Over the last few years the subject of mental health had become very topical. Although there is still a long way to go before it gains equal status with physical health, we are finally opening up and talking about it.
As a mental health nurse, psychotherapist and trainer I feel really passionate and excited about this shift in the conversation, as the potential to improve people’s lives is limitless.
So, what is Mental Health?
Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. Too often we associate it with illness, but it is also about wellness.
One way to view it is as a continuum which we move up and down on an almost daily basis, depending on what is happening in our lives. It’s unrealistic to expect to feel happy all the time and it is natural to have “bad” days, but being mentally healthy is about being able to bounce back from everyday challenges, disappointments and set-backs. The term most commonly used to describe this is resilience.
Good mental health is also about:
The sense of feeling positive about ourselves and being able to function well both individually and in relationships
Being able to cope with the everyday challenges that happen in life
The feeling of belonging and connecting with the people around us and the places we live
Having control and freedom over our lives
Having a sense of purpose and feeling valued
What causes mental illness?
Mental ill health can sometimes be due to organic changes in the brain or chemical imbalances but the most common mental health conditions tend to arise as a reaction to difficult life events, such as bereavement, trauma, abuse or relationship breakdown. It can also result from having ongoing unrealistic demands or expectations placed on us in our home or work lives or from prolonged loneliness, isolation, bullying or lack of support.
Stress itself is a part of life and not a mental illness as such, but when it is excessive it can lead to conditions such anxiety & depression.
The link with physical health
There is a very close link between physical and mental health – for example chronic pain can lead to anxiety, depression, panic attacks and addictions and many physical conditions such as IBS, migraines, eczema, hypertension and angina are worsened (and in some cases caused) by stress.
2020-21 has been an exceptionally challenging year. Many people have had to cope with the physical and emotional effects of the infection itself and some are still experiencing the symptoms months after being clear of the virus. Tragically people have been bereaved without even the chance to say goodbye or give their loved ones or give them the send- off they would have wished.
Some have lost their jobs or had their income drastically reduced whilst others have had their education and career aspirations disrupted. We have all had to endure separation from family and friends and have been unable to do the things we enjoy such as travelling abroad, attending social events, watching live sport or going out for a meal.
It is hardly surprising then that many of us are feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed.
How I can help
Drawing on my 35 years working as a mental health nurse, psychotherapist and trainer, my focus is on creating mentally healthy environments for individuals to thrive, whether that is at work or at home. I do this through:
Enabling employers to create mentally healthy workplaces and as a result reduce sickness rates and staff turn- over. I do this through offering bespoke packages of support to facilitate changes in the organisation’s culture, policies and procedures including building staff engagement, educating the workforce on mental health issues and developing a workplace mental health plan. Click here more information
Providing one to one support for people struggling with anxiety, fear, phobias, PTSD or chronic physical health issues. N.B Please be aware that I am not an alternative to the NHS and cannot work with anyone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts or is in an acute mental health crisis Click here for more information
Delivering accredited Clinical Hypnotherapy, EFT and Reiki practitioner training. Click here for more information
Providing one to one Reflexology and Reiki sessions. Click here for more information
Undertaking mental capacity and deprivation of liberty assessments. Click here for more