When I first met Ollie, he wasn't hearing voices in his head but ethereal music.

He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and regularly consumed alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs.

Within six months, he had weaned himself off stimulants, started eating a nutritious diet and taking basic supplements.

At a recent follow-up consultation, he told me he had improved to such an extent he no longer heard strange music or required medication.

The World Health Organisation reports that mental health problems are fast becoming the number one health problem and that we are becoming more and more mentally "unhealthy".

In the UK, we consume 532 million tranquillisers, 463 million sleeping pills and 823 million antidepressants every year.

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration has just approved Prozac for children.

Optimum Nutrition For The Mind by Patrick Holford (published by Piatkus) is an important new book to read if you feel anxious and depressed for no particular reason. It is essential reading if you fear you might be losing it.

Holford is a top nutritionist with a special interest in the biochemistry of mental health problems, ranging from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) to Alzheimer's Disease and manic depression.

He has worked with thousands of people suffering from such problems and his book attempts to unravel the underlying biochemical causes.

Holford says: "Any intelligent person can recognise our diets have changed radically in the past 100 years, along with our environment.

"When you consider the body and brain are entirely made from molecules derived from food, air and water and that simple molecules like alcohol can fundamentally affect the brain, isn't it unlikely changes in diet and the environment have had no effect on our mental health?"

With the number of people suffering mental problems rising at such a pace, it may be time to explore a new way of thinking about the state of our minds.

His new book explains how sugar and stimulants can make you stupid and how to improve your IQ, memory and mood.

He addresses hot topics such as autism, suggests brain-friendly supplements to prevent dementia and demystifies schizophrenia.

After 20 years of research and clinical experience, Holford brings a radical new approach to mental health.

He also directs the Mental Health Project, which aims to establish outpatient clinics and halfway houses to help the recovery of people with mental health problems.

Says Holford: "The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things and expect different results, and that is exactly what doing with mental problems. Most can be or at least considerably relieved, with the right nutrition together with psychological support and guidance."

I suggest you run and screaming to the bookshop or contain sufficiently to attend his forthcoming seminars. Frankly, you'd be crazy to miss him.

Patrick Holford will speaking at the Quality Hotel (Forest Suite), Street, Brighton, on Sunday, March 16. The event place between 10am and 5pm. To book your place, visit www.patrickholford.com or call 020 8871 2949.