7 Online Resources To Help Those Who Are Depressed & Suicidal

Mark O'Neill 05-01-2013

depression resourcesEven though I am the Managing Editor of MakeUseOf, I have a huge disability in my life which is clinical depression. It started back in 2002, as a depression related to stress in my job, and it exploded in 2003 resulting in a mental breakdown and suicidal clinical depression.  It was a very dark period in my life back then, and I wouldn’t have wished those symptoms and feelings on my worst enemies. Suicide was a constant thought and I credit my wife for being the one who convinced me that the ultimate solution was not the solution.


Clinical depression is, in essence, a brutal torture of the mind, a chemical imbalance in your brain, and because it is so silent and featureless from the outside, many healthy onlookers dismiss clinically depressed people as malingerers and lazy.  I got my fair share of “pull yourself together” and “for God’s sake, put a damn smile on your face” throughout my illness, but thankfully I had a strong understanding support network around me and as a result, I got through the worst of it by mid-2004.  I still have clinical depression but with the help of a good psychiatrist, and some good Happy Sweeties (as I call my medication), I can more or less get through life, and function as a nearly normal human being.

Since many depressed people are inclined to stay indoors and shun the outside world, the computer and the Internet instantly become their very best non-judgmental friend.  Therefore compiling a list of online resources for depressed people (or indeed anyone with a mental health issue) becomes extremely important.  Especially since it has been estimated that, in the US alone, 7% of the population has depression, with even Twitter users becoming depressed.

Here are 7 resources that I have found that I think are extremely good for those with depression.

Disabled Online Users Association

depression resources

When I was sick, I still needed money for rent, food and bills.  Even though I was getting sickness benefits from the government, I still felt the need to earn a little bit extra, if only for the sake of my pride and feeling of worth. That was when I found the Disabled Online Users Association.  The DOUA helps disabled people (and people with depression DO qualify as disabled) set up their own businesses on eBay and help them as much as possible with setting up auctions.


If necessary, you are assigned a DOUA member as a mentor to help you out.  I was a mentor for quite a while and I made some good lasting friends from it.  Which is what I needed at the time.  The founder Marjie Smith, is disabled herself, but a lovely sweet lady with a big heart.  You would be assured of a warm welcome.  The DOUA has a great forum / chatroom (at least they did when I was last a member back in 2004-2005) so you can communicate with other disabled people who will understand you.  Membership is free.

Depression Alliance

depression websitesDepression Alliance is a charity based in the United Kingdom, looking out for the best interests of people with depression.  They do this with the help of support groups, a penfriend scheme (so depressed people can get letters from a fellow sufferer who understands what they are going through), lobbying the government for better healthcare laws, and more.

This page gives a full list of what DA offers.  They provide a lot of up-to-date medical research information on depression, as well as a recommended Amazon booklist.

The charity is supported by the famous British TV personality Stephen Fry, who himself has serious clinical depression, but these days, still manages to work.  In fact, he is an inspiration to me as a writer, that he can accept depression into his life and still function successfully as a busy high-profile public figure.



depression websites

Ah the good old WebMD.  The site that everyone goes to when they have awkward itches down below or an unsightly blemish on the end of their nose.  As you can expect, they also have a huge section on depression, and after telling them what kind of depression you have, it then shows you what is likely to help.

There’s loads of information here, including your treatment options, the different kinds of medication, other forms of treatment (such as therapy – which I personally have come to hate, but some people get something out of it) and “natural” treatments such as St Johns Wort.

Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance

depression websites


There are countless advocacy and lobbying groups online that deal in mental health issues, and most of them won’t have real practical use to the day-to-day sufferer.  However, it’s worth mentioning for a minute the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance.  They have support groups for sufferers, both online and offline, as well as numerous educational materials to read and download.

NHS Direct

sites for depression

Coming back to the United Kingdom again, the National Health Service’s NHS Direct has a good section on depression, including a self-assessment test to see if you really do have depression (although the final diagnosis should always be done by a proper doctor, face-to-face, but this test would give you an initial result to work on).  Plus all the usual information on symptoms, treatments, causes, and living with someone who has depression (which should never be underestimated).

sites for depression


But what I think makes NHS Direct great is that it links to a great Answers site (similar to our own MakeUseOf Answers, but instead for depression).  Free to join, free to use.

The NHS also has a YouTube channel, which includes videos on depression.  Here’s one of them –


sites for depression

Turning to YouTube, there are countless videos on the subject, including a lot of self-made ones from sufferers (mileage on those will vary).  But there are also some good educational videos, in channels such as Depression Advisor and Depression & Bipolar Info.

Depression Haven [No Longer Available]

depression resources

For those who want a forum community to join, and lean on for support, then Depression Haven came very highly recommended to me.  It looks to be updated on a very regular basis, with entries showing for today.


If you were to type “depression” into a search engine, or Twitter, or YouTube, wherever, you are likely to be overwhelmed with so many sites.  A lot of these sites will duplicate a lot of information, so you have to see if any site offers something unique, such as a forum, a chatroom, or other support such as counselling.

Hopefully these 7 depression resources will serve as a good starting point, and if you know of anything else, please let us know in the comments, so we can keep the list going.

Image Credit: Kalex Anderson

Related topics: Health, Mental Health.

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  1. Squalle
    September 10, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    I've had depression for so long, I don't even remember when it started. I've been through a handful of doctors, a handful of meds, and I still want to give up. Forums don't work. I hate when people say the usual "I'm sorry, it'll get better" or "i understand". That shit doesn't work. For me, it only makes things worse.

    Imagine that everything you hear, everything you read, everything that happens around you just irritates the hell out of you. That's my life. I'm tired of hearing people's opinions. I'm tired of listening to people's stories. Everything about the world pisses me off.

    So what does that leave me? Nothing.

    • Mark O'Neill
      September 12, 2016 at 10:42 am

      I honestly do know how you feel, as I often feel the same way. If you want to talk, rant, whatever, then I am happy to listen to you. Really. You're right - those who don't have the problem have no idea when they say "it'll get better". So you need to be around those who do have it and who do understand.

      So send me an email -

    • Kristen
      November 8, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      You just wrote exactly what I'd want to say. I'm at the point of praying to God, The universe, Buddah....whoever is in charge to please just take my life and give it to some infant struggling to stay alive, or anyone dying that really wants to live! I don't want to be here. It sucks. I'm just waiting..!

