Author Topic: Caving and mental health  (Read 8143 times)

Offline gus horsley

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1844
Caving and mental health
« on: February 10, 2015, 12:49:08 pm »
I'm doing research for work about mental health.  If someone asked you to take them caving and then said they suffered from a mental health problem, say depression and/or anxiety, what would your initial reaction be?  Would you be happy to take them anyway or would you have second thoughts and, if so, why?

Offline richardg

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 509
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2015, 01:09:04 pm »
A really interesting topic Gus..

As a professional mentor / life coach I've found the experience of facing ones fears and overcoming them to be extremely beneficial and if this is done in one area of life it can often transmigrate  into other areas of life.

the famous Cave Explorer Bob Leakey is a perfect example of this.

During our conversations Bob would tell me of how his own thought process and psychology enabled him to the achieve the  great acomplishments he alone was capable of.....

Bob would take on challenges that would create the most fear in him, such as claustrophobia and by facing and overcoming them would become a stronger individual, a system that meant he became an immensely strong character accomplishing great feats, some of which at the time were documented as being of a quality classed as "super human"..


Richard Gibson


Online SamT

  • Global Moderator
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 6436
    • The Eldon Pothole Club
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 01:18:09 pm »

It would entirely depend

- If they were completely unknown to me it would depend on my 'first impressions'.  I might take them on a very very easy trip if I thought they seemed reasonably ok with it.  Or I might try and make excuses if my 'flaky' detector was ringing alarm bells.

- If I knew them already, I'd have a fair idea of what kind of trip my suit, if any.

I've suffered depression in the past (mildly), never affected my caving.
Not suffered anxiety though.


Offline menacer

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1007
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2015, 01:27:17 pm »
Agree sam.
Depends.
Depression and anxiety im ok with.
The more psychotic physical or behavioural disorders, such as Munchausen's, I wouldnt touch with a bargepole.

Simple reasoning is, I dont see someone elses depression or anxiety as ever being a potential threat to my personal space or even life.
 
Chaos, panic, and disorder - my work here is done.

Offline damo8604

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 218
  • CSCA BEC MCG
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2015, 01:32:23 pm »
It wouldn't concern me if I was caving with someone suffering from mental health issues, in fact most of the people I cave with display some mental health concerns  :tease:

Just because someone suffers from anxiety doesn't necessarily mean they would become anxious underground, they'd far more likely become anxious in a crowded environment, just the same as 'normal' people, showing no signs of mental health concerns totally freaking out when faced with a squeeze or a duck, we all know it happens.

I am of course not a trained healthcare professional and my opinions are not necessarily fact  :-\

Offline molerat

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 73
  • ULSA
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2015, 02:00:02 pm »
"Mental health problems" cover many, many different things. Would I take somebody caving who has a physical health problem? It would depend on what their condition was. If they had a broken leg, it might not be sensible. If they had hayfever, there's no problem.

There may be a few mental health conditions that could make it difficult for somebody to cave safely. For example, if they had a learning disability that meant communication was very difficult then caving might be off the cards. But depression or anxiety? The person concerned knows best what they are able to do. If they want to go underground, great! Caving is a good means of improving physical and mental health.

Offline cavermark

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1382
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2015, 03:02:31 pm »
I'd agree with previous posts.  I've had anxiety at times - caving helps relieve the symptoms.

Offline Peter Burgess

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 9118
  • Left ukcaving by this name
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2015, 03:19:28 pm »
I'm doing research for work about mental health.  If someone asked you to take them caving and then said they suffered from a mental health problem, say depression and/or anxiety, what would your initial reaction be?  Would you be happy to take them anyway or would you have second thoughts and, if so, why?
Initial reaction is it is good that they recognise that they have a mental health problem. Suspecting someone has a problem later, which they themselves don't recognise, might very occasionally be more of an issue. But overall, very little here to be concerned about, I suspect.

