Category : Mental Health

What is ‘World Mental Health Day’?

World Mental Health Day is a mental health awareness initiative held annually on the 10th of October.

The main objectives of this event are to raise awareness of mental health conditions, reduce the stigma of mental illness, and to advocate for the mentally ill.

This post will share some information about this great event and the kinds of activities that are usually held.

When did World Mental Health Day originate?

World Mental Health Day is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), an international mental health organisation with members in over 150 countries.

The WFMH was formed in 1948 with the mission of promoting good mental health and helping the mentally ill obtain the help they need.

The first World Mental Health Day was held on the 10th of October, 1992.

It has become a very successful event with millions of participants around the world, including mental health advocates, researchers, medical health professionals, and members of the general public.

The event brings attention to mental illnesses and how they affect people’s lives.

Some countries have extended the event, making it into a week long event to give more exposure to mental health issues.

World Mental Health Day themes

Since 1994, each event has had a specific theme, which determines the kinds of mental health issues the day will focus on.

In 2018, the theme was Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.

This theme looked at several key areas including:

How young people often suffer from mental health issues

One key piece of information shared during last year’s event was that half of all mental health illness begins by the age of 14 — yet most cases go undetected and untreated.

This fact highlights how much more work needs to be done to ensure that young people and their carers are aware of mental health issues.

The event also shared important information on youth suicide, which remains the second leading cause of death in people aged between 15 to 29 years of age.

The importance of mental resilience

The event also focussed on the importance of building “mental resilience”.

Mental resilience is a person’s “ability to cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly”.

This attribute is extremely useful in the modern world, where young people are experience incredible psychological stress from social media and world events.

How better understanding prevents mental illness

There was a strong focus on young people preventing mental illness by being aware of the early warning signs of common mental health conditions.

Other recent themes have included:

  •   Mental health in the workplace
  •   Psychological First Aid
  •   Dignity in Mental Health
  •   Living with Schizophrenia
  •   Mental health and older adults

In 2019, the theme will be Suicide Prevention.

The WFMH has written about their reasons for choosing this topic and have shared an informative document on their website — Suicide among Children and Adolescents: A Mental Health and Public Health Issue.

How can I get involved?

Many charities, schools, universities, and welfare organisations around the UK observe World Mental Health Day.

You can visit Mind UK or the official World Mental Health Day Facebook page for more information.

It’s also possible to host your own event.

You can simply have a get together with friends, colleagues, or family members to discuss mental health.

There is also printed material available which you can distribute to the people around you to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Thanks for reading What is ‘World Mental Health Day’?

To learn more about World Mental Health Day, visit the World Federation For Mental Health website.

10 Mental Health Blogs To Check Out

There are many useful mental health resources available online including forums, social media profiles, blogs, and support lines.

Mental health blogs are a particularly useful resource because they often share the experiences of real people who have successfully managed mental illness.

Mental health blogs are funny, insightful, informative, and useful.

They can provide you with the encouragement you need to successfully manage your mental illness or to help others suffering from a mental illness.

Mental health blogs can also help you:

  •   Learn more about different types of mental health illnesses
  •   Meet other people who are dealing with the same challenges you face
  •   Learn about new therapies and treatment protocols
  •   Learn pragmatic “real-world” tips for managing mental illness
  •   Obtain free mental health resources

Mental health blogs worth reading

Mind Blogs

Mind is the largest mental health charity in the United Kingdom.

They provide many types of services for people with mental illness including a helpline, informative website, and local support services.

They also have a blog section on their website, which is filled with useful posts on everything from improving sleep patterns to reducing anxiety through exercise.

You can even apply to write your own blog for the Mind website.

Visit Mind Blogs.

The Mental Elf

Founded by André Tomlin in 2011, The Mental Elf blog was established to share the experience André gained from working in the mental health sector for many years.

It quickly grew in size and some of his colleagues began to contribute.

This blog is particularly useful if you are interested in learning more about the latest research into mental health.

The topics are quite diverse, ranging from general techniques for maintaining good mental health to guides on the different mental health treatments that are available.

Visit The Mental Elf.

