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Cancer Survivor Launches Much Needed Mental Health Innovation! By Malcolm Watson

Posted by on 24 Jul, 2017 in Mental Health | Comments Off on Cancer Survivor Launches Much Needed Mental Health Innovation! By Malcolm Watson

Cancer Survivor Launches Much Needed Mental Health Innovation! By Malcolm Watson

Cancer Survivor Launches Much Needed Mental Health Innovation The Discus Traffic Light System© Launch Date Monday July 17th 2017.  After surviving two brain haemorrhages and then cancer all within 12 months, Leicestershire based entrepreneur Malcolm Watson then tackled the mental health problems that had clouded his entire adult life. And now he is helping others with similar issues. Following years of suffering stress, anxiety, depression and varying levels of addiction, Malcolm used a unique blend of meditation and mindfulness styled training to create a simple but very effective method of dealing with these problems as and when they arose. The results for himself were so empowering that he decided to trial the system with several friends whom he knew may benefit. These trials were further extended, due to social media contacts, and the results proved to be conclusive with a 100% success rate that saw all participants experience major improvements to their mental health problems. Malcom has now taken the monumental step of deciding to self-finance the final stages of the project, bringing his innovative approach to the millions of sufferers that he knows his system can help. The Discus Traffic Light System© is a guided self-help leaflet that is supported by an easy to follow, plastic credit card sized reminder that acts to remind the user how to approach, amongst other things, anxiety and panic attacks and then regain control over them within minutes, all without the help (or hindrance) of large books or phone apps. By nature of its size, the credit card reminder is both fully portable and very discrete. Malcolm explains; “Self-help books are seeing increased sales, year on year and yet the majority do not ever get fully read or the help offered implemented. Apart from the waste of money, the waste of effort and the feeling of helplessness felt by some people using these books, the books are mostly achieving nothing for the readers. This was a major factor behind my reason to create a very simple to use and fully transportable system that provides instant and ongoing help for people. Keeping the price point to the equivalent of a cup of coffee was also important as I wanted people to be able to purchase without too much concern over the financial investment. Special packages will be available for educational establishments and employers wishing to utilise or implement the system with their students and / or employees.” The Discus Traffic Light System© is the first of many innovative support tools and programmes that Discus will be launching and / or announcing in 2017. Malcolm can be contacted directly for quotes, interviews, appearances etc via: 07491 995 999 ceo@discus-uk.org  ...

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What Can The UK Government Do To Cultivate Good Mental Health?

Posted by on 17 Jul, 2017 in Mental Health | Comments Off on What Can The UK Government Do To Cultivate Good Mental Health?

What Can The UK Government Do To Cultivate Good Mental Health?

According to statistics revealed by mentalhealth.org.uk 65% of people in the UK have experienced a mental health problem in their lives at one time or another. What’s more revealing is that just a mere 13% of us say that we live with high levels of good mental health in our daily lives. These stats suggest there is much to do to improve the state of our mental wellbeing, but to turn things around will require help from the powers that be, namely Government. But is the UK Government doing enough to ensure that current and future societies have good mental health. And if you believe they could more, what action can be taken to fix this prevailing problem? We reached out to some of the leading voices on mental health issues to get their opinion.   Judith Haire, Publisher “Good mental health is essential for us all and one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. The Government needs to include mental health on the school curriculum and make sure mental health support is available in every workplace. Workable budgets are needed for the NHS, with budgets for talking therapies and to fund more mental health inpatient beds. GPs must be fully trained to assess and treat mental health problems and crisis teams must be funded so they can respond much more quickly to people in need.” Twitter @JudithHaire   Martha Roberts, UK Health Writer/Mental Health blogger “There are so many areas of mental health that could do with extra funding (or, at the very least, having funding cuts reversed). I would be particularly keen to see more money going into provision for children and young adults – and that means people heading towards 30 whose lives are complicated by more pressures on this age group than ever before. I would also love to see more community provision for people with mental health who are otherwise ‘high functioning’, raising families or holding down jobs but who nevertheless could do with support and possibly a place to get advice or ongoing help.” www.mentalhealthwise.com   Courtenay Young, International Journal of Psychotherapy Editor “Simple mental health techniques should be taught in primary schools – as essential tools for living. These could include: centering, grounding and re-balancing techniques; breathing techniques – especially for anxiety; basic relaxation techniques; simple mindfulness practice; listening & giving feedback; making ‘I’ statements; greater expression of feelings – particularly for boys; positive self-assertion – particularly for girls; practicing confrontation without aggression; self-soothing techniques; etc.” http://ijp.org.uk/   Julie Seeney, Blogger “One of the most important things the government should do to cultivate good mental health is to teach about mental health in schools.  We currently teach children about looking after themselves physically through a good diet and exercise and I think we should do the same for mental health. This might help provide the next generation growing up some life skills to help them if they themselves experience mental health problems.” Twitter @mummyitsok Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mummyitsok/   Sophie Mei, Blogger “We need better investment in prevention services so people aren’t left on long waiting lists until they reach crisis point. Also when it comes to treatment, mental health is often treated like physical health in the sense that health professionals are forced to constantly assess people by numbers and statements, when in...

