Mental Health Training

Posts by Jane McNeice

Who Helps the Helpers? By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 27 Sep, 2018 in Mental Health |

Who Helps the Helpers? By Jane McNeice

As I’m sure is the case for a lot of our readers, we all come across various written quotes and affirmations, particularly in social media nowadays, and many of these largely pass us by, but then every so often there’s one that just captures us. In my own experience it can sometimes be even more than that, I feel completely moved, life changed by the shift in thinking that the quote creates for me. Sometimes I can relate to why, other times I don’t have this awareness, or at least not on a conscious level. One quote I’d like to share with you that I read at least a couple of years ago, and still sits in my photo files today, is this: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realising that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”  Now I’ve seen this quote attributed to various people, so can’t even be sure to whom the story belongs, or maybe in fact more than one caring person shared this sentiment and the story belongs to many mothers and children – John Lennon, Fred Rogers… Who it belongs to is largely irrelevant for me other than the more the merrier on this type of thinking, especially in times of need. What matters for me personally is how it made me feel on reading this, the reminder of hope. Hope is powerful, it can help to crush pain, disappointment and sadness into dust carried off on a breeze. Just when we think it’s gone hope rears its head, sometimes from what seems like nowhere – a thought, a person, the right words at the right time, a professional who offers kindness, compassion, support and understanding. Though media can often focus on the negative things that happen in the world e.g. people’s wrong-doings, there’s lots of helpers in society, some may be professionals some other helpers. Perhaps the only difference is our expectations placed upon the different types of helpers. With professionals we expect them to help. Maybe in your GP practice it doesn’t need to say Dr. Smith or Dr.Selim on the door, because we just interpret ‘Helper’. So these professional ‘Helpers’, who helps them when they become ill? The national mental health charity MIND, in a survey carried out in 2018, found that 2 in 5 GP’s have mental health difficulties and many would turn to colleagues for support. This makes a case for in the very least GP’s being trained in Mental Health First Aid, and or Suicide Prevention Training. Society can sometimes mistakenly presume all clinical professionals have a good understanding of mental health, and we learn first hand that this is often not the case. Brookes et al...

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Suicide First Aid Launch, By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 26 Sep, 2018 in Mental Health |

Suicide First Aid Launch, By Jane McNeice

Mind Matters was delighted to attend the Launch of Suicide First Aid at The Oval in London today (26th September). The new course has been produced by the National Centre for Suicide Prevention Training UK and provides delegates with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to prevent suicide. This course is slightly different to the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills) Training that Mind Matters currently offers. SFA is a one day course, but also comes with accreditation at Level 4 from City & Guilds, following completion of an associated workbook. The course compliments some of our other training courses e.g. one or two day Mental Health First Aid, or one day Higher Education MHFA. We’re very much looking forward to opportunities to bring this course to our customer base in the near future. The Launch had some great speakers including MHFA’s Director of Community Development, Caroline Hounsell, Connect Assist’s Executive Director, Rusty Livock, University College London’s Head of Wellbeing, Karen Smith, NCSPT UK’s Chief Executive, Nick Barnes, and the event was chaired by Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of the Centre for Mental Health. Speakers shared their current work and some of the reasons why them have come to do the work that they do, and their interests in Suicide First Aid. For most, if not all, they’ve been touched by mental ill health. I’ve often thought that those who make improving mental health their ‘life’s work’ have in some way been significantly touched by mental ill health, and I include myself in this – my own experiences, and that of my late brother and other family members – it’s a salient part of our frame of reference. Some of our passion comes from what we saw that was wrong e.g. improvements that could be made to services, or maybe championing the voice of patients. The Launch also provided the opportunity for us to once again hear the powerful suicide prevention story of Neil Laybourn and Jonny Benjamin MBE, which they shared at the MHFA Anniversary Conference last November. The story is one of hope that changed the lives of two men through a suicide prevention intervention. A story that Jonny Benjamin believes is taking place every day via ‘silent heroes’ in our society. Jonny and Neil have also now set up a charity called ‘Beyond Shame, Beyond Stigma’ and also shared details about the amazing resource that is the ‘Hub of Hope’ A key part of the Launch was about how we create positive change around suicide prevention, and how we empower our networks to make changes. Discussion took place around influencing Government Ministers to make positive changes within mental health, particularly when we continually hear coverage of systemic failures in young people’s mental health, where young people in need have been unable to access mental health services such as CAMHS until they are in crisis e.g. suicide. The question was asked, “If a Minister was in front of us now, what would we say?” Having reflected on this question, I’d ask: What does Government see as an effective children and...

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Effective Therapy, By Hugh Macnab

