Urgent Request for Assisstance From Icarus Online


There is and urgent and very serious case that Icarus is working on with Help a Squaddie, please read, share and help in whatever way you can.

Thank you

https://icarusonline.net/urgent-request-for-financial-support-for-a-royal-marine-veteran/

ICARUS Online in the News


At the beginning of the week I was interviewed by a journalist from my local paper the Press and Jornal and talked about the work that me and David Bellamy are doing to help bring change to the military charities sector and also to speed up access to treatment for veterans, uniformed services & their immediate families.

Have a read and please share.

Thanks

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeenshire/1438690/turriff-based-ex-marine-sets-up-new-helpline-for-former-military-personnel/

ICARUS: Please Help to Share Who We Are and What We Do


This is just a quick post to ask all of my wonderful 10,477 followers who will see this messsage to please click the link below and click Like on the new Facebook page for the not for profit organisation that I have set up with my friend and colleague David Bellamy.

It will make a massive difference for us to have every one of you liking and sharing our page as it will help us achieve our aim of helping as many people as possible in the UK’s uniformed services that are struggling with mental health concerns and don’t know where to turn, have been dropped by other providers or even turned away. Sadly yes this does happen.

So please help us by hitting over 10K likes and just imagine how many people we can reach if you all share the page too, mind blowing possibilities.

Thanks for reading and helping us make a huge difference for so many people that need what we do.

Click below and make a difference

Icarus Online Facebook Page

Simon

ICARUS Online


As there has been a lot of work, conversations, research and thought gone into the free helpline that we set up in January, and with our efforts to reform the military charities sector and close the excessively large gaps in the system, I thought an update was in order to let everyone know  what’s going on.

I had a great conversation with Lord Dannatt last month and he is in full agreement with our purpose in setting up the free helpline (which has morphed into a treatment line, more on that shortly) and what we are doing and has kindly given his full support and backing ongoing.

Meanwhile my friend and colleague David Bellamy has been communicating with General Peter Currie, General Andrew Graham, General Sir John McColl, chariman of COBSEO and Colonel David Richmond, chairman of the Contact Group set up by Prince Harry, they too are in agreement that the militray charities sector needs shaking up, tightening up and reforming which is now beginning to happen.

David Bellamy is an extraordinary man with one hell of a life behind him. He was in the British Army and served in Dhofar in the 70’s during the Secret War. He has worked as a commercial diver, worked for Lloyds of London and was instrumental in setting up their first Kidnap and ransom insurance package. David, like myself was trained by Stephen Brooks, the founder of British Hypnosis Research and Training Institute and is the worlds best teacher of Ericksonian Hypnosis and Psychotherapy.

It has lead to a slight adjustment in our plan and the development of a name for this not for profit organisation we have created. So we are now called ICARUS, which stands for Immediate Care, Assessment and Rehabilitaion for Uniformed Services, which means we cover all branches of the military and emergency services because there are many veterans working in the civilian uniformed services that deal with horrendous situations on a regular basis and also may well need our help.

The history behind ICARUS is the ancient Greek story of Icarus and his father Daedalus who told his son not to fly too close to the sun with his homemade wings of feathers and wax as the heat from the sun would melt the wax and he would fall into the sea and drown. So the story is about high flying ambition, which is what we have for the accessibility of the best treatment for all uniformed services and veterans. The psychological element of it, the Icarus Complex, which is about the highs and lows of what used to be called Manic Depression and is now Bipolar Disorder, our aim is to help anyone in the uniformed services with a mental illness to learn to deal with it and live a full, happy and successful life for them.

Screenshot 2018-03-02 15.32.53

We wanted to be a not for profit becasue there are already 350 plus military charities in a system that is unregulated, poorly structured at present, and with no standards required to be fulfilled and is in desperate need of an overhaul. This is by no means meant to undermine the extraordinary and excellent work being done by so many in this sector, purely that it can be tightened up and improved so that people do not fall through the net, are not turned away or dropped because they are unable to commit to systems that are far too rigid for people with mental illness. And yes this does happen because these are precisely the people I have been treating for over ten years now.