Offline Brains

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2015, 06:42:31 pm »
Speaking from experience, if a club member develops a condition that some of the club dont like (with criminal convictions for said condition), then that person should be expelled from the club on some tenuous excuse such as they cant be insured (untrue). This decision should be taken in a secret, without canvasing the full membership, by a subsection of the committee and any other members who may be present and have an issue with said person. This decision should be based on uninformed opinion with no right of reply or appeal, but instead relying on sensationalist and inaccurate reporting in the press. That person should then be ostracised by thier former clubmates...

Offline Bartleby

  • Oldtimer
  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2015, 08:43:50 pm »
Was talking to a close friend of mine who had/has experienced depression and anixity.  As she had not told me about this prior to our trip, in fact we got talking whilst having lunch in Box, i asked her how she felt about going underground, did it make her feel more anxious etc?.  Her response:

"Its great being down here, can just switch off from all the c*ap in my head and think about nothing".


Offline Robert Scott

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • A Yorkshireman with a Scottish father
    • http://www.hughendon.btinternet.co.uk
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2015, 08:57:43 pm »
At the risk of being shot down, may I point out that
1. Depression and anxiety are not the same (just think about the words themselves)
2. They are not even similar
3. They will not have comparable reactions to the same situation.

I await someone with better medical qualifications (MRODoc?) to comment.

That said, yes go for it.

Offline Lazarus

  • Debatable
  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 77
  • Goodbye!
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2015, 09:28:18 pm »
RobScott; yes best wait for someone qualified. They may be different but can be connected.

Bartleby; I agree with your friends sentiments. Being underground or even just out on the open fell is a wonderful escape from 'the crap'.

As long as the person is not a danger to themselves or others it should be fine and potentially help them.
3 x 26 = 78. The Magic Number x The Most Significant Number = the maximum number of posts a person should make on a forum..

Offline topcat

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 436
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2015, 10:22:03 pm »
I get depressed if I don't go caving [climbing/skiing/paddling/biking/..]

Offline Brains

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2499
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2015, 10:27:49 pm »
Was talking to a close friend of mine who had/has experienced depression and anixity.  As she had not told me about this prior to our trip, in fact we got talking whilst having lunch in Box, i asked her how she felt about going underground, did it make her feel more anxious etc?.  Her response:

"Its great being down here, can just switch off from all the c*ap in my head and think about nothing".

I fully agree with this, walking (in the mountains, or round the town) is also a good reliever of symptoms

Online Pie Muncher

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 165
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2015, 11:10:08 pm »
If someone asked you to take them caving and then said they suffered from a mental health problem, say depression and/or anxiety, what would your initial reaction be?  Would you be happy to take them anyway or would you have second thoughts and, if so, why?
If someone asked you to take them caving. You want to go caving, lets go caving.
and then said they suffered from a mental health problem, say depression and/or anxiety, what would your initial reaction be? You want to go caving, lets go caving.
Would you be happy to take them anyway. Yes.
or would you have second thoughts. No.
and, if so, why? Everyone I have ever caved with has some hangup but I don't brand them with the mental health issue stigma. We all have mental health issues, they fall away when caving, caving with friends, no sh*t underground, peace and being.
Growler

Offline mmilner

  • Experienced digging / conservation juggling
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1169
  • Outside Handshake Cave, Manifold Valley.
    • Darfar P.C. web site
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2015, 06:37:31 am »
Great posts above. I'm actually going for an interview today for a support worker role for people with learning difficulties. I think caving or just walking in the countryside would help them. I know I feel less stressed when up the Peak than at home. (Though it's warmer at home at this time of year!) Will be interesting to see how it goes...
Norbert Casteret (Ten Years Under the Earth) and Pierre Chevalier (Subterranean Climbers) were my inspiration to start caving. (And I'm still doing it.) Secretary, Darfar Potholing Club, the Peak District.

Offline caving_fox

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 566
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2015, 09:12:56 am »
Part of the Scout association risk assessment for any activity is "Do you have any current health conditions the leader needs to know about that will effect your participation".This remains a good question to ask yourself/team every time you go caving etc.