    • Marisa Morabito
      August 24, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      To everyone on here, you are ALL your own problem. YOU are mentally weak! You have to accept that you are the problem(the thoughts you are thinking) for anything to change. In fact, I have been diagnosed with more than just "depression" so I 100% understand first hand where you are ALL coming from. I have felt the way YOU all do and complained about it just like you all are. Until I realized that nothing I am doing is working, no pills, no doctor, not even the raw vegan diet I am on, (yes that definitely helps), but at the end of the day, nothing is as powerful as a made up mind! A mind that thinks positive thoughts, and feeds itself happy fulfilling empowering thoughts. You have to change your thoughts and what you are telling yourself, what you are hearing. That is the only way out. Everyone has to believe in something or we will fall for everything. What are your beliefs? Do you believe you will overcome your mind? Start there today, now! Again, I have been there too and struggled with my mind for many many years until I woke up and overcame it, and today I am mentally stable with a clear understanding of the mind, with no pharmaceutical drugs or medications. HOW? I changed the thoughts I kept telling myself, the things I was allowing myself to hear and most importantly believed. The voices and negative thoughts (depression). The brutal is that we are a product of our thoughts. PERIOD! Think happy thoughts, have a happy life. Do everything with a purpose. Don't complain because you are only creating more of what you don't want. Set yourself free from the shackles you are allowing to keep binding you and holding you hostage. Only YOU can do it, start with telling yourself you can do it - RIGHT NOW! And stop hanging around people who enable you to continue with the ranting and negativity - that is the absolute worst thing to do. You have to associate with people who have control over their minds (who think positive) I encourage you ALL to look within and get control of your thoughts - it is the only way out!

      • Jesus K.
        November 21, 2017 at 5:02 am

        F*** OFF!
        Rude and unnecessary.
        People like you fall real hard when life catches up with them. When you really have to face things you can't control.
        This control you speak of is an illusion. Ask someone in a wheelchair, or someone who had to watch the person they love the most die in front of them how much control they have...
        Is is possible to choose one's attitude despite hardship? Sure some can do that. But your comment in this context is so unnecessarily nasty that I would voluntarily gouge out my own eyes and chop of my arms and legs if you turned out to be one of those people. You are just a mean and weak person who does.... this... what you're doing. You disgust me and I am sorry to be the same species as you.

  2. Aisha
    August 19, 2016 at 6:17 am

    I get bullied and D graded by my teachers and my parents as when I was in school because My sister is a beautiful,intelligent and position holder student and i'm a average student with normal features.. Now I'm 19 and I'm in university i still being D grading from my parents and from other some peoples because I didn't get admission in a Good university. I'm so depressed from many years. I offered pray often but this depression, loneliness force me to do wrong things (sins). Please tell me what I should have to do now?

  3. Christopher Wetmore
    February 28, 2015 at 3:02 am

    Thank you, Mark. And best wishes to you. For anyone who's reading this and think they might have a depression problem, please look into it.

    You may not be suicidal.

    You may not be "sad".

    You may find, in those moments alone with yourself, that you don't think much of yourself, or your ability to change your environment (including yourself).

    Please, just ask someone trained, OK?

    We like having you around.

  4. Randy
    February 13, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Thank you for putting together this resource. There are some outside the box suggestions here, which is useful when it comes to combating depression. I'd like to suggest two more. The first is which is a newer site that offers free online mental health counseling resources. It's like a directory of sorts. The second is which is a peer support slash counseling website that offers a chat-style one on one or group listener experience. Both websites are valuable additions. Thank you again for the great post!

  5. Christine St Syr Griffin
    March 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I want to thank you again, so brave you are, recently diagnosed as bipolar and previous years with depression, funny I never thought I was depressed!?! in the states Americans are over medicated and misdiagnosed in alarming numbers. I also have extreme migraines and cranial edema and at 47 going through perimenopause. horrible drs. gave me steroids which made me psychotic and than "mood stabilizers" after I went on a rampage. my family was horribly effected and we are still recovering. the sad thing is yes I might have bipolar tendancies and you mix that with steroids and perimenopause and wow explosive, the neurologist could have recommended a shunt in my head but surgery is too costly and with no benefits they put me on meds that actually made me crazy. I have tried different resources but don't seem to fit whatever particular organizations criteria is, where does a slightly neurotic, happy/angry perimenopausal diagnosed with bipolar with fluid on the brain ex-user who hates taking meds and wants to succeed in life girl s'pose to go to get help? any ideas would be very much appreciated.

  6. Concealed Depressive
    January 22, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Thank you for writing this column and disclosing your struggles with depression. The stigma against depression remains strong in the U.S.

    As one who has struggled with refractory depression for decades, I identify with your statements and appreciate the websites and reviews you provide.

    Medications, therapy, exercise, etc. may help some people suffering from depression, but an unacceptable percentage of sufferers do not find relief in existing treatments. There is much work to be done.

    Thank you for a fantastic column and please keep up the great work. It is very much appreciated.

  7. William Stansbury
    January 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Great Article

  8. Seratonin Bereft
    January 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for sharing, often times people stigmatize you when you do. Its nice to know others have the same issues, and there are places on the web for non-judgmental conversations.

    I am a professional, I work full-time and own a business on the side, have children, etc. Well I take my happy pills too, I've gone to counseling (some good some bad) through the years and I keep all this close to the vest. Its hard to ask for help. Yes, I'm afraid of what people will think. It hurts your ego - you're supposed to be stronger than this! right? Well, I still have to plaster my happy face on everyday and let me tell you it isn't always easy.

    Finding the funny in life or changing up my routine has helped, but friends that understand make a world of difference. Thank you again for these helpful links.