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Digital Detox, By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 29 Jun, 2017 in Mental Health | Comments Off on Digital Detox, By Jane McNeice

Digital Detox, By Jane McNeice

Digital devices are new essentials in our daily lives. Between smartphones, computers, and tablets, our time spent online has grown significantly in recent years, particularly on social channels. With new studies suggesting social media has a negative impact on our mental health, perhaps it’s time to take a step away from it all. So how can you begin your digital detox? Mind Matters spoke to Feria Kazemi from Broadband Genie and got ten top tips to get you started. Ease into your digital detox While it might seem like a good idea to go cold turkey on all your digital devices and social channels, it’s not the best bet for a successful digital detox. Easing your way into the detox is the surest way to build your new habits successfully. Focus on one habit at a time Instead of using your detox to try and tackle all the digital habits you may be trying to kick, focus on a single practice and make it the central point of your detox. Zeroing in on a single habit will make your digital detox an easier feat to achieve. Give yourself an allowance While it might be tempting to try a complete detox, reducing your time on your digital devices is a detox in and of itself. Give yourself a reasonable allowance for the time you need to be connected and limit yourself to that.  Let technology help you with your detox We’ve already established that a digital detox doesn’t have to mean freeing yourself from everything digital. Let technology help you with your aims. Features like ‘do not disturb’ mode on your phone and computer can be quite useful, and there are also plenty of apps out there that can help with tracking your time, social media usage habits, and block you from selected distracting websites throughout the day. Disable push notifications Those notifications on new messages, emails, or news and activities that continuously pop-up on your phone or computer – disable them. While the pings might be helpful at times, more often than not they serve to distract. Disabling them will help you focus on what matters most. Share the news of your digital detox Spread the news of your digital detox to your family, friends, work colleagues, hairdresser, cab drivers… you name it. Share the news with anyone that will listen. Not only will it get a conversation going, but these people can also help keep you accountable to your detox. Get your friends and family to join in Tell your friends and family that you’re about to embark on a digital detox and get them to join you. Doing the detox with others can help keep you motivated all while inducing a bit of healthy competition. Besides, if you manage to get your inner circle to join you, the only ones with a real case of FOMO (fear of missing out) are the ones not in on the detox. Go back to the basics Remember the days when your phone was a phone? Let your digital detox bring you back to the basics. Use your digital devices for their core purpose and nothing more. Being intentional in your technology use will go a long way to reducing your time spent on digital devices and social channels. Hold yourself...

