People today are suffering more and more with mental health issues, conditions and struggling with setbacks. There is such stigma linked with mental health. At times we daren’t admit to having a mental health condition in case we get laughed at, loose our job or get judged for not being strong. On the contrary admitting to being mentally ill takes huge strength. Like crying in public, this is a show of feelings and therefore is good for us and enables those around to us feel empathy and be moved, which is a positive thing. It teaches us that we need to be empathic in order to help others, rather than ridicule and laugh because we are fearful of what the outcome will be.
Mental health can bring up so many issues. We have to be very careful what we say, do, how we are at work, how we look, act and so on. Of course there is an etiquette in how we should be for professional reasons but we are also on a slippery slope at times in how we are too contrived, not let ourselves be ourselves and therefore we need to be seen and acting in a certain way all the time because we care what people think too much.
We are hearing more and more stories about bi-polar, depression, suicide, PTSD and the most common anxiety. Modern Life can be very hard for us. We have to be the best at what we do whether we are working mums, in families, have children, trying to avoid poverty, and benefit cuts, trying to beat alcoholism and so on. There seem to be so many people out there with such life’s difficulties; if we all did something small to help we can make a positive impact. If we took time to listen or to be there for someone we can make a change. It is vital to be able to help others because one day we may need that help back. There needs to be a level of self-awareness in order to give someone the comfort they deserve when feeling low.
My time in mental health as a worker was mostly a positive one. There were a few times that were difficult. They touched on my own emotions with troubled people and horrendously difficult times when suicide was an issue. I believe that some individuals are so overwhelmed that they cannot talk about their issues. My friend very sadly died in 2007 of an overdose from cocaethylene (cocaine and alcohol mixed). He could not talk to me about his feelings, after something so terrible happened to him many years before so as a result he would use cocaine and drink. I tried to reach out to him in the months before he died. He never picked up his phone to answer my calls and never returned them. Mental health isolated him and cannot be described how one feels unless they take the time to the explain how they feel.
More needs to be done on this serious subject. We need to be talking about it in schools. We need to be making the effort to give individuals a helping hand so that they feel confident that what they have been through becomes easier in their life. We need to listen to individuals and to make sure the right treatment is given and promptly.
I think the most prominent issue is when feelings come and go. We try to cover them up when what we ought to really do is go with them…let them flow through us and experience a period of isolation, feeling low, feeling hopeless or helpless; only then can we be in touch with ourselves. But this is so difficult to grasp. Some of us fear away from our feelings. They are powerful, they can take over us, make us feel horrid and obscure. They create strange behaviours. This is where feelings can be destructive. But by acknowledging and accepting them we know we can then do something about them. Being conscious of them we are able to do something about them.
Modern interventions are somewhat used in today’s mental health system but with Tory cuts and waiting lists that are getting longer the NHS cannot cope and mental health departments have less money. So much more could be done, talking therapies work and with IAPT (Improving Access To Psychological Therapies) now on the list there are more people with acute mental health issues being seen to. But there are a number of others that still get left behind. Mind, Restore, Rethink and other voluntary services had a massive overhaul four years ago when the government cuts began to seep through. These services are still thankfully available and for many a godsend. A safe place to be and help is given.
Other interventions that I have found are complementary therapies. I have treated many people with massage, ear acupuncture, reflexology and nutrition. These types of therapy are non-invasive and can be used alongside modern interventions and medication. Massage helps to alleviate by working on all the muscles and de-stressing the immune system, improving psychological awareness and making the person relax in a way that tension has not enabled them to before. Reflexology can work wonders in improving the immune system, balancing the body and unblocking any areas of tension in each system. Ear acupuncture works on promoting nervous system and detoxifying certain organs that substance misuse affects, this slows down the body and promotes a meditative state that can induce relaxation, positivity and a sleep like state. Eating well can make such a difference. By eating the right foods; more oily fish, EFAs, vegetables and antioxidants, complex carbs and drinking lots of water we can make a difference. By reducing alcohol, coffee and junk food we can feel better and create well-being without drugs. What also works meditation, plenty of sleep, yoga and relaxation.
Originally published at www.rosbarresi.co.uk.