  9. Bryan Bays
    January 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Mark, I wanted to add one additional thought I had on depression, and what it really tells you about the people around you. Good or bad, a person having serious depression, is going to find out who their friends really are, and also, who truly loves them. When I would get to my low of lows, I would lash out at others around me, and I quickly found out that I had only 3 friends in the entire world, and it was an eye opener. Your friends will understand that you are hurting badly inside, and the real you is not spewing the hurtful things being hurled against them, they will understand you are worth saving, and that when you are yourself, you would do the same thing for them if they were hurting inside. They see past all your flaws, and still are your friend, which is truly what a friend should do anyway. The second part is, I found out how much my wife loved me, which must be a whole lot, because I can't think of why any woman would want to put up with a growling, grumpy, negative, morose, bear, and still love him?????? Thank God he created woman, and thank God from the bottom of my heart for my wife, I would not be here to send you this post if it wasn't for her patience and love. Anyway, just a thought Mark, and once again, I appreciate you bringing this subject up, Bryan.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm

      Oh I totally agree. My wife has the patience of a saint. I keep joking I am going to write to the Pope and nominate her for a sainthood.

      And I understand what you mean about true friends. When my depression started, my circle of friends shrunk considerably until I only had 1 or 2 left, who truly understood. So in some ways, the whole illness thing has been a huge learning experience for me.

  10. Joyce
    January 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I found the articles at the following URL to be extremely helpful:

    Thank you for your concern.


  11. Lynnette
    January 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you for so openly discussing your disability.
    Depression needs to be openly discussed and the signs, symptoms and treatment freed from the dark corners of the hallway water cooler.
    I've suffered with depression for much of my life but it was only diagnosed when I finally had a nervous breakdown after my children were the victims of a horrible crime in our home. With medication, therapy, and the love of my family and dearest friends I stayed alive - and on some days that was the only goal; just make it till tomorrow.
    Not many people fully understand the physical, emotional and psychic pain of being depressed. Your muscles all hurt as though you have the flu, it hurts to move. You have no interest in the things that brought you joy in the past, you become tearful at the slightest provocation, and though you sleep all of the time, you are still tired. Living like this for any period of time is debilitating and more than wanting to die, suicide is a way of freeing oneself from the pain of depression. If anyone is reading this and recognizes some of these symptoms in themselves, go get help. It does not mean you are crazy - depression is not a disease of intellect or sanity. After a short while on medication you will see the sun begin to shine, the birds will sing again, and you will feel joy returning to your life.
    Don't use a permanent solution to solve a temporary problem. If you feel you can't go on, call for help and start feeling better.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      Lynette, I was very moved by your comment, and I found myself nodding to a lot of the symptoms you describe. I'm sorry about your childrens experiences. How are they holding up?

      Stay strong, and if you want to chat, my email is mark AT . Don't hesitate to get in touch if you want to.

    • Elizabeth Sebastian
      January 13, 2013 at 6:05 am

      You are right in that it's not a disease of intellect. Some of the greatest geniuses of the ages were what modern society might consider mad or ill. In the old days it was that you were possessed by the devil. Galileo was inches from being burned at the stake. Had he lived in another time period he probably would have been a diagnosed schizophrenic.

      And let's not forget Alan Turing who was "diagnosed" as being gay, which was actually a crime in the U.K. like pedophilia is, I believe, everywhere (except the Vatican, oddly enough). Without Turing, we probably wouldn't have 99% of the computer technology that we use today. His work was pioneering in making computer technology more human-relatable. Yet the U.K. government persecuted him as though he were Jimmy Savile (but did nothing about Savile himself!).

      The Apple logo with the rainbow and the bite in the side has long been believed to have been a tribute to Turing and his method of suicide -- biting into an apple that had been poisoned by cyanide. Steve Jobs never would have gotten the idea for the hieroglyphic, mnemonic Mac OS GUI if Xerox hadn't built its Alto system off the before-its-time developments of the late, great Dr. Turing.

      • Mark O'Neill
        January 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm

        The whole Apple logo connection to Turing has long since been debunked. I believe Jobs denied the connection in his biography.

  12. software testing company
    January 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Nice post!! I have enjoyed a lot while reading this.

  13. Lee Ford
    January 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I too live with clinical depression and this shows resources I didn't know were out there.

  14. Chris
    January 9, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Mark. Brave and generous.

  15. Bryan Bays
    January 9, 2013 at 2:54 am

    Mark, thank you for tracking down my comment, I truly appreciate that. One thing I forgot to mention, that may help others just a bit is, when I am so depressed that I can't bring myself to do something that needs to be done, for instance a few weeks back I needed to put a fuel pump in one of my heavy duty trucks. This is not an easy job, you actually have to drop the fuel tank, because the pump and the sending unit are inside the gas tank. I did not want to tackle this job at all, but I forced myself, and after about 30 minutes, I started feeling better, and even with my A.D.H.A. at 53 years old, I was able to complete the job, and the feeling of doing something on my own, really elevated my spirits, so sometimes, just a nudge from your own will, makes a big difference, thank you again Amigo, Bryan.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 9, 2013 at 9:59 am

      I completely agree. There are a lot of things I feel too lazy to do every day because of the depression. But once I get started on something, I realise it's not that difficult after all and I feel better for having done it. You just need a big nudge in the right direction. :-)

  16. Christine St Syr Griffin
    January 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    I think you and your wife are beautiful and brave, thank you, christine

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 9, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Well thank you. I'll be sure to let my wife know :-)

  17. Shmuel Mendelsohn
    January 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    This article, and the information it provides, may possibly make the internet worthwhile, despite the other good it does.

  18. Zsolt
    January 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Hi guys,

    I also used to suffer from depression. Although I've never taken any medication or had any paper written by a doctor that I had this stuff, from about mid-2010 to mid-2012, I was also feeling suicidal, disappointed, and helpess about my life. However, I'm very grateful for a self-healing method called FasterEFT, which I came across in March 2011. Although I still have some problems that need to be fixed with me, such as the willingness to start a serious relationship with someone or self-esteem issues, I am no longer depressed. I've managed to realise that being sad and feeling miserable is of no use at all and I can be happy *for no reason*.

    Now, a bit about this method: it was created by Robert G. Smith, with the goal of being universal (it can be applied for any kind of emotional problems for anyone) and as fast and effective as possible at the same time. In addition, it is very simply, very easy to learn and you can do it alone on a daily basis.

    The creator of the method has put up a lot of (more than 600) videos about FasterEFT on YouTube, so you can actually learn it by watching them, for free.
    I'm giving you a few links where you can easily get started.

