World Mental Health Awareness Day 2017 – male depression

Well it wouldn’t be a mental health awareness blog without some more mental health awareness would it 😊

Today is mental awareness awareness day or 10th October 2017 to the rest of you. This day is used to help raise awareness of a multitude of areas connected to mental health. It isn’t a day to start pointing the finger at people and calling them names!!

At some point you or someone you know will suffer from a mental health illness. Whether it is stress, depression, anxiety or something much more. We all need to to work together to tackle the stigma. Mental health illness does not make you weak or inferior. It doesn’t just affect women a lot of men suffer in silence afraid of what others may think. Guys if real men wear pink then even realer men reveal their emotions! Go on let out a cry if you need too and talk to someone about it!

I am using today to raise awareness of men’s suffering. Why should they suffer? What makes them different from women? Well to be honest I can’t personally speak for every man out there and clearly I’m not one but I suspect it comes down to gender stereotyping. Men are expected to be all macho and never reveal their emotions – well perhaps dodgy humour is permitted in some circumstances. However, generally the ‘man of the house’ is to be the bread winner, the one who chairs his household like a godfather. Everyone comes to him with their problems and he has all the answers. Well the truth is men you’re not so dissimilar to us women. We’re ‘expected’ to know the answers (think childcare etc), were suppose to keep the house together (housework).

We shouldn’t conform to any gender stereotyping we should just be who we want to be. Some women are more dominant in their family and the men more care givers. Nothing wrong with this!!!

Men you can cry, laugh and shout out loud. You are allowed to have breakdowns although we’d prefer it that you seek help before that happens. You can feel insecure about your body (by the way the ideal man in most women’s eyes isn’t some 6ft body builder, most of us like a man with the six pack in the fridge). You can feel down in the dumps, stressed etc just talk to someone. Communication is key to getting better. You wouldn’t leave a broken foot unseen so don’t try to stick a plaster over your mind and assume it will heal by itself.

I’m obviously no mental health expert or therapist but I encourage people to just talk to their peers. I can guarantee you are not the only one in your friendship circle to be suffering in silence.

Possible triggers (no particular order):

  • Marriage / relationship breakdown
  • Domestic violence
  • Abuse
  • Bullying / harassment
  • Redundancy
  • Illness
  • Bereavement
  • Self esteem / body issues
  • Change in family (new baby, marriage)
  • Parents divorcing
  • Alcohol or something balance abuse

Nothing above is any different for a man or woman to suffer depression it’s just men don’t talk about it.

Us women are great talkers (ok not all of us), we have a natter with our girlies and generally try to put the world to rights over a cuppa tea. Men you tend to kick a ball around or have a pint or two but not generally talk feelings it’s more shop talk (sex, that woman’s boobs, tv, sport etc). Now correct me if I’m wrong but it’s rare that’s I’ve known men to have a heart to heart with the lads about their marriage breakdown, girlfriend troubles, erectile dysfunction, grief etc. You seem to pop those issues on a shelf to gather dust and let it get worse and worse. Why? I would really like for you to reach out to me and explain why. Is it because you are deeply private individuals or is there more to it. Is it more to do with gender stereotyping that men shouldn’t talk about these things? In today’s society I believe men and women are equal to talk about their feelings. It’s natural to talk (some more than others). If the second in line to be king of England can share his feelings with the nation then surely you can open up to your best mate. Even if you don’t want to talk to your wife / girlfriend or partner at least chat to your bestie that’s what friends are for. True friends won’t judge you and probably relate to you more than you think. It’s like that old age phrase ask the question because you can guarantee someone else is thinking the same. There’s also no such thing as a stupid question just one that’s left unanswered.

So men reach out and have a chat with your nearest and dearest (or GP). You’ll not be locked away and thrown in a padded cell for having voices in your head. You can be helped but only if you choose to seek help.

If you’re a man suffering with depression and would like to reach out and share you’re story why not get in contact with me. I could always do with a regular male voice on the blog.

Katherine xo

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 10 OCTOBER 2017

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year.

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The day provides an opportunity “for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide”. This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is mental health in the workplace.

The theme for World Mental Health Day 2017 is workplace wellbeing. So whether you’re an individual looking to boost your own wellbeing or an employer seeking advice on supporting your staff, we’ve got a range of ways you can get involved.

 

6 Top tips for self managing stress or depression

Are you living with stress and want to know some self help top tips.

1. Notice your individual triggers

We all have little triggers that set us off but to help you manage stress you should try to hone in on what sets you off. Is it the useless printer at work or the way a colleague speaks to you. Find out so you can manage it.

2. List your worries

This is probably an easy task for someone who perhaps kept a journal in their youth. This tip is all about jotting down your worries. If you can see them written down you can look at setting some goals to do something about them.

3. Be better organised

It is true that the more organised an individual the less stressed they become. Start with to do lists and list out all the big and little tasks that you need to do. Start with the most interesting and easy win tasks to help build your confidence up. For example if one task is to clean the house why not sort out one room (or even make that task smaller by just sorting a drawer). Once you’ve achieved that task why not see how long you can keep that room / area tidy then move on to another room. Break tasks down into manageable and achievable goals.

4. Get active

This gets said so often that it goes unnoticed at times. Physical health and mental health are linked. If your physically more active this releases endorphins which are the happy hormones. This can help your overall wellbeing.

