World Mental Health Day 2017

This year World Mental Health Day will be hosted on Tuesday 10th October 2017 and the primary aim is to raise awareness about mental health issues and help support mental health. The main theme is based on workplace wellbeing.

  • What is Mental Health?
  • What are the Causes of Mental Health?
  • What Are The Different Types Of Mental Health?
  • What are the Treatments for Mental Health?
  • How to improve mental health and well-being in the workplace:

  • What is Mental Health?

    Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Mental health affects how we think, feel and act and also helps to determine how we handle stress, relate to others, how we make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood to adulthood. If you experience mental health problems at any point throughout your lives, thinking, mood and behaviour could be affected. Mental health has many different causes and there are many different types of mental health conditions.

    Mental HealthMental Health Awareness

    What are the Causes of Mental Health?

    • Biological factors such as genes or brain chemistry

    • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse or neglect

    • Family history of mental health problems

    • Social isolation or loneliness

    • Severe or long term stress

    • Unemployment or losing your job

    • Financial problems e.g. poverty or debt

    • Homelessness/poor living conditions

    • Drug and alcohol misuse


    What Are The Different Types Of Mental Health? 

    • Depression- This is a feeling of low mood that lasts for a long time affecting your everyday life. It makes people feel hopeless, despairing, worthless, guilty, unmotivated and exhausted. This can also affect your self-esteem, sleep, appetite, sex drive, and sometimes your physical health. When most severe depression can drive people towards committing suicide and can be life threatening.

    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. This affects men, women and children which can develop at any age. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviours in which an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.

    • Bipolar disorder- This mainly affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. The symptoms of bipolar disorder depend on which mood you’re experiencing. Extreme episodes of bipolar can last several weeks or even longer and some people may not experience a normal mood swing often. Common examples include during depressive episodes (feeling very low), during mania feeling very high and overactive, and potentially some psychotic symptoms during mania and depressed episodes.

    • Schizophrenia- This is a severe long term mental health condition which causes a range of different psychological symptoms. This is a mental illness that affects the way in which you think. This is often diagnosed as a type of psychosis by doctors meaning the person may not be able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality. Common symptoms include hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that don’t exist), delusions (unusual beliefs not based on reality), muddled thoughts based on hallucinations or delusion, changes in behaviour.

    • Personality disorders- This is a type of mental health problem where your attitudes, beliefs and behaviours causes you longstanding problems in your life. There are many different types of personality disorders however, two most commonly diagnosed personality disorders include:

    • Borderline personality disorder- when you experience things like intense, changeable moods, an overwhelming fear of abandonment, an unstable sense of identity and impulsive, risky behaviour.

    • Anti-social personality disorder- disregard for the feelings or needs of others, manipulating others for your own gain, difficulty maintaining relationships, feeling guilty for your actions and feeling easily bored or aggressive.

    • Dissociative identity disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) is also another form which is when a person has different identities controlling their thoughts and behaviour at different times. This is diagnosed by the presence of two or more distinct/split identities or personality states that continually have power over the person’s behaviour.

    • Anxiety- This refers to strong feelings of unease, worry and fear. Due to the fact that occasional anxiety is a normal human experience, it can be difficult to diagnose it as a mental health problem. When anxiety is strong then you may experience constant worrying about factors that are a regular part of everyday life, or about factors that are unlikely to happen. You may experience unpleasant physical symptoms such as sleep problems, panic attacks, an increased heartbeat, an upset stomach, muscle tension or feeling shaky.

    • Phobias- This is an extreme form of fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation even when there is no danger. A fear becomes a phobia if it lasts longer than 6 months, and has a significant impact on your daily life.

    • Eating problems- This is not just about food it can involve difficult psychological factors experienced in your life with painful feelings you may find difficult to express, face, or resolve. Focusing on food can be away of disguising these problems even from yourself which is a form of mental health issue. Common methods include

    • Anorexia- not allowing yourself to eat enough food to get the energy and nutrition you need to stay physically healthy. Most people just assume that anorexia is due to getting slimmer and dieting. However, it is often connected to very low self-esteem, negative image and feelings of intense distress psychological reasons more than losing weight.

    • Bulimia- eating large amounts of food in one go, often because you are feeling upset or worried; then feeling deeply guilty or ashamed, taking steps to get rid of the food you are eating.

    • Binge eating disorder- feeling that you cannot stop yourself from eating even when you want to. This is sometimes described as having a food addiction or compulsive eating.

    Personality DisorderSchizophreniaBipolar DisorderDepression

    What are the Treatments for Mental Health?

