try to socialise and meet people through activities, lectures, classes and group sessions and societies and clubs. Use your hobbies and interests to find people with shared passions and don’t panic if you don’t click with the people in your flat or on your course immediately. Keep putting yourself out there and you’ll find your crowd. It’s important to be yourself and to find friends who make you feel confident and valued. You shouldn’t feel like you have to change or put on an act. 

Look after yourself

Going to university is synonymous with partying, staying up late and embracing the experience of living in student halls. It’s fun to go out and enjoy a few drinks with new friends, but try to look after yourself as best you can. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, keep an eye on how much you drink and try to follow a healthy diet. Exercise daily, spend time outdoors, hang out with friends and keep in touch with family members. 

(image: Pexels Pixabay)

Don’t be afraid to talk

It can be incredibly stressful to start a new life at university, especially if you’ve never been away from home before, or you find it hard to make friends. If you’re struggling with your mental health, or you feel anxious or low for a prolonged period, don’t be afraid to talk. Open up to friends you trust or relatives, speak to your GP, or research resources you can access through your college or university. It may also be helpful to speak to others who are in the same boat via online communities and social media groups. There are also free helplines you can call such as Samaritans 116 123 (UK).

Going to college or university is an adventure, but it can also be an upheaval. It’s crucial to look after yourself and manage your mental health. Socialise and make friends, create a happy, calming home environment and take care of your body and mind. Talk to people and seek advice if you are finding life tough. 

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Are Workplaces Doing Enough for Mental Health in a Post-Covid Era?

(image: Mateus Campos Felipe at Unsplash)

The global coronavirus pandemic brought mental health and personal wellbeing to the forefront of our working life. As more companies return to the office, employers need to think about whether or not they are doing enough to make mental health in the workplace a priority. We speak to consumer finance startup, CapitalBean.com, to get some insight.

Workplace Mental Health Post-Covid

“The coronavirus pandemic highlighted serious concerns regarding mental health and personal wellbeing,” explains Richard Allan of Capital Bean.

“With ongoing uncertainty and a heightened sense of risk, it could be argued that we were experiencing an unprecedented global mental health crisis, often with no end in sight.” 

From a workplace perspective especially, many workers were facing uncertainty regarding their job stability, redundancies and, for some, navigating an entirely new way of working and interacting with colleagues.”

“In response, many companies started to take employee mental health more seriously and implement frameworks and best practices; however, now that we are returning to normal and trying to leave Covid-19 in the past, what is the extent to which companies are keeping up with their commitment to employee mental health?”

The Return to the Office

During the Covid 19 pandemic, the majority of workers were learning how to do their jobs remotely. This presented a range of new challenges to navigate and loneliness was widely reported. Not only were people missing the daily social interactions with their colleagues, but they were also finding the blurred lines between home life and work life difficult to navigate – with people’s homes doubling up as their offices, many workers were finding it difficult to switch off and reported working more hours. 

Now that people are starting to return to the office, after adjusting to nearly three years of remote working, they are being faced with new challenges. People are finding the return to work difficult and reporting a great deal of anxiety regarding social interaction. In addition, after working from home, they are now having to juggle their home commitments alongside going to the office. Whether it is squeezing in laundry, balancing childcare, or even factoring in an extra hour for the commute, the return to the office is proving more difficult than expected for many and is causing stress and anxiety for some. Others prefer working from home, so there is a balance.

The Employer’s Role

Millions of workers are returning to the office or workplace with changed attitudes and new expectations. In order to attract and retain talent, it is important for employers to acknowledge this and respond empathetically. Many companies have included mental health in their promises to employees on return to the office but now it is their time to demonstrate that this is not merely lip service. 

Employers need to proactively introduce programmes that are promoting workplace mental wellbeing and help employees with the challenges that they are facing. It is important for workplaces to create a psychologically safe space for workers and welcome conversations surrounding mental health and support.

