Student life

Settling in to student life

It is that time of the year when many new students are starting university. Here at Covance Leeds, we are located close to the city centre and we would like to say a big welcome to all students who have arrived in this lovely city for the new academic year!

We understand that arriving at university can be a daunting experience, so we have put together a few top tips which we hope will be useful while you are settling in.

  • Researching which student bank accounts are available before choosing one is a wise idea, as there are some great offers to be found.
  • Use framed photos, trinkets and some of your favourite books to give your room in halls that ‘home away from home’ feeling.
  • Be sociable and try to get to know people from the start – making friends will help you to settle in.
  • Find out which clubs and societies you can join and what events are on during term time, as these are all super ways of getting to know people.
  • Explore the local area – take a walk and familiarise yourself with your surroundings. A new place will start to feel more welcoming when you know your way around and in practical terms, it is useful to know where the local shops and amenities are located.
  • Work out a budget and stick to it – if you plan what you can afford to spend weekly, it will make life much simpler in the long term.
  • Plan your meals – work out what you need to get weekly as doing one big food shop is more cost effective than buying items here and there.

Here at Covance Leeds we would love to wish every student a wonderful term ahead. We are based in a Grade II listed building surrounded by attractive grounds and gardens, just a short walk from Leeds city centre and adjacent to the universities.

Here are a couple of useful websites which may come in handy too:

Photo of wine glasses

Alcohol Consumption

It is safe to say that many of us like an occasional drink to unwind, but did you know that the alcohol consumption guidelines have recently been updated? The UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) alcohol guidelines for both men and women state that it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

Here at Covance Leeds, we need our clinical trial participants to be within the recommended consumption guidelines when applying for our clinical trials, so we wanted to share the guidelines with you. Our clinical trial participants need to consume no more than the weekly recommended alcohol units in order to be able to take part in our studies – so that is 14 units per week or less.

Cutting down on drinking does not have to be boring now that there are so many great tasting soft drinks and low alcohol drinks on the market! Plus, there are numerous health benefits to reducing your alcohol intake and you can easily track the units of alcohol you consume each week using this handy tool from Drink Aware:

Some of the benefits attributed to reduced alcohol intake include:

  • Overall improved physical health
  • Saving money
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced calorie intake
  • Improved appearance
  • Increased energy levels

There has never been a better time to reduce your alcohol consumption, with the availability of tracking tools to monitor what you drink and so many health reasons to cut down on what you consume!

We would love to see as many new recruits as possible to our paid clinical trials and we look forward to welcoming new volunteers soon!

World Cup excitement at Covance Leeds

13434965_1027655097288700_6773491345253860731_nHere at Covance we are getting excited for the start of the FIFA World Cup. Did you know that as a clinical trial volunteer at our Covance Leeds Clinic, you have access to a host of facilities including satellite television with Sky Sports and free Wi-Fi (and you can bring your own Laptops / iPads too) so you can chill out and watch the football while you take part in our paid clinical trials! To celebrate the FIFA World Cup 2018, we have rounded up a few interesting facts:

  • The FIFA World Cup 2018 tournament will take place in Russia from June 14 to July 15 – the first time Russia has hosted the event.
  • The first World Cup was played in 1930 in Uruguay, who also won it that year!
  • The most goals ever scored by one player in a World Cup match, was five by Oleg Salenko of Russia.
  • The birth rate of the nation that wins the World Cup goes up 9 months after victory!

With the anticipation for the World Cup building, why not join us now so you don’t miss any of those all-important World Cup games. You can apply to join our Covance volunteer panel here, to be selected as a participant for our paid clinical trials. Take a look at our current studies here.

If you are already a Covance clinical trial volunteer, why not get your mates involved so you can watch the World Cup together – you will receive payment of at least £50 for each recommendation (£200 for specific groups). Click here for full details.

Don’t forget, as a Covance clinical trials participant, you can keep up with those all-important World Cup matches in the comfort of our lounge areas – we are looking forward to kick-off! If you are not in to football, there are many other ways to relax here at our Covance Leeds Clinic. As a Covance clinical trials participant, you have access to the following within our Leeds Clinic:

  • Satellite television with Sky Sports and Sky Movies in HD
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Pool table
  • Free retro arcade games
  • Xbox 360 & PS3
  • Board games
  • Book library
  • Daily newspapers
  • Organised events such as quizzes and bingo
  • Modern shower rooms
  • 3 delicious meals a day



photo of lemonade

International Clinical Trials Day

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, or so the saying goes… but when you sip a cool glass of lemonade, you may not know that lemons were used in the first clinical trial.

