Time To Talk Day

Time to Talk Day takes place Thursday 4th February 2021 and more than ever, it is important as the global pandemic has detrimentally impacted on our mental health- from the elderly to the young.

Every day and in the month of February, we are reminded about the mental health and wellbeing of our family, friends and work colleagues and especially ourselves.

In a fight to save lives and to social distance, we have become socially isolated from our home comforts; the warmth and simple yet powerful acts such hugging and holding hands, so, having small conversations or videos chats with the people you care about can really have a positive impact on us and make a big difference.

The Power of Small

We know that the more conversations we have, the more myths we can bust and barriers we can break down, helping to end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many of us with mental health problems are made to feel.

Time to Talk Day is the day that the nation gets talking about mental health. This year’s event might look a little different, but at times like this open conversations about mental health are more important than ever.

Time To Change need your help to start the conversation this Time to Talk Day – together we can end mental health stigma.

Visit to in out and to take parthttps://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day 

  “Around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem this year yet the shame and silence can be as bad as the mental health problem itself. Your attitude to mental health could change someone’s life.”

Watch Time To Changes’ video on Mental Health:  https://youtu.be/PLAfyb1Q0MY

Ask Twice

“Sometimes we say we’re fine when we’re not. So, we’re asking you, if your mate’s acting differently: ask twice.”

1 in 4 of us experience a mental health problem in any year. And worryingly, the current restrictions on our lives mean men are missing out on support from those around them. So, if a mate says he’s fine, he might not be. A second “How are you?” can make all the difference.

To read more visit:

Myths and Facts- https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/node/103150

Ask Twice- https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/asktwice

Walk Your Dog Month

January is a great month to kick start a new habit that you can continue all year round.   Wouldn’t it be great to start two or at least kill two birds at the same time? Along with Vegan January and making New Year’s Resolutions, did you know January is Walk your dog month?

For a dog owner every month is Walk Your Dog month, but if you are a dog owner January is a great month to add an extra walk or go for a longer walk.  With Christmas a distant memory and with the cold weather and those January blues to deal with – it can be tempting to put off walking your dog, but it may be precisely what you and your dog need.

In both the US and the UK people and animals are becoming overweight and obese therefore if you think this description fits you or your dog, before commencing extra activity please consult your doctor or vet.

So, what are the benefits of walk your dog month?

  • Bonding time with your dog
  • Great way to exercise for both you and your dog
  • Improves mental well-being for both you and your dog
  • Meet other people and their dogs

So, what can you do?

In case you think walking your dog will become boring try these tips:

  • Change your routine (your walk route)
  • Walk your dog with style (i.e., buy your dog a new lead, or buy yourself a new outfit)
  • Teach your dog some new tricks (take the time to teach your dog some tricks while out for a walk)

So, what is stopping you?

For ideas on how to do it right see here:

https://www.rover.com/blog/january-is-walk-your-dog-month/

Cervical Cancer Prevention

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is 18th to 24th January with the aim to let as many people as possible know how they can reduce their risk of the disease and to educate others!

Cervical cancer starts in the cells in the cervix. The cervix joins the top of the vagina to the lower part of the womb.

Cervical cancer can develop on the outer surface of the cervix and inside the cervix in the cervical canal. Most cervical cancers develop where these parts of the cervix meet – an area called the transformation zone.

Help raise awareness, fundraise and campaign:

https://www.jostrust.org.uk/get-involved/campaign/cervical-cancer-prevention-week

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Very early-stage cervical cancer may not cause any symptoms.

Common symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • heavier periods that you normal have
  • vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex, or after the menopause

If you get symptoms between your regular cervical screening appointments, do not wait for your next appointment. Talk to your GP or practice nurse and get checked out. These symptoms can be embarrassing, but your GP or practice nurse will understand.

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/cervical-cancer

 

How can I reduce my risk of Cervical Cancer?