If the member is sufficiently experienced to know what will/won't effect a trip then fine. If it's a new member than perhaps a bit of a chat about what they're likely to experience is in order anyway. So it depends on the person the trip and the details of their  condition.
If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

Offline damo8604

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 218
  • CSCA BEC MCG
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2015, 12:17:21 pm »
Great posts above. I'm actually going for an interview today for a support worker role for people with learning difficulties. I think caving or just walking in the countryside would help them. I know I feel less stressed when up the Peak than at home. (Though it's warmer at home at this time of year!) Will be interesting to see how it goes...

My first job after leaving the army was a support worker for people with learning difficulties, I loved that job! Did it for quite a few years and had great job satisfaction, I tried to involve them in as many 'normal' activities that 'normal' people did and they loved me for it.

Sadly the one particular chap I was a key worker for passed away, although I had left the care industry years previously, his mother looked me up to invite me to his funeral saying in the short time I had spent in his life, I had made a significant improvement to his quality of life by ignoring his obvious disabilities and giving him a chance to do things he wouldn't normally be able to do.

Further to this, last year I took my and my sisters family on an 'adventure holiday', as usual I took the kids over to Runscar & Thistle to be met by a large group of blind children who had been taken through the caves  :thumbsup:

My thoughts are, if a person is capable enough and the appropriate risk assessments have been made in line with current care standards then why not?

Offline gus horsley

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1844
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2015, 12:40:49 pm »
Thanks for the posts so far.  Compared to the organisation I work for, which has about 200,000 employees, it's apparent that cavers are generally are open-minded about the issue of what people are apparently capable of with mental (and physical) disabilities.  I find it ironic that I can hold down a position of considerable responsibility (and I've also been an underground instructor) whilst carrying a learning disability (adult ADD), yet a large number of our customers are not regarded as fit for work with same condition.

Offline mrodoc

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3091
    • Peter Glanvill's Webpage
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2015, 12:49:53 pm »
It would be interesting to get the views of my daughters who are both working in the NHS in mental health.  As a former GP and sufferer from recurrent depression I would say that caving is really good therapy for it in that it 'gets you out of yourself' into a completely different environment.  I have a feeling that the mental health problem is more likely to prevent the person from caving rather than caving is unsuitable for that person eg a major pyschosis. I have come across cavers to whom this seems to apply. Chronic anxiety may well be helped by allowing an individual to build confidence in challenging situations.

Most people with mental health problems will be well aware of them. The most dangerous are those who are unaware they have a problem at all!

Offline ttxela

  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 795
  • WCMS, PDMHS
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2015, 01:49:20 pm »
I don't claim to be an expert (in caving or mental health!) however I am very close to someone who suffers from depression and anxiety.

Although she doesn't enjoy caving there are other outdoor activities she enjoys, whilst I agree that this should be no bar on going I would say it has some bearing on the arrangements and considerations when planning a trip. In my experience on a good day it will not be an issue however on a bad day you may need to be more prepared than normal to scrub the trip or cut it short.

Also in a previous life when I ran a shooting club I was asked to teach a lad with learning difficulties to shoot, whilst I readily agreed and there were no real issues either around safety or ability we effectively had to start from scratch each week which I think both of us found frustrating and after a few sessions the lad stopped coming.

So with more severe issues I would perhaps say that you may need to consider your own patience and temperament however well intentioned you may be - and also perhaps be realistic about what can be achieved?
If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this post you can contact our helpline on 0800........

Offline Duncan Price

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 657
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2015, 03:11:42 pm »
I have been treated for clinical depression on more that one occasion.  At its worst, I could hardly function and going underground was not on the agenda despite the advice that "a bit of exercise would be good for you".  I've made myself go [cave diving] when not quite as bad - I was safe but didn't enjoy it  [remarks about cave divers being "suicidal" really hits a raw nerve for me - I might have wanted to kill myself on occasion but I do not want to die in a cave, quite the opposite as I have felt most "alive" when potholing underwater].  In fact I knew that I had come through one episode when I was sufficiently motivated to go out and do a solo trip to a site I had never been to.

Like a lot of people, I find that regular participation in all aspects of speleology is a good way of keeping my spirits up in general and keeping the Black Dog at bay in particular.

