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As Generation Snowflake transitions us away from the stiff upper lip of Britain’s past, Matt Chittock explores how this sector of society is opening up the conversation about mental health, and how health stores can play a key part in supporting their customers in matters of the mind

Are we facing a mental health crisis? The stats seem to say so, with a huge one in four people currently living with a mental health condition in the UK, according to Mind. These can manifest as anything from anxiety disorder to depression to obsessive compulsive disorder.

The good news is that how we discuss mental health seems to be changing. From Prince William to Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, more high-profile people are opening up about their personal issues.

Commentators who idealize the Great British ‘stiff upper lip’ may moan about ‘Generation Snowflake’, however rising awareness is creating an atmosphere in which the public can comfortably talk about how they’re feeling – a key part of staying healthy. 

And as the culture changes, so does the part natural health stores can play in maintaining their customers’ wellbeing.

“Mental health is a huge category for us and it’s really changed in the last decade,” says Keren Brynes-Maclean, owner of the Health Food and More store in Kirkcaldy. 

“I’ve worked in the natural health industry for 30 years and when I first started we used to sell a lot of products like Quiet Life to reduce people’s stress,” she says. “But now I think people are looking for adaptogens rather than herbal sedatives, or other traditional approaches. I think that’s because we’ve lost a lot of licensed products over the years, and as there’s more research around, others take their place.”

As you’d expect, proven staples like St John’s wort are popular in the store. But Brynes-Maclean explains that the category’s best-sellers are currently Lambert’s Rhodiola and Fushi’s Ashwagandha. She says that ashwagandha has a ‘nice, calming quality’ that customers favour, while rhodiola helps people ‘put their brakes on’ to reduce stress.

“One other big seller for stress is Viridian’s L-Theanine,” she adds. “We sell lots of it. It’s an amino acid derived from green tea, and because it’s a supplement it works very quickly. You feel calm, not sedated, so it’s great for things like exam stress or taking your driving test. We’re big fans of Viridian here because of its quality and lack of fillers.”

Away from the shop floor, natural health champion Janey Lee Grace has experienced first-hand the effects of poor mental health issues. “My mother has bipolar, so my childhood memories are of her being in and out of hospital – sometimes fine, sometimes chaotic,” she says. “At the ripe old age of 91 I don’t think she has ever been offered any ‘talking therapies’, only a huge collection of drugs. 

“Rising awareness is creating an atmosphere in which the public can comfortably talk about how they’re feeling”

“I have not one, but three friends with teenagers who have self-harmed or tried suicide,” she adds. “That’s horrendous. There simply isn’t the support there for them, and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are stretched beyond capacity.”

Lee Grace says that taking a holistic approach is key to coping with mental health problems. “Mindfulness, perhaps leading to meditation, can be amazing – and that’s free or very inexpensive,” she points out.  

Nutrition-wise she ‘looks to wholefoods first’, with cashew nuts, fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables offering a natural lift.

“If you can get real cacao chocolate, such as ‘ceremonial grade’ cacao, that is definitely mood-boosting. You get all the indulgence without the guilt.”

As always, fresh research is helping brands to develop effective new products in the sector. And in Brynes-Maclean’s experience ‘where the research goes, so does
the popularity’. 

For example, a meta-analysis published in The European Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research suggests the benefits of Potter’s Memory & Focus product comes from its anti-anxiety qualities. 

Other research has revealed that over a third of people taking probiotics say these are effective against anxiety.

“Scientists call the gut the ‘second brain’ because it is filled with neurotransmitters we usually associate with being in the brain,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville. 

“It has its own complex nervous system and also, just like your brain, produces serotonin, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter. Our brain and gut are therefore intimately connected, and that’s why they can affect each other so much.”

 

 

FSC 5-HTP

FSC
Tel: 0800 083 0356
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.fscsupplements.com

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) also known as Oxitriptan is a naturally occurring amino acid. 5-HTP cannot be sourced from an everyday diet and is produced from seeds of the herb Griffonia Simplicifolia.  The body makes 5-HTP from the amino acid tryptophan, which is then changed into the neurotransmitter used by the central nervous system, known as Serotonin. Serotonin has a role in many functions including sleep regulation, depression and anxiety. FSC 5-HTP 100mg is made in the UK and formulated to provide maximum efficiency with minimum additives. Suitable for Vegetarians and recommended to take one to two capsules as needed or before bedtime.  