(image: Luis Villasmil at Unsplash)

The Great Resignation And Mental Health at Work

After the pandemic, more people than ever before started evaluating their working life and what their main priorities were. With new focus on mental wellbeing and work-life balance, workers started to question what their expectations were and what they required from their place of work. The great resignation, the mass exodus of millions of workers in 2021, left employers having to think about what they needed to offer workers to not only attract talent initially, but retain it. 

 Workers who were asked about the great resignation pinpointed lack of workplace communication, sense of belonging, employee-manager relationship and toxic environments all as reasons to leave their jobs. 

In a post-Covid era (and what should have been before this), it will fall to the employer to make sure their staff feel looked after, not just financially but also emotionally.

Employers need to make their employees feel like they are taken care of, respected and acknowledged, and that their personal wellbeing and mental health is a top priority. Going forward, this will be more important for jobseekers than free office lunches or staff drinks.

We all have mental health and it is vital this is acknowledged and cared for, and not ignored in the workplace.

This article contains links to partner organisations.

A Lovely Review Of My Book ‘Bring Me To Light’ By Deb Wilk at Living Bipolar Blog.

(image: https://www.pauladennan.com/reviews/)

Sometimes, you receive amazing book reviews on the internet and don’t realise they are there!

Yesterday, I stumbled upon Deb Wilk’s blog Living Bipolar – Deb has lived with bipolar disorder for many years and very kindly reviewed my book last year. She lives in the USA and is a talented blogger, sharing about her life living with bipolar.

I don’t always know what to expect with reviews, but this was so positive so thank you Deb for reading, enjoying and recommending my book Bring me to Light: Embracing my Bipolar and Social Anxiety. Heres some quotes from the review:

Every word, paragraph and chapter of Bring Me to Light was utterly mesmerizing.  Eleanor Segall’s account of her battle with bipolar 1, panic attacks, and crippling social anxiety is so vibrant that the reader feels as though they are experiencing it right alongside her.

I would love to describe the book in detail, but I am not going to give anything away because this book is an absolute must-read.  Anyone who is bipolar or loves someone who is, should read this story.  It is a moving narrative that anyone, even those who do not suffer with mental illness, should read.  

She is now an extremely forceful voice in the mental health community, and this accolade is incredibly well deserved.  Please read this book.  You will find it well worthwhile and, I am certain, as enthralling as I did.” (Deb Wilk, living bipolar blog)

To read more of Debs review click here

Bring me to Light is available now on Amazon and in all good bookshops (including Waterstones, W H Smith and Blackwells and is available globally).

My Interview On Life With Bipolar Disorder by Best For You NHS

(image: Best for You NHS)

The team at Best For You NHS interviewed me about my life journey with bipolar disorder and anxiety. I hope it helps anyone, particularly young people, who are struggling.

You can read the interview that I did with Annabel here. Trigger warning as discusses suicidal thoughts, being in hospital and sexual assault.!

Thank you Annabel and team!

Best for You is a new NHS programme in London to help young people and their families access mental health support We know many can’t access the support they do desperately need and CAMHS services here in the UK are overstretched. I hope that by sharing my story it helps young people feel less alone, but we desperately need more funding into childrens mental health services too!

(Images by Best for You NHS)

Eleanor x

What It’s Like To Go Through Severe Depression as a Bipolar Episode: Looking Back by Eleanor

(image of Eleanors book Bring me to Light: Eleanor Segall/ Trigger and Welbeck publishing)

TRIGGER WARNING- DISCUSSES SUICIDAL IDEATION, SELF HARM AND BIPOLAR DISORDER. PLEASE READ WITH CARE

This weekend, I went home to my mums to celebrate the Jewish festival of Pesach (Passover) and have some quiet, family time. It was wonderful and because our religious laws mean we don’t use the internet, our phone on our festivals, it meant I had time for digital detoxing and switching off. But with that silence, came space. To think and reflect.

Something you may not know about me is that as well as being a writer, throughout the years I have been a prolific diary (journal) writer. The act of putting pen to paper and type to keyboard has always been therapeutic for me in my darkest moments. I found a diary I had written in 2013, when I was living with depression, suicidal ideation and self harm thoughts and actions.