5. Have a rest

Your not superman (or superwoman) you don’t need to do everything all at once. As mentioned in point 3 break tasks down into management targets. Don’t be afraid to have a nap at lunch time if you need it. You need to have physical strength to tackle mental tasks.

You should also try and mix up you breaks at work. Can you go for a stroll at lunch time. Read a book in the canteen / staff room? Meet a friend for coffee at the local coffee shop? These little changes in location can have a positive impact on your working afternoon.

6. Praise yourself

It’s a well known fact that society is so focused on bad feedback that we rarely stop and say I did a good job today.

Why not gloat about your achievements – write them down. Give your self brownie points (or gold stars). Don’t feel ashamed if your achievement was something as little as walked from a bus stop one stop earlier than normal. It’s your personal achievement not someone else’s. If you start to look more positively of yourself it will show.

Lastly Get talking

Now this step is not easy! Some people are able to talk to anyone including perfect strangers about their issues. If you’re not one of these people why not look at social media. Could you take to blogging?

Katherine xo

Top 10 mental health topic books

To celebrate world reading day we are sharing a top 10 list of mental health topic books for you to devour.

 1. Being miss nobody by Tamsin Winter.

Rosalind hates her new secondary school. She’s the weird girl who doesn’t talk. The Mute-ant. And it’s easy to pick on someone who can’t fight back. So Rosalind starts a blog – Miss Nobody; a place to speak up, a place where she has a voice. But there’s a problem…

Is Miss Nobody becoming a bully herself?

2. Panther by David Owen.

Life isn’t going terribly well for Derrick; he’s become severely overweight, his only friend has turned on him, he’s hopelessly in love with a girl way out of his league, and it’s all because of his sister. Her depression, and its grip on his family, is tearing his life apart. When rumours start to circulate that a panther is roaming wild in his south London suburb, Derrick resolves to turn capture it. Surely if he can find a way to tame this beast, he’ll be able to stop everything at home from spiraling towards disaster?

Panther is a bold and emotionally powerful novel that deals candidly with the effects of depression on those who suffer from it, and those who suffer alongside them.

3. We’re All Mad Here by Claire Eastham.

Anxiety is a crafty shapeshifter that can take on many forms: the tiger that sinks its claws in with physical symptoms and distressing thoughts, the cruel and belittling bully creating insecurity and self-doubt and, worst of all, the frenemy rewarding avoidance of social situations with no physical symptoms, no cruel thoughts… and no life beyond your sofa!

This no-nonsense guide to beating social anxiety covers everything from surviving university and the workplace, through to social media and making it through parties and dates (whilst actually enjoying them!) With honest insights about her own social anxiety and a healthy dose of humour, award-winning blogger Claire Eastham describes what social anxiety is, why it happens, and how you can lessen its effects with lifestyle choices, talking therapies or even a hug from your favourite canine friend!

4. Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne.

All Evie wants is to be normal. And now that she’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the-girl-who-went-nuts, there’s only one thing left to tick off her list… But relationships can mess with anyone’s head – something Evie’s new friends Amber and Lottie know only too well. The trouble is, if Evie won’t tell them her secrets, how can they stop her making a huge mistake?

5. Ruby by Cynthia Bond

***SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS’ WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016***

‘LUMINOUS’ Guardian

‘STUNNING’ New York Times

‘EXCEPTIONAL’ Uzo Aduba (Orange Is The New Black)

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city-the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village-all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen, where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.

6. Beautiful broken things by Sara Barnard

I was brave

She was reckless

We were trouble

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realizes, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

Beautiful Broken Things is a moving story of friendship from debut author Sara Barnard, shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and selected as part of Zoella’s Book Club.

7. The uncommon life of Alfred Warner in six days by Juliet Conlin

Approaching 80, frail and alone, a remarkable man makes the journey from his sheltered home in England to Berlin to meet his granddaughter. He has six days left to live and must relate his life story before he dies…

His life has been rich and full. He has witnessed firsthand the rise of the Nazis, experienced heartrending family tragedy, fought in the German army, been interred in a POW camp in Scotland and faced violent persecution in peacetime Britain. But he has also touched many lives, fallen deeply in love, raised a family and survived triumphantly at the limits of human endurance. He carries within him an astonishing family secret that he must share before he dies… a story that will mean someone else’s salvation.

Welcome to the moving, heart-warming and uncommon life of Alfred Warner.

8. When we collided by Emery Lord

Seventeen year old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he’s not. Now Jonah must numbly take care of his family as they reel from their tragedy. Cue next change: Vivi Alexander, new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. A gorgeous and unfiltered hurricane of thoughts and feelings. She seems like she’s from another planet as she transforms Jonah’s family and changes his life. But there are always consequences when worlds collide .

A fierce and beautiful love story with a difference, When We Collided will thrill fans of All the Bright Places and I’ll Give You the Sun.

9. The anxiety solution by Chloe Brotheridge

The Anxiety Solution is your guide to being a calmer, happier and more confident young woman.

‘Remarkable, pioneering, could change your life’ Daily Mail

10. I’ll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson

From the author of The Sky Is Every­where, a radiant novel that will leave you laughing and crying – all at once. For fans of John Green, Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver. Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

We hope you enjoy reading please do leave a comment on any reviews you have to help others decide which one to read next.

Katherine xo