International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on the 20th May to recognise the contribution clinical trials make to the development of medicines. On 20th of May 1747 Doctor James Lind, a Royal Navy doctor performed the first controlled clinical trial aboard The HMS Salisbury. He tested various treatments on twelve sailors who were suffering from scurvy, which led him to discover that oranges and lemons were effective in treating the condition.

Clinical trials have come a long way since then and at Covance we are proud to be involved in helping to develop pioneering treatments. If you’re already one of our volunteers you might not be guaranteed a place in medical history but you can be proud that you are a part of something that makes a true difference. Spread the word and don’t forget you’ll receive payment of at least £50 for each recommendation (£200 for specific groups).

And don’t forget to keep checking our list of clinical trials as we have lots to choose from.

Find out more about how you can volunteer for a clinical trial.


HAE – a Rare Disease Being Tackled in Leeds

Clinical trials in healthy volunteers are an essential part of developing treatments for every kind of  illness. While many of our studies at Covance aim to tackle prevalent conditions like diabetes, heart disease and depression, we also work on treatments for diseases you may never have heard of – like hereditary angioedema (HAE).

HAE is a genetic condition affecting about 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 50,000 people worldwide. It can be diagnosed through a simple blood test, but the condition is so rare that the test isn’t routinely offered to people who display symptoms. It can take up to 9 years to diagnose!

This kind of swelling is typical of a HAE attack

The main symptom of HAE is rapid and extreme attacks of swelling, which comes on very quickly and can take days to subside. Attacks can affect almost any part of the body. Swelling in the face, limbs and extremities can be disfiguring and extremely uncomfortable, and patients can find it impossible to go about their daily life during this kind of an attack. Some patients also have episodes of internal abdominal swelling. This can be incredibly painful, and because the swelling occurs on the inside of the body, it is even harder to identify HAE as the cause of the problem. If a patient’s first major incidence of HAE swelling is abdominal, it is very unlikely that this illness will be diagnosed and treated correctly.

Perhaps worst of all, HAE can cause swelling of the respiratory system, which can quickly and unexpectedly close the airways and be fatal. Undiagnosed patients are in particular danger.  To an emergency responder, this kind of a flare looks a lot like an allergic reaction, and it is likely that they would administer an Epipen to reduce the swelling. Unfortunately, anti-allergy medication has no effect on the symptoms of HAE. Tragically, 20-30% of patients die before the age of 20.

As the name suggests, HAE is a genetic disorder passed down through families. Attacks can be triggered by several different factors, including stress, injuries, viruses and hormonal changes – women are more susceptible to swelling during periods and pregnancy. Of course, these factors are very difficult to avoid during day-to-day life.

Many prescription medications are known to trigger attacks, so that HAE patients cannot rely on medicines when they are experiencing other illnesses.

So what is being done to stop this awful disease?

test-tube-and-pills-HAEFortunately, there are licensed treatments on the market which can help to prevent flares and alleviate swelling once a patient has been diagnosed with HAE. However, these have unpleasant side effects for some patients, including ‘virilization’, or the development of some masculine traits in female users.

Recently, an alternative drug was developed which showed some promise of treating HAE without causing unwanted side effects. However, to be effective this drug had to be taken 3x daily on an empty stomach. This regime was deemed to be impractical for a medication which should be taken daily for life.

Covance is studying a potential new treatment for HAE which appears to be both effective and gentle, and we need your help to get this drug on the market for the people who need it most. Healthy men and women aged 18-55 who have been non-smokers for at least the last 12 months can take part and will receive from £100 per day for taking the time to be a part of this research. Apply now to help change lives.

cystic fibrosis breathing through colourful straws

Cystic Fibrosis – Join the Fight for Breath!

Cystic fibrosis is a rare, hereditary disease which affects about 70,000 people worldwide. Although its origins can be traced back as far as 3000BC, no cure has been found as of yet. Put simply, CF is a condition which causes sweat, digestive fluid and mucus to become abnormally thickened. But the effects of this seemingly minor change have a devastating impact on a patient’s daily life.

cystic fibrosis red-lungsPerhaps the most well-known symptom of CF is respiratory difficulty. Breathing with cystic fibrosis is sometimes likened to breathing through a thin straw 24/7. Patients with cystic fibrosis are prone to frequent chest infections, resulting in constant production of extremely thick and sticky mucous which is hard to shift by coughing. If this doesn’t sound bad enough, prolonged coughing fits cause inflammation to the lungs, causing more mucous to be produced, and so on and so on. One of the body’s most basic and automatic functions becomes a never-ending vicious cycle. It is hardly surprising that 80% of deaths associated with Cystic Fibrosis are caused by breathing difficulties.

