anxiety · depression · help · men · mental health · news · reading · stigma · suicide · support

Facts on Men & Mental Health

gender

When you hear the statement ‘He’s a real man!’ what is it you picture?
A man who is not only strong of body but also of mind? Someone who is emotionally tough and who doesn’t show any weakness? The provider etc… a lot to live up to eh?

This man simply does not exist and as much as a woman should not be defined by such small and limiting terms a man should not also.

A man is just like a woman and by that I mean human.

np5ae66e7e

Mental Health facts in Men

  • Just over three out of four suicides (76%) are by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35
  • 5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders
  • Men are nearly three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent (8.7% of men are alcohol dependent compared to 3.3% of women
  • Men are more likely to use (and die from) illegal drugs
  • Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women. Only 36% of referrals to psychological therapies are men.

What this says to me is not only are men less likely to know that they might have a mental health condition but they feel less comfortable coming forward to speak about it or seek support for their struggles.

ok

Here are some more facts….

  • Over three quarters of people who kill themselves are men
  • Men report significantly lower life satisfaction than women in the Government’s national well-being survey – with those aged 45 to 59 reporting the lowest levels of life satisfaction
  • 73% of adults who ‘go missing’ are men
  • 87% of rough sleepers are men
  • Men are nearly three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent (8.7% of men are alcohol dependent compared to 3.3% of women)
  • Men are three times as likely to report frequent drug use than women (4.2% and 1.4% respectively) and more than two thirds of drug-related deaths occur in men
  • Men are nearly 50% more likely than women to be detained and treated compulsorily as psychiatric inpatients
  • Men make up 95% of the prison population, 72% of male prisoners suffer from two or more mental disorders
  • Men have measurably lower access to the social support of friends, relatives and community
  • Men commit 86% of violent crime (and are twice as likely to be victims of violent crime)
  • Boys are around three times more likely to receive a permanent or fixed period exclusion than girls
  • Boys are performing less well than girls at all levels of education. In 2013 only 55.6% of boys achieved 5 or more grade A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics, compared to 65.7% of girls

This shows us that we need to educate others on mental health more and stop the stigma which might be stopping men from coming forwards and getting help a survey from the Samaritan’s found this out…

Personality traits – some traits can interact with factors such as deprivation, unemployment, social disconnection and triggering events, such as relationship breakdown or job loss, to increase the risk of suicide. 

Masculinity – more than women, men respond to stress by taking risks, like misusing alcohol and drugs.

Relationship breakdowns – marriage breakdown is more likely to lead men, rather than women, to suicide.

Challenges of mid-life – people currently in mid-life are experiencing more mental health problems and unhappiness compared to younger and older people.  

Emotional illiteracy – men are much less likely than women to have a positive view of counselling or therapy, and when they do use these services, it is at the point of crisis.

Socio-economic factors – unemployed people are 2-3 times more likely to die by suicide than those in work and suicide increases during economic recession.

I encourage everyone to listen to the men in their lives be it their husbands, fathers, boyfriends, friends, brothers or cousins. To be a listening ear without judgement, so men can start to ignore the lies of stigma and realise that true strength is asking for help and support to fight a battle you can’t even see!
One you shouldn’t have to fight alone, one where you’re fighting for yourself as you are worth this fight so let others help fight it with you.

ee

anxiety · depression · grief · men · mental health · news · paranoia · self image · suicide · support

The Human Tragedy

f

Someone recently pointed out to me that scientists and research has managed to find so many ways for us to live longer, yet the cruel reality is the younger generation are turning to suicide more and more, and it’s not just the young either.

So the question I put forward is why?

My theory. We are cursed with the awareness of our own morality meaning most often one of our biggest goals is to live a happy and meaningful life. But life is no smooth ride and especially nowadays we document our lives as if it were a magazine spread, upselling our lives and displaying it proudly hoping others are envious of our achievement at having what looks like such a successful life.
Truth is it’s more often than not a visage, what power does a photograph or a Facebook account have? It is but another mask to hide the consumerism within us of always wanting more and always wanting to be more.
HowAreYou
So what’s the conclusion?

Honesty. I think the media needs to put on a more honest display and view of life. We can’t grow up with this fairytale idea of everything going to plan, as when we meet failure (and we will meet failure) we so often think, ‘That’s it! Life plan ruined I failed!’ So starts the self-critical voice of ‘I never get anything right’ and the comparison of ourselves to others who may have succeeded where we failed.

Education needs to start teaching us about mental health too, the midlife crisis has moved forward to our 20’s making it a quarter life crisis! What preparation do we have for exhausting our minds trying to live up to an unobtainable standard of self then crashing and burning and becoming depressed, or discovering you have a mental illness such as Bipolar? We need to talk about these things so they are no longer an ‘awkward subject’ we shouldn’t be ashamed of falling or failing as it shapes us into becoming the person who learns to stand back up again.

