Mental Health Training

Mental Health

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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Life can get Better… By Charlotte Underwood

Posted by on 23 Apr, 2018 in Mental Health |

Life can get Better… By Charlotte Underwood

I used to hate it when people told me that I would be okay, that life would get better and time would heal because I simply did not believe it. I still now cringe when I hear or use those sayings myself in my case my life didn’t improve. I think I’ve always had some form of mental ill health. I remember being so different to others my age, people were so alien to me and the world was so horrid though my eyes. My mother claims my first suicide attempt was at four years old. I suppose I ignored my feelings because I didn’t know any better, mental health just wasn’t talked about when I was child so I did not know that there could be more to the thoughts in my mind. At 14 my life got hard, I call it ‘my trigger year’ because I became so angry and I lost track of who I was. I was drinking, smoking, self-harming and playing with people’s feelings; I was so reckless and so far from the sweet and kind girl who I truly am. Life did not get easier for a while, in a way it got worse as I became victim to many accounts of abuse and then lost my father to suicide at the age of 18. I felt so lost because I hated education, I wasn’t ready to work and I didn’t like being at home, I had nowhere to go. However, not long after I moved to a new home with the rest of my family, after my father’s death, I decided to make a change, to love myself more, and soon enough I met the man who would come to be my husband. My husband never forced me into anything and he never controlled me, he reminded me that not all people are bad and that I am allowed to trust people, as well as the fact that I deserve to be loved for my true self. Soon I no longer felt the need to smoke, or drink, or self-harm because I found myself less stressed for the first time in my life, I had been accepted. I just wish someone told me earlier that I was fine how I was, that my feelings were valid, love won’t fix all your problems but when someone listens to you and tries to understand, that can make the world of difference. Today I live in a home with my husband and his cat, as well as my soul mate that is the sweetest dog. My dog has become a bit of a support dog because she gives me purpose and a lot of love, our furry friends can heal us more than we know. Living in a home with my husband has allowed me to be rid of toxic situations and people, so that I can start to heal wounds. It’s also helped as I have learnt to be alone and less dependent on...

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Why we can’t ignore afford to Stress, By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 22 Apr, 2018 in Mental Health |

Why we can’t ignore afford to Stress, By Jane McNeice

April is Stress Awareness Month! Why we can’t ignore Stress Integral to all of our mental health training courses at Mind Matters is a focus on Stress. We see businesses who in fact want to focus solely on Stress, whether that is Stress prevention or Stress Management through programs like our Strengthening Personal Resilience training courses, or whether that’s our Mental Health First Aid training programs where we also give considerable time to understanding stress and its impact. So why is it so important that Stress isn’t overlooked when we look at mental health? Stress in it’s own right isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis (MIND, 2013), but Stress is the enemy, in fact Chris Bergland in Psychology Today, describes the stress hormone Cortisol as Public Enemy number one! The substantial evidence base around stress endorses that NO amount stress is good for us. A good proportion of people believe that a moderate amount of stress isn’t a problem and may in fact be good for us. However, leading academics such as Derek Mowbray describe stress is a catastrophic event, the point when we become ill or go off work sick. It’s understandable in today’s world that the concept has become somewhat wooly. Stress is a well used term among both adults and young people. It’s more a case that certain things, which to an extent mobilise us e.g. pressure, are instead being described as stress. And perhaps there is also an issue of semantics here. Most of us would agree that when we are in a state of stress, particularly chronic long term stress, we find our health deteriorates. We see immune system problems such as coughs, colds, and infections flaring up, and we drastically increase our risk of having an episode of poor mental health or developing mental health problems. These include problems such as anxiety, depression, and for some people stress may trigger episodes of psychosis and other problems. Likewise if we have physical health problems, recurring or otherwise, they too are likely to be triggered or exaccerbated. Most of us have an illness that flares up at these times. Worst still we also increase our risk of developing physical health problems. There is a real need in today’s society to acknowledge Stress, take steps towards preventing it where we can, and managing it where we can’t. Stress isn’t to be underestimated. April is Stress Awareness month, a full month to focus on Stress. There are lots of things workplaces and communities can do, and lots of things you can do as an individual to look after yourselves. Following are just a few suggestions and resources that can help: Our Strengthening Personal Resilience Training Programme Accessing and using the FREE resources available at the International Stress Management Association website Helping others to recognise that stress is not a badge of honor or proof that employees are working hard enough, it’s a huge risk for businesses Find out the true facts about stress at ISMA Follow best practices like the Charter for Wellbeing at Work developed by ISMA Access NHS Moodzone on How to Deal...