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Mental Health Awareness, By Sandra Greatorex

Posted by on 25 May, 2017 in Mental Health | Comments Off on Mental Health Awareness, By Sandra Greatorex

Mental Health Awareness, By Sandra Greatorex

When I watched the video’s about Heads Together I was quite moved by the passion of Prince Harry, William and Kate in helping people who suffer with Mental Health.  This week it is Mental Health Awareness Week with a surviving or thriving theme.  How would you describe yourself?  A number of years ago I suffered with depression and anxiety and had to take 4 months off work.  It made me realise that my health was the most important thing as you don’t have quality of life without good health and well-being. The sad thing about mental health is the stigma that is attached to it.  People don’t understand and turn their back on you when you really need them to support you and understand you during this time.  All you need is for someone to take the time to listen and let you talk, encourage and support you to do everyday tasks.  What they don’t think about is that one day this could happen to them. Going back to the time when I suffered from depression it all started where I felt really tired and had a terrible sore throat.  I went to see my doctor who said she thought I had depression and anxiety.  I had disbelief as it was just a sore throat and I felt tired.  She took a blood test to check for a virus but the results proved that this was not the case.  There was no particular one thing that had caused the depression just life had got on top of me.  It felt like my body had had enough and was now controlling me.  I had a safe little world it was when I was asleep.  I could have slept 24 hours a day and still would have felt tired.  When life got too much for me and I had issues to deal with I would lay down and go back to sleep.  There were no problems in the world of sleep. Prior to having depression I had worked with people with Mental Health problems and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t turn up to outings. But now I fully understood as I had my up days and down days.  I never knew how long the up would last or even the down for that matter and there was never a particular reason why I would feel down.  I was prescribed anti-depressants but understood that these would help to make me feel better but I also opted for counselling.  The counselling was really useful it helped me to understand that the more I slept I fed my depression.  I was set targets of doing chores around the house the first time it took me all day to clean the living room.  I would dust one piece of furniture and then lie down and go to sleep.  It was hard as I knew the only way to get better was to make myself do different tasks.  I have fully recovered I am aware of maintaining my mental health and well-being. I was in my forties when I had depression, I think it is so sad in society today that there are many young people out there that suffer with their mental health and struggle with life.  They have so much to look forward to...

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High Functioning: An unhelpful card to be holding, By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 23 May, 2017 in Mental Health | Comments Off on High Functioning: An unhelpful card to be holding, By Jane McNeice

High Functioning: An unhelpful card to be holding, By Jane McNeice

When many people think of mental health, they in fact think of mental illness, not the fact that we all have mental health as we have physical health, and the parity that should exist between both. Mental health is often measured in ways that attempt to be as objective as possible (and rightly so) with much focus on mental illness, or in fact inability – what can or can’t you do today, the past week, month? Scales of 1-10 on whether you felt able to get up and go to work, whether you felt able to interact with family and friends, whether you could take care of your responsibilities. But for the so called ‘high functioning’ this doesn’t seem to equate. In fact we may supersede the average man on ability to perform or function, including the mentally healthy man! Because of traits like perfectionism, drive, our underlying fears, the desire to bury any appearance of anxiety and fear, and other often negative reinforcers, the measures just don’t pick up on what’s really happening… So what is really happening under my high functioning, high achieving, high performing, results driven, perfect exterior? Inside my head no one is distinguishing between whether I ‘high function’ or not, my mind just knows the fears, the drive, the anxiety. The anxiety that has all the hallmarks as we might know them – waking me up when it’s still dark and my body is craving sleep, but my head wants to work out how I’m going to make sure all those tasks get done, so that I can assuage the fear and anguish of if they don’t – which of course they will because I’m HF! When I push myself right out of my comfort zone, for all the reasons previously stated (and more), because I’m always trying so hard to beat my monster that’s been chained to my side since the age of 3, the monster that I allow to censor what I say in an attempt not to offend, upset, and hurt anyone else but at the risk of hurting me. Maybe if the measures asked me about all the tactics I use to manage and assuage my intense ‘going to be eaten alive’ fear, they may capture something of how I feel inside. How many times a week do I ignore a phone call, search engine the number, and check who it might be so that I can mentally prepare to deal with it on my terms so that it’s manageable and I can cope? How many times did I do something I didn’t want to do to ensure someone else was alright, not in fear, upset, offended or sad? How many tasks did I complete this week that I still felt weren’t perfect or just quite good enough? And furthermore, on a scale of 1-10 just how anxious or sad did this make me feel? The true sadness is that oftentimes the highly anxious don’t leave a task like that till we have assuaged the fear, and have made it what we consider ‘perfect’, because the pain of it not being so is greater. The true hardship is exhaustion – high functioning anxiety makes me a machine of performance, with no real acknowledgement to the human inside. The human inside...

