At what age is one considered to be "an older person"? I suppose that at the ripe old age of 75 I am regarded by others as "old", although personally speaking I consider age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind it doesn't matter!
As we wave the dregs of the last 12 months down the plughole and prepare to celebrate Christmas, I've realised that a huge amount of positives have come out of the negatives that I've endured... So I thought I'd write them down and share them - if nothing else, because I can refer back and chivvy myself up if things start going wonky again in 2015.
Research says that if we spend money preventing the illness, then it will save resources in other sectors in the future. Some people who struggle with mental health turn to drink and drugs crime to survive, we only have to look at our hero's from the army, many of whom are homeless to back this up.
I've heard stories like the one I am going to tell four times already. I'm not sure I can stand to hear it again. It's terrible - doubly so because the tragedy could have been prevented. The problem has been exacerbated by the conflict in South Sudan, but its roots go back many decades.
A lot of my patients find eating in front of other people especially painful to do. Some need to know exactly what's in their food and drink and how many calories each piece of food has. But these are sensitive issues and the best you can do is to talk calmly and non-judgmentally to your friend or family member. It's not their fault, they are ill - many people think anorexia is a choice. It is not.
This is the reality of a lack of funding for mental health. The over-burdened services, pared down to the bone. There are no beds left, there is little access to counselling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy... All I have to offer is a listening ear. That, and a tissue.
The Christmas period serves up an array of situations that can trigger an anxiety attack. For many of us, spending time with our extended families can cause an increase in stress which may lead to downing that extra glass of mulled wine to get through the day.
The key to feeling better is to get to the root of the problem and do what you can to turn these negative feelings around. Despite the therapy and medications, people still continue to suffer. And there's a good reason why... actually there are eight good reasons. Sometimes the cause behind anxiety and depression isn't mental at all! It's physical.
Few things convey the arrival of the festive season as well as the smell of spices; from cinnamon to cloves to nutmeg, these scents are synonymous with Christmas. Unfortunately, cold and flu season goes hand in hand with the winter festivities, with December and January being the months when infections are most prevalent.
Later today we will find out for sure if the European Commission is planning on scrapping two vital European laws. When the commission presents it's full 2015 work programme this afternoon it looks very likely that the 'clean air' and 'circular economy (waste)' packages will both be withdrawn.
There have been some tremendous scientific developments over the last three decades in the realm of assisted conception, opening a great number of doors for women and transforming the way we think about fertility. However, I still believe that self-care needs to be front of mind for couples that are trying to conceive.
Here is the part that makes me want to climb inside the internet and destroy all those pages of ill-advised advice about the dangers of taking antidepressants if you are breastfeeding: You can take antidepressants when you are breastfeeding. I know, because I recently did it. And guess what? It turns out me and my baby are fine...
I am proposing that this day becomes an annual recognised day of action to manage our weight better. In my letter to Jeremy Hunt I have proposed that guidelines are communicated so that the day is constructive, and managed in the spirit in which it is intended.
I know you don't have unlimited resources. I know I'm only one of several million people in the UK who needs help for depression. But what am I supposed to do? What are any of us supposed to do who can't afford to pay for therapy?
If you do need to lose a few pounds I promise you it's not because you are greedy or lazy so don't beat yourself up. Neither do you have a weight gain inducing food intolerance or need a colonic so don't hide behind those. And your persistent pounds can't be blamed on a slow metabolism or are big boned either. Wake up, smell the coffee- you are most likely overweight because you eat too much and/or don't move around enough.
The Ebola crisis in West Africa has shown what happens when local health systems lack the resilience to respond to shocks. Acute shortages of health workers, poor infrastructure, and lack of trust in health systems have allowed the epidemic to spread rapidly and cost many lives.