February 2024, Issue 4
Your mental health Newsletter from Brighton and Hastings Therapy Centres

Our Charitable Work

All BTC/HTC Practitioners commit at least 25% of their time to the provision of low-cost and no-cost therapy. Any surplus generated from our mainstream work is ploughed back into our charitable services. You can help someone in your community access the support they need by contributing using the button below.

This Week

In this week's newsletter, we look at what people are saying about mental health in the news, local events and what you can do to get the most out of therapy.

Our Letter from the CEO explores all things social media and mental health. It's a well worn topic because it is increasingly relevant to our lives. You may have seen this discussion circulated a bit more lately, since the murder of Brianna Ghey and her mother's campaign for online reform. Its also something that we at BTC and HTC are thinking about more and more, as we start to establish our own social media presence.
With this week being Eating Disorder Awareness Week, its impossible to ignore the influence that social media can have on our relationships with our bodies.

In 2019, the Mental Health Foundation put together a report with strategies for building a positive relationship between social media use and body image. Some of you may find it a valuable resource, or an interesting quick read here.

If you are looking for some further resources around eating disorders, MIND have a useful list.


The Weigh Up: Eating Disorder Diaries

Check out this BBC Sounds podcast where 19 year old Molly Smith explores her recovery from anorexia. She talks to friends, family, campaigners, and catches up with her old mental health team to help shed light on the truth of eating disorder recovery.

The Calendar

Bereavement & Loss in Adults
This online workshop introduces grief - what it is and how it manifests. Whether you have recently experienced loss and are grieving, or you work with adults who have experienced loss, this could be for you.
Thursday 7th March 2024, 12pm-1pm.
For more information and to book you free ticket, visit Eventbrite.

LGBTQ+ Community & Service Support Pop Up, Hastings
Come along to this free to attend pop up. Local community organisations and support services available to the LGBTQ+ community and allies will be promoting their work for those looking to access safe spaces, events and service support. You might even spot us there!
Saturday 9th March 2024, 9:30am - 4pm.
Hastings Town Hall Community Hub, Queens Road, Hastings, TN34 1QR.

Book your Initial Consultation

Hastings Therapy Centre and Brighton Therapy Centre have vacancies for therapy throughout the week. We offer individual, couples and group therapies.

Book your online consultation using the button below.

How to Prepare for Therapy

So you've booked your initial consultation, or you've had your referral and are due to start with your new therapist next week... what now?

With therapy, as with many things in life, you get out of it what you put in. It may sound strange, but there are things you can do to prepare as you're taking this next step. Check out How to get ready for therapy by Rochelle Frank for some useful advice.

A Few Words: From our CEO, Kerry Evans

Social Media and Mental Health

With 62% of the world’s population now using it and doing so for an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes a day, it is no longer an option to ignore the phenomenon of social media. Especially not for an organisation like ours, which seeks to improve the wellbeing of individuals and the wider community.

Many online platforms have been successful in supporting good mental health and connectedness through awareness-raising, de-stigmatisation and peer support in ways that are creative and accessible. But a growing body of research shows that excessive and “passive” social media use can severely exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression. And the dopamine hit delivered by short-form media content can lead to addictive behaviour, reduced attention spans, and what has been dubbed TikTok brain.

Ethan Kross in Chatter suggests the instantaneous nature of social media and the loss of non-verbal communication on these platforms are especially problematic. If we feel angry in offline life, we can pause and reflect before we speak. We are also on the receiving end of all sorts of subtle gestures and vocal intonations that humanise our interactions and inhibit cruel behaviour. But online these critical social functions disappear, and we are encouraged to let rip in the instant we feel something, doing damage that we might not be aware of and won’t be able to repair.

Meanwhile, the opportunity to curate a perfect image of ourselves online can lead to envy in others and anxiety in ourselves. The popular, “liked” version that we present to the world becomes increasingly distant from the lonely individual doom-scrolling under the duvet.

So, what can we do about this? We could be more selective and active in our social media consumption, and balance it with non-digital activities that develop our ability to concentrate for longer periods, connect authentically with others and
delay gratification. Like reading novels, watching films, cooking, playing music, making art, learning to dance, practising yoga, and having meaningful conversations with friends. All without looking at our mobile devices.

Therapy is good at this stuff too. While we benefitted enormously from online therapy during the pandemic, and many of our clients still use it when travelling or unwell, most people find that meeting in person provides the conditions for a deeper, more authentic connection. It can make us feel safe to explore the parts that social media encourages us to split off. The self-loathing, hating, jealous, lonely parts that tend to become stronger and more out of control the longer we ignore them.

If this is the case, why has our organisation recently been dipping its toe into the muddy waters of Facebook and Instagram? I am reminded of the wonderful David Bott teaching me about systemic therapy. He said, “To change the system you first have to join it.”

We are worried about the prevalence of international online mental health platforms flooding social media (see Channel 4 documentary I Don’t Trust My Therapist). They make accessing therapy seem easy and stress-free. But many of their practices are questionable and some of the experiences described by their clients don’t even sound like therapy as we know it.

We can’t compete with the huge marketing budgets of these companies, but we can use our voice to advocate for ethical, inclusive and clinically safe therapy services.

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Have Your Say

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Recent Testimonial

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Brighton Therapy Centre
23A New Road
Hastings Therapy Centre
2nd Floor, 17 Havelock Road
TN37 1BP
Charity Number: 1150032 | Company Number: 07791021