You will learn: what are the main mental health problems that we, as a society suffer with most in this day and age; how to recognise some of the symptoms associated with each; where to find help; and some basic self help advice.
I have suffered myself with anxiety - I think mainly to do with the Anti-Malarial tablet I was taking at the time - but there were certainly other factors at play. It is still a taboo subject to be talking about, and people who suffer with it often do so in silence until something becomes too much.
Somewhere between 4% and 10% of people in the UK are currently suffering with some form of Mental Health issue.
84 Men per week are committing suicide in the UK a number that is 3 times higher than that of Women.
"The best cure for the body is a quiet mind"- Napoleon Bonaparte
Main Mental Health Problems
Anxiety and Depression
The biggest mental health problem we have in the UK at the moment is anxiety and depression. It's difficult to tell these two apart because they so often come together. Some see anxiety as the for bearer to Depression.
Anxiety and depression are linked with 20% of sick days taken in the UK. Which goes to show how well employees are looked after in the workplace - how much stress is placed on people.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression can look similar to each other.
Tiredness and loss of energy.
Sadness that doesn’t go away.
Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting.
Feeling anxious all the time.
Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends.
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
Sleeping problems - difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier than usual.
Very strong feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
Finding it hard to function at work/college/school.
Loss of appetite.
Loss of sex drive and/or sexual problems.
Physical aches and pains.
Thinking about suicide and death.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is characterised by the irrational desire to repeatedly perform specific tasks.
It can be hugely debilitating for people as it can get in the way of their daily tasks.
Sufferers may believe that if the action that are compelled to make, whether that's washing their hands, or turning a switch on and off multiple times, could have massive negative outcomes way over and above what most people would consider i.e. death or serious harm would come to either themselves or others.
It could be triggered by a serious life event or it may be more insidious and compound over a period of time.
It is often linked with anxiety and depression.
Anxiety is triggered by a fear of something that may happen in the future.
Symptoms that may occur with anxiety may be:
accelerated shallow breathing tensesness
trouble sleeping/disturbed sleep
Anxiety can be brought on by regular bouts of highly stressful situations and becomes a way that a person tries to cope with a situation.
Many forms of therapy exist within the realm of Mental Health and some may suit others better. As with exercise there is a preference and some forms will be better for one person than another. They are generally some form of talking therapy - some, not all listed below.
CBT - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
NLP - Neuro-Linguistic Programming
Your GP may be able to point you in the right direction. Many local NHS authorites also have a self referral scheme (I know they do in Hertfordshire) if you do not want to involve your GP.
Other places you can get help below
Diet - eating the right stuff is key to any form of health including mental health. Serotonin is a Hormone/Neurotransmitter that is partly involved in mood. 90% of Serotonin is produced in the gut. Having a healthy diet that is low in inflammatory food and high in natural unprocessed foods is the best start you could make.
Exercise - it has long been known that being outdoors in nature, taking some form of exercise is good for the mind and the body. Something as simple as walking for 30 minutes per day, outside has benefits as far reaching as improved sleep, better concentration, reduced risk of cancer and much much more. Imagine if you made that a 30 minute jog!!
Breathing/Mindfulness - when things start to get on top of you, you could try taking a pause. Finding somewhere quiet to sit where you won't be disturbed to sit back and take in your surroundings. Rather than me talk you through a guided meditation technique I can refer you to a number of Apps for your mobile device. Search Mindfulness or guided meditation in your app store. There are hundreds out there. Perhaps try a few and see which one you feel most comfortable using.
I have scratched the surface of Mental Health here. Over the next couple of weeks I will be delving deeper into a few topics and attempt to give you some more things that you can do to help either yourself or others around you.
"what happens in the mind shows up in the body"
Meaning that if you have dark repetitive negative thoughts, your body will show that in poor posture, injury and potentially other illnesses too.
Keeping a clean and healthy mind is well and truly key to keeping good health of the body. Start with the mind and the body will look after itself.