Tag Archive | MIND

Mental Health First Aid

mental healthThis week I will be on an intensive 2-day mental health first aid course in London. This is part of my role as a mental health champion (doesn’t sound quite the right title does it?!) at work and I am hoping that the course lives up to my expectations so that I am able to recommend that others across our network also take the course in future.

I am sure they will be two long days and will be tiring, interesting, thought-provoking but most of all useful. I am looking forward to it and will let you know how I get on.

Useful links

Mental Health First Aid England

Mental Health First Aid England/Workplace

 City Mental Health Alliance

MIND- Suicide support

Samaritans

 

 

Blue Monday

Tomorrow is Blue Monday. The third Monday in January is considered by many to be the most depressing day of the year. A combination of too much month left at the end of your money, dreary winter weather, no sign of Spring springing yet and abandoned New Year Resolutions and good intentions leaves people fighting against low mood. So well done MHRUK (Mental Health Research UK) for one of their major campaigns of the year.

Make Blue Monday, Blooming Monday!

Blooming Monday!

Blooming Monday!

Out with the head-to-toe drab black and grey traditional office attire and in with the bright colours which have been shown to lift mood. So, shall I wear the pink, orange or red-spotty cardigan tomorrow?

I think the red spotty cardigan and Dorothy ruby-red shoes will be just the thing to brighten up my day and maybe even make a few people smile along the way.

I will also be taking some specially made Blue Monday cakes to work tomorrow….more about those later when I have finished baking.

In the meantime, go and visit your wardrobe and make an effort to wear something bright and cheery tomorrow! Let me know how it goes 🙂

Today is World Mental Health Day 2012

Raising awareness of mental health issues is critical if we are to reduce the stigma attached to mnetal illness and help people recover in a safe and understanding environment.

Today is World Mental Health Day and the focus is on the “Black Dog” that is depression.

If you know someone who is depressed and don’t know how to deal with it take time today to find out more about this illness and read up on how you can help.

If you suffer with depression yourself, you must seek help. This is a treatable condition and you will get better. It just takes time. Go and see your GP or contact a relevant organisation for more information.

Information is available from;

Depression Alliance

MIND

Royal College of Psychiatrists

BACP

Samaritans

CALM

Contrasting fortunes-the cycle of depression

Yesterday I spent time with two of my colleagues and the difference in their moods could not have been more marked. I had lunch with the lovely “K” who was bubbly, brimming over with newly found confidence and self-approval, smiley, chatty, shoulders back and eyes glinting full of mischief. A woman on a mission to make the most of the moment. Only “K” could come to the table with a glorious salad piled high only then to reach into her bag to find the cheese, salad dressing and croutons/sprinkles/crispy bits (whatever they’re called) to complete the spread! She kept me entertained for a good hour and it was great to see her so full of life and energy after so many tearful and difficult times.

This is the wonderful side of the human mind. With the right encouragement, treatments, inspiration and motivation, the support of friends, family and colleagues it has an amazing ability to recuperate and regenerate positivity from the pit of despair and despondency.

 Simply amazing and long may it last!

Unfortunately, “A” isn’t in such a good place right now. Overwhelmed and under pressure, tears welled as she spoke of her current low mood. Each problem individually manageable but collectively insurmountable and with little energy left over from fighting the depression she faces a constant stream of routine daily battles just to get through the day. All those things that people take for granted; having a shower, cleaning your teeth, eating breakfast, driving to work, facing the crowds on the train. Struggling in vain to concentrate with a mind that wanders and flits unproductively from task to task. Tired and worried. A vicious circle and a negative downward spiral awaits unless the self-critical behaviour is arrested.

Hopefully, “A” will find the strength and courage to face the battles with hope and belief that all will be well in the end given time and gets the support she deserves from her friends, family and colleagues. “A” is usually the strong one. The carer and nurturer. I just hope that she takes some time out for herself and gives herself a chance to regain her positive and capable self soon.

She’s taken the first, and often most difficult step in talking about it. It’s onwards and upwards from here “A”.

You go girl. We’re with you all the way. 🙂

No elephants at our picnic!

The topic of  depression can often be the ultimate “elephant in the room“. When depression is mentioned or revealed people often react by looking at their feet, up at the ceiling, anywhere but looking you in the eye and instead resort to shuffling their feet in embarrassment and fear of what to say in response. A rampaging elephant on heat in the room would be more welcome.