 

Brainvit 

HealthAid Ltd
Tel: 020 8426 3400
E-mail: [email protected]
www.HealthAid.co.uk

BrainVit® – Supports a healthy brain function. The brain, the most vital organ in the body requires nutrients to support its function. The stress and pressure associated with our modern lifestyles may reduce the brain’s ability to function optimally, resulting in reduced concentration and alertness. With this in mind, HealthAid® have developed BrainVit®, incorporating specific ingredients such as Phosphatidyl serine, CoQ10, Ginkgo, Alpha lipoic acid and other essential nutrients, to support cognitive function and maintain good blood flow to and from the brain. BrainVit® is free from common allergens, suitable for vegetarians.  BrainVit® retails at £19.99 for 60 tablets. Contact HealthAid Ltd on 020 8426 3400 for purchase and stockist information or visit www.healthaid.co.uk   

 

Ancient Magnesium Cream with OptiMSM + CBD Oil

Wholesale Health Ltd
Tel: 01606 889905
E-mail: [email protected]
www.wholesalehealthltd.co.uk

The Award-winning Ancient Magnesium + CBD Cream from Good Health Naturally is a powerful antioxidant cream that combines 100% natural CBD oil and OptiMSM with ‘ultra-pure’ concentrated Zechstein magnesium chloride to help provide natural support for a multitude of normal body processes including mind and body, skin, muscle, energy, and more! Taking magnesium through the skin significantly increases its uptake and health protective abilities.

Ask about our range of free marketing material and stands to attract and inform your customers, including FSDUs, Countertop Displays, A4 Posters, sample sachets, window displays, leaflets and copies of ‘The Magnesium Manual’ book to give away with every purchase.

 

Stress Relief from Helios

Helios Homeopathy
Tel: 01892 537254
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.helios.co.uk

Award winning Stress Relief from Helios Homeopathy has been specifically formulated to relieve symptoms associated with mild stress and anxiety such as fear of flying, anticipatory anxiety before an event, exam nerves and much more. 

Stress Relief contains three homeopathic remedies with a long history of traditional use and being completely natural is safe, gentle and without side effects. Stress Relief comes in lactose free, sucrose pills in our easy to use single dose dispenser. For more information on Stress Relief and other remedies in the range covering childhood teething, fevers and earache; Injuries; Hay Fever and Sleep please contact Helios.

 

Garden of Life mykind Organics B12 Spray

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.kinetic4health.co.uk

Garden of Life mykind Organics Vitamin B12 is the first certified organic, wholefood, non-GMO project verified B12 spray. Garden of Life’s B12 provides the easily absorbed, active natural form of B12 (as found in the body) at a dose of 500mcg per spray, in a delicious organic raspberry flavour. One bottle contains 140 servings. Scientists have long been researching the relation between low levels of B12 (cobalamin) and memory loss and many experts claim getting enough B12 in your diet can help improve memory, whilst adequate B vitamins can also help your brain respond to stress appropriately.

 

Nature’s Answer Vitamin D3 Drops 4,000iu

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.kinetic4health.co.uk

Vitamin D has many roles in regulating brain health, from aiding the development of the brain and nervous system to postponing decline toward the end of life, according to a growing body of research. Vitamin D can life mood, banish depression, improve memory and increase problem-solving ability, and is believed to be a “multi-potent” brain-cell-protective hormone, working through diverse and complex mechanisms including brain calcium regulation, antioxidative properties, immune system regulation and enhanced brain cell signaling. Just one serving (two drops) of Nature’s Answer Vitamin D3 Liquid Drops contains 4,000iu of vitamin D as cholecalciferol, in an Extra Virgin Olive Oil base.

 

 

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About the Author

Matt Chittock

Freelance Journalist

Articles by Matt Chittock
Matt Chittock
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