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Accept responsibility – the key to better results and relationships, By Sully Ali

Posted by on 23 Feb, 2018 in Mental Health |

Accept responsibility – the key to better results and relationships, By Sully Ali

things go wrong in life, it is easy to search for a scapegoat i.e. somebody to blame so that you do not have to accept responsibility for your outcomes. Blame is a very harmful attitude to adopt. Not only are you deflecting responsibility from yourself but you are damaging your relationships by suggesting that others are holding you back. You adopt a narrow focus whereby somebody else, or something else, is to blame. There is a major problem here as you cannot improve a situation unless you actually accept responsibility. The main reason that many people refuse to accept responsibility for their life is that they feel like they are blaming themselves – as though they deliberately screwed things up. That is an inaccurate reflection of what it actually means to accept responsibility for your life. When you accept responsibility for your life, you are simply identifying the areas where you can influence change, so that you might achieve a better outcome on the next occasion. You are not attacking anybody or anything; you are identifying and implementing potential solutions. Accepting responsibility is a more positive and effective approach than attributing blame. 5 Ways to accept responsibility When you accept responsibility in your life, you are acknowledging that no situation is permanent. You are simply saying that a situation is not going as you wish and, you are going to take charge and get it back on track. The following behaviours will enable you to accept responsibility for your life and avoid blaming others for your circumstances. 1. Focus on the Solutions rather than the problems If something is holding you back and preventing you from achieving your objectives, it is important to be able to identify the problem. The difference between those who overcome their problems and those who don’t is where they focus next. Those who fail to overcome their problems, focus on the problem. Those who succeed in overcoming their problems, accept responsibility for the situation, focus on identifying an appropriate solution and take the necessary action. Being solution-focused is a clear sign of those who accept responsibility. Focusing on the solution, rather than the problem, is not as easy as it might sound. If you are like me, when things go wrong, your first instinct is to get frustrated and irritated. In your head, you may even go through all the additional problems that this is going to cause for you. In my younger days, I would spend hours or even days, thinking about and, cursing the problem. This type of mindset has never solved a problem. These days, I usually allow myself to be frustrated for a moment or two, just to get it out of my system. Then I accept responsibility for solving the problem; even if I can’t work out what I did to contribute to it. I make a list of actions I can take to get things back on track and I start implementing those actions at the first opportunity....

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MHFA England Anniversary Conference: An Inspirational Day! By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 16 Nov, 2017 in Mental Health |