We’re All Mad Here

This is a very popular blog from award-winning author Claire Eastham.

Written in a humorous tone, this blog shares the best available information on mental health — helping readers obtain the support they need.

Visit All Mad Here.

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that aims to raise awareness of mental health and fight for the rights of the mentally ill.

They provide some excellent resources on their website, including a collection of personal experiences and informative news articles in News and Views section.

Visit the Rethink Mental Illness website.

Life in a Breakdown

When Sarah Bailey began writing Life in a Breakdown, her goal was to stop focusing on the negative impact that her mental illness was having and instead focus on everything good in her life.

The blog shares many illuminating, funny, and honest conversations about mental illness.

It is often inspiring and always very interesting.

Visit the Life in a Breakdown blog.

Mental Health Foundation Blog

This is the official blog of the Mental Health Foundation, one of the UK’s leading mental health charities.

It contains many valuable posts from a wide spectrum of contributors who mostly work in the mental health sector.

It shares information about everything from self-care to the important link between lifestyle and mental health.

Visit the Mental Health Foundation Blog.

The Looneychick Blog

This wonderful blog was created by Vicky Williams, a young woman who is dealing with bipolar disorder.

Her writing style is funny, inspiring, and very honest.

Vicky writes about everything from the difficulties of finding friends when you have a mental illness to simple lifestyle changes that can improve your mental health.

Read the Looneychick blog.

Be Ur Own Light

This blog was founded by Eleanor Segall in 2016 to raise awareness of bipolar disorder.

Elanor uses her blog to dispel myths surrounding mental health and to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

She shares many positive stories on the blog which show how it is possible to live a happy and healthy life while managing a mental illness.

Read Be Ur Own Light.

Mummy It’s Ok

Mummy It’s Ok was created by a young mother named Julie, who suffered postpartum depression shortly after giving birth to her first child.

The blog shares many useful tips for mothers who are dealing with this condition.

This includes ways to incorporate self-care into a busy daily routine and general information about postpartum depression.

Read Mummy It’s Ok.

5 Tips For Managing Loneliness

It’s perfectly natural to feel lonely every now and then. 

In most cases, it is a temporary sensation that will pass once you make contact with a friend or family member once more. 

But, for many people living in the United Kingdom, feelings of loneliness persist and have a negative impact on their emotional well-being. 

If you often feel lonely, you aren’t the only one. 

A recent survey found that one third of UK residents often felt lonely

In this article, I’ll share several useful tips for managing loneliness, which will help you protect your mental health and make valuable social connections with other people. 

How can you manage feelings of loneliness?

Make new social connections

If you are often lonely, it is usually a sign that you need to make more social connections. 

You have many ways to do so, including: 

Volunteer

Many charity organisations in the UK are looking for volunteers to help them deliver services to people and animals in need. 

There are many different types of organisations to choose from including aged care support groups, animal shelters, and youth mentoring services. 

When you volunteer for one of these groups, you will quickly make valuable social connections with the other people.

Learn more about volunteering.

Join a class

Are there any new skills you are interested in learning? 

Taking a class is a great way to broaden your horizons and meet some new people.

Join an online community

There are thousands of web forums and social media groups devoted to specific topics or communities. 

Joining these communities is a great way to meet some people who are interested in the same things that you enjoy.

Join a social club

If you have specific activities that you enjoy, see if there is a local club devoted to it. 

One of the easiest ways to find local groups to join is to use a website like meetup.com

You will find groups dedicated to everything from dog walking to computer programming. 

Treat yourself

If you find yourself sitting at home by yourself feeling lonely or bored, get up and do something you enjoy. 

Cook a delicious meal, go for a walk, watch a comedy on television, take a yoga class, have a hot bath, go for a bike ride, eat some dark chocolate, or book a massage. 

By being active and taking part in activities you enjoy, you won’t be dwelling on any feelings of loneliness.  

Take care of yourself

Loneliness can make you feel quite vulnerable and anxious. 

It can also affect your behaviour, causing you to neglect your health. 

People who are lonely tend to eat poor quality food, over-eat or under-eat, drink an excessive amount of alcohol, resort to drug use and don’t get enough sleep.