    This is a playlist of videos about how it works, what's the belief system behind it and so on, created by a friend of mine:
    A similar list about how-tos and tips for beginners:
    Recorded sessions, where you can see FasterEFT in action (make sure to tap along as you're watching the videos!):
    Testimonials, stories:
    A video I chose specifically, entitled "How to deal with crazy behaviors, suicidal thoughts and buried memories?":

    All the videos above include subtitles in Hungarian too, so if some of you are native speakers of Hungarian, feel free to turn closed captions on.

    Visit for other videos as well.
    Official website of the method:

    As for me, I'm a FasterEFT practitioner, so I can answer you questions or even give you private sessions through Skype if you're interested. You can either post your questions here or drop me an email: notargets at gmail dot com.

    All the best,

    • Zsolt
      January 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      I forgot to mention one important thing: the key to success is persistance. For some people, it may take 10 minutes to get rid of a problem, while others may need weeks or months. It depends on how you internalised and how long you've been "practising" it. (Most problems didn't appear overnight, did they?) So, hang in there! :)

      • Elizabeth Sebastian
        January 13, 2013 at 6:40 am

        Practice doesn't always make perfect. In fact, someone can be a doctor for 50 years, but after all that time, they're still "practicing" medicine!

    • Elizabeth Sebastian
      January 13, 2013 at 5:57 am

      What I think is important to remember here is that whatever works for you, great, but may not work for someone else. I nevertheless do feel that there is a prevailing financial interest in the connection between the pharmaceutical market and medical practitioners. The DSM is continually being updated, and much of it has in later years been proven at best false and at worst harmful. Gay people being diagnosed as having a sexual perversion (like Jerry Sandusky, or Jimmy Savile where you're from) and locked up in mental institutions is probably the most notable instance. There STILL exist a controversial (and perhaps abusive) group of so-called psychiatrists who practice "conversion therapy" aimed at "curing" teenagers of their natural sexual orientation. I live in the U.S. and would rather these doctors be stripped of their license and charged with child abuse -- studies have demonstrated that the arguably perverted methods involved end up leading to suicide. The parents' response usually is a religion-based one, that it's better their gay son or daughter (usually it's a son in these "camps") committed suicide because now s/he can be "saved." WTF? My contention is that the kid was never sick in the first place and those people are just "crazy"!

      I don't consider myself depressed but more of a natural pessimist on many occasions. I find that simply accepting the world as is -- crazy in many ways itself (see above) -- and a futile struggle for betterment (all is suffering, say the Buddhists, this world is just temporary) helps me not to see myself as so "miserable" but merely a disgruntled (young) crank. Thomas Malthus was one of the most prolific pessimist philosophers. The late, great Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes" fame was a well-respected misanthrope. I find a lot of the "stigma" against depression often has to do with society being in denial about there being numerous reasons for people to be miserable, and a stigma against the cranky curmudgeon as someone to be ridiculed and told to "snap out of it."

      Some of the most remarkable art has come from what the masses dismiss as madness or misery. Edgar Allen Poe certainly wasn't clicking his heels all day. Neither was H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King isn't exactly a master of slapstick. "Touched By Fire" is a great book by psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison, who herself has bipolar disorder that sometimes has left her suicidal. But the book deals with the link between mental illness and creativity. And no one could argue that MUO isn't still a brilliant outpouring from someone who has some great gifts to share. :-)

      By the way, with reference to Z Solt's post prior to mine, about the EFT videos (I don't speak Hungarian either, sorry): If anyone is still reading this article, including the OP, have a look at The Sedona Method. It's like EFT but without the tapping. I find it to be a beneficial form of meditation even if you aren't religious or spiritual. "The Relaxation Response" is similar and doesn't involve any chanting either, just deep breathing for only about 10 minutes. The latter is actually written by an MD from Massachusetts General Hospital.

      • Zsolt
        January 13, 2013 at 11:31 am

        This method is actually not the same as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). FasterEFT (Emotionally Focused Transformations) is a mixture of EFT, NLP, Hypnotherapy, Be Set Free Fast, Psy-K, and so on. Also, it is dynamically developing, which means new teachings or techniques can be added if the creator thinks it appropriate.

        By the way, it's OK if you don't speak Hungarian since nearly all the talks are in English in the videos.

        I agree with you, Elizabeth, about the fact that different methods work for different people. I brought this one up because, in my opinion, this is an excellent one, and it may interest many people out there who have already tried (perhaps many) other modalities but couldn't get the expected results.

        As for "Western medicine," I realise it has been probably the most well-known and approved way of getting healed, but there are much better alternatives, in my opinion, just thinking of the possible side-effects, for example. I'm not saying Western medicine is completely useless, but for most health issues, there are better solutions. But hey, everyone has a choice to use (or at least, try) whatever they want.

  19. Grant
    January 8, 2013 at 5:41 am

    It is good of you to tackle a difficult issue. But I do advise caution with describing depression as "a chemical imbalance in your brain". Because with mental-illness, it is difficult to tell the difference between real-science and marketing hype. The relevant facts here as I understand them are :-

    * the link between depression and serotonin was been debunked 10 years ago.

    * researchers now regard neurotransmitter theories for mental-illness as last-century thinking - it just hasn't lead to real breakthroughs.

    * prozac was a marketing-success. In treating depression, it is only 20% more effective than an active-placebo - barely measurable. So on average, most of the benefit comes from the sugar-pill effect. But it is successful in that its side-effects are more tolerable than the tricyclic medications that came before.

    There are no simple answers to depression. It's good to try ant-depressants, they do work for some people. But not all psychiatrists are "a good psychiatrist" who dispenses "some good Happy Sweeties". For about 50% of patients, none of the current medications work well. And in trying to find the perfect medication, psychiatrists will put patients thru a neverending rotation of side-effects, withdrawal, addiction and sedation.

    Do try meds, but with your eyes wide open. And be sure to know when your psychiatrist is doing you more harm than good. I really am sorry to be a grinch here by criticizing But it is only when patients have access to accurate unbiased info that they truly make their own medical choices.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

      Every psychiatrist I have seen in the last decade (and I have seen quite a few) have all said that depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. If you can show me definitive proof that this theory has been disproven, please show me.

      I agree that not all psychiatrists are good. That's why I have seen quite a few of them. But when you hit the sweet spot and find a good one, you need to hold onto them tight :-) Unfortunately my "good one" left for another job, and his successor is quite good but not as great as his predecessor.