There is a stigma attached to depression - it is very common though and nothing to be ashamed of.


Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1263
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2015, 08:03:12 pm »
As it has already been mooted by Robert Scott, depression and anxiety are quite different.

I guess you are asking to gauge a response from a spectrum and I guess each individual response is of interest to you in that regard …

I also guess that you are looking for pre-conceived ideas as to whether caving might act as a catalyst in either case as well whether (we) cavers  pre-conceive thoughts as to whether depression or anxiety affect the decision to take some one along.

I also guess everyone is answering with their own thoughts and opinions ….

(A lot of guessing)

To specifically answer your question then …

If I were asked in the scenario you outlined I would not consider either depression or anxiety as a negative factor nor would I likely make any allowance/adjustment either.

For me, the prevailing important point is that I am being asked by the “sufferer” who, whilst asking, was (as I see it) asking to do something they wanted to do. Neither of the conditions  per se you outlined  inhibit  them (in my eyes)

If anxiety became an issue whilst underground then I would deal with it then (how many times have we been with someone who got the wobbles?)

Another question I always ask myself is “how far should we each go to protect others from their own stupidity?”   I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense, I mean it in the sense that we all, as individuals, have the right to make choices and decisions – at what point do “you” become a police officer and deny someone their lawful choice just because “you” don’t agree ?

I guess there is no real answer that that (another guess)…



Ian

A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction.

Offline droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2411
  • WMRG
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2015, 08:28:28 pm »
Be aware Ian, that short term anxiety/panic attacks are a different animal to a long-term anxiety state.

Long-term anxiety states can and do lead to depression. The transition is difficult to discern even for the sufferer.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1263
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2015, 12:28:15 am »
Droid,

Can you elaborate on how anxiety can become depression ? (because I don't know)

Also, can you conjecture on how an anxiety can become a panic attack (same reason) ?

 :)

Ian
A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction.

Offline droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2411
  • WMRG
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2015, 04:35:15 am »
A panic attack is (to me) acute anxiety.

I guess everyone has things that make them anxious in the short term: exams, job interviews and the like, but suffering anxiety permanently, in a diffuse way, is rather different. It can be focussed on a certain situation: job troubles, relationship problems, health etc but not neccessarily. The transition from anxiety state to depression is vague. Doctors sometimes classify mild depression as an anxiety state. And depression itself takes on many guises, even in the same individual.

Talk to people that suffer these conditions. There are more of us than you may realise.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1263
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2015, 11:31:34 am »
I have no medical training but your explanation has all the hallmarks of being logically correct - certainly, I can see that acute anxiety could trigger a panic attack.

I am still struggling to see how depression could be classed as anxiety but, there again, I am not a doctor and have no issue with it.

Still sticking with Gus's original question - I  still wouldn't allow either case to prejudice the decision to take such a person underground.

I also think that, by asking, the person is suggesting (by implication) that they do not believe going underground is going to heighten their anxiety (regardless of whether that proves to be right or wrong).

Thank you for the explanation  :)

Ian
A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction.

Offline droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2411
  • WMRG
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2015, 08:14:24 pm »
Trouble is, Ian, depression or anxiety states are very personal. Each person suffers differently. It is rather like Autism: now referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Think of it as a Spectrum and you won't gio far wrong.

As for going underground with it, some of the most active/talented underground people I know suffer the condition.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline nearlywhite

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 386
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2015, 12:05:51 pm »
I recommend reading about generalised anxiety disorder Ian, it's not hard to see how you can develop or more accurately classify as being depressed.

I suppose the OP had the situation of you being told by someone other than the person with the mental health illness. What it all comes down to is are they a danger to themselves or others? And who has to make that call? As most people on here won't be qualified to make that assessment, you've got to trust other people's judgement. As one of my friends put it 'I find it hard to trust people I've not been underground with'. You see another side to people, one that's a bit more real, health difficulties aside.

