Mental Health – what can I do?

Thought for the Week 21.03.17
Mental health: What can I do?

Recently Hannah Cooper and Jackie Wrout, from the charity One to One Project, gave a talk to Churches Together about the One to One Project ( 01553 770770) which has been running for 34 years helping adults with mental health problems.
1 in 4 people from all backgrounds experience a mental health problem in any given year, and 3 in 4 of them fear the reactions of family and friends. Almost 9 in 10 people with a mental health problem have faced stigma and three quarters have lost friendships. 1 in 10 young people will suffer from mental health problems. It is a myth that people with mental health problems are violent; they are more likely to be victims.
According to a ‘Vital Signs’ report, published in 2016 by Norfolk Community Foundation, 70,477 women and 44,434 men in Norfolk are affected by common mental health disorders. The prevalence of depression in Norfolk is 12.3% and this is above the national average of 11.2%.
What can I do?
1. Offer emotional support, patience and encouragement.
2. Remind them that you care.
3. Invite them to talk about their feelings.
4. Keep in touch.
5. Encourage them to take part in activities that give them pleasure.
6. Find out about self-help / support groups and mental health services.
Try not to:
1. Get drawn in to ‘cheering them up’ but instead validate their true feelings.
2. Show fear and avoidance.
3. Pressure them to talk.
4. Assume you know how they feel.
5. Assume that you know what is best.
What can we do for ourselves? Five ways of Wellbeing:
1. Connect with the people around you, with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
2. Be active: Do what you enjoy, go for a walk or a run outside, cycle, dance or play a game. Exercise makes you feel good.
3. Take notice: Be curious, catch sight of the beautiful and savour the moment. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
4. Keep learning: Try something new. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things is fun and will make you more confident.
5. Give: Volunteer or do something nice for a friend or a stranger. Seeing your happiness, linked to the wider community, can be incredibly rewarding.

Peter Coates, secretary of Churches Together in King’s Lynn.
Linden, Bircham Rd, Stanhoe, Norfolk, PE318PT.
01485 518191.

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