The journal was covered in butterflies- always my symbol of hope. I don’t want to trigger anyone so I will say this carefully- essentially, I was so unwell that for me, my symptoms were: sleeping until the afternoon with a slight break for a meal or tablets, not socialising, finding it hard to wash due to increased anxiety and lethargy, feeling like I didn’t want to wake up the next day and wanting to harm myself in various ways- but being so frightened by these thoughts (because i knew they weren’t really Eleanor) that i had to vocalise them to my family and psychiatrist to keep myself safe. Thats what I did and its why I am still here today, in recovery.

I lived with this depression for about 6 months- my psychiatrist was encouraging me to try Lithium to stablise the bipolar but I wasn’t ready and wanted to see if Quetaipine could halt that. As we know, I became hospitalised for mania soon after in 2014 which led me to recovery and writing my book Bring me to Light.

When you live with an illness like bipolar disorder, you can sometimes forget the nuances of all the details of how you were when you were unwell. For me, I always felt that I handled the depressive episodes ‘better’ than the mania- just because I was able to keep myself as safe as possible by telling my family and doctor and changing medication. My psychiatrist had to come out to see me at home with a nurse as I was so unwell and I wrote out how I felt for him to know.

So many people live with terrible episodes of depression so this blog is just looking back and giving you some knowledge of how it manifested for me. Essentially, depression is a slowing down of the mind towards inactivity, darkness, misery, anxiety, agitation and it is often triggered due to changes in hormones and brain chemistry (if you have a family history its more likely to happen). Depression is not just low mood. Its paralysing. Its not wanting to be in the world and being in so much emotional pain. You may think of ways to harm yourself and you may dream of not being in the world. Or you may be ‘high functioning’. I somehow managed to go to friends weddings during this time despite spending the other days in bed til 5pm- I have no idea how- anti depressants and support helped greatly. However, my depression was dark and invasive.


Now, I had forgotten a lot of these finer details. For me, I never truly wanted to die- I wanted the uncontrollable bipolar to go! The suicidal ideation was my bipolar brain chemistry but also an expression of not coping with life and the bipolar moods I had been given- I was 24 and I couldn’t enjoy life- i was wracked with anxiety too. My mental health was fragile and unstable and it is no way to live- but what saved me, was being hospitalised and finding medication and therapy that has helped me to live in remission (thank God) for 7 years now.

I can say now that my brain chemistry is balanced and even if i ever get sad or frustrated, I don’t have those awful thoughts and if they ever come up, I can deal with them. I have such a supportive partner and family- my family and psychiatrist saved me as well as me trying to save myself- I frightened myself with my thoughts and I had some semblance of being able to keep myself going, which is not possible for everyone. It helped that my Dad has bipolar and could really understand what was going on for me too- he understood exactly how I was feeling but he knew it was the illness and not Ellie. I feel so lucky for that because not everyone has this. My mum, step dad and sister and wider family also were so supportive and never blamed me for being unwell. That helped too. My faith also has helped me dearly,

(Me at 25 when I was going through depression. This photo was a selfie taken when I was dressed up to go to a friends wedding and my sister had done my make up. There were no photos with messy hair or red eyes and tears. I never looked this good when I was in bed til 5pm most days in my PJs).

If youve got this far thank you for reading. My mission is to help others with these conditions feel less alone, through sharing my own experiences. I have been careful not to reveal what certain thoughts were here so I don’t trigger anyone.

If you live with depression and a host of other issues, you can recover again. Hold on. You will not feel like this forever and you can find a level of happiness and stability again. Reach for help, someone you trust, a help line, a psychiatrist and don’t give up.

5 Risk Factors For Post Partum Depression.

(image: Fat Camera via Unsplash).

During the 2020 COVID season, UK health experts stated that new mothers were twice likely to experience postpartum depression. The report further stated that women with babies younger than six months were the most at risk of developing this mental health condition.

While 47.5% of women may seem on the high side, it is a reality some people have faced in their motherhood experience. While science is still at a loss for the exact cause of postpartum depression, the medical fraternity believes risk factors exist.