Yet we do need help, we need coping mechanisms, we need education, we need people to stand forward and admit that they don’t have it all together, that rolls of fat can be beautiful, that scars are not signs or failure, that money isn’t everything, that relationships do break down…. Truth, honesty, support and above all acceptance.

So here is the question I now put forward for your opinions, where are we going wrong and how can we change?

hands

depression · grief · help · news · poetry · reading · support

Diagnosis

How cruel you are to sneak in now,

Leaving us with no time to even process how!?

To cut short our time with no courtesy or forewarning,

Leaving our hearts anxious and sad already aching and mourning.

You enter our lives with scarcely a trace,

Deadly yet silent until you expose your ugly face.

Stealing our last breath as you take one of your many forms,

Making us work desperately still searching for cures.

But just hearing your name consumes us with fear,

How much time do we have left, will they even survive the year?

Sometimes all we can do is beg and pray.

That you won’t take them from us, that they will be able to stay.

Too many lives have been claimed by you incapable to escape,

Here for what feels like just a moment, then gone without a trace.

Just know we are coming for you, we want our revenge!

For all the lives you’ve taken from us we will fight back and avenge.

But for those who have just heard your name and are filled with doubt and fright,

Do not fear, take courage as so many more are refusing to say their final goodnight.

help-friend.jpg

charity · help · mental health · news · stigma · support

Goodbye Hair

Capture

Though this is a delayed post (considering I officially finished this fundraising on the 1st of July) for those still following I wanted to show that I was true to my word! I declared if I ended up rasing £2000 or more I would cut off most of my hair and seen as we came to an amazing total of £2,375 on Saturday the 1st of July I went to get the chop!

It’s a big change but I also feel like this journey has made a big change in me, so out with the old and in with the new! My first drink of the year was experienced with family having a celebratory meal and though going back to drinking has been odd it’s great to notice how I don’t feel the need to fall back into old habits and I’m building a new more healthy relationship with drinking and socialising. 

19577284_10155189135235266_8250834398077149130_o

So now onto the next big adventure, becoming a qualified level 3 personal trainer in 10 weeks!

anxiety · depression · help · mental health · news · reading · stigma · support

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety 2.jpg

Warning Signs That Anxiety is a Disorder

Most people experience some form of anxiety in their lives. In most cases, anxiety is a normal human response to stressful situations. Periods of anxiety can help people suppress pain and often acts as a signal that danger is near. However, excessive anxiety can lead to an unhealthy response that turns into a disorder. 

For some people, anxiety interferes with their ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Daily routines that were once normal now feel like a heavy burden that takes an enormous amount of effort to complete. Excessive anxiety puts an immense amount of strain on a person’s body and some studies indicate it can lead to an increased risk of stroke, cardiac arrest, or heart disease. When struggle with anxiety, people suffer from emotional instability and an inability to form and maintain personal relationships. 

Anxiety Disorders- Signs of a Larger Problem

Clear cut evidence does not exist that shows why some people suffer from excessive anxiety. What mental health professionals do know is warning signs do exist that often signal a person’s excessive anxiety is, in fact, a disorder. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services classifies five major types of anxiety disorders:

General Anxiety Disorder– Classified as chronic anxiety, the characteristics of this disorder include exaggerated worry and extreme tension with no clear reason provoking the anxiety. 
• Panic Disorder- People who suffer from panic disorders feel immediate and intense fear followed by physical ailments such as chest pain, excessive sweating and shortness of breath. 
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder– Known as OCD, the symptoms of this disorder include repetitive, unhealthy behaviors coupled with recurrent, unwanted thoughts. Many people who suffer from OCD will excessively wash their hands or clean their houses. 
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder- Commonly referred to as PTSD, this disorder normally occurs after a person suffered a traumatic event causing grave danger or physical harm. PTSD warning signs include angry outbursts, difficulty sleeping and constantly feeling “on edge.” 
• Social Anxiety Disorder- Also known as social phobia, this anxiety disorder causes people to experience an overwhelming feeling of self-consciousness during social situations. 

Insecure pretty woman
Other Common Warning Signs of an Anxiety Disorder

Most people who suffer from an anxiety disorder have no control over their feelings of worry. What troubles many mental health professionals is most people who suffer from the disorders know they have a problem. Knowing they suffer from an anxiety disorder, the symptoms often become worse. The symptoms include constant muscle aches, headaches, unexplained pains and feeling tired all the time. Persistent symptoms often include excessive sweating and feeling light-headed or out of breath. Unfortunately, for many people, there is no relief from the symptoms without professional help. 
Treating Anxiety Disorders

Although successful treatment for anxiety disorders is individualized, there are several accepted approaches among mental health professionals that have proven effective over the years. The treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, medication and complementary and alternative treatment. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy has proven highly effective. Using this treatment approach, doctors can identify and change a person’s thinking and behavior patterns. Treatment centers that offer CBT ensure their patients are actively involved in their own recovery. For more information about anxiety disorders, please click HERE.

bpd · charity · depression · help · mental health · news · stigma · suicide · support

TV Appearance

This month I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to appear on ‘That’s Oxford TV’, where I had a chance to share my personal story on mental health.