    Psychotherapy- This a type of therapy used to treat emotional problems and mental health conditions. This involves talking to a well-trained therapist one-to-one, in a group or with a relative/loved one. This allows you to look deeper into your problems and worries, dealing with troublesome habits and a wide range of mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. This usually involves talking but can also involve videos, art, images, music, drama and movement. Psychotherapists are mental health professionals who are trained to listen to a person’s problems to try and find out what’s causing them and help them to find a solution. They can suggest strategies for resolving the problems and, if necessary help you change your attitudes and behaviour. Some psychotherapists teach specific skills such as helping you tolerate painful emotions, manage relationships more effectively, improving behaviour. You may also be encouraged to develop your own solutions and in group therapy, members support each other with advice and encouragement. These sessions are confidential so you can trust psychotherapists with information even if it is personal or embarrassing. There are a range of different types of psychotherapy including

    • Psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) therapy- This is when the psychoanalytic therapist will encourage you to say whatever is going on through your mind. This will help you to become aware of hidden meanings or patterns in what you say or do which may be contributing to your problems.

    • Cognitive behaviour therapy- This is a form of psychotherapy which examines how beliefs and thoughts are linked to behaviour and feelings. This teaches you skills that retain your behaviour and style of thinking to help you deal with stressful situations.

    • Cognitive analytical therapy- This uses methods from both psychodynamic therapy and CBT to work out how your behaviour causes problems, and how to improve it through self-help and experimentation.

    • Interpersonal psychotherapy- This examines the way an illness can be triggered by events involving relationships with others, bereavements, disputes or relocation. This helps you to cope with the feelings involved as well as work out coping strategies.

    • Humanistic therapies- This encourages you to think about yourself more positively and aims to improve self-awareness. • Family and couple (systemic therapy)- This involves therapy with other family members aiming to work out your problems together.

    Psychiatry is also another form of treatment for mental health conditions. Psychiatrists must be medically qualified doctors who have chosen to specialise in psychiatry. This means they have the authority to prescribe medication as well as recommend other forms of treatment to mental health patients. Most work as part of community mental health teams in outpatient clinics or hospital wards and some carry out sessions in GP surgeries. During your appointment your psychiatrist will carry out an initial assessment looking at both your mental and physical health. They will ask a variety of different queries relevant to your condition such as about the problem that brought you to see them, general questions about your life and thoughts, carry out a simple physical examination, such as checking your blood pressure before prescribing certain medications, get information from other sources including your GP, relatives and social workers. After the meeting your psychiatrist may prescribe medication or recommend other treatments such as counselling or CBT therapy. Medication is another form of treatment for mental health conditions. The most common type of treatment available is prescriptions. These drugs can help to ease the symptoms of a mental health condition. This will depend on your diagnosis.

    • Antidepressants- mostly prescribed for people experiencing depression, can also be offered for anxiety disorders, OCD, eating problems.

    • Sleeping pills or minor tranquillisers- helps you to sleep, or calm down if you experience extreme anxiety.

    • Mood stabilisers- helps to stabilise your mood when experiencing extreme mood swings for example if you have a bipolar disorder.

    • Antipsychotics- reduces distressing symptoms of psychosis for example schizophrenia, but are sometimes prescribed to people experiencing bipolar disorder to help control mania.

    PyschiatristPyschiatryMental Health Support Groups

    How to improve mental health and well-being in the workplace:

    • Flexible working options

    • Effectively mental health trained managers

    • Raising awareness and creating an open culture to discuss mental health

    • Involving employees in decision making

    • Integrating mental health and well-being throughout company policies and procedures

    • Introducing stress risk management procedures

    • Diverse and ethical workforce

    • Providing access to employee assistance programmes and occupational health

    • Having regular meetings with managers

    • Introducing performance management process

    • Conducting return to work interviews Employer’s responsibilities around stress

    • Responsibility to support staff that may be experiencing stress, either work-related or personal otherwise. They have a duty to ensure that risks arising from work activity are properly controlled. The work factors which may affect staff stress levels include the following organisational aspects which are demands, control, support, relationships, roles, change.

    • By managing these organisational aspects of work, and reducing stress levels in the workforce, this will benefit both employees and employers.

    • Increased productivity, reduction in accident levels,lower sickness absence rates, lower staff turnover, improved staff morale. Tackling the stigma and discrimination of mental health problems in the workplace means that employers can make a positive impact on the lives of people who are experiencing or have experienced mental health problems. Challenging negative assumptions about mental health problems and the ability to recover from them helps everyone, motivating the workforce and staff are more likely to seek advice, help and guidance earlier to recover more quickly. Workplace training is also very important in supporting and promoting mental health and wellbeing of employees. The Health and Safety Executive is also another very useful source as well as the NHS in providing workplace wellbeing information as there are many different resources and legislations which companies must follow to ensure their workforce is ethical.

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