  1. Stress associated with new baby care

Without a doubt, baby care is a demanding responsibility. It can take a toll on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, women who are unable to properly manage all these three elements may increase their risks of post partum depression. Feeding, diaper/nappy changes, and constant monitoring can take all your time.

This is why experienced parents believe it is necessary to adopt certain measures to ensure you do not push yourself to the backburner. One of these measures is to sleep when your baby naps. So, how long does it take to sleep train your baby? This question is an issue many new parents struggle with as they streamline their babies’ sleeping patterns.

  1. Preexisting mental health condition

Usually, a female with a preexisting mental health condition is believed to be at a higher risk of postpartum depression. Psychologists believe that the issue of brain chemical imbalances may significantly influence a person’s vulnerability. While the discussion on postnatal and postpartum depression continues to rage on, you may find it helpful to know the subtle difference. Postnatal depression is usually the mental health condition associated with a woman’s depressive mood in the first six weeks after birth. However, postpartum depression (PPD) refers to the period exceeding that.

According to a mayoclinic.org study, women with bipolar conditions may have a higher risk of PPD. Individuals in this category experience more depressive symptoms if the condition is left unmanaged. Additionally, a person with a history of Schizophrenia or Bipolar, may also have an increased chance of experiencing postpartum depression. Usually, women without a prior diagnosis of any preexisting mental health condition can have difficulty understanding why they have PPD.

  1. Family history 

A 2019 report by postpartumdepression.org claims a possible genetic and hereditary disposition to PPD. Although some medical circles believe the findings are inconclusive, there is a strong belief that this mental health condition can run in families. For example, if your mother experienced postpartum depression in her reproductive years, you may have inherited genes that put you at a higher risk. Indeed, this is not the kind of news people want to hear, but it is vital to be armed with this crucial piece of information.

It is worth noting that since specific genes run within biological families, the discussion of genetically inherited PPD cannot be a mere claim. PPD researchers claim that certain genetic alterations during pregnancy could indicate whether a woman would experience postpartum depression. Additionally, these researchers believe that the chances of it happening to a first-time mother may be higher than another who has had multiple births.

  1. A drastic change in image perceptions 

In many instances, women experience weight gain and other image alterations during pregnancy and after childbirth. While some women can bounce back to their former selves within weeks of birth, most take longer. For the latter group, the drastic change in physical appearance can affect their self-confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, the inability to embrace these physical body changes could contribute to postpartum depression.

A preemptive measure may be to embrace the fact that a changed appearance is a part of the pregnancy and childbirth journey. If you find that too hard to believe, you may find it helpful to be patient in the ‘waiting period.’ This is the phase when women’s bodies gradually return to the pre-pregnant state. If you can psych yourself up in this period, you can reduce your chances of developing an image-induced PPD.

  1. Absence of social support after birth

Contrary to public perception, single mothers are not the most at risk of absent support. Undoubtedly, the absence of a partner may double up the burden of baby care. However, this issue cuts across both divides. Whether you have a partner or not, the absence of a support group from family or friends can increase your risk of postpartum depression.

Post partum depression can be a difficult struggle, but it is one that can be overcome with support. Reach for help from your doctor or psychiatrist, friends and family and support groups/ other mums too. You may decide to take anti depressants or engage in therapy to help. There are also helplines and charities out there to help new mums with mental health issues, including PPD. You are not alone!


This article was written by a freelance writer and contains affiliate links.

5 Ways to Support Mental Health As You Get Older.

Image credit

When you think of older people, what comes to mind? Most likely, you think of a frail older man or woman sitting in a rocking chair on the porch with his or her grandchild. This image is often comforting, but it’s not always accurate. As life expectancy increases, so will the number of seniors needing support as they navigate this time in their lives.

Let’s take a look at the five ways you can support mental wellness for the elderly through compassion and care.

Mental Health: Dementia and Depression

Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every person realises their unique potential and can cope with the everyday stresses of life. It encompasses our emotions, beliefs, thoughts, and behaviours related to our physical and spiritual health.