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Improving Your Everyday Life Through Art Therapy, By Caileigh Flannigan

Posted by on 3 May, 2017 in Mental Health | Comments Off on Improving Your Everyday Life Through Art Therapy, By Caileigh Flannigan

Improving Your Everyday Life Through Art Therapy, By Caileigh Flannigan

Paint, Sculpt, or Color Your Way to Relaxation… It seems that everyone today has some level of stress in his or her everyday life. Whether it is rooted in work, school, the past, or personal relationships, stress is a huge part of our lives. Stress can have many negative effects on physical and psychological systems. An inability to positively control or manage stress may lead to inappropriate behavior such as alcohol consumption, overeating, or neglecting feelings. It’s important to know that stress can be managed effectively, at very little cost, and in a fun way! Art therapy is a great therapeutic approach that you can use in your daily life to keep your stress levels low and your contentedness high. What is Art Therapy? Art therapy is an approach that involves the creative processes of art to improve one’s life. For example, drawing, coloring, painting, doodling, and sculpting are all examples of art forms that can be used as a means of therapy. Using art as a medium for healing promotes self-exploration, understanding, self-esteem, and awareness. It is a way for a person to improve their mental, emotional, and physical states, as well as their overall health. When you use imagery, colors, shapes, and designs as a part of your therapeutic process, your thoughts and feelings can be expressed through your art, rather than words that are often difficult to articulate to others. This means that you do not have to verbalise how you are feeling. Art therapy can be done in counseling, where you work one-on-one with a trained and certified art therapist. However, the healing potential of art is not only effective in a counseling or psychotherapy setting. Art therapy techniques and approaches can be completed at home, work, or school without a therapist. In some methods of art therapy, you are your own therapist. This is one of the great things about art therapy – you can practice antistress art anywhere! Art can be practiced at work, at home, on the bus, or during any downtime. Rather than stressing out about the next big meeting, you can color or doodle on some paper. You can release negative emotions about your job or personal relationships through artwork. This, in turn, helps overcome the stress, avoids further upset and creates a coping strategy for future stressful times. Who Can Benefit from Art Therapy? You don’t need to be a talented artist to engage in art therapy or to enjoy its benefits. After all, the goal is not to create a masterpiece but to express yourself freely through art; the artistic results are secondary to the emotional benefits. Art therapy improves the lives of many people. It can help people who have been exposed to loss or trauma. It can support people in overcoming addiction and mental health disorders. It has even been used in hospital settings for cancer patients. It’s also a common expressive therapy for children. The great thing about art therapy is that it can help the lives of so many people – even if you do not have a major concern or illness. Art therapy is beneficial to people who experience the stressors of everyday modern life. Have you ever noticed how expressive arts therapy is calming and peaceful? Have you ever come home from...

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A Recovery Story, By Laura Clark

Posted by on 18 Apr, 2017 in Mental Health | Comments Off on A Recovery Story, By Laura Clark