MHFA England Anniversary Conference: An Inspirational Day! By Jane McNeice

Having suffered a couple of months of ‘bloggers block’ and not feeling inspired to write, I have today found the ink in my pen. I had what was an amazing day with other delegates celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England in Birmingham yesterday, and I now feel an overwhelming urge to write about my personal highlights and how inspired I feel to continue the work that is raising mental health literacy. The day was hosted by the lovely ITV news presenter Sameena Ali-Khan. Sameena did a fantastic job of presenting and capturing the stories that were shared. Arriving at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham, I started my day by visiting the market place of MHFA partners, including Place2Be, Street Games, Royal British Legion, and various others. I have to say my purse has taken a substantial hit following a visit to the on-line ‘Dept. Store for the Mind’ since I got home! The Mind Matters offices will look great with the new pictures depicting mental health and wellbeing, and I do hope my son-in-law appreciates his new tea towel – my daughter and son-in-law have an aversion to washing the pots so I thought the tea towel might provide some inspiration to them too. I then made my way for coffee and a saunter, at which point I spotted a familiar face in the crowd. I embarrassingly did the look, look away, look back, hope she doesn’t think I’m a stalker, shall I ask if it’s her, maybe not? After this stop start greeting I found that yes in fact it was the lovely Satveer Nijjar, which left me positively star struck, and for Satveer, perhaps a little put on the spot since she was trying desperately to eat her cake while I bumbled my excitement to her. As an instructor who delivers MHFA on a weekly basis, and who often uses Satveer’s film when covering the topic of self-harm, this was a long overdue meeting, and someone I had especially hoped would be at the conference. I’ve even had course delegates in the past who have met her prior to attending the MHFA training. At this point I thought my day had peaked, oh no, not even the start (sorry Satveer!). Poppy Jaman, feeling star struck again! This was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to meet this amazing lady in the 9 years that I’ve been delivering MHFA courses, and she completely fulfilled my expectations. It was fantastic to hear Poppy highlight how MHFA England started with humble surroundings, a small amount of staff capacity, and its growth into the movement that it has become today. What an inspiring lady and leader, and long may her work continue. After discussions with another instructor at my table during break about her new role as an Associate trainer, and talking about the opportunities this provides, I was then introduced to the inspiring narrative that is the story of Jonny Benjamin and Neil...

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Keep quiet and carry on – The silent menace in the nation’s offices, by DPG

Posted by on 26 Oct, 2017 in Mental Health |

Keep quiet and carry on – The silent menace in the nation’s offices, by DPG

58% of UK wouldn’t be comfortable telling their manager about mental health issues. A shocking amount of UK workers have little faith in their employer’s ability to support issues such as mental health, stress and anxiety, a study by CIPD course providers, DPG Plc., has found. The study (which can be viewed in full here alongside a guide to creating a more inclusive workplace culture) found that a worrying 85% of UK workers thought that there was a stigma attached to mental health issues and stress in the workplace. This may be the root cause for the 58% that wouldn’t be comfortable telling their manager if they were suffering from a mental health issue. Compounding this is the finding that just 20% of UK workers thought their manager was fully equipped to support mental health, stress and anxiety issues in the workplace. More than a quarter of respondents (26%) had taken a day off work due to stress and mental health issues and lied about the reason. The findings highlight a disturbing culture that may be leaving vulnerable workers without the help they need, through fear of appearing weak. Paul Drew, managing director at DPG said “These findings highlight a need for change in the workplace, and an increase in how visible support in the workplace is. The problem is that, whilst the support networks may well exist, it seems they’re being drastically underused because people fear looking ineffective, weak or compromised.” According to mental health charity Mind’s resources*, “Ignoring the mental health of your staff comes at a high price. And will only make problems worse. Reduced productivity costs UK businesses up to £15.1 billion a year… [and] stress and other mental health problems are the second biggest cause of work absence, accounting for 70 million lost working days every year.” Paul Drew continues, “The nation has come a long way when it comes to creating an inclusive and supportive society, but there’s still work to be done. Managers need to create an atmosphere of trust and respect, so that workers are never scared or unable to reveal their issues. To do this, managers themselves need to be given the skills they need to tackle sensitive issues effectively and with tact – that comes from HR and leadership teams.” Key findings from DPG’s survey: 58% of UK workers wouldn’t be comfortable telling their manager if they were to suffer from a mental health issue. Only 20% thought their manager was fully equipped to support mental health issues in the workplace. 85% thought there was a stigma attached to mental health issues and stress in the workplace. More than a quarter (26%) had taken a day off work due to stress/mental health issues and lied about the reason.  Women were more likely tell their boss they had a different illness if they took a day off for stress/mental health issues. 18-24-year olds were the most likely to lie about the reason for needing time off in cases of stress...

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