But that isn’t where the nightmare ends. Changes to the consistency of digestive fluids means that the body can’t effectively absorb nutrients from food, resulting in malnutrition. Children with Cystic Fibrosis may grow or gain weight at a slower rate than their peers – often, this is the factor which leads to the illness being diagnosed. In later life, malnutrition can lead to yet more complications including osteoporosis, diabetes and infertility.

The good news is that treatment for Cystic Fibrosis is improving all the time. 70 years ago, most patients died in infancy before the age of 1. The life expectancy of a Cystic Fibrosis patient born now is upwards of 50. But there’s still lots of work to be done to increase this figure and ensure that patients have quality of life for as long as possible.

We are testing a potential new treatment for Cystic Fibrosis in our Leeds clinic, and about 120 healthy volunteers are needed to help us complete our investigations. A new medicine is under development which could potentially correct the genetic mutation which causes Cystic Fibrosis, but before this is given to CF patients, we’re aiming to answer questions like –

  • What is the ideal dosage?
  • Will this work best as a pill, an oral solution or an IV injection?
  • Will this treatment complement or counteract existing CF treatments?
  • How long does it take for the medicine to break down in the body?

cystic fibrosis snuggling-coupleBecause we’re aiming to answer all of these questions, the clinical trial is split into a number of groups, with various start dates and length of commitment.  We’re currently recruiting men and post-menopausal or surgically sterile women aged 18 – 60 for an 18 night stay and one outpatient visit, paying from £100 per day. As we continue to answer the important questions about this medication we will be adding more groups, so if you would like to play a role in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis, keep a close eye on our current studies, and apply for any group with the study number 8349680.

Thank You!


Short Clinical Trials – a little commitment can make a big difference!

Whether you’re considering your first clinical trial or you’re a seasoned Covance volunteer, there are tons of reasons to opt for one of our shorter studies! Some of our upcoming studies involve as little as a 5 night stay and one follow up visit, and can be completed from start to finish within a couple of weeks. Now is a great time to do something quick which will have a lasting impact.

Some Reasons to Love our Shorter Clinical Trials:

1 – Minimal Commitment

One of our volunteers recently told me he prefers short clinical trials because ‘when they’re done, they’re just done!’

short clinical trials appointment-time-ballThe duration of our studies varies massively. A residential stay at our clinic can last for anything between 1 and 31 nights. Even studies with a shorter inpatient stay can be extended by outpatient visits. All of our studies will involve at least 1 follow-up appointment, where we will take a few samples and see how you’re feeling now that the medicine has left your system. In some cases, volunteers are required to return to the clinic for several outpatient visits within the space of a few weeks; at other times, you might need to attend just 3 or 4 outpatient visits stretched over the space of a few months. The payment for a study with multiple outpatient visits will be higher, but needless to say, it can take a bit of forward-planning and organisation to commit to this kind of clinical trial.

For short clinical trials like this one and this one which are currently recruiting, volunteers are only required to visit the clinic 3 times – once for a screening check-up before the study, once for the residential stay and once for an outpatient visit. And you’ll receive your study payment on that last visit. Wham, Bam, Thank You Mam!

2 – They Work Well For Workers

short clinical trials full time workerSurprisingly, a high percentage of our regular volunteers are also in full time work. Unsurprisingly, they aren’t always able to take a fortnight off for a long residential stay, or a day off here-and-there to travel to Leeds and attend outpatient visits over the following weeks. A study with 4 or 5 days stay and one or two outpatient visits is a whole lot easier to accommodate. Look out for residential stays over weekends and bank holidays – you might not even have to take more than a couple of days off work!

Me and volunteer Mike T discussed the ins-and-outs of balancing studies with full time work in this blog.

3 – Short Clinical Trials are just as important!

Making any really important medical breakthrough takes years. It can be 15 – 20 years before a newly discovered medicine passes all phases of testing and can be released on the market. But that doesn’t mean that long studies are the only ones with real value.