  • Attending Cervical Screening when invited. Regular Cervical Screening is the best way to identify abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix at an early stage.
  • Taking up the HPV vaccination if aged 11-18. Although the HPV vaccine can significantly reduce the risk of cervical cancer, it does not guarantee that you will not develop the condition. You should still attend cervical screening tests, even if you’ve had the vaccine.
  • Avoid smoking. You can reduce your chances of getting cervical cancer by not smoking. People who smoke are less able to get rid of the HPV infection from the body, which can develop into cancer.
  • Safer sex. Most cases of cervical cancer are linked to an infection with certain types of human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV can be spread through unprotected sex, so using a condom can reduce your risk of developing the infection.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-cancer/prevention/

Healthy Eating and Fitness

So, Christmas has passed and the New Year looms.  It is that time of the year when we realise, we’ve gained a few extra pounds and our clothes are tighter.  We promise to begin eating healthily and exercising.  For we all know, eating healthily and exercising is good for us. Yet how much do we really know about healthy eating?  Here is a quick quiz to get you started.

https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/tools-calculators/nutrition-quiz

So many diets exist that it can feel overwhelming to find the right one to try.  Some eating patterns have more scientific backing than others. Whether you are looking to shed pounds or simply to boost your overall health, try to find diets that are supported by research. For some idea see here:

https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/about-us/news/blogs/which-diet-is-right-for-you

Along with healthy eating exercise is important. Exercise need not be boring or difficult.  There are so many good reasons to exercise. You can manage your weight, improve your mood, live longer and ward off heart disease. For some cardio exercise ideas see this page:

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/cardio-exercises-list#_noHeaderPrefixedContent

To make lasting change requires commitment and motivation, possibly the hardest part of a new healthy lifestyle.  In this Ted Talk, psychologist Dan Ariely discusses a couple tricks that may help us to do the right thing.

https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_how_to_change_your_behavior_for_the_better

Good luck everyone.  Let us know how you do.

World AIDS Day- December 1st

World Aids Day is on the 1st December and has been remembered every year since 1988.  This day is dedicated to uniting us in the fight against HIV, raising awareness of Aids and the HIV Infection and to support people living with the virus.  World AIDS Day is important as it reminds us the virus has not gone away – there is still a need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education.  For more information about this day visit, https://www.worldaidsday.org/

Here is a brief reminder about AIDS and HIV.  AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is a collection of illnesses caused by a virus picked up by people that makes their immune system weak. You can’t get an AIDS diagnosis unless you’re already HIV positive. To learn more about the virus, the signs, symptoms and living with the disease see the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv-and-aids/

 

 

Today, we know much more about the virus than we did in the 1980s, when it was first identified.  Medication and scientific advancements have helped in the treatment of AIDS and there is support for people living with the virus.  To learn more about the Terrence Higgins charity, which helps support people living with the virus see, https://www.tht.org.uk/our-work 

For a personal account of a nurse who worked with AIDS patients in the 1980s see the following clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PNiRNI2Oa8.

 

What can you do?

  • Wear a red ribbon leading up to and on the 1st December to raise awareness and support for people living with the AIDS virus.
  • Raise money to help fight the virus, for more information see https://www.worldaidsday.org/campaign/

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs particular seasons.  It is more common in winter, as we adjust to the change in seasons and feel lower in mood and energy.

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • a persistent low mood
  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • irritability
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/

Listen to Sarah’s story and read Vicky’s story

Sarah explains how she developed SAD and what it’s like living with it day to day and Vicky talks about the misconceptions surrounding SAD:

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/about-sad/

What can I do to help myself?

There are lots of simple things you can do which might help boost your mood:

  1. Get natural sunlight – Getting outside in the natural sunlight as much as possible can help boost your mood. Even a short daily walk can help. If you find it hard to get out, try and make your home as bright as possible by opening the curtains and sitting near the window.
  2. Stay active – Regular activity, especially outdoors on a bright day, can help with symptoms of low mood and depression.
  3. Connect with others – Winter can make us feel more isolated, but there are lots of ways to keep in touch. From email and text message to a good old-fashioned post, try to find ways to reach out to friends and family.

Age UK’s Call in Time service offers anyone over 60 the opportunity to receive a weekly phone call from a like-minded volunteer. It’s a great way to make a new friend and enjoy regular conversation.