18920700_441645112876904_2888084552234187912_n


I was interviewed by the lovely Emma-Jane Taylor and though the experience was fairly nerve wracking it was great to have a platform to discuss such an important topic, and by sharing some of my experiences I hope others can find that bravery to start to share theirs.

To watch the interview just click the link below: WATCH HERE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIYAM1wjYV4&feature=youtu.be

 

anxiety · charity · depression · help · mental health · news · stigma · support

Mental Health and Exercise

5-Easy-Exercise-Tips-To-Prevent-Inactivity.jpg

Personally exercise in my mental health journey has been a massive life saver for me! I have also heard from many others suffering with mental health difficulties that they have found exercise incredibly beneficial to helping them cope easier in everyday life but what are the facts behind this if any…

What impact does physical activity have on wellbeing?

Physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on our mood. A study asked people to rate their mood immediately after periods of physical activity and periods of inactivity. Researchers found that the participants felt more content, more awake and calmer after being physically active compared to after periods of inactivity.
Exercise also seems to have an effect on certain chemicals in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin. Brain cells use these chemicals to communicate with each other, so they affect your mood and thinking.

Impact on Stress

When events occur that make us feel threatened or that upset our balance in some way, our body’s defences cut in and create a stress response, which may make us feel a variety of uncomfortable physical symptoms and make us behave differently, and we may also experience emotions more intensely.stress_managment

Exercise seems to reduce harmful changes in the brain caused by stress. Research on employed adults has found that highly active individuals tend to have lower stress rates compared to individuals who are less active.

 

Impact on depression & anxiety

Physical activity can be an alternative treatment for depression. It can be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with medication and/or psychological therapy. It has few side effects and does not have the stigma that some people perceive to be attached to taking antidepressants or attending psychotherapy and counselling.

Physical activity can reduce levels of anxiety in people with mild symptoms and may also be helpful for treating clinical anxiety. Physical activity is available to all, has few costs attached, and is an empowering approach that can support self-management.

It can certainly be harder to get active when you are depressed. But being active lifts your mood and gives you a sense of being in control and in touch with other people.

Exercise-and-Mental-Health-Diagram1

 

Now all these facts make sense and in theory are great, but what if you are not naturally inclined to do or enjoy exercise? Well being active does not mean heading out for a marathon run or going to the gym. It can be much simpler than that and can be tailored to what you enjoy and what is suitable for you depending on your health and lifestyle.

  • Firstly – any exercise is better than none.
  • BUT moderate level of exercise seems to work best.
  • This is roughly equivalent to walking fast, but being able to talk to someone at the same time.
  • You need to do about 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise on at least 5 days of every week. This can be done in one 30 minute session or broken up into shorter 10 or 15 minute sessions.
  • This can not only lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, but also seems to help depression – so you get a double benefit.
  • Don’t start suddenly – build more physical activity into your life gradually, in small steps

You can make it fun too, maybe start a group sport like basketball or football, or join a running class making it social as well, even gardening or going on a nice walk can be good exercise. Going out for a dance or cycling, anything that gets you moving is a great place to start and then the more you do it the more you will see and feel the benefits and prioritise it into your lifestyle.

images

 

To read more on the benefits click here

 

 

 

Personal Experience

Exercise for me has been the biggest aid in recovery bar medication!
It gave me something to focus on, to let my adrenaline out, and has incredibly helped me tone down my intense and irrational emotions. If I’m angry it’s my go to, without it I can be prone to exploding at others or myself. If I’m sad it’s my go to, and though I cannot exercise all the time I make sure to keep a healthy outlook on it, so take many days off and though I eat healthily (which also MASSIVELY helps improve moods and mental health!) I eat often and never go hungry which is important for recovery.

The connection between body and mind has been something I have never overly focused on, thinking of it more as a ‘yoga term’. But the more I have paid attention to looking after and caring for my body, the more my mind has benefited from it. Actually it has benefited far more than I could imagine! It feels like an act of kindness to yourself which ripples through your body and into your mind, personally helping change my outlook on the world and myself.

Now motivated purely by the way it makes me feel and not the way it makes me look, it has left me feeling incredibly satisfied and happy in my body and therefore feeling more comfortable within my mind.

I feel so passionately towards this I’m actually taking a personal training course soon hoping to become a PT who can inspire others to take a different view and approach towards exercise, where your main aim and focus is on a happier, more content you. The side effects more so being a healthy and fitter body which you can rely on and feel more happy in.

Capture99

 

   

   SO WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!