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Halcyon actively monitors change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published later in 2023. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site in the coming months. Please get in touch with any questions or thoughts.

The 52:52:52 project, launching both on this site and on Twitter in mid 2023 will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

What's Changing? - Depression



Please see below selected recent depression-related change.


See also:


May 2023

  • Stanford researchers discovered that certain brain signals actually flow the wrong way in people with treatment-resistant depression - and that magnets could potentially correct the misdirection and help patients feel better. “This is the first time in psychiatry where this particular change in a biology - the flow of signals between these two brain regions - predicts the change in clinical symptoms,” said Nolan Williams, senior author of a paper detailing the discovery.


April 2023


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December 2022


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October 2022


September 2022


August 2022

  • Psyche explained that, in order to exert control over their future unwell self, a set of instructions could be drawn up by depressed/bipolar individuals while well. This is known as a ‘self-binding directive’, ‘precommitment’, or a ‘Ulysses clause’. In the Odyssey, Odysseus – or Ulysses by his Roman name - orders his crew to bind him to the mast of his ship, knowing that his mind will be powerless to resist the deadly lure of the sirens’ song. Similarly, a self-binding directive allows a person to request that, during future periods of severe illness, when they are unable to control their decision-making, their refusal of treatment can be overruled. Although it will very likely be against their will at that time and could involve enforced hospitalisation, when they are severely unwell, they will receive the treatment they require in order to get through the episode of illness safely and recover to their former, well self


July 2022


April 2022


February 2022


January 2022


December 2021


November 2021

  • Psyche noted that people who’ve never been through depression might assume it’s just an extreme form of feeling low. Yet, accounts of people with depression point in a different direction. As psychologist Dorothy Rowe, recorded in her book The Experience of Depression (1978): ‘I awoke into a different world. It was as though all had changed while I slept: that I awoke not into normal consciousness but into a nightmare". Such reports support the idea that depression stands apart from other forms of everyday experience, as the philosopher Matthew Ratcliffe emphasised in his book Experiences of Depression (2015). Depressed people often say it involves a fundamental shift, like entering a different ‘world’ – a world detached from ordinary reality and other people
  • A large psilocybin trial suggested that the psychedelic is effective in treating serious depressionCompass Pathways revealed that psilocybin was highly efficacious as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Its phase 2b study was the largest randomised, controlled, double-blind trial of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms. The company said it found that patients who were given the highest dose, 25 milligrams, had a significant decrease in depressive symptoms compared with those given 1 milligram, which is such a low dose it functions as a placebo.
  • McKinsey asked why is it acceptable not to perform a regular depression screening for employees, or a regular psychosis screening in teenagers? Effective, evidence-based treatments exist that can allow people with behavioural-health conditions to live productive and fulfilling lives. Hopes comes from the fact there is growing attention for mental health globally -increased philanthropy and public-sector funding, a greater number of successful public figures sharing their struggles, and greater priority given to behaviour-health conditions in research agendas and leadership agendas. For example, a majority of employers report that they are increasing their mental-health resources following the pandemic.


October 2021

  • A Lancet study showed how widespread the impact of the pandemic has been on the world's mental health. Across 204 countries, cases of major depressive disorder and severe anxiety increased by more than a quarter between 2019-2021, with women and younger adults more likely to deal with these issues. Frontline workers also faced higher levels of burnout, and there aren’t enough behavioural health professionals to meet the demand. But there’s also reason for optimism, the WHO says, as more countries invest in mental health services.


August 2021


June 2021


May 2021

  • About one in five adults in Great Britain experienced some form of depression during the second peak of coronavirus in early 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The figure was a rise from November 2020 - when 19% experienced depressive symptoms - and double that seen before the pandemic - when it was 10%. Younger adults and women were the groups most likely to experience some form of depression, with more than 40% of women aged 16-29 affected. This compared with 26% of men of the same age.
  • A new wave of interest is psychedelics is reportedly sweeping through psychiatry; it’s believed psychedelics could prove useful for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. The WHO says depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide


April 2021

  • Brazilian researchers found that religion alleviates depressive symptoms in believers. Published in the journal Trends in Psychology, the researchers asked 279 volunteers (72 percent female) to respond to an online questionnaire that focused on intrinsic religiosity, meaning in life, and levels of anxiety and depression. The team concluded, "intrinsic religiosity has a protective effect against depression symptoms; however, it occurs indirectly, via meaning in life." One defining symptom of depression is an inability to foresee a better future. This new research may entertain an intrinsic sense of belief in the sacredness of life as a natural antidepressant, as Robert Sapolsky phrased it. During a time of growing unease, the suspension of disbelief might be what the doctor ordered - for some at least
  • People diagnosed with Covid-19 in the previous six months were more likely to develop depression, dementia, psychosis and stroke, researchers found. A third of those with a previous Covid infection went on to develop or have a relapse of a psychological or neurological condition. But those admitted to hospital or in intensive care had an even higher risk. This is likely to be down to both the effects of stress, and the virus having a direct impact on the brain.


January 2021


December 2020


November 2020

  • Many COVID-19 survivors are likely to be at greater risk of developing mental illness, psychiatrists claimed, after a large study found 20% of those infected with the coronavirus are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days. Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common among recovered COVID-19 patients in the study who developed mental health problems. The researchers from Oxford University also found significantly higher risks of dementia.


October 2020


July 2020


June 2020


May 2020

  • Big Think pointed to a​​​​n online survey that compared the impact of dating habits on the mental health of people who use swipe-based dating apps and those who don't. 20 percent of participants who use swipe-based dating apps reported a significantly higher level of psychological distress compared to those who didn't. 19 percent of current users reported more depressive symptoms as a result of swipe-based dating app use, compared to 9 percent of the people surveyed who did not use a dating app.


December 2019


September 2019

  • study found that six times more young people in England (aged four to 24) have psychological problems today than a generation ago, in 1995. Budget cuts to social work, youth services, the NHS and state schools over the last decade mean that many young people experiencing problems do not get any help at all before they reach university, where they meet a new set of challenges.


May 2019

  • It turns out that it's not the richest countries that suffer from the highest rates of depression, but the most violent, the poorest and the most unequal ones. The data comes from the study"Burden of depressive disorders (by Ferrari et al.), published in PLoS Medicine in 2013. The study showed that just over 4% of the world's population was clinically depressed at that time - but that rate varies greatly per country. For example, Afghanistan's abnormally high rate of depression shows - unsurprisingly - that decades of armed conflict and economic misery can have a devastating effect on the mental health of a population.
  • A Quartz analysis showed that mentions of “depression” and “anxiety” have increased in pop and hip-hop songs, while use of the word “peace” has declined.


February 2019

  • A Pew survey found that anxiety and depression were now the biggest concerns for US teens, with 70% of respondents considering both to be a “major problem.”


December 2018


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August 2018


July 2018