It might seem that we can’t tell an awful lot about a drug within a few days. But when several groups of volunteers participate in quick studies, we are able to answer vital questions including:


  •  Does this work better when given as a pill, or as an injection?
  •  Should it be taken on a full or an empty stomach?
  •  What is the ideal dosage of this drug?
  •  How quickly is it broken down by the body?
  •  How much of it is absorbed by the bloodstream?

We use this information to develop new solutions for some heavy-hitting, painful, debilitating and life-threatening diseases.

Right now, we’re recruiting healthy volunteers for 5-night stays testing potential treatments for gout and diabetic kidney disease, bladder dysfunction and cystic fibrosis. In 2016, one of our quickest studies was for a potential new cancer treatment. These studies may be small, but they are mighty!

If you think you can commit to one of our short clinical trials, and you’d like to earn from £100 per day, apply online or call us direct on 0113 394 5200.

world aids day tube advertising

10 Things you should know about HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day 2016

Throughout the 80s and 90s, the AIDS epidemic dominated headlines making this one of the most feared diseases in living memory. In recent years, the word ‘epidemic’ is perhaps more quickly associated with emerging diseases like ebola and the zika virus. But while its progress has slowed AIDS has by no means gone away, and it’s worth reflecting on some facts this World AIDS Day.

aids-ribbon1 – AIDS has caused over 7 million deaths since 2000

We tend to think of the 80s and 90s as the height of the AIDS pandemic. Since then, the incidence of AIDS has decreased and the life expectancy of HIV patients has increased, but the disease remains a serious threat to world health.

2 – There were 2.1 million new cases diagnosed in 2015

That’s a big number. By comparison, there were 29,000 reported cases of ebola between March 2014 and Jan 2016. Clearly, this is no time to become complacent about AIDS!

3 – The rate of infection is slowing

It’s not all bad news! Since 2010, the number of new cases has decreased by 6%. The huge public awareness campaigns of the late 20th Century have had a huge effect on slowing the spread – all the more reason why AIDS should still be on our minds and in our newspapers.

4 – Routine screening is ESSENTIAL

The first symptoms of the HIV virus are easily mistaken for a cold or ‘flu. After this patients can carry HIV/AIDS for many years without showing any symptoms. By the time patients feel ‘ill enough’ to get tested, it may be too late for meaningful help. Screening is confidential, widely available through your GP surgery or sexual health clinics. Increasingly, results can be returned within 1 day, and certain tests may not even require a blood sample.

hiv-myths-ver5_05 – It is NOT spread through bodily contact

You cannot catch HIV by touching or kissing an infected person, or by sharing their cutlery, towels, clothes or living space. When AIDS was en emerging disease and not fully understood, myths and misconceptions like these heaped stigma and social isolation on top of patients’ suffering.


6 – Its origins are not fully known

AIDS was first observed in 1981 and named in 1982; however, it is believed that HIV might have originated in West African Primates, and may have been transmitted to humans as far back as the early 20th century.

Until very recently, a man named Gaetan Dugas was widely regarded as ‘patient zero’, responsible for introducing and spreading AIDS around North America in the early 80s. However, news broke in October 2016 that Dugas was one of many individuals with the same generation of the virus, and that circulation of AIDS in the US most likely began at least a decade earlier.


7 – The drugs DO work

There is currently no cure for AIDS, but antiretroviral drugs slow the progress of the virus and can give a near-normal life expectancy for HIV positive patients. Without treatment, the prognosis is around 11 years from the point of infection. With antiretroviral treatment, patients are generally expected to live into their 70s.

8 – PEP can help patients who have been exposed

PEP stands for ‘Post Exposure Prophylaxis’ – a course of drugs given to healthy individuals who have been exposed to the HIV virus – for example through unprotected sex, or a needlestick injury. It can also be given to the newborn babies of HIV positive mothers. If introduced within 72 hours of exposure, PEP is highly effective at preventing HIV from being contracted.

9 – PrEP can prevent transmission to healthy men and women

For someone who anticipates that they could be at risk of exposure, PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is an effective way to prevent HIV transmission. PrEP involves healthy individuals taking a course of drugs which are normally used to treat HIV/AIDS. PrEP is not currently available on the NHS, but after a parliamentary debate, it was recently recommended that PrEP be made available to high-risk individuals, such as gay and bisexual men, or people whose partner is HIV positive.

aids vaccination clinical trials10 – A vaccine could be next

Vaccinations have allowed us to combat polio, measles and rubella, and to globally eradicate smallpox. A vaccination against HIV is one of the Holy Grails of clinical research, and a huge clinical trial is about to begin in South Africa. 5400 healthy men and women will be testing a new injection, which it is hoped will prevent HIV in at least 50% of cases.


