As there is an ever increasing need for mental health care in our communities a number of new facilities are opening up country-wide.

There seems to be a mindset change in society in contrast to earlier times when mental disturbances were considered taboo.

Increasing workloads like peer pressure, unemployment , crime and so on lead to instability in families, increasing trauma which can lead to substance abuse.

Patients with depression, bipolar mood swings, anxiety and eating disorders all need assistance in addressing these problems.

In the case of substance abuse , patients can be assisted with rehabilitation.

No longer is the lid put on these disorders. In the present more liberal and open society the previous stigmas no longer exists.

In terms of emotions, can an App predict suicide ?

One of the most promising areas of medical research is new technology to measure mental health and predict what one is going to do next. Predicting suicidal behaviour is one of the hard problems in Psychiatry. There are however markers such as the degree of physical and mental energy, how ones feels about oneself and achievements and whether negative behaviour and a feeling of worthlessness persists.

On the topic of food, can eating food that has fallen on the floor even rapidly picked up be justified ? No doubt we have all done it at some stage but we then strain our immune systems to counteract. Food safety experts reveal that bacteria stick to food almost instantaneously resulting in the ingestion of household bugs like E.coli and salmonella.

The golden rule therefore is “ if you drop it, chuck it “ !

Still talking of food new Government salt legislation is on the way. The Heart and Stroke foundation of South Africa defines hidden salt as that in our foods not seen or even tasted but still contribute to total salt we eat on a daily basis.

Cereals, breads, ready-made meals , sauces spreads and cheeses all contain hidden salts thereby increasing the seasoning already ingested.

Finally “ good old coffee “ always gets a hammering ! lately questions arise whether a link exists between miscarriage and caffeine intake. The outcome thus far being, if women drink more than two caffeinated cups a day they may be at risk and drinking alcohol and smoking as well, the ultimate disaster can be expected !

It all comes back to the old adage “ all things in moderate “ Sensible routines emphasised all through the years and certainly applicable in these times too.

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