A Recovery Story, By Laura Clark

“Postnatal Depression recovery stories.” These were the only words I typed into my browser for weeks. My anxiety was incredibly high, I genuinely thought I was losing my mind. Instead of cuddling my son or enjoying his first smiles, I was scouring the internet for undeniable proof that I wouldn’t feel this way forever.   Despite what my damaged mind was telling me, things did get better. I don’t feel that way anymore. So I’m posting my own story for any other mums who might be searching for answers now.  My son was born at 1am on 27 Apr 2013 after 12 hours labour, an epidural and finally an emergency section. They had given me so much anesthetic at the last moment I became “blocked,” meaning I couldn’t move or feel anything besides my head and neck. I couldn’t hold my son for several hours, and I couldn’t feel when he was feeding.   Looking back, things weren’t right from that very first day. I wasn’t feeling anywhere near the post-birth euphoria I had been expecting. But it wasn’t until 8 weeks later the cracks finally began to show.  My son had just begun sleeping better, only waking for one feed during the night, but while he slept soundly at last I lay wide awake. The less I was able to sleep, the more I panicked during the day. How can I take care of him when I haven’t slept? What if I drop him down the stairs because I’m so exhausted? What if I fall asleep on the sofa and suffocate him? Of course, with these anxieties running around my mind all day I was nowhere near relaxed enough to sleep when night came around, and so the vicious cycle continued. I was lying in bed for around six hours each night, my heart racing and my thoughts spinning, until my body eventually gave in and I slept fitfully for between 1-2 hours before I awoke with a jolt, feeling sick and panicked once more.   After 6 days of sleeping only an hour or two a night I burst into tears during a group I was attending at my local children’s centre. The staff were incredible, they calmed me as much as possible and called my health visitor. For the next few days she came by to see how I was, she listened to my fears and heard how I still wasn’t sleeping. I took all the usual advice – bath before bed, fresh bedding, read a book etc – but this only made my sleep worse. The pressure to sleep increased my panic and continued the cycle.   I was then referred to my local Perinatal Emotional Wellbeing Service (PEWS). This is a fantastic NHS service which, sadly, isn’t available in all Trusts. Fortunately for me, Essex has it and that small team of individuals probably saved my life. Or at least kept me out of hospital.  After they assessed me I was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression. I had been desperately hoping there was another explanation but deep down I knew it wasn’t only insomnia, I wasn’t eating or able to think straight either, all triggered by horrendous anxiety. PEWS liaised with my doctor (who was fairly useless, more on that in a future post) and visited me at home twice a week. Under...

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Tutorial Leaders undertake the Youth Mental Health First Aid qualification

Posted by on 13 Apr, 2017 in Mental Health | Comments Off on Tutorial Leaders undertake the Youth Mental Health First Aid qualification

Tutorial Leaders undertake the Youth Mental Health First Aid qualification

A number of our Tutorial Team Leaders completed the Youth Mental Health First Aid qualification on World Mental Health Day, 10 October, delivered by Mind Matters. The qualification gives a clear focus on the issues faced by young people today, including bullying, cyber bullying and substance misuse. The course also teaches the importance of promoting wellbeing and protective factors against mental health issues. The session was a mixture of presentations, discussions and group work activities, equipping our staff with the skills and knowledge to enable them to support all students. Michael Bentley, Tutorial Team Leader in the Business, Warehousing and Logistics department, said: “This event was a great opportunity to develop new skills and reinforce existing knowledge so that we can better support our students. It was also an invaluable chance to strengthen the network of support that our fellow Youth Mental Health First Aiders can offer each other, before, during and after helping students.” “This session has equipped me with the extra knowledge and confidence to speak more freely about mental health.” Emma Warren, Tutorial Team Leader in the Childcare and Education Professions department said: “The statistics that were shown throughout the training were eye opening and it was very interesting to see how the level of mental health issues relating to gender and age has increased throughout the years. This session has equipped me with the extra knowledge and confidence to speak more freely about mental health and eliminate the stigma surrounding it.”...

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Exploring What Matters… By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 19 Mar, 2017 in Mental Health | 0 comments