I've stopped perfectly fit and healthy people going on trips I didn't think they could handle it, I think most cavers are fairly understanding about the issue

Offline 2xw

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 732
  • YUCPC, SUSS
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2015, 12:24:14 pm »
Quote
I'm actually going for an interview today for a support worker role for people with learning difficulties. I think caving or just walking in the countryside would help them. I know I feel less stressed when up the Peak than at home.

Not just from a calmness point of view, but also from a sensory perspective. Drips of water, echoes, lights playing around, waterfalls, sounds of gurgling water a cool draft, all feel great. Especially great for ASD etc. Thoroughly recommend you take them caving. White Scar show cave are very accommodating and reasonably wheelchair accessible (as long as you don't have those wheelchairs with mountain bike tires), and if they're a bit more ambulant there's loads in the peak.  :thumbsup:

In response to original question, I'd feel comfortable with taking someone with any number of mental health issues underground (with depression and GAD related stuff probably a total non-issue in that respect).

I'd probably consider the cave itself the limiting factor, rather than the mental health issue. Would I take a person who has ADHD down the 3 counties system? No, I'd take them up Great Douk in lowish water. With so much great caving in the UK I think the trip can be tailored to a the person rather than the person suited to the cave.

Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1263
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2015, 12:38:14 pm »
Ross,

Thanks for your explanation and the suggestion – I know you are in the medical profession and obviously have a greater insight.

I think we (all) might be moving away from (or too deep into) the OPs original question ?

To follow your line and Droids line – how far should a caver go in making an assessment of their caving compatriots ?  Do you take a cursory view? Ask a few questions? Ask others for their thoughts? Ask for a detailed questionnaire? Or leave it to someone else ?  (Both the extremes and some in-betweens).

You have raised another issue and that is the safety of others which has not been addressed in any detail by any other postees.  Of course, I think we (probably) all consider our own safety in the presence of “others” (ie. are any of the others going to put “you” in danger) and we make a judgement call on our abilities and tolerance to that potential issue.

Possibly we also consider whether a party member might be a danger to other party members but I don’t know if there is any line in the sand that can be used as a marker.

Should we feel it incumbent on ourselves to police this ?  Should this be in the hands of the “leader” (if there is one) ?  Should you intervene if you believe the “leader” is in error ?  etc. etc.

How far does your own “thought process” have to go before you decide to arbitrarily prevent someone from participating on the same trip ?

I think it is a tough question and I think we probably each have many different views.

I also don’t think we should lose sight of the fact that this is a recreational activity and we are not bound by the same rules commercial ventures are.

Still, regardless of “depression” or “anxiety”, I would still discount both if asked by a sufferer to take them on a trip for the reasons I have already outlined and would be happy to take them unless there was a patent reason not to (and have done so).

 :)

Ian
A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction.

Offline 2xw

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 732
  • YUCPC, SUSS
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2015, 01:32:21 pm »
I'll remember to get my DClinPsych before taking anyone on a trip.
If it doesn't affect the trip, it's non of our business to be informed. Especially, as you say, is recreation and not bound by commercial obligations.

Offline Peter Burgess

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 9118
  • Left ukcaving by this name
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2015, 01:57:22 pm »
I would treat everyone in much the same way - as another caver, unless there was a compelling reason to do otherwise, and only if someone better qualified than me or the person themselves suggested it.

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1404
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2015, 02:45:24 pm »
I wasn't really going to post anything here but now feel I aught.
I think if a person freely admits that they have a problem then they are half way towards solving it. The experience of going underground in my opinion can be very therapeutic, taking a persons mind off personal problems etc.
The person to beware of is the person who has a problem but cannot see this.
I am unfortunately talking from personal experience.

Case in mind a person who for some reason if given an instruction, even something safety related, has an irresistible compulsion to do exactly the opposite or something different.

Just be careful.
My avatar is a poor likeness.

Offline bagpuss

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 507
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #34 on: February 13, 2015, 04:47:39 pm »
Wouldn't have a problem taking someone, I guess as with any disability you might ask how it effects them and judge which cave you'd begin with based on that. People have different triggers for their anxiety and it may come in handy to know what they are.