The helpline is now a treatment line to fit with our new name and purpose, although we will provide any help we can in the process. We offer virtual treatment via phone, skype or any other form of video call to speed up access to help, as well as face to face treatment where possible. We are currently working on building a national network of therapists to assist us so if you are interested in getting involved or know someone who might be then please get in touch with me on simon@simonmaryan.com 

Access to our services is open to anyone. In principle, no one will be refused. There will be no discrimination on grounds of length of service, reason for discharge, medical condition or disability, age, physical disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, political or other opinion. This is a free service open to all service personnel as set out in our constitution which you can find below.

ICARUS Constitution 28.02.18

The phone number stays the same 0800 689 0864

We are also having a website designed that will list all our therapists, each with a personal bio explaining what they do and how they work. All our therapists will be associates, they will be vetted and cleared by us to ensure that they have the appropriate insurance etc for the therapies they provide. The website is being designed by David Bellamy’s wife Mishi who is an amazing artist, so we are extremely fortunate to have this wonderful lady helping us out. Take a look at her fantastic work here: https://www.mishibellamy.net

We also have a gentleman called Stephen Finlayson who is coming on board to help us promote our services, reach more people and deliver what is needed to those that need. Stephen showed his huge heart and compassion a few years ago when he helped a homeless guy in his hometown of Carlisle, this man, Phil,  turned out to be a veteran as well and Stephen helped him find somewhere to stay, put him in touch with the Royal British Legion and thankfully he is back on his feet, has a home, a job and a girflriend. Phil now helps veterans and is paying back in his own way. This story was covered in a documentary by the BBC and is quite emotional viewing.

Thanks to David Bellamy, we have one very interested coroporate sponsor who is keen to help us deliver our services and we are obviously looking for more to make sure that this not for profit can provide as much assisstance to those serving and veterans struggling with any form of mental illness, to live their lives to their fullest and be happy, functional and succeed. Another part of what we provide is ongoing coaching and mentoring for those that receive treatment from us for as long as they need, and also training those that are interested in becoming a qualified therapist, coach and mentor so that they are then capable of helping others that are in the same situation they used to be in.

If you are interested in helping us with sponsorship, donations or have any suggestions about people, organisations to speak to then please get in touch either through the phone number 0800 689 0864 or by email simon@simonmaryan.com

We are also approaching a few universities with the aim of having our program of treatment as a whole, independently monitored and assessed in order to garner external verification that what we do works. We know it does yet it is hugely beneficial to have that independant review and reassuring for those we help.

So lots has been done, lots is happening and lots still to do. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates as we make more and more progress.

Please like, share and comment with your thoughts and any ideas you have for us.

Thanks

Simon

 

The Importance of Accurate Diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress.


As a specialist in trauma and Post Traumatic Stress, I read and research constantly for new information and treatment options in order to provide the best possible options for each person I have the fortune of working with.
 
The difficulty can be is that most individuals with PTSD suffer from other mental disorders as well. Studies of the prevalence of PTSD in large samples have found the following mental disorders are most likely to be co-morbid with PTSD:
 
  • Major Depression
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Dysthymia – persistent mild depression
  • Agoraphobia
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Somatisation Disorder – extreme anxiety about physical symptoms such as pain or fatigue
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Adjustment Disorder
  • Phobias
 
It can be challenging to determine whether overlapping symptoms are best conceptualised as being a part of the PTSD constellation of symptoms or whether they should be attributed to another disorder. Differential diagnosis can be especially difficult when disorders other than PTSD are preceded by exposure to traumatic stress.
 
Despite some symptom overlap between PTSD and other disorders, PTSD has a number of unique features that distinguish it from other disorders. DSM-5 provides specific differential diagnosis guidelines in order to help clinicians assign the most appropriate diagnoses. I know there is much controversy over the DSM, however it is useful to have some form of benchmark to work from.
 