Posted by on 9 Sep, 2018 in Mental Health |

Effective Therapy, By Hugh Macnab

Effective therapy Itʼs probably seems obvious, but therapists only see people who will go to see them. That means that they are working with people who are already suffering from some form of distress – in other words, helpful as they may be at fixing the problem, they become involved only when itʼs already too late. Perhaps more people would seek help if therapy could be available when it was really needed – when the conditions which are causing the distress are active and the individual is struggling to cope – not later, sometimes months, years or even decades after the event. Carrying long-term results of distress represents not only a personal tragedy, but also a loss of potential in our society. Of course, most people are quite resilient and can cope with a great deal of stress in their lives, and with support and understanding from family and friends, still recover without the help of a therapist – they simply do not need a therapist to talk to on a daily basis in order to cope with life. But, there is a difference between stress and distress in that the latter can have longer-lasting effects which with a little help at the right time, can usually be avoided. Think of those who suffer from trauma in childhood who struggle through teenage years because of it. Or those who suffer stress at work on a regular daily basis and cannot avoid allowing this to affect family life at home. Or again, those who stay in an emotionally damaging relationship too long and find it hard to establish a healthy relationship afterwards. There are many different examples where people suffer the effects of a distressing event for far too long. While weʼre talking about whatʼs wrong with therapy, letʼs add a few more aspects. Talking to someone you donʼt know. Firstly, you have to talk to someone you donʼt know about things which are usually either quite painful, embarrassing or personal. While a therapist can offer an independent viewpoint, and often help with whatever is causing the distress, taking the step to go and ask for help may still too difficult for many. Waiting time for an appointment If waiting for NHS treatment, this can often be quite a few months which means that help is getting further away from when it is actually needed. People may even resolve their own difficulties before receiving treatment, or just become disheartened and give up waiting, preferring to ʻbattle-onʼ on their own. Others can afford to opt for private therapy, which is good for them – but what about those who canʼt? Choosing the ʻrightʼ therapy Good luck with this one. If you are working your way through the NHS waiting list, you will almost definitely find CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) waiting for you – which may or may not be best for you. If you are looking elsewhere, there are more forms of therapy on offer than you can count, and picking...

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Social Media & Mental Health, By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 2 Sep, 2018 in Mental Health |

Social Media & Mental Health, By Jane McNeice

“Social media! Social media is the cause of their mental health problems.” A phrase I hear so frequently when I deliver mental health training, particularly when I deliver Youth MHFA courses. Few delegates tend to challenge the statement, most in agreement. This generates lots of thought for me. Firstly, is social media really the cause of mental ill health? And secondly, if it has any influence whatsoever, what is it about social media that is so bad? The world is changing, fast. One of the most significant changes in the last few decades has been the pace of technological change, in particular the growth of on-line media.  Select few are yet to be seduced by this technology – my own father who dips his toe in vicariously through my mother’s use – the majority of us are in to it hook, line, and sinker. A good portion of this on-line usage is social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and the likes. It’s these platforms that many delegates are suggesting cause mental ill health. So what exactly is it about the usage of these platforms that they think ‘causes’ mental ill health? The most common assertion is that by using them we are left thinking that everyone else’s life is great and ours deficient in some way. Be that our lifestyle, our appearance, or perhaps whether the food we ate today was of the best type, quality, and presentation. Let us take a step back in time 20 years, pre social media as we see it today. Terms such as ‘The Jones’s’ existed, with inferences that the so called ‘Jones’s’ had everything, and were perhaps viewed with some disdain. There have always been differences in lifestyles, appearances, wealth, class, always something capable of dividing the masses, or leaving one feeling inadequate. This takes me back to my academic days studying criminology and the fact that relative deprivation seemed to cause so much more criminality than absolute deprivation. This measure of where we are in comparison to the next man (or woman), but if we are experiencing equal deprivation, that’s just about tolerable. Today’s backdrop may have shifted somewhat, people perhaps having more fascination with wealth, appearance, lifestyle, and for some sadly an inability to discern the façade that much of this probably is. And maybe to question the self-esteem of those who present the façade. Is the shift that people now believe this is achievable for themselves but in the past wasn’t? Maybe the question is why and what are we aspiring to, and why not just to be? And what is it about this that could cause mental ill health? Social media being good or bad becomes very black and white, when in fact there’s a lot grey in between. Take the person who avidly uses platforms deemed more unhelpful to our mental health, maybe within this a newsfeed that is toxic to their mental health. This might include conflicts and acrimonious comment, lots of presentations of...

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How to Improve Your Mood: 3 Simple Habits, By Sully Ali

Posted by on 24 May, 2018 in Mental Health |

How to Improve Your Mood: 3 Simple Habits, By Sully Ali

How to Improve Your Mood Right Now: 3 Simple Habits I sometimes write about how a good start to your day often leads to having a good day in general. A social, an energetic or a productive start sets the context for your day. But on some days you may not get a good start for some reason. Maybe you slept badly. Or the maybe grey skies and cold summer rain is dragging your energy down. Or you might have lost that positive momentum during a hard first part of the day and after lunch you feel tired, low or lost in a somewhat sad or uninspired funk. What to do then? Is that day lost and should you just aim for a better day tomorrow? Well, today isn’t over yet. Maybe you can still make something good out of it. Here’s how I do that by breaking the negative mood and getting a new start. Appreciate what you have. The simplest of my most commonly used pick-me-ups. I take about 2 minutes and sit in silence. I tell myself: OK, I might not feel so good right now, but what can I be grateful for and appreciate in my life? I usually come up with one simple thing like: My family. My health. That I have a roof over my head. That one thing opens up my mind. It redirects my thoughts from the negativity. Then I build upon that one thing. I make mental jumps from the roof, to the warmth in our home, to the clean water in the glass beside my laptop, to that I can work from home as the rain pours outside. I make those small mental leaps by just moving my attention around in the room I am in. Like skipping from stone to stone over a stream. And I take the time to slowly appreciate all those things. This changes my mood to a happier, warmer and more open one. Act as you would like to feel. Emotions work backwards too. So if I want to become more positive or enthusiastic then I act in the manner of a person who is positive or enthusiastic. I might not feel like it. But I do it as best as I can anyway. I may for example: Think of the task I have in front of me as something exciting and fun. Answer some emails or talk to someone in a positive and enthusiastic manner. Assume rapport if I feel unmotivated, negative or nervous before some kind of meeting (assuming rapport is to think to myself that I am meeting one of my best friends just before the meeting and that puts me in the right mood and headspace). Think for a minute and give someone a genuine compliment. Here’s a fun one I use quite often and that will not only lift my own mood. Spend 1 minute on coming up with something you really and genuinely appreciate about someone in your...

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