World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day and the focus for 2018 is young people and mental health in a changing world.

Mental health, also known as emotional well-being, isn’t just something those with poor mental health, it is something we should all prioritise as part of our overall general health. It just as important as physical health and merits a similar level of awareness. Issues with our mental health can sometimes start in young people and providing sufficient support for early interventions is crucial.

Our mental health is concerned with:

  • Our thinking, feeling and behaviour
  • How we cope with life events and experiences
  • Our beliefs about ourselves, others and the world around us
  • How we are affected by stress
  • How we deal with stress

The majority of any mental health issues will occur by the time someone is 24 years old. Young people have a huge amount to go through during school years including exams, adolescence and puberty, bullying and self-harm, changing schools and making new friends, growing and learning about themselves constantly and so much more. Currently there is not enough funding or resources available to ensure that those young people needing mental health support have access to help. Yet early interventions could make all the difference.

Be Part of the Solution

Mental health for young people needs to be a priority for everyone. It’s also very easy to be part of a solution and to facilitate help and support where needed.

  • Keep the conversation going
    • Mental health issues are not going away. Being open to talking about issues or experience you may have and feel able to share will help increase awareness.
  • Notice what is going on for the young people in your life. Check out the poster below for signs to look out for.
  • Do basic training in Mental Health First Aid.
  • Promote open communication and transparency with the young people in your life. Often, starting a conversation could be the biggest hurdle.
  • Remember that it is healthy to talk about your feelings. Being able to do this with young people may encourage them to be able to do the same.

Mental Health First Aid

Click on the image below to download the pdf poster version free courtesy of MHFA England (Mental Health First Aid England).

There are many resources available online for finding support for young people including here.

Psychotherapy at Bluecoats Sports Club Horsham

Southdowns Psychotherapy is also now at Bluecoats Sports Club in Horsham

I am pleased to announce a second location for Southdowns Psychotherapy.

In addition to a base in Washington, I will offer psychotherapy and counselling services from the therapy room at Bluecoats Sports Club in Horsham. The therapy room is a private room beyond the gym and offers a convenient location close to Horsham town centre. Bluecoats Sports is located within the grounds of Christ’s Hospital school to the south of Horsham town centre. It is within easy distance of the A24 making it accessible to locations up and down the main road including Southwater, Barns Green, Broadbridge Heath, Mannings Heath, Nuthurst, Maplehurst, Billingshurst and surrounding areas.

Bluecoats is under 10 mins walk from Christ’s Hospital train station

I can offer limited times at both locations and welcome you to mention your preferred location when you get in touch.

Bluecoats Sports Health and Fitness Club
Christ’s Hospital
Horsham
RH13 0YB

How Should We Be Talking About Suicide?

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

World Suicide Day is an annual day to encourage awareness about the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 today. As part of a series of a few posts about suicide, this post covers what I feel are the more useful and healthy ways to talk about suicide.

Do I need to worry about the words I use?

Suicide can be an intensely emotive subject and many people feel unclear about what may be considered “useful” or “unhelpful” language to use when talking about suicide. What words should we be using? What are the ways to talk about suicide, suicidal ideation or related issues? It’s also not just those who fear offending or upsetting someone they know who has been affected by suicide. It’s also those who have personal experience of suicide who question whether how they talk about their experience will shock or confuse others.

In this post I will share my suggestions as to how we should be talking about suicide.

First and foremost, I believe that any conversation about suicide can aid awareness and support bringing the topic of suicide further out of the abyss and into everyday conversation.

Whether you’re unsure about the words you use or how to ask someone how their loved one died for fear of upsetting them, the most important thing by far is that you have had the courage to talk about a topic that for many is too difficult. So well done you!

So What works?

For far too long suicide has been a taboo subject, a topic we may not always know how to approach, talk about or even whether it’s ok to share our own experiences and views of. But nowadays suicide awareness is on the up and this is largely due to more people being able to talk about suicide. You may have come across the notion that it’s healthier to not talk about “committing” suicide as that has particular connotations and harks back to the days when suicide was considered illegal. Those days are gone – suicide is not a crime and to say “commit” is outdated. It’s not that it’s necessarily offensive to say ‘to commit suicide’ but it’s more useful to say things like “to die by suicide” or simply “to suicide” in the sense of e.g. “My friend suicided”. Ultimately, anyone affected by suicide will appreciate any effort to talk to them about their experience of suicide, no matter the language used.

Earlier this year the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) launched its “Project 84” to highlight the shocking current suicide statistics in the UK. The Project consisted of 84 sculptures to represent each of the 84 lives that are lost to suicide every week in the UK. There have also been a number of high profile deaths by suicide that have also contributed to our exposure, understanding and awareness. Having been covered in multiple news items there was also much effort that went in to encouraging a more sensitive way of talking about suicide.

The more we can encourage a sensitive and healthy way to talk about suicide, the more we can encourage accuracy and respect in our conversations.

How To Talk About Suicide

The following is a suggested list of words and language that seeks to understand and respect those who experience suicidal thoughts and those who have been affected by suicide.

  • To die by suicide
  • To suicide
  • To take one’s life
  • To end one’s life by suicide
  • To attempt a suicide
  • To complete a suicide attempt or to complete a suicide

Above all, it’s important to remember that all open, direct and honest talk about suicide can help support wider understanding and awareness.

Please note that as an emotive and often personal subject, the above views and suggestions are solely my own and may differ to other’s.

If you are thinking about suicide there is a 24/7 helpline available via the Samaritans on 116 123. There is also a range of resources available on this site and if you would like support through your own suicidal ideation, get in touch.