Whilst the reaction I have received over the last 12 months to my admission that I have depression has been nothing but supportive and positive, I recognise the “elephant” syndrome from previous experiences.

So how joyous was it yesterday to meet up with fellow Depression Alliance members, depression sufferers, friends, Samaritan volunteers and representatives from MIND for a picnic and to be able to talk openly and honestly about our personal experiences of depression with our “tribe”. It was fantastic and we should do it more often.

If only we can get more people to talk about depression, accept it as an illness like any other, realise that those who get depression are usually the nicest people around and the most dedicated to their work, and that one day we will surely be part of the  majority not the minority so be nice to us NOW! we will have done a good job by educating those who are lucky enough not to have the Black Dog sitting on their shoulder.

In the meantime, picnics like this, social gatherings arranged for like-minded people and their families are the perfect way to embrace this illness and get real support from those who understand.

Picnic now! It’s fun, therapeutic, an opportunity to soak up the rays and boost those Vitamin D levels and to eat healthy summer salads and fruit. If you do what we did and play rounders and indulge in Space Hopper racing, you can also get some exercise too and boost the much-needed endorphines!

What’s stopping you? Picnic this weekend and you will feel better for it!

  

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Depression Alliance Big

Picnic

Food and mood-Baked Arabian Trout

According to MIND the mental health charity, food and mood are intrinsically linked and low levels of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids can affect mental health, with some symptoms associated with particular nutritional deficiencies.

For example, links have been demonstrated between low levels of certain B-vitamins and symptoms of schizophrenia, low levels of the mineral zinc and eating disorders, and low levels of omega-3 oils and depression.

When people talk about Omega -3 oils it is usually mackerel and salmon that hog the limelight but another fish that is full of Omega-3, easy to obtain and economical is the trout.

Here is one of my favourite recipes, Baked Arabian Trout courtesy of Weight Watchers;

To serve 2 you will need:

2 trout fillets
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons low-fat plain yoghurt
juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt

1. Place the trout in a shallow, ovenproof dish

2. In a non-stick frying pan, dry-fry the cumin, coriander and pinch of cayenne over a low heat for 1 minute. Stir frequently. Allow to cool

3. Mix the spices with the herbs, garlic, yoghurt, lime juice and olive oil. season with a little salt and then spread over the trout.

4. Cover and leave to marinate for 30 minutes. preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/180 C/350F.

5. brush the fish with marinade again; cover with foil, transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

6. Serve the cooked fish with its cooking juices spooned over.

Enjoy!

Depression- stigma and discrimination

 Prejudice Ignorance Fear postcard

We all know about the stigma associated with mental illness and depression. We have probably all experienced it or seen it happen. The scale of discrimination against those with mental illness is shameful. The impact of stigma and discrimination upon individuals, communities and society is devastating, so why should we care and what can we do to eradicate it?

By speaking and writing openly and honestly about my experience of depression, I want to help to educate more people about depression and its symptoms and impact on all concerned.  I want to Stop The Ignorance (and) Generate Mental-illness Awareness. I want to de-mystify this illness and correct all those myths which can lead to discrimination.

Membership form

Why should we care?

According to “Stigma Shout” produced by Time To Change, stigma and discrimination;

  • Prevents people from seeking help
  • Delays treatment
  • Impairs recovery
  • Isolates people
  • Excludes people from day-to-day activities
  • stops people getting jobs

So how can you help?

Without doubt this problem is huge and beyond the best intentions of one or two individuals. What we need is for as many people suffering with mental illness to talk about their experiences and provide first hand experience of stigma and discrimination to organisations such as Depression Alliance, Rethink, MIND, Mental Health Media and Time To Change. These organisations fight every day for a fairer deal, more respect and extra support for those with mental illness. Consider being a Time To Change Champion or Rethink Activist.

We need successful people living with depression to come forward and explain how they cope. All those people who are in recovery can stand up and give hope to everyone not quite there yet.

Let us educate and communicate with the general public, family and friends so that they better understand depression and learn to see us, not the illness.

No, it’s not easy, and not everyone reading this will be able to or want to put themselves forward to assist. That’s OK too.

T ime To Change Campaign

BBC Access All Areas-Bi-Polar and Autism “hidden” disabilities

Cllr Robert Inwood speaks out

Rethink