transparent edged banner apr 2017

Blogs

The Impact of your Diet on your Mental Health.

You probably understand you should eat a healthy balanced diet to keep your body healthy, but are you aware of the additional impact your diet is having on your mental health?

The UK-based Mental Health Foundation found that less than half of the people diagnosed with mental health problems eat fresh fruit and vegetables. On the flip side of this, nearly two thirds of those not suffering mental health problems eat fresh produce regularly. So, whilst many people associate a healthy diet with a healthy physical being, it is also linked to good mental health.

It has been proven that a healthy balanced diet can:

-enhance mental clarity

-provide a more balanced mood

-protect your mind from early mental decline

There are a multitude of benefits different types of food can have on your mental health. We have put together some useful pointers on which foods are beneficial for certain mental health issues:

Nutrients which are proven to help reduce depression:

-Omega 3’s (salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds)

-Folate (asparagus, chickpeas, lentils)

-Vitamin B12 (tuna, shrimp, milk)

-Choline (egg yolks, broccoli, sprouts)

-Magnesium (spinach, yoghurt, black beans)

-Vitamin D (fatty fish, eggs)

Antioxidants which are linked to feeling more optimistic:

-Carrots

-Tomatoes

-Blueberries

-Sweet potatoes

-Kale

Protein rich foods which will aid your body’s production of serotonin:

-Peas

-Turkey

-Chicken

-Tuna

-Beans

 

Eatwell

See more on what a healthy balanced diet consists of at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/healthydiet/healthybalanceddiet.html

Sources used:

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/diet-recovery#1

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318428.php

https://www.optimallivingdynamics.com/blog/9-nutrient-deficiencies-that-can-make-you-more-anxious

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

 

 

Signs that it is time to talk to someone

Everyone is aware of mental health in that sometimes you feel extremely happy and other times you feel a little down. But not everyone is aware of at what point the way you are feeling can be attributed to having a poorer state of mental health than usual. For physical health we can identify when we are just feeling tired and when something really is wrong and we need to seek help. Mental health should be treated in the same way, your reaction to realising something may be wrong should be to seek professional advice. Here are some signs to help you identify when it may be time to talk to someone:

A continuous state of unhappiness or depression

-If you are lacking energy, losing interest in the things you used to enjoy, feeling irritable or sad for a few weeks or more you should talk to someone.

Constantly worrying or feeling anxious

-Many people get worried for different reasons every now and again but if it is beginning to dictate what you do and overwhelm you then it is time to seek advice. Symptoms of anxiety include: heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headaches, restlessness, diarrhoea or a racing mind.

Having problems sleeping

-On average we need 7-9 hours sleep each night. Continuous issues with sleeping patterns could be a symptom of a mental illness. Sleeping too much or too little may indicate depression or a sleeping disorder.

Experiencing emotional outbursts

-We all have changes in our moods, but sudden and dramatic changes can be a symptom of a mental illness.

Change in weight or appetite

-Whilst there are reasons behind gradual change in weight or appetite for different people depending on their lifestyle habits, a sudden change in weight or appetite could represent a warning sign of a mental illness.

 

Loss in interest of social activities

-Every now and again we prefer our own company to others but if you or someone you know begins withdrawing from all social activities this can be a sign of mental health illness.

Feelings of guilt and low self-worth

-Thinking that things are “all your fault” or that “you’re worthless” are possible signs of a mental health issue. In severe cases this may include wanting to hurt yourself and suicidal thoughts. It is important to talk to someone if you are feeling this way.

Abusive use of substances

-Drinking too much or using drugs may be used as a coping mechanism and could also be a sign of distress.

The following helplines are available on Mind’s website: mind.org.uk

  • To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Welsh Language Line on 0300 123 3011 (7pm–11pm every day).
  • If you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else,you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
  • If you're under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (Sunday-Friday 2pm–11pm), request support by email using this form on The Mix websiteor use their crisis text messenger service.
  • If you're under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUKon 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text 07786 209 697.
  • If you live in Coventry and Warwickshire – Mental Health Matters is a helpline which is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week 0800 616 171
  • If you identify as male, you can call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) or use their webchat service.
  • If you're a student, you can look on the Nightline websiteto see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.
  • If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboardon 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.
  • If you live in Wales, you can call the Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L).on 0800 123 737 (open 24/7) or you can text 'help' followed by a question to 81066.
  • For more options, visit the Helplines Partnershipwebsite for a directory of UK helplines. Mind’s Infoline can also help you find services that can support you. If you're outside the UK, befrienders.org lists emotional support helplines around the world.
  • Elefriends an online peer support group https://www.elefriends.org.uk/

Workplace Stress

Wellbeing in the work place is incredibly important, to highlight this, I will tell you my story.   