Studies have found that over 50 per cent of older adults with dementia experience depression. This figure becomes even more striking when considering that depression rates are higher in women than men. Depression can lead to loneliness and feeling disconnected from society, which might be exacerbated for those who aren’t familiar with mental health issues.

Depression can also lead to poor self-care behaviours like eating poorly or not taking care of personal hygiene because they cannot enjoy their day-to-day activities such as cooking or cleaning. People may find it challenging to socialise during this time because they’re trying so hard not to feel negative emotions like sadness or anger that might come up unexpectedly during a conversation.

It can be worth discussing how they can get support from a care facility such as Oakland Care where they will have round the clock care and support for their mental and physical wellbeing.

5 Ways to Support Mental Health

  • 1. Be a friend

One of the most important things you can do to support mental health in the elderly is being a friend. It’s easy to think of someone who is elderly as being alone, but they don’t want to be. They rely on friends and family members more than ever before. This can help provide them with some comfort and companionship during difficult times.

  • 2. Have compassion for them

It’s good to show seniors compassion when they need it the most. Not only will this improve their mental health, but it will also give you the chance to see a side of your loved one that you might not know about otherwise.

  • 3. Offer loving care

It’s essential for all people in your life, including elderly family members, friends or caregivers, to remember that every person is different and deserves love on their terms. The elderly need specific forms of care and various types of love depending on their circumstances.

  • 4. Send cards or gifts

Gifts sent with care can help people feel less alone and know they have support. Choosing something special to them.

  • 5 Get help

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to contact a medical professional such as a GP or hospital doctor who can get them the proper care. 

Above all, make sure they are well supported and cared for.

This article was written by a freelance writer and contains affiliate links.

How to Support Your Spouse with Mental Health Issues: by Kara Reynolds.

(image: Pexels)

Providing support to anyone with a mental health issue is challenging, to say the least. But when that person is your spouse, the situation is even more complicated. At worst, it’s confusing and overwhelming. At best, you might be walking on eggshells. However, being there for your partner during this difficult time will ultimately bring you closer together.

Here are a few ways to support your spouse so you both can emerge from this stronger than you were before. 

1. Help Them Help Themselves 

In the United States, nearly half of those with clinical-level mental health issues don’t seek help. Instead, they try to handle their illness on their own or simply give up hope, both of which can quickly send them into a downward spiral. 

Therefore, if you notice potential symptoms of a mental illness in your spouse, it’s important to encourage them to seek help. Work together to find a therapist, counsellor or physician (doctor) who can provide medical advice or guidance. 

2. Understand the Diagnosis

Once they see a professional and receive a diagnosis, read up on their condition. Maybe you’ve noticed some of the accompanying symptoms but failed to attribute them to their mental illness. Now that you’re more aware, you can stay calm and avoid feeling triggered or attacked when these symptoms show up in everyday life. 

On the other hand, if your partner hasn’t visibly shown signs of depression, anxiety or other issues, you might have been unaware of their suffering. Understanding their diagnosis will help you notice symptoms in the future so they don’t have to go it alone any longer. 

3. Implement Support Tactics

Now that you know what to look for, you might notice more mental health flare-ups, so what should you do when things start going south? Implement support tactics specific to their condition. 

For instance, if your spouse is dealing with depression, you might notice they’ve neglected to wash the dishes or do the laundry. In this situation, consider offering to complete these chores yourself or suggest doing them together.

4. Be a Good Listener

Sometimes, your loved one will want to talk about their experiences or past trauma that may have prompted their mental illness. When they express interest in discussing things, create a safe space for them by being a good listener. 

Pay attention to every detail in an effort to better understand their perceptions and beliefs. Let them talk it out without worrying about how to respond. Then, when you do react, try to do so not from a place of judgment, but of empathy and compassion. Validate their feelings to help them accept their emotions and move on.

5. Be Patient 

It may be difficult to hear, but certain mental illnesses can ebb and flow for years without reaching a resolution. There’s no magic timeframe for recovery.. Therefore, it’s best to let go of idealised timetables and take things day by day. 