      The "Happy Sweeties" thing - that is just my British humour at work there! This is also something else I employ to combat the depression - very warped humour (South Park and Monty Python for example).

  20. Bryan Bays
    January 8, 2013 at 3:03 am

    I wrote a long response to your article, hit the post comment button, it showed my comment on top, now it is nowhere to be found, that's the kind of thing that really makes me depressed. All the heart I put into the response, all the emotion, and poof, it is gone, wow, talk about the reverse effect.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 8, 2013 at 10:07 am

      I think it just went into the moderation queue because you said the word "pharmacy" along with the names of various meds. So our spamming software flagged your comment as possible spam.

      Worry not though, as I rescued you from the spam folder :-)

  21. Bryan Bays
    January 8, 2013 at 2:54 am

    Mark, I have a serious depression problem myself, I go see a doctor about it once a week. I have been on all the usual meds. Prozac, Lexapro, Pamelor, the list goes on and on. Right now I am on Luvox, which hasn't made things a whole lot better, but it has stabilized my condition from getting worse. The stigma is all around me however, as soon as someone finds out that I either see a doctor for my depression, or even that I have depression, they avoid me. The Pharmacy is the worst, many times I can tell the people working in the pharmacy have said something about the medication I am getting, because they all look up and start staring at me, VERY HURTFUL, and embarrassing. I think before any human being judges another about the medical condition they have, the person doing the judging should have to live in the ill persons shoes for awhile, perhaps they wouldn't be so rude. Anyway, thank you for your article, I truly appreciate it, Bryan.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 8, 2013 at 10:05 am

      I'm sorry you experience that prejudice. No-one should have to go through all that. I get comments from people sometimes but I have learnt to brush it off or ignore it.

      Someone once told me "they already think you're crazy so why disappoint them?!" so I give any starers the crazy look and start walking towards them, and they run like hell!!! LOL!

  22. John
    January 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Mark -
    Let me congratulate you for your frank disclosure of your personal health state as outlined in the intro of this posting.

    In the early 1970 I personally went through a similar ordeal as you did. It was quite devastating, particularly since very few people, including many medical professionals, did not truly understand the reason why this condition developed in a healthy person.

    For several years I was under the care of doctors, psychiatrists, etc., swallowed many antidepressants, sleeping pills and other 'to make me feel better pills'. At the same time I tried to run my company efficiently in a 'Zombi' state. I was fortunate to have a tolerant, understanding wife and to have her assistance in the business. This time was also very hard on our children.

    I finally got fed up and booked myself into the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MI. After a thorough, one full week long medical and psychological exam, the following were the findings:

    The depression causes:
    1. 'Burning the candle from both ends'. Lack of sleep (in my case at less than three hours per day or no sleep for 22 hour stretches twice a week for many month)
    2. Drinking some 25 cups of coffee per day.
    3. At that time, smoking two to three packs of cigarettes per day.
    4. Stress to meet government deadlines, tender closing dates, training technical staff, holding lectures and chairing committees.
    5. PTS, (Remnant from WW2}

    Our bodies require vitamins, amongst other things, to function properly. Two of the most important vitamins which feed our nerves and are not stored anywhere in or body are the vitamin B complex and vitamin C. Whatever of these vitamins is not used is excreted when urinating. Coffee, cigarettes and many foods are diuretics hence do not allow the body enough time to absorb the vitamins to feed the nerves. Lack of sleep is also the cause, hence the development of the chemical imbalance in our bodies and development of the depression etc.

    The cure (At least in my case as suggested at the Mayo Clinic)
    Get rid of all antidepressants and take daily two 'Stesstab 600' Vitamin B Complex pills until urine is very yellow. This indicates the body is excreting excess vitamins. Thereafter cut down to one pill per day as long as needed and for maintenance.

    I do stress, I am not a MD, homeopath nor am I affiliated in any way with any pharmaceutical company. I also stress the importance of discussing this therapy with your doctor, it may not be the answer for everyone.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 8, 2013 at 10:01 am

      It sounds like you have been through the grinder yourself John. I appreciate you describing your situation. I could never get rid of my anti-depressants. There was a time last year when I ran out of meds, 2 days before my next psychiatrist appointment. I made the mistake of thinking I could keep my head down and get through the two days without meds. Big mistake!

      • John
        January 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm

        Further to my previous post, the following link reenforces that vitamins can and do help some people. I do not advocate that anybody stops taking antidepressants prescribed by doctors prior to consulting with them. I hope you lick this ugly problem soon.

  23. Jon Morgan-Parker
    January 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Hmm, It is so know you don't want it , but its there ! and you just wish it would go away...

  24. Scott Macmillan
    January 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Depression is ever so common and many people suffer in silence.I hope this article helps as many as possible with their recoveries.It was gutsy of you to be so personnel.Kudos!!!

  25. Cathy Horner
    January 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you for the connections. Suffered most my life, even so it took years before my sister, a psychologist, convinced me that it is a chemical imbalance that I can only somewhat control through behavior modifications. Now the problem is the insurance companies that won't cover this condition or raise your rates so high you can no longer afford it. It's pretty much left me to fend for myself.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 8, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Yes I too have continual problems with the insurance company. Depression is the one long term illness with no guarantee of a cure, so they don't want to pay the bills if there is no guarantee of success. Then it galls you when you see them building huge expensive new offices. So they are obviously not short of cash, cash that you need for your treatment....

  26. Debra Beshears
    January 7, 2013 at 3:29 am

    Thank you for these resources.

  27. Ben Mordecai
    January 6, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Every time I find something online about depression I feel compelled to post this:

    It's a very effective presentation that provides a lot of the evidence that clinical depression is a medical condition and not merely a decision or emotional dysfunction.

