We all have mental health.

mental-health-begins-with-me-world-mental-health-day-picture“If we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally – Mental Health Foundation, 2016. 

As promised, I’ve written a blog post in honour of #worldmentalhealthday.


Anyone who knows me knows that mental health is incredibly close to my heart having suffered with depression and generalised anxiety disorder since I was 16. I also know many people who have suffered/do suffer with their mental health, I work in a children’s and adolescents mental health hospital, and have worked and volunteered in care homes and mental health forensic services in the past.


I know firsthand that mental health illnesses do not discriminate; they can affect anyone, which is why it’s important that it’s something that everyone is aware of and open to talking about.


This blog post will explain what mental health is and how everyone has one, and as a result of this how mental health affects everyone. I’ll also briefly go over the signs and symptoms for poor mental health in general (however plenty of my other blog posts have the symptoms of specific mental health illnesses written in detail), i’ll talk about mental health first aid and how you can be the first point of contact for help for your loved ones, and then i’ll list several ways as to how you can help your mental health stay as healthy as possible.

Today is world mental health day, so if you haven’t before, today is a good day to start talking, to start listening, and to start breaking the stigma.

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The Brain, the Body, the Behaviour – PTSD


What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and it is a type of anxiety disorder, therefore a lot of this information will be similar to that in my “The Brain, the Body, the Behaviour – anxiety” post. However I believe that PTSD is an important mental health illness to highlight on it’s own. It is well-known for being diagnosed amongst war veterans; previously known in the two world wars as ‘shell shock’.  Due to the environment and events that occur during wars, PTSD is common among veterans with at least 20% of  veterans of the Afganistan and Iraq Wars and 15% of veterans of the Vietnam war  living with it.
However PTSD is not specific to those in the military. PTSD can occur to anyone who has been faced by a frightening or distressing life event. Those who have been involved in serious road accidents, who have suffered from long term abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, neglect, financial, etc.), those who have been the victim of an assault (again, physical, sexual, etc.), victims of terrorist attacks and natural disasters, or witnesses to violent deaths. PTSD can develop immediately after an event, or even weeks/months/years later, depending on personal circumstances, individual levels of resiliance, and the existence of other co-morbid mental health problems. 

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The Brain, the Body, the Behaviour – Anxiety

Anxiety mental health symbol isolated on white. Mental disorder icon design

This is the first of my new series of blog posts – 3Bs; the brain, the body, the behaviour. Each post will be focussed on a mental health problem/illness/disorder and will outline what’s going on in the Brain, and how this affects the Body and the individuals Behaviour (hence, the 3Bs.)  Hopefully this will help educate people about how mental health is not just “all in someones head”, and how in a lot of cases it is a neurological problem that can seriously affect someones physical health and also how they go about their daily lives. This is the first post, and as clearly illustrated above, is on anxiety.

What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a perfectly natural and normal physical reaction the body has when faced with danger, something fearful, or something worrying. For example, it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious when you’re about the sit the most important exam of your life, or if you’re faced with a pack of lions in the middle of nowhere, or if you’re faced with your parents three days after you’ve shouted at them and stormed out in the middle of the night (I know which scenario i’d prefer..). However a lot of people feel irrational anxiety on a daily basis, and it begins to take over their lives. This is what happens when someone develops an anxiety disorder.

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The natural antidepressant


Everyone knows the physical benefits of exercise. We’re brainwashed about it from the age of 7 in P.E. lessons and after school clubs. Lots of us love it (including me, when I have the motivation anyway). However many are sickened by the mere through of exercise: Go to the gym? I bet you can think of more entertaining things that result in sweat. Running? Ladies, I expect you’d rather keep your boobs inside your top and away from your fact at risk of knocking you out. Sport? The majority of us lack the talent (or the gorgeous face, lets be honest) that David Beckham owns.

I personally disagree with these views, I do enjoy my exercise, but I can see why people think them and do not want to exercise. Exercise is hard work, and the societal pressures to have the “perfect body” are actually probably enough to put people off exercising and sit at home instead and order a pizza and either feel sorry for yourself or perfectly content and happy with not exercising (I like the thought of this too actually, balanced lifestyle right?). I don’t blame you, really, having the “perfect body” is not everything, and definitely not at the top of my list of priorities. However, exercise is not only good for the body, it’s good for the mind. The topic of “exercise” is a good one to start viewing your body and mind not as separate things, but one.

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Are our minds more powerful than drugs?


A meta-analysis by University of Oxford has looked into the effectiveness of mindfulness as a treatment for depression, and found that the Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) prevented people relapsing back into depression withing 5 months as well as anti-depressants. However, what does this mean? And what even is mindfulness? And are you even aware that you’re reading my blog….read on to make sense of it all.

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We are failing the children


I can remember, vaguely, being 9 years old. It was 2002, Enrique, Shakira and Atomic Kitten were dominating the charts. I was in year 5 (I was a baby of the year) and I was already excited to get to high school in two years time (God knows why, as soon as I started I couldn’t wait to get to college…oh the vicious cycle of education)

More to the point, I was, luckily and as far as I can remember, a happy 9 year old. I had a few years to go before my mental health deteriorated. However, unfortunately for some, mental health has a way of affecting peoples lives before they are old enough to understand it, and before they even finish their childhood.

Continue reading “We are failing the children”