This is when love becomes a choice and your commitment to one another carries you through — for better or worse. Instead of running away, resolve to stay steadfast and patient. Instead of holding their illness against them and growing bitter, choose to see it as yet another challenge you can overcome together. No matter how long it takes, you’ll be there to give them support, encouragement and affection. 

6. Practice Self Care

If you’ve ever been on an aeroplane, you know the flight attendant recommends putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others. After all, you can’t assist others if you don’t take care of yourself first. The same is true in your marriage — and every other relationship, for that matter. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that you practice self care and take care of your own mental health before trying to help your spouse with their issues. 

Take time to be alone each day. Revisit an old hobby or pick up a new one like knitting or journaling. Mind-body exercises and autoregulation techniques can also relieve stress and help you tune into sensations you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. Engaging in these activities will help you stay healthy and better support your spouse during this difficult time. 

7. Keep the Love Alive

Mental health issues and the symptoms that accompany them can become all-consuming. However, it’s important to focus on your relationship apart from this conflict to keep your bond strong and the love alive. 

Spend quality time together, go on dates and continue to communicate openly. Do things that bring you both joy and focus on enjoying each other’s company. Doing so will remind you why you fell in love in the first place and give you more reason to fight for your spouse’s mental health and your relationship as a whole. 

Communication Is Key 

After some time, you and your spouse may begin to resent the patient-caretake dynamic. When these sentiments arise, communication is key. Talking about your feelings will help you understand one another better and may put you on a level playing field again. Once you realise that it’s you two against the world — and not against each other — you can take on mental illness together and emerge on the other side stronger than ever.

This article was written by freelance writer Kara Reynolds, Editor in Chief at Momish.

Winter Mental Health and Anxiety Update by Eleanor

Hi everyone,

I have spent a number of months avoiding and not taking action on one of the main issues that has. been happening in my life.

As you know, I have spent many years living in the shadow of having bipolar disorder and panic disorder (social anxiety and panic attacks) and possibly also PTSD symptoms from my last hospitalisation.. that I didn’t realise that my panic disorder is essentially agoraphobia too. (Oh got to love my overly anxious nervous system and imagination that creates panic!),.

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd.

For me, this means that I can struggle to leave home alone at times, socialise, go out on public transport, go out to eat, go into a shop, travel anywhere alone including walking and that I panic and avoid and retreat from situations.. When I am going through a period of low mood, the agoraphobia/panic disorder can worsen.

I am managing my panic attacks through therapy and speaking to my therapist works. However, being indoors all the time through Covid and changing my working patterns to working from home meant that my agoraphobia got heightened. I didn’t want to be around crowds because I could get Covid. I didn’t want to go on public transport in a mask- because I might get Covid. I didn’;t go in a shop because people were there- but once vaccinated, this hasn’t changed. Really this was masking deeper anxiety and fear of the world in general- feeling uncertain after a job loss and starting a new career and feeling intensely self conscious too about weight gain on my medication.

Today on facebook, I had a memory from 12 years ago (when I was 21) which informed me that I had been on a night out at Ministry of Sound nightclub in London for a gig and I was also coordinating London Booze for Jews ( a Jewish student bar crawl) – despite the fact I didn’t drink. I have always been social but nights out in bars and clubs are just not my thing these days at the grand old age of 33 (grandma alert).

I know my panic is not the whole of me. In the past I have completed a degree and masters at drama school, travelled to India, Israel, places all over Europe and volunteered in Ghana for 7 weeks. Despite my anxiety, I run two small businesses, have managed to release a book, written for well known publications and achieved many of my dreams. I also met my wonderful husband and am not only proud to be a wife, but an auntie (and hopefully one day a mother too).

I am still Ellie and still the person I was inside before trauma hit.

Despite all of the amazing things above, I have been struggling with getting out of my 4 walls. So this is a diary entry to say: I will get better and get out the flat more. I will try and expose myself to feared situations. Above all, I will be kind to myself and take slow steady steps. I will lose the weight too!