  28. Paula Brown
    January 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I know that many are embarrassed by their depression, but it is important to tell family members that you are taking medication for depression. My Father has been married to a lovely lady for 17 years now, never new she had depression issues. Three years ago she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of 66, her condition had gotten terrible. They quit their jobs, moved in with me, sold most of their belongings getting down to minimum things thinking this was the long haul. I got them to change all doctors.... And by shear luck we see a neurologist that she had seen 10 yrs earlier unknown to my Father for depression. Turns out, my stepmother has been taking antidepressants for over 30 years, and just stopped taking them. My Father never knew. The depression got so bad that several doctors diagnosed her with Alzheimer's. she had numerous symptoms of it. She is back on an antidepressant for just three weeks, but OMG what an improvement already. Had we known maybe this action could have been taken sooner, before they quit they jobs they loved or moved from the home they loved. Although I do love having them around, I like having a full time yard man :). Depression is nothing to be ashamed of, with medication and family and friends it can get better.

    • Ryan Dube
      January 6, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      Amazing - just goes to prove the value and importance of finding the right medicine and making sure to keep taking it.

  29. Ryan Dube
    January 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Such an important article - there are so many people out there suffering from this and have to do it in silence. If they can see such a brave article as this, hopefully it will help them to reach out and get that much needed help. Great article Mark.

  30. Hazel Edmunds aka @careersinfo
    January 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Brave man. Thank you.
    I've posted a link to your post onto "The Elephant in the Room" which is a peer support group for people with any mental health problems.
    We've just lost one of our number to suicide so this may be a timely reminder that it's a permanent solution to what is, hopefully, a temporary problem.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      What is the link to your page so I can take a look?

      • Hazel Edmunds aka @careersinfo
        January 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

        It's not a page, The Elephant is a "person", strange though it sounds, who is on both Facebook and Twitter. You can befriend The Elephant at and we'd love to have you with us.
        Not quite sure of the Twitter handle as I don't communicate with Ele that way.

  31. TEMarc
    January 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Not to doubt your sincerity, but when was the last time you checked

    I was checking out the site and found a hijacker link that discombobulated my browser. Should have paid heed to the copyright date, but head-strong I went.

    At least you're strong enough to admit the disease, and that's a correct step in treatment. To many are deniers; and those who don't suffer, have no clue the hell we live in.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      a hijacker link? Please send me the details at mark AT and I will pass the details to Marjie Smith, the owner of DOUA. She is a lovely person and she won't have put anything like that willingly on her site.

      I was there a couple of years back, checking things out.

  32. Allan
    January 6, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for this article.

  33. Henk van Setten
    January 6, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Well yes Mark, the internet is teeming with thousands of these uninspired near-identical depression websites that all look like each other, from the fresh-and-happy-color-layout up to the naive feel-good-tips content that they often almost literally copy from each other. Duh.
    You could just as well have listed 500 of them. And many of these, such as WebMD, actually do have hidden commercial interests: so they ought to leave us with a few question marks about their objectivity.
    And then of course we have the thousands of "brave" individual depression blogs that often offer little more than strikingly similar narcissistic outpourings of personal feelings, lame poetry, cheap run-of-the-mill wisdoms, you name it. In most cases such sites are more useful for the author, than for the visitors.
    I happen to be a depression patient with a wide range of experiences, from multiple electroshock treatments to botched suicide attempts. And I have been working for over two years now to create a depression blog site that's really original, that's really unbiased and intelligent, that's not one-sidedly promoting or condemning specific therapies, that's less naive and more realistic, and that occasionally can give you some unexpected insight or even - however depressed you may be - a little brief smile.
    I hope, Mark, that you will allow me point you for once to my much more original depression site. Please do take a look, if only for a few minutes, and maybe then you'll begin to see how absolutely dull and unspired some of your listed sites are...
    This different site that I've been trying to create over the past years is StayOnTop: Depression. Typing "" in your browser will get you there.
    Thank you for considering this comment,
    Henk van Setten @ StayOnTop

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      You have a very interesting site Henk. And I am sorry that depression has had such a terrible grip over you over the years. However, your comment kind of implies that I wrote my post out of some self-serving interest. And I strongly disagree with your assertion that my choice of sites are "dull and uninspired".

      And even if WebMD has some "commercial interests" then that still doesn't make the information on that site invalid or any less useful.

      • Henk van Setten
        January 6, 2013 at 5:08 pm

        Mark, thank you for your attention, and for having brought up the topic anyway. I just want to assure you that I did not mean to suggest or imply anything negative about you or your motives.
        With my comment I just wanted to say that I think the sites that you put in your list, do (in my opinion) in fact not contribute very much to what we already know. And I still maintain that the commercial interests of some of them do not make them more objective, to say the least.
        Maybe I can best explain myself like this. Wouldn't you feel a little irritated if I were to post a list of interesting computer sites, and I would not mention any really good and original sites like or or, but I would list only standard things like,,, and even
        That's a bit how your post felt to me.If my admittedly impulsive comment offended you, I'm really sorry for that.

        • Mark O'Neill
          January 6, 2013 at 11:17 pm

          No you didn't offend me :-) I guess I slightly misunderstood what you were trying to say. But now that you have clarified what you meant, I understand better now.

          Maybe I will do a part 2 with more sites if the reader interest is there?

        • Henk van Setten
          January 7, 2013 at 11:17 am

          A part 2 might certainly be a good idea.
          In fact your post here made me realize that while I myself have several times reviewed a depression site/blog that proved to be really different from all those boring average ones, I've never collected my reviews and bookmarks to post one systematic, commented list of them. So you've set me working...
          And of course if you'd like me to, I also would be happy to mail you a few suggestions to consider for your part 2.

        • Elizabeth Sebastian
          January 13, 2013 at 6:36 am

          Maybe you could look into some American-oriented ones? We don't have an NHS here -- we have ObamaCare, which many believe is going to be a disaster :-O The U.K. has probably, what, about the population of NYC? There's no way you can suit a program for 20 million people to a country with 350 million (and that's not counting undocumented/"illegal" immigrants, in which case it might actually be closer to half a B).

          Also, I was surprised you didn't list Mind. Stephen Fry, the brilliant British comic actor (and technology enthusiast too! -- he's in a video giving birthday cake on the 25th anniversary of GNU) is or was at one point president of the organization. He is gay and a proud advocate for LGBT people, and has bipolar disorder. The first is the "illness" that I mentioned Dr. Turing was "diagnosed" with as well. And he's got a funny (if at times controversial) Twitter account too. :-)

        • Mark O'Neill
          January 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm

          Elizabeth - I considered listing Mind but in the end, didn't. I can't remember why I decided to remove them from the list.