I was working in a fast-paced office environment, constantly juggling various aspects of my job.  It was the sort of job where the more work you do the more you get.  I don’t like having huge piles of work in front of me, I find it quite stressful, luckily, I had a really good manager.  At one point in my working life here we came to the agreement that I would mention when I felt overwhelmed with work and she would give me space to catch up.  It worked really well under this system and I felt that I had complete control over my work and was able to help others out at times also.  A win all round really.  

Unfortunately, everything changed.  I was asked to move to another team, a team where my new manager had a bit of a reputation.  At first it was fine, I got through the work quickly and in addition I had a designated trainer and training time which I hadn’t had before.  I thought everything would be ok.   Then the workload started to pile up.  I told my manager that I just had too much work on my desk.  She agreed to not give me new work so that I could catch up only to continue to give me new work anyway!  This continued for a while, my stress levels soared.  I didn’t notice it at first, the feelings of stress became my new normal and I started to get physically ill.  As soon as I had gotten over one illness I’d have another straight away. 

I couldn’t take sick leave because I was expected to be a “team player” and was given work that others needed help with when they went on holiday.  I was so busy that I didn’t notice that no one was helping me.  I increased my hours to try and catch up.  By the end I would consistently have had 3 weeks worth of urgent work on my desk and phone calls on a regular basis chasing for updates and completion dates. 

I had no choice but to see my doctor.  I had told my manager several times that I had too much work and my colleagues had also spoken to her about my stress levels.  The doctor signed me off sick.  I went from working almost 10 hour days to having nothing to do for 3 weeks.  I hated it, I did not know what to do with myself. Because I had been working so much I had no work life balance so no hobbies to fill my time. 

I went straight back to work after the sick leave ended.  It was difficult because the slightest thing would make me cry and I did not want others to see this.  Managers were supposed to provide reasonable adjustments so that you could work, my manager took this to the extreme.  I was told that I must tell her what sort of day I was having every single day (no thanks) and pressure was put on me to take medication.  I was sent on a stress course, it was a good course but after speaking to the person running the course I realised I had no other option than to take more time off sick. 

During this time of leave I met with some of my colleagues and had some meetings with others in the organisation and managed to get moved to a different team on my return.  I did really well in this team for a while, but then my personal life got rather difficult.  My resilience was low after my experience at work and I had even more time off sick.  I had requested a reduction in hours but didn’t get any advice of how to go about this since I had no children, flexible working was apparently not available for me as it was officially only for families! 

Eventually I left this job and struggled to put my life together.  The effects of poor wellbeing at work do not end when you leave a job, they impact your entire life.  Thankfully I realised that I’m rather strong and the life I have now is so much better than before.  The experience allowed me to evaluate what was important and I started many hobbies, I learned about wellbeing, managing emotion and, most importantly, self- respect.  I am no longer fighting for my career, I have qualifications that may no longer have any use to me, but I’ve learnt that there are more important things in life.  I fulfilled many dreams, I learnt to sew, play the clarinet and met some wonderful people that I wouldn’t otherwise have met.  I do believe that if my managers had worked together with me rather than against me that I would have continued to be a valued employee, I would not have needed time off, putting even more pressure on those around me. 

Everyone is aware of mental health in that sometimes you feel extremely happy and other times you feel a little down. But not everyone is aware of at what point the way you are feeling can be attributed to having a poorer state of mental health than usual. For physical health we can identify when we are just feeling tired and when something really is wrong and we need to seek help. Mental health should be treated in the same way, your reaction to realising something may be wrong should be to seek professional advice. Here are some signs to help you identify when it may be time to talk to someone:

A continuous state of unhappiness or depression

-If you are lacking energy, losing interest in the things you used to enjoy, feeling irritable or sad for a few weeks or more you should talk to someone.

Constantly worrying or feeling anxious

-Many people get worried for different reasons every now and again but if it is beginning to dictate what you do and overwhelm you then it is time to seek advice. Symptoms of anxiety include: heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headaches, restlessness, diarrhoea or a racing mind.

Having problems sleeping

-On average we need 7-9 hours sleep each night. Continuous issues with sleeping patterns could be a symptom of a mental illness. Sleeping too much or too little may indicate depression or a sleeping disorder.