 Unfortunately, this can impact your health and make your loneliness even more difficult to deal with. 

To avoid this problem, focus on looking after yourself during periods of loneliness.

Avoid alcohol and drugs, eat well, and get plenty of sleep. 

This simple strategy will make it easier to bounce back after being lonely and protects your health in the long-run. 

Don’t rush to compare yourself to others

Most people will judge how well they are doing in their own life by looking at how well others are doing. 

Unfortunately, the availability of social media this can cause this compulsion to become toxic.  

If you spend time browsing websites like Facebook and Twitter, you will see countless images of the people you know socialising, traveling, and having a great time. 

Unfortunately, if you are sitting at home by yourself, viewing these images can trigger feelings of loneliness and sadness.

You may feel like you are missing out on something. 

It’s important to remember that things are not always as they seem from the outside. 

Social media users will only share the most exciting parts of their lives online.

You can’t tell how they feel when they are alone or how happy they really are. 

It’s not healthy to compare yourself to what you see on the screen as it is not reality. 

Use a loneliness helpline

There are numerous loneliness helplines in the UK, which provide support and information on dealing with loneliness. 

Many of these helplines also offer befriending services, where people regularly ring you up to see how you are doing or meet with you face-to-face. 

These kind of services will help stay in contact with other people and avoid loneliness.

The two leading befriending services in the UK are Befriending UK and Age UK. 

Thanks for reading 5 Tips For Managing Loneliness

For more tips on managing loneliness and looking after your mental health, subscribe to the website.

Healthy Ways To Deal With Sadness

Sadness is a powerful emotion that can have a dramatic impact on your life.

It can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks like going to work, talking to loved ones, or participating in the hobbies that you normally enjoy.

Feelings of sadness are usually triggered by some kind of personal loss like the death of a loved one or the breakup of a romantic partnership.

Other common causes of sadness include the loss of a job, financial troubles, or relationship problems.

It’s important to develop healthy ways to deal with sadness, so you can process your emotions and get back to your normal life.

In this article, I’ll share several techniques that have been proven to reduce feelings of sadness.

What is sadness?

Sadness is one of the most common human emotions, along with happiness, anger, fear, and surprise.

It is considered a form of emotional pain that is characterised by feelings of loss, despair, disappointment, sorrow, and hopelessness.

When you are feeling sad, it’s common to become lethargic, introverted, quiet, and withdrawn.

Psychologists like Carl Jung believe that human beings must experience sadness to truly appreciate happiness.

After all, without sadness, happiness would lose its meaning.

It is important to understand that sadness is different to depression.

Sadness relates to a specific challenges, experiences, or events.

The sadness you feel about those specific issues will gradually go away on its own.

Even if a loved one dies, the sadness that is caused by that loss will gradually decrease over time.

Depression, on the other hand, is a serious mental illness that can affect your behaviour and emotions.

Unlike anxiety, depression doesn’t need to relate to a specific incident.

Depression can make everything in your life feel less enjoyable or unimportant.

It can also deplete your energy and motivation levels.

It is possible experience moments of happiness or pleasure while sad (eating ice cream after a breakup for example).

However, depression makes it virtually impossible to feel happiness or pleasure.

If your feelings of sadness do not begin to decrease after a few weeks and you struggle to find anything in your life enjoyable, talk to a doctor as you may be experiencing the onset of depression.

What are the healthiest ways to deal with sadness?

Here are several of the best options for dealing with sadness:

#1 — Cry

Crying when you are sad can be a great way to release pent up emotional energy and relive any emotional pain you are experiencing.

After you have cried, it can feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders and you will be in a better mood.

Crying has also been shown to relieve stress and make it easier to sleep.

#2 — Spend some time outdoors

Spending time outdoors can significantly improve your mental health and reduce how sad you are feeling.

Being outside will distract your mind from the issues that are causing you to be sad.

Other health benefits associated with being outdoors include reduced inflammation, better cognitive performance, less anxiety, and more energy.

#3 — Express yourself in a journal

Documenting your thoughts and feelings in a journal can help you process your emotions and recover from sadness.

You can write bad poetry, make up songs, rant about your family — whatever it takes to make you feel better.

#4 — Get some work done

Some people find it easier to get through periods of sadness by distracting themselves with work.

You could also take up a new hobby as a way to keep yourself busy.

This strategy has the additional benefit of boosting your productivity.

#5 — Exercise

Regular exercise is important for maintaining your physical and mental health.

It can be particularly useful when you are feeling sad as it will distract you from the thoughts in your head and fill your body with endorphins — feel good chemicals that can lift your mood.

#6 — Listen to music

Listening to music is one of my favourites activities when feeling sad.

There are many types of music that can lift you out of sadness.

You could listen to The Smiths to be reminded that everyone feels sad sometimes, head bang to some Metallica to get your frustrations out, or dance to some 1980’s classics to have fun.

#7 — Clean and organise your home

The simple act of cleaning and organising your home can be useful for reducing the negative impact of sadness.

You will be keeping your mind busy as you work and will feel like you accomplished something at the end.

#8 — Meditation

Meditation has scientifically-proven benefits including stress relief, anxiety reduction, improved self-awareness, greater attention span and better impulse control.

It can help you process your emotions and deal with feelings of sadness in a more rational way.

Thanks for reading Healthy Ways To Deal With Sadness.

Remember that sadness is only a temporary emotion and it is one that everyone experiences.

When you are feeling sad, look after yourself and ask for emotional support from the people around you.

Eight Ways to Actively Fight Depression

If you believe that you are suffering the symptoms of depression, it is important that you immediately take active steps to fight it.

Depression needs to be addressed very quickly because of its insidious nature and the significant effect it can have on a person’s life.

To help you recover from depression as soon as possible, here are eight ways to actively fight depression.

#1 — Speak to your doctor

Talking to a doctor will help you actively fight depression in a number of ways:

Diagnosing your condition

A doctor can determine if you actually have depression or if your symptoms are related to another illness.

If another illness is the cause of your symptoms, they can direct you towards the appropriate treatment.

Learn more about symptoms and causes of depression

Doctors can explain what might be causing your depression, how the symptoms of depression manifest, and what treatment options are available.

This valuable information will help you recover from depression much faster.

Checking your overall health

Your doctor can assess your overall health to make sure your depression is not related to nutritional deficiencies or problems with your brain chemistry.

Providing access to medications and further treatment

Doctors can help you access medications and recommend a good psychiatrist or therapist to talk to about your feelings of depression.

#2 — Stop criticising yourself

Depression is often accompanied by repetitive negative thoughts.

These thoughts can wear away at your self esteem and cause you to believe that you are somehow worthless or deeply flawed.

This kind of negative self talk can distract you from all of the good things currently in your life and the potential that life brings.

There are multiple ways to reduce the impact of negative self talk, including:

Remind yourself that you control your thoughts

It’s important to remember that internal thoughts are not reality.

They do not have any special power over you and will not determine what happens in your life.

You have the power to push bad thoughts aside.

Giving your negative inner voice a name

Creating an imaginary persona that is responsible for negative thoughts can help you ignore them.

Think of a goofy name like “Douchebag Danny” and when a negative thought pops into your head, think “There goes Douchebag Danny again, what the hell does he know about my life”.

This will isolate the thought and give you more control over it.

Be kind to yourself

The simple act of being nice to yourself can help you reduce the frequency of negative thoughts.

When a bad thought pops into your head, think “would I say something so nasty, negative, or paranoid to someone else?”

Why should you tolerate nasty comments when you have the choice to ignore them?

#3 — Exercise more often

Multiple studies have shown that exercise is as effective at relieving the symptoms of depression as low-dose antidepressant medication is.

Exercise is effective because it improves the neuroplasticity of your brain and triggers the release of endorphins — neurotransmitters that will give you a pleasurable sensation.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with something simple like walking or riding a bike around a local park.

Listen to some music or an audiobook while exercising to keep your mind busy.

#4 — Don’t isolate yourself

People who are depressed often feel uncommunicative and would prefer to spend time alone.

Unfortunately, this tendency to shy away from human contact can worsen the symptoms of depression.

Make a concerted effort to talk to other people about how you feel.

You might be surprised to discover that some of the people in your life have been through periods of depression themselves.

They might have useful advice for helping you feel recover.

#5 — Force yourself to continue your hobbies

One of the worst symptoms of depression is that it takes the joy out of life.

This is particularly apparent when it comes to your hobbies.

When you are feeling depressed, the activities you enjoyed previously begin to feel boring or tedious.

Despite these feelings, it’s important to continue pursuing hobbies.

There are a few reasons for doing so.

The first reason is that an active mind is less likely to linger on repetitive negative thoughts.

Hobbies will also give you a chance to socialise and they will help you avoid the temptation of alcohol or drug abuse.

#6 — Redirect your anger

It is common for depressed people to harbour a lot of anger — either at themselves or other people.

Anger is a very difficult emotion to deal with as it is quite destructive.

You can try venting some of your anger through physical activities like punching a boxing bag, lifting weights, or performing intensive cardio workouts.

Keeping a journal or expressing yourself artistically can also act as an effective outlet for anger.

#7 — Make yourself laugh more

The concept of using funny movies and television shows to beat a serious illness like depression seems ridiculous at first glance — however, there is scientific evidence to suggest it works.

Better yet, watch a funny movie with your family and friends.

You will be amazed by how much of an impact it can have on your mood and it will distract you from the symptoms of depression that you are experiencing.

#8 — Meditate

Meditation has been proven to reduce the symptoms of stress and depression.

It works by changing how certain parts of the brain function, including the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and amygdala.

These changes allow you to control thoughts more easily and reduce the level of stress hormones produced by the body.

Meditating will also give you a sense of calmness, control, and compassion which can help you deal with the symptoms of depression.

Helpful Online Resources For Depression

Depression is a dangerous condition that can affect many aspects of a person’s life.

Fortunately, there are dozens of helpful online resources that provide useful information for dealing with depression.

These resources can help you learn more about the condition and find sources of treatment.

You can also use these resources to connect with other people who are battling depression or caring for someone with depression.

MIND

MIND is the UK’s largest mental health support network.

Their website is packed full of useful resources including information about depression, links to depression support groups, and a large depression support forum.

MIND also provides access to a free helpline and mental health services in 130 locations across the UK.

Visit the MIND website.

Depression UK

Depression UK is a national self-help organisation helping people cope with their depression.

The organisation’s website provides some excellent information on the different types of depression and the treatments that are available.

Other resources on the Depression UK website include a Pen Friend and Phone-a-Friend scheme, depression support group locator, a newsletter, and links to useful resources.

Visit the Depression UK website.

NHS

The NHS is the UK’s biggest health website with more than 43 million visits per month.

It provides a vast amount of information to help UK citizens make informed choices about their health.

The website is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The Moodzone section of their website has some excellent information about anxiety and depression, including real stories of people who have beaten depression, links to support groups, and mental well-being guides.

The site also provides useful information on managing conditions that can lead to depression, like stress and bereavement.

Visit the NHS website.

NCT

NCT is a national support network for parents.

It provides information and support in pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood.

The website is a useful resource for parents who may be experiencing stress or depression relating to a pregnancy or the arrival of a newborn.

It is an excellent source of support for parents who may be undergoing prenatal or post-natal depression.

Visit the NCT website.

Big White Wall

This is an online community for people experiencing emotional or psychological stress.

Found in 2007 by social entrepreneur Jen Hyatt, the organisation has provided help to thousands of people across the UK.

The website provides peer support via an online community, resources for self management, information and advice, and guided support programmes.

Live therapy sessions with trained clinicians are also available.

Visit the Big White Wall website.

Cruse Bereavement Care

It is completely normal to experience depression after the loss of a loved one.

However, if a person’s level of depression become very difficult to manage or lasts for longer than a few weeks, it is important to seek help.

Cruse Bereavement Care specialises in helping people deal with bereavement and related problems including depression.

The organisation was founded in 1959 and has grown to become the leading national charity for bereaved people in the UK.

The organisation’s website provides a wide range of resources including information about bereavement, a helpline, directory of local mental health services, traumatic bereavement counselling.

It also provides bereavement advice specifically for bereaved parents, military families, schools, and workplaces.

Elefriends

Elefriends is an online community dedicated to helping people improve their mental health.

It provides a wide range of forums for discussing problems like depression as well as access to useful information about common mental health problems.

Visit the Elefriends website.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

The NICE website is a useful resource for information on medical conditions.

It has thousands of articles covering a variety of topics relating to depression, including depression treatments, depression symptoms, how to protect yourself against depression, and how to develop positive lifestyle habits.

Visit the NICE website.

Clinical Depression UK

The Clinical Depression UK site is packed with information about depression.

The topics include the symptoms of clinical depression, recovering from depression, dealing with anti-depressant withdrawal and the depression cycle.

Visit the Clinical Depression UK website.

We hope you found Helpful Online Resources For Depression useful.

Have you found any online resources that were particularly useful?

Leave them in the comments.

9 Myths About Mental Health

There are many myths and negative stereotypes surrounding the topic of mental health.

These false beliefs creates a stigma which can lead to feelings of discrimination and isolation for anyone dealing with a mental health illness.

The only way to finally end the stigma of mental illness is to identify the common myths and misunderstandings that people have about the mentally ill.

This article will bust some common mental illness myths held by people in the United Kingdom.

Myth #1 — Mental health problems won’t affect me

Many people assume that they are immune to mental illness.

They often believe that this is the case because they assume mental illnesses are caused by genetic factors or a weak mind.

The reality is — mental illness can affect anyone.

In the UK, about 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem each year.

About 1 in 6 experience a common mental health (like anxiety or depression) each week.

While some mental illnesses do have genetic factors, most mental health problems are caused by:

  • Severe psychological trauma (emotional or physical abuse, neglect, social isolation)
  • The loss of a loved one
  • Physical illnesses or injuries (certain types of infections and brain injuries)
  • Substance abuse
  • Severe stress (caused by work, family conflicts, physical illness)

It is possible for anyone to experience one or more of these mental illness risk factors at any point in their lives.

Myth #2 — People are born with a mental illness

This is a very common myth in the UK.

While a person can be born with genetic factors that increase their risk of having a mental illness, no one is “guaranteed” to suffer from a mental illness during their lives.

Many people with mental health problems have no family history of mental illness whatsoever.

Myth #3 — Mental illnesses are lifelong and incurable

When treated appropriately, most people will fully recover from their mental illness and will have no additional episodes of mental illness throughout their life.

However, some people do require ongoing treatment and may have a recurrence of their condition at some point.

A tiny percentage of people who suffer from a mental illness will become disabled and require ongoing care.

However, the vast majority of people simply receive treatment and return to their normal lives.

Myth #4 — People with mental illnesses are dangerous

This is one of the worst mental illness myths as it contributes to the stigma surrounding mentally ill people.

It is rare for people with a mental illness to be dangerous.

Even people with severe psychosis and paranoia will not be dangerous if they are receiving the appropriate treatment and support.

Myth #5 — It is safer for people with mental illnesses to be locked up

This myth became widespread because so many people mistakenly believe that mentally ill people are dangerous to themselves or other people.

The truth is, most people will recover from a mental illness quickly without the need for hospitalisation.

Others might need a brief stay at a hospital or psychiatric care facility.

In most cases, mentally ill people do not need to be placed into isolation for their own protection or for the protection of others.

It is very rare for mentally ill people to require long term hospitalisation or isolation.

Myth #6 — Children can’t experience mental health problems

Unfortunately, children can also experience mental illness.

About half of all mental health disorders will display their first symptoms before a child turns 14 and three-quarters of mental health disorders will begin before the age of 24.

It is important for parents to be aware of the symptoms of mental illness and talk to a medical professional if they are worried about the mental health of a child.

Myth #7 — People with mental health needs cannot hold down a job

There is a common myth that people with mental health disorders cannot tolerate the stress that is associated with having a job.

The truth is that many people who have a mental illness can also have very successful careers.

When they receive treatment for their illness, their performance improves even more.

Myth #8 — I can’t do anything to help a person with a mental illness

If you have a friend or relative who has been diagnosed with a mental illness, you can support them in many different ways:

  • Reach out and let them know that you are available to talk
  • Help them access the treatments they require
  • Learn more about their condition so you know what they are going through
  • Continue treating them with respect and friendship

Myth #9 — It’s impossible to prevent a mental illness

It’s a common misconception that a mental illness is inevitable if it is “in your genes”.

That’s not true.

Even if a person has a family history of mental illness, they can take steps to prevent it from affecting them.

By having a well balanced and healthy lifestyle, a person’s likelihood of having a mental illness is greatly reduced.

Mental Health Awareness Week – what is it and how can I get involved?

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.

It is designed to promote awareness of mental health issues, encourage people to get the help they need, and to raise funds for mental health awareness research.

The event is held every May, with the 2019 event taking place from Monday 13th May to Sunday 19th May.

Each year, the event has a central theme, with 2019’s theme being stress.

Although stress isn’t a mental health problem itself, it is a dangerous condition that can lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression.

In severe cases, stress can even trigger incidents of self harm or suicide.

The illnesses caused by stress can be avoided by being aware of stress symptoms and learning some stress reduction techniques.

Understanding stress can also make it easier to notice it in other people and provide them with help.

How can I get involved?

Mental Health Awareness Week is a popular event, with thousands of supporters taking part in events across the United Kingdom.

There are many ways you can get involved including:

Find an event to attend

There are hundreds of events being run by schools, businesses, community groups, and individuals during Mental Health Awareness week.

Most of these events are designed to raise money, raise awareness of stress and mental health, or to give people an opportunity to discuss mental health issues.

The simplest way to find events to attend is via the interactive map on the Mental Health Foundation’s website.

You can use the map to locate events in your city or town.

Some of the most interesting events include:

Poppy’s Picnic’s ‘Therapeutic Power of Pets’ Event

Poppy’s Picnic are holding a special lunch for residents of Dauntsey House Care Home in Devizes at their headquarters in Melksham to raise awareness of mental health issues and the importance of pets in helping people overcome stress.

The event will be attended by Therapy Dogs Nationwide as well as leading Chartered Psychologist Kyle Davies.

The Olive Tree cafe Charity Race night

We are holding a Race night to 1 raise funds for a new training kitchen and 2 raise awareness of Mental Health.

Two of our races will have horses named around the Mental health/wellness theme.

Reminiscence tea party

Come along and enjoy a chat about times past in a friendly, informal group.

This month’s topic: hobbies and pastimes.

Be a fundraiser

There are many opportunities available to be a fundraiser, including:

Attend an active challenge

Active events include wellbeing walks, fun runs, cycling, treks, and even skydiving.

You can learn more about these active challenges on the Mental Health Foundation website.

Hold your own fundraising campaign

If you have a great idea on how to raise money for mental health awareness week, you can contact the Mental Health Foundation at events@mentalhealth.org.uk.

Host a lecture or talk on mental health

The best way to raise mental health awareness is to talk about it.

You can hold a lecture or talk on mental health in your local area.

You can ask local mental health professionals and people who have dealt with mental health problems in the past to talk at it.

The audience can also be asked to participate with questions and comments relating to stress reduction techniques or mental health.

You could even hold a class that showcases some of the best stress reduction techniques, like mindfulness meditation or yoga.

Spread the word online

If you don’t have the time to organise or attend an event, you can still spread the word online.

Consider posting stories and information on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Some of the items you can post include:

  •   Facts and figures about stress and mental illness
  •   Your favourite ways to deal with stress
  •   Places to find help when feeling stressed or suffering from poor mental health
  •   Personal stories about the stress you have experienced in your life or how you have dealt with stress in the past
  •   Information about the Mental Health Awareness events

Print up a poster for your workplace or school

The Mental Health Foundation provides a range of free resources for the general public including pamphlets, social media graphics, and posters.

You can print some of these posters up and place them around your workplace or school.

This will help people suffering from stress realise that help is always available and it also helps to promote the Mental Health Foundation.

Download free posters from the Mental Health Foundation website.

Share your story with the Mental Health Foundation

The best way to address the stigma associated with mental health is to talk about it.

That means sharing stories and helping others understand that everyone suffers from poor mental health at some point in their life.

The Mental Health Foundation encourages this practice and publishes user-submitted stories on its website and in publications.

You can submit your story by sending 600 words through to stories@mentalhealth.org.uk.

Introducing ‘The Depression Alliance’ Charity

As a lot of people hide it well, you may be surprised at just how many people around the world suffer with depression in one form or another.

People suffer with depression in a number of different ways and in a range of severities, with everyone’s experience being slightly different.

This can make depression an isolating and lonely mental health condition to deal with.

Luckily, there are charities such as The Depression Alliance that are doing everything they can to help.

What is depression?

Though we all have days when we feel sad or low from time to time, those with depression have these feelings in a much more severe way.

It isn’t simply a case of being in a bad mood for a day or two and hoping it goes away, depression can cause someone to experience intense negative feelings for weeks or months at a time.

In fact, some people even experience depressive states for years at a time.

Depression isn’t the same as feeling down for no reason, it’s something that affects both physical and mental health.

Depression can affect anyone and at any age.

Sometimes it is caused by a stressful or traumatising event and sometimes there’s no cause for at all.

Everyone experiences depression differently, which is why it can be an isolating illness to live with.

What does ‘The Depression Alliance’ Do?

The Depression Alliance is a UK based charity that focuses on ending the loneliness and isolation that depression can cause.

It isn’t uncommon for those with depression to feel as though there’s nowhere to turn, that there’s no help available and that they’re going through everything alone.

The Depression Alliance works hard to change that and to improve the lives of anyone who’s dealing with depression.

As a charity, The Depression Alliance’s main aim is to bring people together to end the stigma often associated with depression.

Depression is a mental health condition and therefore there’s no quick fix, something which the charity firmly understands.

Rather than focusing on finding a cure for depression itself, The Depression Alliance campaigns to raise awareness of what it means to live with it.

By raising awareness, The Depression Alliance hopes to educate others on what it’s like to suffer with depression.

5 Steps To Improving Mental Wellbeing In The Workplace

With statistics revealing that 4 out of 10 British workers have suffered from mental health issues in the workplace, it’s more important than ever for working professionals to consider ways that they can manage their mental health at work.

If you have a high-pressure, busy job, read on for some suggestions about how to manage your time and keep your mental state in check to ensure that your working capability doesn’t slip.

Consider what your triggers are

Everybody is different and has certain things that can set them off and bring on feelings of anxiety and stress.

If you want to manage this effectively at work, it’s important to work out exactly what it is that elicits negative emotions for you.

The triggers could be problems with certain jobs at work or clients that you have to deal with on a regular basis, or they may be one-off events like presenting ideas to your managers at monthly meetings.

Once you work out what you’re up against, it will be easier to come up with resolutions.

Talk about your problems

While some find the idea of opening up about personal problems daunting, doing so can lift some of the weight off your shoulders and is likely to reduce your stress levels instantly.

Luckily, the discourse surrounding mental health and wellness is broadening, meaning people are becoming much more comfortable discussing what is bothering them.

Share your problems with a co-worker that you trust or wait until you get home to unload onto a loved one. You never know, someone else might have a solution to your problems that you’d never even considered.

Take care of yourself outside of work

We all know about the physical benefits of a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise, but these things can also boost your mental wellness.

Consider walking or running outside after work, especially if you spend most of your day inside an office.

Ensuring that you get your full eight hours sleep will also make you feel much more mentally prepared for work.

Switch off

With business owners under increased pressure thanks to an unstable economy, it’s not uncommon for people to take their work home with them and continue to get on with tasks in their spare time.

While it can be tempting to do this, especially if you are failing behind, remember to try and switch off for at least a couple of hours and do something that you enjoy each evening.

Give yourself a break

It’s easy to beat yourself up if you’ve had a bad work week but it’s important that you don’t give yourself too much of a hard time.

Try writing down a list of five things that are going well at the moment, which should give you the positive boost you need.