Since it was first classified in 1982, AIDs has gone from being a life sentence to an increasingly manageable condition, and the development of an effective vaccine could sound the death knell for this destructive virus.

None of these developments would have been possible without clinical research, and without volunteers like you, medical developments would grind to a halt.


volunteers executive full time work

Meet Our Volunteers – Mike T’s Covance story!

Recently, I was chatting with one of my colleagues about Covance Clinical Research – he was helping them work on an ad campaign.

Many moons ago I had taken part in some studies at the Leeds clinic. At the time, it was called Hazletons. As a student with a bit of time to spare, I could commit to some of the longer studies which involved staying as a resident for 7 – 10 days. It had been quite a positive experience, and the study payments certainly came in handy at the time!

When I looked at Covance’s current studies and realised there were some shorter clinical trials which I could easily fit around full-time work, I thought – why the hell not!?

male volunteer informed consent documentThe study that caught my eye had a three-night stay and checked in on a Thursday – meaning that most of it fell on the weekend and I wouldn’t be giving up precious holiday. I called the recruitment team who caught up with my medical history since my last trial and booked me in for a screening appointment. Once I’d passed screening, I was invited to check in to the residential part of the study along with 11 other volunteers. I was surprised that many of the others were at a similar age and stage to me – I’d expected to see mostly students, but because this was a shorter study and it fell over half term, many of the people I met were full-time workers.

Because I’ve taken part in clinical trials before, I knew that nothing too scary was going to happen to me in the clinic. You hear urban myths and horror stories about mad scientists amputating and re-attaching toes, but I knew that in reality the procedures on a clinical trial are much more basic, like analysing blood samples. There has already been a great deal of testing carried out on the study drug before it reaches human testing.

However, I must say that I did have some reservations when I learned that the drug I was testing was a potential treatment for cancer. Obviously, cancer treatments like chemotherapy can have unpleasant side effects, so I was a little apprehensive about what I might experience.

When I came for screening, the member of staff I spoke to was very honest and informative, which was reassuring. She read through an Informed Consent Document with me – this contains all the information about the study drug, including how many people have already tried it and any potential side effects. There were a few things in there which I hadn’t noticed when I read through it by myself. She didn’t hide or try to ‘gloss over’ any of the risks, but she gave me all the information I needed to make up my own mind. It’s always good to be treated like a grown-up!

stand-up-to-cancer-soundbite-orangeAfter my appointment, I felt more relaxed about the study drug. But the thing that really put the tin hat on it was watching Channel 4’s Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser on 21st October, just before I was due to check in. There were so many heartbreaking stories from so many different families – it was pretty relentless, to be honest! One way or another, cancer affects everyone. Volunteers on this study get to contribute to the fight against this awful disease. From that point, I was resolute. If I had any worries about taking part, I put them to one side then and just thought about the benefits.

My time on the study passed really quickly. Everyone was friendly, the staff were fun and energetic, but also professional and very capable. Not much has changed since my last visit, but the attention to detail seemed to be even more meticulous than before. Everything is timed to the minute – when you are given the drug, when blood samples are taken, when you go for your meals – you’re actually kept quite busy!

Did I experience any nasty side effects? No! The day after I’d been given the study drug I did feel a little bit ‘snotty’, and one or two of the other volunteers said the same thing; but I’m not sure whether that was actually caused by the drug or not. I might’ve even been given a placebo, I’m not sure!

hair-colour-change-bright-wigsI suppose people often associate cancer treatment with hair loss – but I don’t have much up top anyway, so I wasn’t really worried about that! We were told that the drug might potentially cause a change in hair colour, and I remember joking with one of the nurses, trying to guess what colour it might go! White? Bright orange? It might actually be a benefit if it turned your hair a really nice colour!

I never got to find out, as none of the 12 volunteers did notice any change in their hair colour. And everyone left with just as much hair as they had when they checked in! Like me, all of the volunteers said they’d be happy to come back and take part in more studies.

When it was time to leave, I was given a cheque for £688. It’s nice to get a financial boost like this, particularly with Christmas just around the corner, but I didn’t go into the study with a particular plan for how I was going to spend the payment. After a bit of thought, I decided I’d donate part of it to cancer charities. It feels good to have given some of my free time to cancer research, so why stop there?

