This Sunday 10th October is World Mental Health Day. As a business, Subscan provide mental health awareness for all staff and Mental Health Awareness for Management.
What is a mental illness?
A mental illness is defined as a disorder that causes irrationality in someone’s behaviour or thinking. Mental illness can refer to a large range of mental conditions that people can suffer from, sometimes more than one at a time.
Who can I talk to about mental health?
You could talk to your GP, the Samaritans, online chat services, a friend/family member you can trust, or a mental health first aid at work.
What causes a mental illness?
There is a vast multitude of things that could cause ill-mental health. Sometimes it will be more than just one cause. And different people will be affected differently by the same cause. Some of the factors listed below could result in poor mental health, but this list is not exhaustive:
- Childhood or adulthood abuse, trauma or neglect
- Social loneliness, disadvantage or poverty
- Violence, bullying or other abuse
- Trauma like military combat, or experiencing something where you feared for your life
- Long-term stress
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Physical damage
What kind of treatment is there for mental health?
The 2 most common treatments for mental health are medication or talking treatments, but there are many other options available.
Talking treatments are often with a trained professional where you speak about specific problems or memories, sometimes working towards improving relationships with others. Speaking with a professional can help you to:
- Deal with a specific problem
- Cope with upsetting memories or experiences
- Improve relationships
- Develop more helpful ways of living day-to-day
The most common form of talking therapy is ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ or ‘CBT’. CBT is a relatively short-term treatment that aims to identify connections between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and help you develop practical skills to manage any negative patterns that may be causing you difficulties.
Medication treatments aim to treat the symptoms of the mental illness but not so much curing the source of the problem. They might include sleeping pills, antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilisers.
What can I do if I am worried about a friend or relative?
You should try and encourage them to get some help or advice, initially from a GP. Unfortunately, your friend/relative might not want to see the GP as they might not think they are unwell or think that the GP will not be able to help them. Try to do your best to put yourself in your friend/relatives shoes and understand how they feel. Try and always bring the topic up at the right time when you are both calm, and remember to be patient.
You could offer to go with them to a GP or offer suggestions as to why they are feeling/acting this way. Ensure that they know that anything you tell them you will keep private and that they have your trust.
How can I make my staff feel more comfortable talking about mental health or coming forward with an issue?
Make mental health a well-spoken topic in your business, so people feel like there isn’t such a stigma surrounding it if they are experiencing ill mental health. Workplaces should also have a Mental Health at Work Plan to highlight the good mental health of all employees and demonstrate the support that is available for those who need it.
Managers and supervisors should also be leading by example and openly talking about mental health to all of their staff. Providing good working conditions and making reasonable adjustments for staff can prevent ill mental health by looking to reduce things like stress in the workplace.
How many people experience mental health problems each year?
Sadly, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem in the UK each year. It’s much more of a common problem than people think.
Stress Awareness – What is internal and external stress?
There are two different types of stress – external and internal stress. External stress comes from things outside of our bodies, things like our job, noise, injury, toxins, bacteria, relationships, situations and our physical environment. Internal stress comes from inside our bodies and can determine how the body responds to the external stress we experience. Examples of internal stress are feelings, imagination or anticipation, memory, general health and nutritional status, emotional health and the amount of sleep you get.
Managing stress will relate to how you can confront the external stress or change your internal factors and change how you deal with stress.
What is the difference between stress and pressure?
Stress – can refer to a situation and the demands and resources it requires to meet the demands.
Pressure – is the way you perceive a situation about how your performance can depend on the outcome.
As an employer, do I need to do anything about stress in the workplace?
Employers have a responsibility to look after the health and safety of their employees; stress comes under this bracket. As an employer, you need to ensure that staff are not experiencing stress so much that it impacts their health and their life outside of work. Support should be provided if someone is unhappy at work; some workplaces have started to implement Mental Health First Aiders so that people can talk to someone if they are stressed. Workplaces should aim to take away the stigma around things like stress and Mental Health and talk openly about them in the workplace.
What can stress do to the body?
Stress affects the body more than people realise. Just some of the ways that it impacts the body are:
- Low sex drive
- Increase heart rate
- Risk of heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Fertility issues
- Missed periods
- Weakened immune system
- Erectile dysfunction
- Tense muscles
What are the symptoms of stress? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJtyYNIGF_A
As well as the effects that it can have on your body, there are also many other symptoms of stress. Stress might make you feel:
- Upset, aggressive, impatient
- Anxious or nervous
- Sense of dread
- Neglected or lonely
- Uninterested in things that you usually would be
- Unable to enjoy things you usually would
- Thoughts racing and consuming your attention
Stress can also impact your behaviour by:
- Constantly worrying
- Avoiding things
- Snapping at people
- Increase in smoking or drinking
- Unable to concentrate
- Feeling tearful
- Biting nails or picking skin
How can you prevent stress? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqDydPlEUZk
Stress is not always avoidable, but you can make changes or things you can do to prevent getting stressed. Some things you can try to combat stress are:
- Make sure to exercise – exercise can be an outlet and stress reliever to some.
- Accept things you can’t change – don’t let things you have no control over affect you so much
- Positivity – be grateful for the positive things, and focus on them.
- Connections – having a good support network can help you with and share your troubles.
- Challenge – set yourself goals and challenges to build yourself with confidence and challenge yourself.
- Avoid unhealthy habits – don’t overload your life with unhealthy habits like bad food, smoking and drinking
- Me time – make time for yourself to relax and do the things you enjoy
- Help others – doing things outside of work like volunteering schemes to help others can be rewarding
- Get enough rest – lack of sleep can be detrimental to stress
What is work-related stress?
Work-related stress is dealing with an excess of demands in the workplace that exceed your ability to cope. You can experience both the mental and physical effects of it.
Can your heart be affected by stress?
There is no evidence to suggest that stress can directly cause heart disease or heart attacks. However, stress can increase things like heart rate and pressure, which could cause things like angina and affect already existing heart conditions.
Can medicine help stress?
While non-medical therapies are often advised before medical, some medications can be taken in relation to stress, but there is not specifically one medication for stress. You might be offered:
- Sleeping pills if you are struggling sleeping due to stress
- Antidepressants if you are experiencing depression or anxiety with stress
- Medications that might treat symptoms of stress like high blood pressure.
How can I relieve stress?
- Take 5 minutes to focus on your breathing. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx112W4i5I0
- Talk to friends/family, whoever it might be, to help you destress
- Me time. Take an evening a week to do something you love.
- Laughing therapies
- Music – some people like music to destress
- Pets – pet therapies have been found to reduce stress.
- Progressive muscle relaxation