Exploring What Matters… By Jane McNeice

On 26th January 2017 I began to ‘explore what matters’ though my journey took a different route than I expected… As a trainer in mental health, in particular Mental Health First Aid courses, I felt like I wanted to widen my knowledge and experience. Of particular interest was the area of positive psychology and the concept that is happiness. Around the same time, I fortuitously made the discovery of a relatively new internationally recognised course developed by Action for Happiness and suitably titled ‘Exploring What Matters’ I learned that this was an 8 week course which anyone could deliver, and in fact a course that Action for Happiness would like as many people to deliver as possible. I soon recognised that whilst this was described as a course, it was in fact something much greater; it was a global movement… Whilst facilitating this exploration of life and happiness, I met some amazing people, in our case an all-female group, but one wherein we would have preferred men to be present too. Notwithstanding this, we embarked on the 8 weeks journey covering the following happiness themes: WEEK 1: What really matters in life? Lots of things are important in life, but how should we decide what really matters to us? This session explores whether a greater focus on happiness and wellbeing might be better for all of us. WEEK 2: What actually makes us happy? We’re told that happiness comes from having more and earning more, but is this really true? Does happiness come from our circumstances or our inner attitudes? And can we learn how to be happier? WEEK 3: Can we find peace of mind? Life can be highly stressful. In this session we’ll explore how to deal effectively with life’s ups and downs and cope with adversity. And we’ll look at some skills which can help us be more resilient. WEEK 4: How should we treat others? Our society appears increasingly individualistic and competitive. Is this just human nature or are we naturally altruistic too? How should we behave towards others – and can we learn to be more compassionate? WEEK 5: What makes for great relationships? We’re a social species and most of us know that our connections with others are vitally important. But what really affects our relationships and are there practical things we can do to enhance them? WEEK 6: Can we be happier at work? Work is a huge part of our lives, but many of us find our work to be stressful and frustrating. Do happier organisations get better results? What makes us happy at work? And what can we do about it? WEEK 7: Can we build happier communities? What does it mean to live well together – and why are some communities or societies much happier than others? In this session we’ll explore how to create communities that are more caring, connected and happy. WEEK 8: How can we create a happier world? This session brings together everything we’ve covered during the course. It aims to inspire each of us to live in a way that contributes to a happier world, not just for ourselves but for others too. Whilst working to the Exploring What Matters session structure, including professional view points and interesting facts, our group discussions went far and wide – life, work, relationships, our personalities, mental health, communities, our life experiences – with...

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Playing to Your Strengths, By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 3 Mar, 2017 in Mental Health | 0 comments

Playing to Your Strengths, By Jane McNeice

When Mind Matters was invited to contribute to the delivery of an innovative new programme to support families with their mental health we were delighted at the opportunity! ‘Playing to Your Strengths’ is a pioneering new programme of delivery working with families in the Dearne area of Barnsley/Rotherham. Families would be supported by Mind Matters and other partners, including lead partner Station House Community Association, through the internationally recognised Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid training to develop and raise their awareness and understanding of mental health to support both themselves and their children, who are aged between 5-11. The ‘Playing to Your Strengths’ programme is aimed at families who feel a bit over-whelmed at times and are interested in doing things a bit differently. It is an opportunity to make changes. Through their years of experience working with families in a childcare setting, staff at Station House Community Association were able to identify groups of families that were struggling with day-to-day issues. It was of course acknowledged and accepted that the programme couldn’t remove these problems, but what we could offer was help to equip the families to better cope with them and the associated stress. The programme supports the whole family, including parents, step-parents, other significant adults, and of course the children themselves. The four week programme works with adults and children in their separate groups. On weeks one to three the children work with a professional Play Therapist to learn how to use play to better manage the children’s own worries and concerns. Play is essential in every child’s life, but with educational pressures and other modern day distractions most children get limited opportunities to learn about play. For the adults during weeks one and two, they would receive training from Mind Matters in the 3 hour Mental Health First Aid Lite and Youth Mental Health First Aid Lite courses, giving parents a raised understanding that aids early intervention, raises mental health literacy, and introduces the skills and knowledge to better manage mental health and wellbeing within the family. During week three, families will work with a professional Parenting Support Worker, learning about very practical and realistic parenting challenges. Further support will be provided after the four week program in the form of a home visit to each family. Week four of the ‘Playing to Your Strengths’ program will bring all the families, learning, and support providers together to discuss ways forward to benefit the families, and will also be an opportunity to celebrate the completion of the program and where all families will take part in a play activity designed by the children themselves. Families will be issued with course certificates from the two mental health courses, and support packs provided for future reference and family support. The Playing to Your Strengths program is being professionally evaluated to capture future needs of the families and specific key outcomes which may include: Adults feel better informed about how poor mental health can have an adverse effect on family wellbeing Children can identify a range of play based strategies to self-manage stress times in their lives Adults report feeling better able to self-manage challenges that evolve in family life Families show a great understanding about the importance of play as a family activity...

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