For me personally I am probably least socially anxious when caving, it's much easier for me than going to the pub or a gig (I still get the fear in the Hunters!). I think it also helps caving with a good group of understanding people who are patient whatever people's issues are. If I'm really low I simply don't go caving, if I do manage to go it makes me feel much better.

Offline droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2411
  • WMRG
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #35 on: February 13, 2015, 08:49:22 pm »
Just to put some perspective on this: I've been on mine trips where out of the 6 participents, 3 were on medication for depression/anxiety.

It was one of the most entertaining, funny and outrageous trips ever.  :lol: :lol: :lol:
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline nearlywhite

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 386
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2015, 11:10:38 am »
I would treat everyone in much the same way - as another caver, unless there was a compelling reason to do otherwise, and only if someone better qualified than me or the person themselves suggested it.

Nail on the had, and my answer to your questions Ian, thanks Peter!(although I'd drop the only). I suspect we're all singing from the same hymn sheet here.

As for making assessments... We often take someone we don't know on a trial trip or ask for a caving reference from a mutual friend. It depends on the seriousness of the trip. We already police this when we see it, I've stopped 2 trips from going ahead and had the same happen to me. You don't stick your oar in without good reason. It comes from a good place and stops unnecessary rescues.

I can see how this is a pre judicial process, and underlying attitudes undoubtedly influence these decisions, however I suspect that being too fat/too thin/too tall etc makes the big impact. Because mental health is often invisible it is often ignored, sometimes to someone's benefit. The research is going to have to dig deeper to find those prejudices, they're not going to come out now that they don't seem to be in line with the caving chattering classes. I hope I haven't derailed the topic... perhaps a guiding post by the OP is in order?

Online pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2754
  • TSG, DCA, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2021, 09:22:46 am »

Offline Graigwen

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2021, 06:52:05 pm »
This may be of interest as an update to this thread:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/20/psychedelics-depression-treatment-psychiatry-psilocybin

My daughter is currently doing a Masters in Neuroscience and Psychology and shares some of her study material with me. One consistent feature is that many drugs humans put into themselves, whether recreational or medicinal, have bad effects. On the whole recent research suggests psychedelic drugs do less harm, and psilocybin in particular seems to have positive rather then negative effects. I found this a surprise, but no doubt it will be welcomed by the cavers of New Inn near Pontypool.

.

Offline tamarmole

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 387
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2021, 07:59:57 pm »
This may be of interest as an update to this thread:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/20/psychedelics-depression-treatment-psychiatry-psilocybin

My daughter is currently doing a Masters in Neuroscience and Psychology and shares some of her study material with me. One consistent feature is that many drugs humans put into themselves, whether recreational or medicinal, have bad effects. On the whole recent research suggests psychedelic drugs do less harm, and psilocybin in particular seems to have positive rather then negative effects. I found this a surprise, but no doubt it will be welcomed by the cavers of New Inn near Pontypool.

.

Problem with psychedelics such as psilocybyn is that you are rewiring your brain without a wiring diagram. 

Online pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2754
  • TSG, DCA, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #40 on: April 20, 2021, 09:18:53 pm »
There's plenty of good manuals out there though. Granted it's mostly working from the inside out, but a good therapist/guide should be able to assist with re-orientation for folks who want to do it as safely as possible, as most people will have never gone near anything like that. The main appeal from where I'm standing is that it may only need to be done once or twice and that's it, rather than an endless script of chemical subduers, often for life. It seems that one of the main benefits can be the 'realisation' of the depression as separate, and thus provide a path for removing it.

One of my friends used to be a psychiatric nurse at what remained of Middlewood Mental Asylum in Sheffield twenty-something years ago, when it was a more enlightened rehabilitation centre, and he was working on studies of depression across the city as part of his PhD, and the amount spent on prescriptions daily was staggering. Prozac was still under patent at the time and I think it was £1.05 per capsule, per day, per person, and there were something like 50,000 prescriptions active in the city, on a minimum six-week course - but with no maximum, obviously. Every city in Britain was running it the same way. I would guess that there are no less today, and probably a lot more. Granted Prozac is now just plain old fluoxetine, but there's plenty more in patent they'd rather we tried. After all, if you make antidepressants, who wants to kill the market?