Experiencing emotional outbursts

-We all have changes in our moods, but sudden and dramatic changes can be a symptom of a mental illness.

Change in weight or appetite

-Whilst there are reasons behind gradual change in weight or appetite for different people depending on their lifestyle habits, a sudden change in weight or appetite could represent a warning sign of a mental illness.

 

Loss in interest of social activities

-Every now and again we prefer our own company to others but if you or someone you know begins withdrawing from all social activities this can be a sign of mental health illness.

Feelings of guilt and low self-worth

-Thinking that things are “all your fault” or that “you’re worthless” are possible signs of a mental health issue. In severe cases this may include wanting to hurt yourself and suicidal thoughts. It is important to talk to someone if you are feeling this way.

Abusive use of substances

-Drinking too much or using drugs may be used as a coping mechanism and could also be a sign of distress.

The following helplines are available on Mind’s website: mind.org.uk

  • · To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Welsh Language Line on 0300 123 3011 (7pm–11pm every day).
  • · If you are in Coventry and Warwickshire, you can contact Mental Health Matters on 0800 616 171 (24 hours a day/ 7 days a week)
  • · If you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else,you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
  • · If you're under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (Sunday-Friday 2pm–11pm), request support by email using this form on The Mix websiteor use their crisis text messenger service.
  • · If you're under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUKon 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text 07786 209 697.
  • · If you identify as male, you can call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) or use their webchat service.
  • · If you're a student, you can look on the Nightline websiteto see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.
  • · If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboardon 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.
  • · If you live in Wales, you can call the Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L).on 0800 123 737 (open 24/7) or you can text 'help' followed by a question to 81066.
  • · For online peer support: https://www.elefriends.org.uk
  • · For more options, visit the Helplines Partnershipwebsite for a directory of UK helplines. Mind’s Infoline can also help you find services that can support you. If you're outside the UK, befrienders.org lists emotional support helplines around the world.

Running for Mind

On Sunday 22 April, I took part in this year's London Marathon. My goal was to raise £1,000 for Mind, as well as to run 26.2 miles around one of my favourite cities.

I remember watching the London Marathon on the television as a child, full of admiration for the people taking part, dreaming that I might get to take part in it one day and, of course, looking out for familiar faces (famous and unknown) on the screen.

Despite those dreams, it was only in adulthood that I stared entering races. Initially, I took part in 5K races to raise money for charity. Gradually I built up to 10K races and, eventually, half marathons.

Each year I would enter the ballot for a London Marathon, taking my chances along with hundreds and thousands of hopeful entrants, and each year I received the 'sorry you haven't got a place' letter. That was, until October 2016, when the letter I had been hoping for arrived.... congratulations, it said, you're in!

I immediately decided that I would run for Mind. A dear friend of mine, Fog, had died in the summer of 2014 and Mind had been his family's chosen charity. That decision made, I set up a fundraising page, downloaded a training plan and hit the pavements.

MarJen2

My training was going really well until the spring of 2017, when I picked up an unfortunate knee injury. The good news was that my knee hadn't suffered any structural damage, the bad news was that recovery times for injuries like mine were unpredictable. I deferred my London Marathon place and crossed my fingers that I would be back training in time for the 2018 London Marathon.

It was during the months that I couldn't run that I realised how much I relied on running to release the stresses and strains of everyday life. I was one of the lucky ones though, and by September 2017, I was able to start my training again. It was very strange to start with, I couldn't even run 5K. Slowly, but surely, the distance I could cover increased and I started to believe that I would make it around the marathon, even if I had to walk some of the way.

The winter of 2017/2018 wasn't great for those of us with marathon places, but I held fast to the dream of completing the London Marathon and stuck to my training plan despite the snow and rain.

April 2018 arrived, marathon day got closer, and the weather improved. The improvement was so great, that the 2018 London Marathon was the hottest to date.

I can honestly say that the London Marathon was the most wonderful experience. It exceeded all my expectations and I will admit to squealing with joy as I crossed Tower Bridge! Along the way I met the most incredible people, many of whom were running to raise money for charities close to their hearts. The sense of community I shared with the other Mind runners and the amazing Mind supporters helped to keep my spirits raised. I enjoyed every moment of the race, which is just as well as it took me 6 hours and 34 minutes to get to the finish line!

Thanks to my amazing family, friends and colleagues, not only did I achieve my ambition of completing the London Marathon, but I also smashed my fundraising target. So far I have raised over £3,000!

Dr Jennifer Unsworth