If this post inspired you, and you’d like to follow in Mike’s footsteps, why not apply for one of our clinical trials?

World Mental Health Day Mandala

Take Care of Yourself on World Mental Health Day

In the UK, one in every 4 people will be diagnosed with a mental health condition like depression or anxiety at some point. But caring for your mental health doesn’t begin and end with a diagnosis! Just like your physical health, your mental wellbeing can fluctuate from day to day, and there are plenty of self-care activities you can enjoy regularly to keep your mental health in peak condition.

1 – Take A Long Soak

bath taps mental health day long soakFor many, this is the ultimate definition of taking some ‘Me Time’. Smartphones and tablets have led to a world where we’re more connected than ever. Connecting digitally means we’re constantly sharing our time – and ourselves – with the online community. A bathtub is the perfect place to lock your phone and the whole rest of the world outside.

But there’s more! There are also benefits to laying down in warm water (not boiling hot, as this can put your body under stress). Being in this position predisposes you to relaxation by overriding your body’s fight-or-flight response, the survival instinct which is essential to getting us out of life-and-death situations. Because your body is at ease, your mind is reassured that you are in no immediate danger, and it slows production of the hormones which get us ready for a fight!

A good night’s sleep is increasingly being linked to good physical and mental health, and a bath also happens to be a great way to get ready for a restful night.

Have you ever noticed that feeling when the night draws in, you start to feel a little bit chilly and your thoughts turn to snuggling up under a nice warm duvet? ‘Cooling off’ is a part of our natural sleep cycle, and a drop in body temperature triggers the production of sleep hormones. So warming your body artificially in the bath and allowing it to cool down again is a cheeky shortcut to a blissful sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, taking a warm bath at bedtime could be a good alternative to lying in bed, fretting and watching the clock.

2- Colouring In

It’s fair to say that the trend for adult colouring in has really taken off. You can’t venture into a bookstore or newsagent without being overwhelmed by a huge choice of colouring books. Surprisingly, colouring books for adults were being prescribed by renowned Psychiatrist Carl Jung in the early 1900s.

I must confess, I tried some colouring in for my Cynical Trials project, but before I could write up my thoughts, I wanted to try another page. And another. And now I’m on my second book. What is it that’s got me hooked?

colouring pencils world mental health dayWell, for someone who spends their working life on Social Media, it is great to have something to do with my hands which doesn’t involve scrolling, clicking or typing. Inside and outside of work, social sharing has become second nature to me, so it’s liberating to spend time on a project which I have no intention of showing to anyone. There’s something gratifying about completing a complex design, or finding an unexpectedly juicy colour combination, and the consequences of ‘getting it wrong’ or ‘messing it up’ are virtually non-existent.

Like bathing, colouring in helps to mute the brain’s ‘fight or flight’ response, giving you a reprieve from the stress hormones which insist you better update your status or check your emails. But perhaps better still, colouring in doesn’t ‘switch off’ your brain, but forces you to focus. Considering the colour, balance and aesthetics of your piece requires gentle concentration, and could be particularly beneficial to anyone who has a tendency to ruminate on negative thoughts or unpleasant memories.

3 – Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

However mentally strong you are feeling, the above suggestions or any self-care ritual could help to improve your sense of wellbeing. But what if they don’t?

For a huge number of people (one in 11 in the UK), self care activities like the ones above are not enough. It might be time to speak to your GP if:

  • Your low mood has lasted for more than 2 weeks
  • You are finding it difficult to complete day-to-day tasks at work or at home because of your mental health.
  • If you’ve had any thoughts about harming yourself, or thought that your loved-ones are better off without you.

world mental health day depression feels likeLong-term low mood disorders like depression and anxiety happen because of a chemical imbalance; the brain produces serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’, but reabsorbs it before you feel the benefits. This is a medical condition, and is not something which you have to just ‘put up with’. After speaking with you, and getting a full understanding of your situation, your GP might recommend a course of medication called an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) to help increase the serotonin level in your brain.

Speaking to the Doctor about your mood can be daunting, but if you would take medication for a physical condition like a migraine, diabetes or asthma, there’s no reason to view this any differently.

For more hints, tips and suggestions about self care, visit

If you are concerned about your mental wellbeing but feel uneasy about seeking medical help, this article is well worth a read