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All in the Mind
Tuesday 2100-2130
Wednesday 1630-1700
Exploring the limits and potential of the mind
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Tuesday 24 June 2008
Claudia Hammond
The programme that examines how we think and why we behave as we do, with psychologist, Claudia Hammond.
Could an hour-long briefing for soldiers returning from the front line really reduce the number of soldiers breaking down? This is what the British armed forces want to find out. In what’s only the second controlled trial ever done on the mental health of the armed forces, they’re going to experiment with an American system called Battlemind which has been such a success in the States that now the whole US army uses it. All in the Mind went along to the very first day of Battlemind in the UK just a few days ago. Psychiatrists, psychologists and military personnel gathered to see Colonel Carl Castro, one of the architects of Battlemind, as he showed them what a typical session for soldiers would be like. Claudia Hammond talks to Colonel Castro from the US Army, and Dr Neil Greenberg, Surgeon Commander for the Royal Navy and a Senior Lecturer in Military Psychiatry at King’s College London.

When there’s been a disaster it’s inevitable that getting food, clean water and shelter to the survivors is going to be a priority. But for the people affected by the cyclone which struck Burma over a month ago, as well as coping with physical deprivation, they are faced with the trauma of having lost so many of their friends and relatives. In some villages only a fifth of the population is still alive. Kaz de Jong, mental health advisor for Medecins Sans Frontieres is well-used to visiting disaster areas, but he told me he was shocked by the lack of support for the survivors.

Crack cocaine is a drug so powerfully addictive that some people who take it can be driven to steal from their families, cheat their friends and lose everything they care about. Yet the small promise of some vouchers to spend might be enough to help people to get off the drug for good. The Department of Health has announced it’s starting 15 so-called “contingency management” schemes at sites across the country. And evidence from the USA shows that this kind of project can work. All in the Mind spoke to a 28 year old man who’s been off drugs for a month after joining one of these projects, and to Dr John Marsden, who’s a Senior Lecturer in Addiction Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. He is just starting the UK’s first controlled trial of contingency management with a group of crack cocaine addicts. All participants in the trial will receive vouchers for clean urine tests and half the group will, in addition, receive cognitive behavioural therapy. The results should be known in a year.

Additional Information:
March on Stress

Medecins Sans Frontieres

National Treatment Agency
Department of Health Drugs strategy
Institute of Psychiatry

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