Offline JasonC

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1209
  • KCC
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #41 on: April 20, 2021, 09:28:42 pm »

Problem with psychedelics such as psilocybyn is that you are rewiring your brain without a wiring diagram.

Life is rewiring your brain all the time, for good or ill

Offline tamarmole

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 387
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #42 on: April 20, 2021, 09:35:16 pm »

Problem with psychedelics such as psilocybyn is that you are rewiring your brain without a wiring diagram.

Life is rewiring your brain all the time, for good or ill

True to a degree, but taking psychedelics can be like trying to fix a watch with a sledgehammer!  Having seen one or two people come a cropper with psychedelics (mainly LSD) I am not convinced the risk is worth it.

Online pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2754
  • TSG, DCA, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #43 on: April 20, 2021, 11:57:28 pm »
I think therein lies the problem up until now - it's always been recreational, unsupervised use, often by people who really shouldn't be doing it - or at least in an unsupervised way! Hopefully as the stigma is reduced, more controls and more focus can be given to this sort of work, and then folks will actually feel the benefits rather than the downsides, and want to do it in a more useful fashion. I've seen a few friends come a cropper too, but it was only temporary and they climbed out of it and are still around. Again, the point with the depression treatment is that done carefully, it may only take one or two sessions, with follow-up support where required, but that's hugely cheaper than the current methods, and hopefully a 'cure' for some, rather than merely mitigation for life.

It's re-programming, for sure, but the brain is a very complex computer, to some degree accessible at processor-level by the user, and not of all its code is read-only. I used to have a terrible problem with blushing when I was a teenager, not always caused by embarrassment, probably just hormonal, but once my friends noticed it they could make me blush merely by pointing out that I did it, which was embarrassment as I knew they were doing it to hurt me. That took years to get over but it was a conscious decision I made to stop doing it, as I knew I could get to it 'in there'.

It's difficult to describe how, but then coding is ;)

Online pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2754
  • TSG, DCA, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #44 on: April 28, 2021, 05:01:01 pm »
It's all kicking off in that there psychedelics/mental health research this week, with further news that there finally be a 'non-hallucinogenic' compound that might work. I can't help thinking that the 'hallucinogenic' bit is the crucial factor, but I'm prepared to give them a chance for now:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/apr/28/non-hallucinogenic-psychedelics-scientists-close-in-on-compound

Offline Speleofish

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 243
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2021, 06:14:25 pm »
Blushing, as a self-conscious adolescent, is miserable. I spent what seemed to be half my school hours imitating a lighthouse whenever there were girls around (my school had girls in the sixth form only) to the amusement of most of my classmates. Their ambition became to make me blush continuously for an entire double biology lesson. Unfortunately, they succeeded, and I remember it in painful detail (which is also why I remember more about various aspect of newts than I will ever need to know).

I still blush easily but am less self conscious about it. The 'cure' was spending my gap year working in the local hospital. There were very few young men and apparently infinite numbers of young women. To survive, I had either to blush less frequently, care less when I did so and accept that people could find such things amusing without being malicious. 

Online pwhole

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2754
  • TSG, DCA, PDMHS
    • Phil Wolstenholme website
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2021, 08:18:00 pm »
Well I too found that increasing my quota of young women and decreasing that of young men helped with the blushing, no doubt about that. Helped with everything, frankly.

Offline thehungrytroglobite

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 63
  • UNCC - SRT Union - BAACA
Re: Caving and mental health
« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2021, 02:37:32 am »
I suffer from borderline personality disorder / complex PTSD, which involves anxiety and / or low mood as part of the symptoms, however I have never had any issues caving at all. In fact I find caving extremely therapeutic.

I can in fact think of several benefits that people with mental health difficulties may have in a cave: such as greater awareness of ourselves, great resilience, stronger empathy and understanding for other members of the group, etc.

If I need help I will ask for it, but I've never seen my illness as a barrier to any of the sports I do.
full of whimsical ideas

 

Main Menu

Forum Home Help Search
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal