Tag Archives: emotional health

Further Reading: How to Help A Depressed Friend

A friend in need can be a difficult thing to see, and knowing how to help a depressed friend can be of great benefit during more difficult times.  As part of the Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme of relationships, we’ve found some expert advice and personal stories to give inspiration and guidance.

Knowing the symptoms

Recognising the symptoms of depression can help pave the way towards a friend broaching the subject with you. Even if you’ve experienced depression yourself, the symptoms can vary from person to person. There is also a distinct contrast between self-care and helping others.

Link [via Help Guide]

Talking about it

There is a huge difference between approaching your friend to talk to them about concerns you may have about their mental health and your friend approaching you. Whilst the following guide is aimed at university students, the advice it gives regarding initial conversations and what to do afterwards is fantastic and comprehensive.

Link [via Student Minds]

Getting informed

Symptoms and diagnoses are easy to research, but personal experience can sometimes be overlooked. Talking about depression can be a difficult conversation to start for those who need help or support. Mental health organisations Mind and Rethink Mental Illness have put together a “Start your mental health conversation” guide, complimented by personal stories and videos.

Link [via Time to Change]

Knowing your role

Supporting someone going through depression can take its toll, and it’s important to understand the symptoms of burnout so you can support your friend in the best way possible. Sometimes all that means is doing the everyday “friend stuff”, without the pressure to have an in-depth conversation about your friend’s current state of mental health.

“€œThe best thing my friend did for me was that they just accepted me as I was.”

Link [via Mental Health]

If you require additional support or advice, a directory of mental health agencies can be found here.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 16-22 May 2016.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2016

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2016. The Mental Health Foundation aims to raise awareness and spark conversations regarding mental health with a different theme each year.  Running from 16-22 May, this year’s theme is relationships, and the role the connections between friends, family, colleagues and others have to mental health.

The organisation has launched a website hosting information and resources. The campaign has highlighted some interesting messages of the importance of relationships in good mental health. It emphasises that connections between people help prolong life and reduce the risk of physical and mental health problems, and that “Investing in your relationships is as important as healthy eating, exercising and not smoking.”

The organisation is also running a “Daily relationship challenge”,  where people can sign up to daily reminders and tips, and a “Relationship resolution” pledge.

Episodes of mental health difficulties can make people feel isolated and unsure of who to turn to. This campaign’s message of the importance of relationships in good mental health is a nice reminder that nobody has to suffer alone.

Mental Health Awareness Week [via the Mental Health Foundation]

The Mental Health Benefits of Walking

As May is National Walking Month 2016, we thought we’d look at the mental health benefits of walking.

The physical benefits of walking are well known. It’s an excellent form of easy exercise that burns fat, encourages bone density, lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and can benefit memory functions. Walking is also excellent for mental health in the following ways:

Walking is exercise, and exercise improves mood

Any type of exercise releases endorphins, and walking is no exception. Endorphins are a hormone which calm and boost mood. A walk of 30 minutes is recommended to start releasing this hormone, but if you can’t walk for that length of time, you can supplement it on either time with gentle exercise such as stretching or even housework.

Walking gets you out and about

Some mental health issues are exacerbated by or have symptoms of isolation, either real or perceived. It’s easy to lose days without leaving the house or going out as little as possible, and walking can help break that cycle. Coupled with the mental health benefits of walking as mentioned above, getting out and about a little bit more can be the first step in improving mental health.

Walking takes time

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the depressive, stressed or anxious thoughts which can wear down mental health. Going for even a short walk can help to interrupt these though patterns, or give you a different space and perspective to tackle them. It also gives you something positive to incorporate into your routine to maintain good mental health.

Walking is cheap and easy

All you need are decent shoes and clothes for whatever weather you’re going out in. You don’t have to invest in any specialist clothing or equipment as you would with other “entry-level” physical activities such as jogging or cycling.

Walking helps you sleep

Exercise is a tiring activity, which can help provide a better night’s sleep. Good sleep is a crucial part of good mental health, as it give you, and your brain, the chance to properly rest and repair.

Walking takes you places

Going for a walk can be a way to discover a whole new side of familiar areas where you live or work. This change in routine and observance of new things can be an excellent way to divert your brain from depressive, stressed or anxious thoughts.

If you’re wanting to use technology to log your travels or get ideas for new routes, we suggest you check out our guide to walking apps:

Walking Apps – What’s Available

One Woman’s Confrontation of Her Own Worst Enemy

Are you your own worst enemy? A common symptom of poor mental health is a stream of negative thoughts, voices which berate and belittle. These thoughts can wear people down over time, to the point where they become normal and believable.

Lotte Lane, a woman who has lived with these thoughts for as long as she can remember, has recently written about how starting therapy helped her confront her internal criticism, and how doing so improved her mental health.

“Those thoughts – the horrible, soul-crushing messages pinging around in my brain – were just thoughts. Not reality. Not truth. Not God-given fact.”

Lotte continued therapy, and one day, decided to “confront the bully in my brain”. She made a list of all the things her “shitty committee” said about her and filmed herself reading the list out. The almost 5-minute video is emotional in ways, and Lotte cites this moment as being a real turning point in her mental health taking a turn for the better: “Confronting my shitty committee was my first wobbly step towards learning to like myself.”

You can read the full article and watch Lotte’s video through the link below.

I’m My Own Worst Enemy [via Blurt]

Further Reading: The Power of Napping

As important as a good night’s sleep is, the power of napping is undeniable when done right. Due to a pervasive 24-hour culture, napping has an unwarranted social stigma and association with laziness, which can lead to guilt and burnout. However, done the right way, a nap can be an essential boost to your day, helping you both mentally and physically. We’ve compiled some of the best tips and interesting facts about napping to help guide you to the land of quick nods.

The power of napping and sleep cycles

Napping has huge benefits to both brain and body, including (but not limited to): memory, mood, learning ability, alertness, productivity, blood pressure and even weight management. However, the timing of naps has to be considered in order to get the best results by working with humans’ natural sleep cycles and therefore avoiding oversleeping and drowsiness.

Link [via io9]

The benefits of a quick nap are generally determined by the length of the nap. Shorter naps are best for staving off tiredness, whilst longer naps can give a longer boost to your day. Knowing sleep cycles is an important way of determining the length of time for a nap.

Link [via The Art of Manliness]

Knowing how and when to nap

Not everybody needs to nap, and if you are needing the type of sleep which naps cannot fulfil, then you may need to examine your sleep patterns and habits in more depth rather than papering over the cracks by napping.

Link [via Time]

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with sleep cycles and whether you need to nap or not, it’s time to settle down and get ready to get the most out of your nap. Whether it’s a one-off or habitual nap, preparing the right environment for a nap is crucial to experience its benefits.

Link [via Lifehacker]

Napping in history and around the world

The most famous type of nap is most likely the siesta. This habit has a long and fascinating history, which stretches far beyond Spain and far into our ancient history.

Link [via Slumberwise]

Scottish Government Develops App for Mental Wellbeing

An internal team within the Scottish Government‘s Directorate of Health & Social Care Integration have developed a free app for mental wellbeing. Developed in collaboration with NHS24 and New Media Scotland, the Ginsberg app has a “mission is to improve mental health and wellbeing through new technologies.”

App for Mental Wellbeing - CycleThe app is named after the poet Allen Ginsberg, and inspired by his quote “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness”. The Ginsberg app aims to help users track behaviour and mood patterns and give insight into how the two are interlinked.

The app provides a platform to log physical activity, quality/length of sleep, diet and mood. Data is collected over time and provides insight into patterns and triggers so users can “feel more in control with what is going on.”

Available for both Apple and Android, you can sign up to Ginsberg for free here.

 

Mental Health Nursing – 5 Personal Experiences

Mental Health Care NurseAs many of you in the profession will already know (or at least be beginning to suspect) the only people who really understand what it is like to be a mental health nurse are other mental health nurses.

With this in mind, we thought who better to turn to for advice and personal life experience than a selection of experienced nursing professionals working in the mental health world.

Here we have gathered together 5 of the most compelling personal accounts from this unique and challenging profession which should help you overcome your own challenges, get another person’s perspective on the job, or at least dispel that feeling that no one else understands the challenges you are going through.

Paula’s account on Change.org is unique in that she has experienced mental health nursing from both sides – as a nurse and as a patient – her account here is both compelling and inspirational:

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/blog/my-experience-mental-health-nurse-and-patient

This regular blog from a mental health nursing student describing her placement is extremely informative, highlighting both the stresses and the rewards of this challenging course, and what it is like to face this type of workplace for the first time as a young student:

http://i-am-a-mental-nurse.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/new-placement-sadness-worries-hard-work.html

The following article has become very popular on BlogSpot because it simply sums up a collection of extremely useful pieces of advice for handling patients for all mental healthcare professionals. The Author titled it simply: “20 Commandments for Mental Health Workers

http://20commandments.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/20-commandments-for-mental-health.html

This fantastic article by Adam Roxley, himself a mental health nurse, challenges the stigma of mental health issues, both for sufferers and their carers, in this excellently written article – “Why are we so Scared of Mental Health”

http://www.nursingtimes.net/student-nursing-times/why-are-we-so-scared-of-mental-health/5039966.blog

This final regular blog is again by someone with the unique twin perspectives of RMN and mental health patient. This 32 year old registered mental nurse has recently been given a diagnosis of acute bipolar disorder and writes on her journey of understanding from her new perspective as patient rather than practitioner.

http://atrulyregisteredmentalnurse.blogspot.co.uk/

If you would like to share your own experiences of mental health nursing in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

Alternatively, if you have any articles, blogs or writers on mental health nursing which you would like to add to this list, just add the details in the comments below.

Mental Health and NHS Failure

Problems with mental health and NHS failure is a difficult combination. With the issue of mental health is one of the most important things is knowing you have a problem, then the issue is getting support.

For young people mental health makes them feel like a burden to the system, which is the worst way you can feel when in a frail state of mind. The ongoing struggles of people dealing with mental health problems are often made worse by problems with access to treatment.

Here is a great hour-long video documentary that outlines the struggling for young people in the UK.

Emotional and Mental Fitness

We all know the basics of looking after our physical health (even if we don’t do it that well). It’s part of our everyday lives – people think about their diets, they go to the gym, they join a sports team – it’s about getting into good habits.

The key to good mental health is no different. Its about introducing new habits into our lives. This sounds simple, but it’s certainly not easy. Changing our habits can be hard work, we often need support, but the results can be life-changing!

Trouble is, most people don’t know how to look after their mental health.  Yet research tells us that probably 2 out of 3 adults in the UK would benefit from improving their mental wellbeing. Sure, we might jog along OK but we experience anxiety and stress on a fairly regular basis. We might lack motivation, feel stuck in a rut, worry about the future.

And 1 in 4 of us can expect to experience mental ill-health such as depression or anxiety, which can have a devastating effect on our work, our families, and our lives. A recent World Health Organisation report estimated that up to 90% of GPs time is spent dealing with mental and physical ailments which are stress-related.

How do we react? Our most likely responses are to ‘do nothing, just live with it’, ‘eat comfort or junk food’, or ‘spend time alone’ – all strategies which are pretty certain to make things worse.

 Good mental health is, if not more important, than good physical health. For everyone there will be times when more attention is needed than others. 

With Life in Mind

Does this sound like you?

  • You long for some time and space to yourself – you feel you spend your life responding to the demands and needs of others
  • Your emotions feel completely out of control at times – you may react angrily to relatively small incidents, or become very upset at others
  • You’ve had to take some time off work because you’ve been overcome with stress or anxiety
  • Whenever you try and move on in your life, things seem to go wrong and it feels like a never-ending uphill struggle

A recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation showed that most people faced with stress, anxiety or depression respond by either ‘doing nothing, just putting up with it’, ‘eating comfort or junk food’, or ‘spending more time alone’.

You may feel, that you can’t afford to invest in yourself, that somehow you don’t deserve it. You may ask yourself, who am I to spend money on improving my emotional health and mental wellbeing?

On the other hand, if you’re reading this you may have realised that if you want to feel better, want to make changes in your life, want to feel more in charge of your mental wellbeing, you have no choice but to invest in yourself.

The next problem is, how do you decide what’s right for you?

There are lots of options out there, some excellent, some charlatan, some downright dangerous. Do you try counselling, meditation, adult education, yoga, rambling, volunteering, holistic therapies?

What if you could find a way of assessing your own mental wellbeing to identify your strengths and areas you need to work on? What if you could find low cost, practical options to help – and also understand what kind of specialist help would really benefit you, rather than acting out of desperation?