The following elements are useful in distinguishing symptoms of PTSD from symptoms of other disorders:
 
  • PTSD symptoms start or get worse after exposure to a traumatic event.
  • Stimuli reminiscent of traumatic events that activate PTSD symptoms are often pervasive and wide ranging, as opposed to singular or highly specific as in the case of phobias.
 
Disorders other than PTSD may be caused, in part, by exposure to traumatic stress. Although stressor exposure is part of the PTSD diagnostic criteria, PTSD is by no means the only mental disorder that may develop in the wake of trauma exposure. Examples of disorders that may develop after or be exacerbated by trauma exposure include adjustment disorder and phobias. Other highly prevalent disorders, such as depression and panic disorder, may also be potentiated by a traumatic stressor.
 
It is important to look at the guidelines for making a differential diagnosis of PTSD versus other conditions that are commonly associated with traumatic stress exposure. PTSD can be distinguished from these disorders by its defining symptom criteria (i.e., to meet criteria for PTSD, individuals must demonstrate a symptom profile that is consistent with the guidelines for PTSD). Additionally, exposure to traumatic stress is a requirement for a diagnosis of PTSD; in contrast, for disorders such as depression, panic disorder and phobias, although symptoms may be associated with a traumatic event, this is not a requirement.
 
This is why it is important to gather information from varying sources using a variety of methods in order to ensure an accurate diagnosis which will enable the best possible treatment for all symptoms for each individual.

Forces & Veterans Mental Health Helpline


It’s been a busy time since before Christmas in my house with a trip to New York to speak for the NYPD Hostage Negotiation Unit and the New York Association of Hostage Negotiators and the FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force. This month I’m speaking as part of the Seton Hall School of Law in Newark’s Spring 18 Crisis Negotiation Course, to talk about hostage survival.

We also sold our house and found a new one just before I left for New York, so straight after Christmas and New Year, it was all hands on deck to pack up the house ready to move on the 19th January so it’s been a tad crazy, to say the least.

In amongst all this, I have been discussing, planning and beginning the creation of two new initiatives with a very good friend of mine and fellow psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, David Bellamy, read all about his work here: www.davidbellamy.org

Through David, we have connected with three former Generals; Peter Currie, John McColl, and Andrew Graham. We also have onboard former Colonel David Richmond CBE who is about to finish working as Recovery Director at Help 4 Heroes and chairman of the Contact Group.

The first initiative is to update the working structure of the military charity sector. At present it is unregulated, there are no minimum standards of operation required for start-up and ongoing and this has lead to many people being neglected, ignored and falling by the wayside. Over the last ten years, these are the people I have treated for PTSD and all it’s associated conditions and this working group that has come together is in complete agreement that things must change. The irony is that the system is not failing people because of a lack of funding, it is failing them because there is far too much bureaucracy, red tape, and BS.

I am not by any means saying that it’s all bad, there are some great people doing great work for many people, however, as with any system there is always room for improvement and it is now time to implement changes that mean more people can benefit from those positive changes.

Some of the changes being discussed are:

  • a national standard on military charities that require them to furnish proof of certain minimum standards and accessibility in return for which they become approved on a national list.
  • sharing of resources, information, and learning because at present this does not happen. There are 350+ military charities and mostly working in isolation which is crazy considering what could be achieved with total collaboration and cooperation. This would entail national sharing of resources, treatment, response and technical ability.
  • run both initiatives as a not-for-profit organisation

The second initiative which has been easier to get going is a national free phone number for serving and veterans to access advice, help, and guidance on mental health issues.  Ironically, while I was looking into setting something like this up, Lord Dannatt wrote an article in the Daily Mail on 14th January, you can read the full article here, Lord Dannatt’s article in the Daily Mail

In the article, he states that the government had declined the option to set up a 24/7 mental health helpline for serving personnel because it would not be cost-effective. The outcome of their assessment of needs concluded that it would require 40 therapists, cost £2m and attract less than 50 calls per year. This does not make sense because if they needed 40 therapists then they would be expecting far more than 50 calls a year surely?