          I am a huge fan of Stephen Fry. Can't say enough good things about him. His courage humbles me.

        • Mark O'Neill
          January 7, 2013 at 11:51 am

          Yes please do send me your suggestions :-)

        • Henk van Setten
          January 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm

          Mark: thanks to you and your post, I will sit down for a a day to compile a systematically categorized, commented shortlist of what I myself consider important online depression sources. Will post it asap (but not this week, not enough time right now) at my own site ( where it will be free for you and everyone else to copy, or to criticize, or to use as a starting point for your own much better list... To give a quick idea of what I have in mind, a few fairly random examples of what I should include in a list of my own.
          Some sites with almost daily refreshed depression news, especially good for keeping up with the latest research:
 or or or (more for the latest depression-related newspaper headlines etc) the autogenerated list at
          And don't forget there are good freely accessible online psychiatric journals too, such as
          Interesting depression blog posts can be found for example at or
          Then there are some individual blogs that are just a little better, more thought-provoking or inspiring than the average depression blog: written by people whole share really interesting views, thoughts, opinions and insights. For example or (the latter being an example of how a blog with a one-sided, polemic anti-mainstream-psychiatry approach can still be worth following too)
          And of course there are the many active depression forums with helpful participants, such as (with its awful 1998-ish layout but useful content) or
          For all kinds of specific subtopics, it's sometimes handy to look at the sites of specialized national or international organizations: for example, for the subtopic "Suicide" I would certainly list some of the better individual help-oriented suicide-prevention sites, but I would also list a few "official" ones that would make good starters, such as [Broken Link Removed] and
          Same goes for specific therapies, such as ECT: I would mix some individual experience-based sites like with a few more formal ones...
          OK for now, this was just to give you a quick impression of what I have in mind. Is there a way I can keep in touch with you through direct messages or email, instead of filling this comment space?

        • Henk van Setten
          January 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

          Just mailed you a few URLs, to mark [at] [] which I hope will work. Will make a more complete list as soon as I have time to think about structure and comments.
          Well, at the very least you stimulated me to do something I hadn't thought of - thanks!

  34. Deborah Jane
    January 6, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Depression is definitely "brutal torture of the mind." It's probably the most controlling factor of my life, and it has killed some of my family. It amazes me that so many people still seem to think this deadly illness isn't really serious. Thank you for your courageous personal revelation here and for trying to help others who live with this terrible darkness.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      I'm sorry to hear that it has killed some of your family. I was almost "there" but my wife pulled me back from the brink literally. And I am glad she did, because today I am better and I have a great life :-)

      • Deborah Jane
        January 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm

        So good to hear your life is great! I'm sure you know this already, but remembering that life can be wonderful is sometimes helpful during times of sliding back into not-so-great. Not that that happens to you, of course ;-) but some of us have a nightmare of a time in winter. Anyway, hang in there, Mark O'Neill, and thanks again for your story and sensitive comments here. Clearly, too many people know exactly what you're talking about.

        • Mark O'Neill
          January 6, 2013 at 11:14 pm

          Yes winter is not my best time of year either. Too dark and too cold :-) summer is when I perk up :-)

        • Lynn Doane
          January 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm

          I actually bought a grow light to help with winter depression to have at work - hoping it would help - I guess it wasn't the right type. I see they now sell them at Costco - might be worth checking out :)

        • Elizabeth Sebastian
          January 13, 2013 at 6:29 am

          If ever you get enough money, you could spend winter in Australia. It's summer Down Under and I hear quite nice.

        • Mark O'Neill
          January 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm

          Lynn, I have a light already. Doesn't help much though. :-(

          Elizabeth - I would LOVE to spend half the year in Australia. You would have to campaign on my behalf though for me to get a huge payraise to be able to afford it!! Anyhow, it's 50 degrees celsius in Australia at the moment. Too hot for me. Too hot for anyone.

  35. Zhong Jiang
    January 6, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Depression is common in most families, especially with individuals like myself who faces challenges from work to school. It's daunting to recover because no matter what I do, I knew I will fell into the depressive state again.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      It is a vicious cycle yes. But as well as good medication, you need a good psychiatrist to help you identify the areas of your life that need improved upon, to help you focus on something other than the depression.

  36. Anonymous
    January 6, 2013 at 5:01 am

    thanks a lot. I've just shown one of my family member this post.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Great. If they have any questions, then I am happy to help them. Just let me know or email me at mark AT .

  37. Paul Pruitt
    January 6, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Also another thing that helps is to go on a spiritual quest. Try reading the Bible, the Analects of Confucius, The Tao Te Ching, Bhagavad Gita, a biography of Buddha and even the Koran. Part of the reason for depression is you know your old behavior patterns don't work so you don't know how to act anymore in a way that moves your life forward. Spiritual writings can give you a framework to rebuild the new you.

    Basically most persons who read spiritual works are starting in the same place as you.

    In addition to getting pills prescribed, if you go in for some regular counseling, research the different schools of thought but the one which seems to be the most effective is Cognitive therapy. Recovery International might be interpreted as basically a cognitive system. It's mostly free too and is a group therapy kind of thing which alleviates suffering through fellowship to some degree.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Well this depends on your beliefs. If you are a believer in a faith / religion then that is great. If it gives you comfort then that is fantastic. But I am not a believer in religions.

      Especially with depression. Depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain that only anti-depressant medication can fix. So going on a spiritual quest is all well and good but it won't fix the chemical imbalance that only pharmaceuticals can redress.

  38. Paul Pruitt
    January 6, 2013 at 4:39 am

    I have depression to and have also been under care for 30 years. I still take pills, but one of the big turnarounds for me was forcing myself to exercise. Start small then try to move up to at least 45 minutes every other day.

    One of the problems with exercising is coming across other people and with depressed people, that is often enough to stop you from doing it. Having to say hello or thinking about others opinions of how you look or behave is a big barrier. If so, spend some of your resources on a fairly good piece of home exercise equipment. Also put it where you can watch TV or buy a TV and DVD player just for your exercise space. It makes a big difference.

    Another thing to try is working on a laptop as you exercise. The Surf Shelf:, is supposed to work pretty well. I think it would work for an exercise bike as well as a treadmill.