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/conditions-illnesses/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/

If you’re feeling down, lacking in energy, or have lost pleasure in the things you used to enjoy, talking can help. Speak to your GP about how you are feeling.

Alcohol Awareness Week

What is Alcohol Awareness and Mental Health Week? 

Alcohol Awareness with mental health Week  takes place Monday 16 to Sunday 22 November 2020.

About 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems every year.  Alcohol is one of the increasing contributors and  is seen by people as a coping mechanism for problems caused by anxiety, stress, depression or other mental health related problems.

However, this “self-medicating” is only temporarily solved and short-lived by alcohol.  Depression is one of the most common forms of mental health and with alcohol problems either will trigger the other, so keeping a check on alcohol consumption might help stop trigger depression.

Long-term effects of self-medicating use of alcohol:

Continued use of alcohol and overuse will contribute to mood swings, loosing control over you moods, depression, self-esteem and increase to mental health problems, health and well-being, contribute to relationship break downs and financial problems.

What can you do to slow down and keep a check your consumption?

Look up how much is too much and how to keep a balance with calculators available through various website, such as Alcohol Change UK or the NHS OneYou website and download the app: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-body/drink-less/

 

Why not speak to your GP about any of the symptoms below and how or when you can get support to reduce alcohol consumption:

  • seizures (fits)
  • hand tremors (‘the shakes’)
  • sweating
  • seeing things that are not actually real (visual hallucinations)
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)

Look for support on the NHS website for local support:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/

https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/other-services/Alcohol-addiction/LocationSearch/1805

Useful contacts for alcohol problems

  • Drinkline is the national alcohol helpline. If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s drinking, you can call this free helpline in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a free self-help group. Its “12 step” programme involves getting sober with the help of regular support groups.
  • Al-Anon Family Groups offers support and understanding to the families and friends of problem drinkers, whether they’re still drinking or not. Alateen is part of Al-Anon and can be attended by 12- to 17-year-olds who are affected by another person’s drinking, usually a parent.
  • We Are With You is a UK-wide treatment agency that helps individuals, families and communities manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Adfam is a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol. Adfam operates an online message board and a database of local support groups.
  • The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) provides a free, confidential telephone and email helpline for children of alcohol-dependent parents and others concerned about their welfare. Call 0800 358 3456 for the Nacoa helpline.
  • SMART Recovery groups help people decide whether they have a problem, build up their motivation to change, and offer a set of proven tools and techniques to support recovery.
  • MIND for information on addiction and dependency.

Movember

November is Movember month.

Movember (an annual event) involves the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, i.e. prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.  It’s serious business!

Globally, men are dying six years earlier than women and from largely preventable causes. To all the men out there concerned about their health, a friend’s or loved one, take action to live healthier, happier and longer lives.

Guys-Some tips for Life

  1. Stay Connected– Talk to the people you care about and make you feel good. Check up and make time for them.
  2.  Talk More– Listening sharing and being there for someone can help be life-saving.
  3.  Know Your Numbers– They say at 50, you should talk to a doctor about prostate cancer but seeking advice earlier on in your late 40s never hurts. For a good overview on prostate cancer see:  https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/prostate-cancer
  4. As November says “Know Thy Nuts” Simple! -Do regular checks and if something isn’t right, see your doctor.
  5.  Move More– add more activity to your daily routine e.g. cycle to work or go for walks in the park.

Helpful NHS Information

For more information on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatments of testicular cancer and prostrate cancer, see the NHS website:

Testicular cancer https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/testicular-cancer/

Prostate cancer https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-cancer/

For useful contact numbers if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts again see the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/suicide/

We need to Talk. We need to listen.

Recommended Video to watch

Lloyd Pinder gives his honest story discovering and living with prostate cancer. It encourages all men to get checked.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBhfq-jH_1M

So, what can you do to raise money?

  • Grow a moustache for the month of November and raise money for charity
  • Run or walk 60km over the month. That’s 60km for the 60 men we lose to suicide each hour, every hour across the world.
  • Host a Moment (virtually or in person) host an event to raise money
  • Mo your own way (do your own thing to raise money)
  • Movember in the workplace (get your building/ team involved in raising money)