My own research into costs showed that it is cheap to get started and can be increased as demand requires, so we have set up a freephone number 0800 6890864 for all serving and veterans to call should they have mental health concerns for themselves or someone they know. The company we chose to provide the phone service has given us 90 days free trial and then its £24.99 +VAT per month, we have two therapists available at present and we are building a list of volunteers to help as demand grows. So the cost is far from prohibitive as the government suggested.

Our aim for this is to provide unbiased, impartial, confidential, free advice, guidance and help for people serving in the British Armed Forces and veterans with mental health issues. We no longer want people to feel ashamed, afraid, embarrassed about asking for help, and as we are not connected with the MoD or government in any way we offer complete confidentiality. A large part of what we aim to achieve is to create a network of charities and organisations that we can steer people towards to access the specialist help they need that’s local to them. We also provide counseling, therapy, and coaching as part of our service.

I emailed Lord Dannatt and through his PA I now have a telephone conversation booked for Monday 12th February to discuss what we have done so far, what our future plans are and take advice and guidance from Lord Dannatt to ensure that we at least match his expectations of this sort of service.

I have also been in touch with ITV’s This Morning and my email is with the planning team who do the scheduling so I am keeping my fingers crossed. On top of this, a new friend Stephen Finlayson is helping by speaking to his connections at the BBC who he dealt with for a programme about him from a couple of years ago and also introducing me to people he knows at the CTP, (Careers Transition Partnership) who organise resettlement for people leaving the forces.

We are looking for funding and support across the board, so if you have any ideas or would like to help us in any way then please get in touch via my email simon@simonmaryan.com or via the facebook page which is Forces & Veterans Mental Health Helpline Facebook Page 

Please share this with your friends, family, colleagues etc and help us to spread the word about the service we offer and what we are striving to achieve.

Here’s to a very successful 2018 for all of us.

Simon

Mind-Matters Series Video#8: Get Shit Done


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If your head has ever felt like it is full of too much shit and you can’t think straight, can’t make a decision, can’t get motivated to do what you want and/or need to do and you find yourself procrastinating.

Well, here is a short video explaining why we procrastinate and what we can do to change those negative habits of creating excuses not to do what we want or need to do. Below is a link to my Goal Setting pdf that is yours to download for free and while you’re there take a look at the other downloads available there for free too.

https://simonmaryan.com/free-stuff/

 

Creative Reframing


A wise old gentleman had retired and bought himself a modest home near a school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in peace and contentment. However, when the new school year began, the very next afternoon three young boys, full of youthful exuberance and post school enthusiasm, came down his street, banging merrily on every dustbin they encountered. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the wise old man decided it was time to take some action.

The next afternoon, he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way down the street. He stopped them and said, “You boys are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your exuberance like that. In fact, I used to do the same thing when I was your age. Will you do me a favour? I’ll give you each a dollar if you’ll promise to come around every day and do your thing.” The kids were elated and continued to do a bang-up job on the dustbins.

After a few days, the old-timer greeted the kids again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. “This recessions really putting a big dent in my income,” he told them. “From now on, I’ll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans.” The noisemakers were obviously displeased, but they accepted his offer and continued their afternoon ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached them again as they drummed their way down the street.

“Look,” he said, “I haven’t received my Social Security check yet, so I’m not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?” “A quarter?” the drum leader exclaimed. “If you think were going to waste our time, beating these cans around for a quarter, you’re mad! No way, we quit!” And the old man enjoyed peace and serenity for the rest of his days.

Changes In Treatment Approaches For PTSD


Below is an article taken from the APA website that I find extremely interesting and reassuring that the military is not restricting themselves to CBT and EMDR in treating serving personnel struggling with PTSD.

A psychodynamic treatment for PTSD shows promise for soldiers
March 2012, Vol 43, No. 3
Print version: page 11

PTSD
While cognitive-behavioral therapy remains the most well-researched treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, it doesn’t help all patients. That’s especially true for service members who have been perpetrators as well as victims of violence, says Russell B. Carr, MD, an Army psychiatrist.
“It’s a much more complicated experience, and they often feel a lot of shame in addition to the usual PTSD symptoms,” he says.

