Greening the wellbeing industry

At last! Yesterday in the Times the link between personal and ecological wellbeing was being made. Millions of people in the UK are being lazily proscribed anti-depressants such as Prozac and Seroxat by the medical profession, said the newspaper’s front page main article. A further article related research that links green activities with improvements in mood and lifting depression.

Researchers from the University of Essex compared the benefits of a 30-minute walk in a country park with a walk in an indoor shopping centre on 20 people affected by depression.After the country walk, 71 per cent said that they felt less depressed and tense while 90 per cent reported increased self-esteem. After the walk in the shopping centre only 45 per cent felt less depressed and 22 per cent actually felt more depressed. About 50 per cent felt more tense and 44 per cent said that their self-esteem had dropped.

The researchers conducted another study in which they asked 108 people with various mental health problems about their experiences of ecotherapy. Ninety-four per cent said that green activities had benefited their mental health and lifted depression and 90 per cent said that the combination of nature and exercise had the greatest effect.

Oh yes, I can relate to this one. Good stuff!

2 Responses to “Greening the wellbeing industry”

  1. Fiddy Says:

    Just how do the sales team work at GlaxoSmithKline?

    If something sells and makes you a lot of money do you just sit on it or do you think of ways to further increase sales. A classic example would be Premiership football. When a team win the title they don’t sit and gloat, they go out and strengthen the team, they then ‘up’ the admission fee to the watching public. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it don’t.

    In 1998 GlaxoSmithKline issued a marketing strategy paper called ‘Toward the Second Billion’. It suggested that people with common phobias could be persuaded to take Seroxat.

    It raised concerns with Mental Health campaigners about how Pharmaceutical Companies market drugs and influence medical research.

    In a clever multi-million pound spin phobias were renamed ‘social anxiety disorders’ thus enabling Seroxat to be prescribed for a whole host of symptoms. Basically, anyone that was low on self-esteem (confidence) were targeted. Symptoms such as:

    Fear that everyone’s attention is focused on them
    Fear that they will make mistakes and everyone will notice
    Feeling that everyone else is more capable in the same situation
    Fear that they are being judged by others
    Fear that they will embarrass or humiliate themselves in front of others

    Fears that have been around since man learned to communicate and now, it seemed, ones that could be brushed aside by swallowing GSK’s wonder drug, Seroxat.

    Do we blame the GP’s for handing out these drugs like sweets, do we blame the MHRA for allowing this manipulative marketing to be processed or do we blame GlaxoSmithKline for inventing disease purely to keep Seroxat on top of the Premiership?

    The signs were abundantly clear from very early on that GlaxoSmithKline’s money making drug, Seroxat, was being forced upon doctor’s – in turn being forced upon the patient who was feeling down. The MHRA did what they did best – they just sat back and rubbed thier hands at the funding they would recieve from the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, hardly surprising with two ex-employees of GlaxoSmithKline now sitting on the agency at MHRA HQ, also hardly surprising that GlaxoSmithKline’s spin doctor, Alistair Benbow, should robustly deny any problems with Seroxat when interviewed by the media. Alistair Breckenridge, of the MHRA, would also go on record promoting the use of Seroxat.

    Attempts made by MP’s to voice their concerns have been quoshed by GlaxoSmithKline with threatening letters – Paul Flynn, MP for Newport, tabled the following Early Day Motion earlier this year:

    EDM 767
    Flynn, Paul

    That this House questions the propriety and courtesy of the action of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in writing to hon. Members with constituency interests in GSK urging them to oppose Motions for Early Day (EDMs) critical of their conduct, then denying originators of the EDMs details of the content of their messages when requested.

    GlaxoSmithKline can threaten MP’s but they cannot threaten the common man who has nothing to lose, one that has lost pretty much everything already because of the drug they manufactured and continue to tout as a safe drug.

    Collectively, blogs such as Bob Fiddaman’s ‘SEROXAT SUFFERERS’ and the anonymous ‘SEROXAT SECRETS’ can make a change and their authors can sleep soundly at night in the knowledge that GlaxoSmithKline will one day NOT be able to throw money at lawsuits. They will eventually come across individuals who refuse to take the money and run. That day is fast approaching


  2. 2bfrank, Says:

    Thank you for commenting, fiddy. GSK’s behaviour begs the question as to the nature and sources of depression. How legitimate is it to prescribe medicines for people who might be feeling a general loss of vitality? Many who read your comment might do exactly what GSK wish for, namely to reach for their box of pills! It makes depressing reading. I wonder whether we need to broaden the scope when investigating the sources of depression. I imagine there won’t be much systemic research that investigates the ‘vitality’ of the things we eat and drink, of how and where we move about, and of environmental factors and the vitality of our surroundings. How do people really feel about being in cities in terms of their aliveness? Why do most of the people in the research I quoted feel more depressed in shopping centres? I generally don’t want to stay in them for longer than I can help; for me, they play a similar role to tv: switch on, sit back, ‘enjoy’ the ride (insofar as it’s enjoyable), and basically switch off.

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