All friends/fam are welcome to try and coax me out and help too!

A Guide to Life Insurance for those with Depression and Anxiety.

(image: Pexels)


According to research from mental health charity MIND, 1 in 6 adults suffer from depression or anxiety in any given week in England¹. 

The prevalence of mental health conditions in the UK is on the increase, not helped by the physiological and financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, this also means awareness is growing.

When it comes to life insurance, insurers now better understand the need to provide financial protection for those with less than perfect mental health. 

If you need to arrange life insurance to protect your loved ones’, but you suffer from depression or anxiety, you may wonder how this will affect your application. 

If so, continue reading as UK life insurance broker Reassured explain all in this 2021 guide…

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is simply an insurance policy that pays out a cash lump sum to your family should you pass away whilst the cover is in place.

The proceeds can be used to cover mortgage/rental payments, provide an inheritance, as well as meet family living costs. If you have dependents who rely on your income, then life insurance ensures that they would be financially secure if you were not around to provide. 

You pay a monthly fee, known as the premium, in order to benefit from the cover protection. Premiums start from approximately 20p a day for £200,000 of cover (or sum assured).

Can depression or anxiety affect your life insurance application?

Yes, if you have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety then this can affect your life insurance application. But do not worry, this does not mean you cannot secure cover or that you will definitely pay a higher premium.

The challenge is that you may need to answer some questions about your condition before your application is accepted. Your responses to these questions will help the insurer better understand your individual circumstances and provide you with a suitable quote.

If the insurer thinks you are more likely to make a claim on your policy due to your depression or anxiety, then they may increase the cost of your monthly premium to mitigate this perceived risk. 

Questions you may be asked include:

  • When were you diagnosed?
  • What treatment are you receiving?
  • What are the severity and frequency of your symptoms?
  • Have there been any instances of self-harm, attempted suicide or hospitalisation?

The only exception to this is over 50s plans. If you are aged 50-85 you can take out an over 50s plan; these policies guarantee acceptance and do not ask any medical questions during the application.

However, whereas standard cover (such as level term and decreasing term) can pay out up to £1,000,000, an over 50s plans maximum is £25,000. As a result they are commonly used to cover rising funeral costs and/or provide an inheritance (not cover larger debts such as a mortgage).

Does depression or anxiety affect the cover itself?

No, if you have been diagnosed with having depression or anxiety before taking out a life insurance policy, then this will not affect the cover itself.

Your policy will be the same as for anyone else who takes out the policy – the only difference being that you may pay a loading on your premium due to your condition. 

What will stop me from getting life insurance?

It is very unlikely that you will be declined life insurance due to depression or anxiety alone.

When sourcing quotes, you will also need to provide the insurers with other information about yourself such as your age, health, weight and smoking status.

These factors are more likely to impact your life insurance options than your mental health condition. Nonetheless, you may be declined life insurance if your depression or anxiety is deemed too high risk. For example, your diagnosis is recent or you’ve self harmed/been suicidal on more than one occasion.  

As someone with depression or anxiety, you may struggle with the process of applying for life insurance and therefore, put off getting a quote. This is understandable as you will need to discuss the details of your condition with a person you do not know. 

However, it is important to understand that insurers are very familiar with assessing applications for people with a mental health condition.

Once your life insurance is in place, you can have peace of mind that your family are financially protected if you are no longer around to provide.

How to get the cheapest premiums 

If you suffer from a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, it is really important to compare multiple quotes before securing cover.

Every insurer will assess your application differently and therefore premiums will vary in cost, so shopping around will ensure you can get the best available price.

You can do the research yourself, use a comparison website or enlist the help of a specialist FCA-regulated broker.

Whichever method you choose to compare quotes, rest assured the vast majority of those suffering from a mental health condition can in fact secure affordable life insurance.

In fact, the most influential factor affecting the price of premiums is likely to be your age – so why not seize the day and secure your loved ones financial future?

Sources:

¹ https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#:~:text=1 in 4 people will,week in England [2]

This article was written by a freelance writer.