Mental Health Awareness
What is Mental health?
Mental Health is…
“A state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
1 in 4
1 in 4 people in the UK will have a mental health issue in their lifetime.
In East London this estimate
is 1 in 3 people.
17% of people will experience suicidal thoughts throughout their lifetime.
Remember, feelings and emotions do not come with blue badges. Many conditions are invisible.
About two thirds of people with mental health problems believe that workplace stress contributed to their illness. They believe that long hours, unrealistic workloads or bad management either caused or exacerbated their condition.
Over a year
A Time to Change survey showed that 60% of people with a mental health problem waited over a year to tell the people closest to them about it.
65% of people with mental health problems reported stigma affecting their friendships.
57% reported stigma in their family life, and 38% said they had experienced it in dating and relationships. 57% of young people with mental health problems say that fear or stigma has stopped them from applying for a job.
Sensational stories in the press tend to present people with schizophrenia as dangerous, even though most people diagnosed with schizophrenia don’t commit violent crimes. People without schizophrenia commit crimes!
Some people think that people who hear voices are dangerous, but actually voices are more likely to suggest that you harm yourself than someone else. It’s important to remember that people also have a choice in whether they do what the voices say.
IS MENTAL HEALTH INHERITED?
Mental illnesses, in general, are thought to be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors:
Mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness. Certain genes may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, and your life situation may trigger it.
Environmental exposures before and after birth
Exposure to environmental stressors, inflammatory conditions, toxins, alcohol or drugs while in the womb can sometimes be linked to mental illness.
Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that carry signals to other parts of your brain and body. When the neural networks involving these chemicals are impaired, the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems change, leading to depression.
(Mayo Clinic 2015)
Symptoms of depression include a long-lasting unhappy mood, low self-esteem, and lack of motivation.
Depression comes in different forms from mild, moderate to severe to psychotic in some rare cases.
Depression can be a reaction to negative life events
Bipolar disorder may also involve periods of depression.
Different factors are thought to contribute to depression such as genetics, brain chemistry, upbringing and lifestyle.
Depression can be treated with either medication, therapy or both.
If you think you are suffering from depression you should speak to your GP who can prescribe medication and/or refer you for appropriate treatment or therapy.
Living with depression
“The world is a desolate and hopeless place. I know everything I do will fail. Nothing brings me any pleasure, and I don’t believe anything ever will. I spend time with friends but feel nothing. Basic tasks like brushing my teeth seem too complex. I feel an intense emotional pain. Grinding through each day is difficult and I wonder why I bother. At night I fail to fall asleep. During the day I constantly return to bed. My concentration disappears. My appetite skyrockets or disappears. I want nothing, but crave purpose, security, a reason to exist. But my feelings are meaningless. Nothing in my life has changed but suddenly everything is terrible. Meaninglessly terrible.”
Symptoms of anxiety include:
•Feelings of dread, panic or ‘impending doom’
•Feeling on edge and being alert to what is going on around you
•Wanting to escape from the situation you are in
You might also experience physical symptoms, which can include:
•Heavy and fast breathing
•Hot flushes or blushing
•Dizziness and fainting
•Stomach aches and sickness
Living with anxiety
“I worry. About everything, all the time. And I can’t stop it. I worry about failing my exams even though they are over a year away. I worry about my mother dying in a car crash on her way to visit me. I worry about what my life will be like when I am older. I worry that I will be alone, unhappy. And I can’t stop worrying. I think through all the possibilities over and over again. I’m constantly on edge, unable to relax. I can’t focus on other things and I can’t do what I need to. The concerns and tension I feel paralyse me, and I know it’s silly and irrational, but I can’t stop.”
• Approximately 1% of the population has bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression).
• Symptoms of mania include: increased energy, euphoria, impulsive behaviour and enhanced belief in own powers.
• Symptoms of depression include: lack of energy, feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem and suicidal tendencies. Psychotic symptoms can also be experienced in bipolar disorder.
• There are different types of bipolar disorder depending how often you experience episodes and how extreme they can be.
• It is thought that genetics, brain chemicals and environmental factors play a role in causing the illness.
• Mood stabilisers, antidepressants and antipsychotics are commonly prescribed to treat bipolar. Often a combination of medication can be useful. Psychological treatments also have a role to help people overcome depressive periods as well as understanding the illness and promoting self care.
• Around one in a hundred people will develop schizophrenia during their lifetime. The symptoms of the illness can have a big effect on you as well as people who are close to you, but it is treatable.
• Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects the way someone thinks
• It affects about 1 in every 100 people.
• It usually starts during early adulthood.
• It does not mean that someone has a split personality or that they are likely to be violent.
• The symptoms of schizophrenia can be split into ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms.
• Positive symptoms include experiencing things that are not real (hallucinations) and having unusual beliefs (delusions)
• Negative symptoms include lack of motivation and becoming withdrawn. These symptoms are generally more long-lasting and persistent.
• It is likely that schizophrenia is brought on by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors.
• Schizophrenia is usually treated using antipsychotic medication and talking therapies. (www.rethink.org)
Living with schizophrenia
“It is petrifying to be told that your reality isn’t real. That you don’t need to feel guilty for causing an earthquake because it wasn’t your fault. But your head is screaming ‘Yes you did, you did, look at all the destruction on the television.’ So it is hard to believe it isn’t true. For me, psychosis means I have a constant conversation in my head – a load of mean people gossiping about me. The people in my head want me dead.”
Want to know more?
To get further help or information about how to access services
Ways Art Improves Our Health
Have you heard about Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a form of therapy that uses art media like sculpture, drawing, painting as the main way of facilitating expression and communication. Art therapists work with children, young people, adults and the elderly. Clients may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses. These include emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions and physical illnesses.
Art therapy is provided in groups or individually, depending on clients' needs. Clients do not need to have any previous experience or expertise in art. The most common techniques involved in art therapy are painting, finger painting, doodling, scribbling, sculpting, drawing, using molding clay, carving, making pottery, making cards, using textiles and making collages. People express themselves artistically and examine the feelings that come up in sessions with their art therapist.
Mental health in colour
This section includes a number of engaging cartoons exploring the meaning of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues linked to social isolation.
This material also takes into account the effects of Covid-19 on family life, diversity and the psychology of every day life.
For more information about the value of arts to support mental and physical wellbeing, feel free to look at these websites
Poetry in Art Therapy