    Something else I recommend is to try not to live alone. It's sort of true, no one loves you when you are down and out, but if people see you make disciplined steps to get out of your whole, they will ease up. A thing to remember too, is probably everybody has been through depression and some point in their life. However people have short memories. They don't remember how bad things get. Also, if they are down on you, it may be mostly because they don't like that aren't doing much to help yourself. The way to deal with that is to put one foot in front of the other and work on small progress every day.

    Having no one to please when you come home from work or after you leave the hospital can be very depressing. If you have to, bite the bullet and move back home or with your siblings or children if they will have you. The flip side is you have to really push yourself to contribute say with computer expertise, putting dishes in the dishwasher, being the handyman etc.

    There are support groups for emotionally challenged persons. If you are affected by alcohol, maybe try AA. For emotional issues pure and simple, try Recovery international. Those two groups have controversial methods but there is some fellowship to be had. You will be amazed at how together some of the people who show up seem to be. It is surprising how some people can hide their suffering and how these kind of issues cut across social strata. Personally I would stay away from Narcanon as Wikipedia states it is a Scientology front group. I think AA and Recovery are much more beign than Scientology.

    Antidepressants can work, but they work better often when combined with an atypical antipsychotics like abilify of zyprexa. The problem with the latter group is you will gain a lot of weight. This is depressing in itself maybe or at least distressing, but when you are on the pills you care less about that.

    I agree also that it is helpful to try to create a home business while on disability. You might not make a lot of money but you will be helping people with your expertise and that will help you feel less depressed too. One type of home business for example is to spring for a TeamViewer Business license for $700 and charge people $25 a pop to fix their computer issues remotely. You can start by using the TeamViewer without the pro license for free as you get your business off the ground.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      This is a great comment. Thanks for that, and you raise a lot of great valid points.

      I agree that exercise is the best start, but having depression yourself, you will know how hard it is to get started on an exercise regime (and stick to it). I have a cross-trainer machine in the living room but I find it very hard to keep to a regular schedule. Plus after 5 minutes on it, I can't be bothered anymore!!

      The support groups thing - well, some people get some benefit out of it, but not me. How can I say this without sounding mean? Being around depressed people....depresses me more. You know what I mean? I'm trying to stay positive but if I am in a group of very negative people, they just drag me down. That was the reason I stopped mentoring at the DOUA. I just couldn't do that anymore and look after my own mental well-being.

      • Elizabeth Sebastian
        January 13, 2013 at 6:28 am

        With regards to exercise, I actually like it -- hate dieting, though, and love pizza. :-) But since I'm a girl, we're fortunate to have this wonderful little invention called Spanx that tucks us in under our clothes. I'm sure men could wear them too... but from a cultural standpoint it'd seem a little weird. ;-)

  39. Guy
    January 6, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Mark, very brave doing this article and being so personal about it. Good for you! This sort of exposure is important for helping to eliminate the stigma around mental health challenges like depression.

    • Eva
      January 6, 2013 at 1:04 am

      One thing I've noticed: When I dare to tell someone about my depression (which I do very rarely and only after a long person period of observing whether that person can be trusted), they almost *always* know someone in their family or their close acquaintance who has it too. Yet we (myself included) still treat it with so much secrecy that one tends to feel utterly alone with it.

      • Mark O'Neill
        January 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm

        I had to laugh when I read your comment because it is very true. When I tell someone about my condition, they ALWAYS know someone who has it too. Or they have it themselves. It's a very small world.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Yes there is a stigma attached to the whole condition. People with depression are considered to be crazy and get put away in the hospital where nobody can see them. Almost as if it is a contagious disease. We need to remedy that by educating people about the condition and what it is really about.

      • Elizabeth Sebastian
        January 13, 2013 at 6:24 am

        I have no idea what it's like in the U.K. But here in the U.S. we have just experienced a tragic school shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut by a twenty-year-old mass murderer who was apparently mentally ill. Reports have varied of whether he was autistic or had schizophrenia or what was wrong with him. Nobody knows now because he's dead. The shooter at the Batman movie in Colorado is believed to be schizophrenic. Both were apparently of well-above-average IQs which is where the high-functioning autistic question arose (which has apparently a common etiology with schizophrenia).

        As a result we are now experiencing a whole wave of knee-jerk reactions in this country, including amending the Constitution to rescind the right of private citizens to own any guns at all (which has, if I'm not mistaken, been done in the U.K. and apparently resulted with a surge of rapes being done at KNIFEpoint instead). Americans believe they should have a right to defend themselves in their own homes, if necessary by shooting an intruder. And many are also hunters, which I'm not sure how that goes down in England if you have to find more than one way to skin a cat. But one of the things that keeps coming up is a "crackdown on the mentally ill." Between the 1960s and 1980s several mental institutions were shut down and the inmates let out to fend for themselves on their own, without any sort of transitional temporary aid. They cannot function in society, and there is no longer any such concept as "institutionalization."

        Until now.

        It seems America -- the so-called land of the free -- is swinging the pendulum to the other extreme, with some asking to lock up children -- children! -- for having A.D.H.D. There is even talk of moving women (who are always blamed as being "crazy" anyway) from the maternity ward to the psych ward for a time after the birth of their child, to avert any potential dangers from postpartum conditions (like what happened with Texas mother Andrea Yates, who drowned all of her five children in a bathtub because she believed they were the spawn of the devil).

        And throughout all of this, with apologies for invoking Godwin's law, I keep thinking of the tragic irony of how Americans fought and died to stop an actual crazy person with a lot of power (and an odd way of trimming his facial hair) from throwing the "unfit" in gas chambers before moving on to six million Jewish Europeans he also deemed "unfit." You seem a nice person, Mr. O -- and you're lucky to live in the U.K., because America isn't so independent anymore. :-(

        • Mark O'Neill
          January 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm

          "a surge of rapes"? I don't think so. Yes, crimes are committed with knives, but you see that everywhere, not just the UK. But "a surge of rapes" makes it sound as if British males are jumping on every woman they see. Which is not the case.

  40. John Hauxwell
    January 6, 2013 at 12:12 am

    I didn't realise NHS Direct was such a comprehensive site.

    Thanks for the article, really useful information.

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Yeah, it wasn't until I was researching this article that I came across the resources offered by NHS Direct. People like to rib the NHS but they do a really good job with the limited resources available to them.