For the past six years, Carr has been working with soldiers who haven’t responded to cognitive-behavioral therapy, and he’s developed a new treatment rooted in intersubjective systems theory. This modern take on psychoanalysis pioneered by Robert Stolorow, PhD, posits that the heart of trauma is shame and isolation.
Carr’s therapy, described in the October 2011 issue of Psychoanalytic Psychology, has shown promise helping soldiers who haven’t responded to CBT by addressing the existential dread dredged up by trauma, and the feeling that their entire world has lost meaning. Though Carr’s goals are ambitious, his intervention is relatively short—requiring twice-weekly sessions for up to three months. As a result, the therapist must clearly define goals, keep conversations on track and quickly establish rapport with clients, Carr found.

Short-term therapy—which is typical of CBT, but less common with psychoanalytic approaches—is often the only option in military settings, he says.
“In the military, there is frequently the situation where a patient or therapist is leaving soon,” says Carr. “It’s a transient population, and it limits the length of time we have to work together.”

A key part of intersubjective therapy is helping clients put their feelings around traumatic experiences into words. These feelings aren’t always negative. One patient described in the article found he enjoyed the smell of burning human flesh, and was later horrified and ashamed of his initial reaction. By expressing empathy and not rejecting the soldier, Carr helped the soldier process the experience and reconnect with the civilian world.

Convincing soldiers that a therapist—as well as friends and family—can understand a little of what they are going through lessens their PTSD symptoms, Carr found. In some cases, soldiers even learn from the experience, he says. “Recognizing the fragility of life, you can refocus on what’s important to you, and not waste time on things that aren’t.”
—S. Dingfelder

Common Myths About Mental Illness


There are many myths and misconceptions about mental illness and stereotyping people and stigmatising them is extremely unhelpful fallout of these, which very often makes the symptoms and conditions worse for the individuals.

It’s human nature to judge people from first impressions, but, before you make your mind up about someone, take a few moments to think again about why that person might be behaving and or speaking the way they are.

Here are a few popular myths and the facts about mental illness.


Myth #1: Mental illnesses are not true illnesses like cancer or heart disease.

Fact: A physical illness like a heart attack can easily be detected by some simple tests. In contrast, mental illness is invisible and can’t be observed by the general public. This can lead to judgment and to prejudice.


Myth #2: People with diagnosed with a mental Illness tend to have a lower IQ.

Fact: Mental Illness affects people across the entire IQ spectrum. In fact, many extremely intelligent people have been diagnosed with mental illness, are able hold down powerful jobs, and carry a high level of responsibility.


Myth #3: Most of those who suffer from mental illness are violent.

Fact: Very few sufferers are actually violent. In fact, research indicates that they are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence.


Myth #4: It is mainly women who suffer from mental illness.

Fact: There are millions of people – both men and women – in all of the different mental illness categories.


Myth #5: Most people diagnosed with mental illness were abused as children.

Fact: Although the incidence of some types of mental illness is more highly correlated with childhood abuse, there are many, many people who have never been abused.


Myth #6: A lot of those who claim to be mentally ill are basically just selfish, or self-centred, individuals.

Fact: Many forms of mental illness have been shown to have their roots in chemical and neurological problems in the brains. They are not character defects.


Myth #7: People with mental illness can get better if they just work a bit harder at getting over their issues.

Fact: Although mental illness symptoms can often be managed successfully through a combination of medication and counselling, it is likely that suffers will continue to struggle throughout their life. It’s not just a matter of “trying a bit harder”.


Myth #8: Those who suffer from mental illness will never recover from their disorder.

Fact: Although many sufferers will continue to battle, or will find their symptoms resurface overtime, they can often manage these successfully. Thus, most of them will lead a fulfilling life.


If you’re struggling with any mental health issues and not getting the help you need then please get in touch with me and I will do my bets to get you the help you need.

Simon