mental health


Self-Injury Awareness Day: The Facts

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Trigger warning: Self injury, self-harm, suicide, 
clip art of a plaster/bandage with a pink heart on centre portionSelf injury, also known as self harm (which LifeSigns UK defines different to self-injury), can affect anyone—no matter their age, gender, race or religion, or socioeconomic status. Self-injury is an unhealthy coping method used when the burden of one’s feelings are too great. In this situation, some people turn to self-injury as a physical release to an emotional problem. Different issues can contribute to a person beginning to self-harm: poor body image, low elf-esteem, perfectionism and desire to achieve well (often in regard to school grades but also in other areas of life); others may have endured trauma or abuse, however many who self-harm do not fit these categories. Anything that may be causing emotional distress may lead to a person resorting to self-harm as a coping mechanism. [1]
Self-injury is not the same as being suicidal. Self-injury, by definition, is “deliberate, non-suicidal behaviour that inflicts physical harm on your body”, and is “aimed at relieving emotional distress”. [1.1] Cutting, burning, and poisoning or drug overdose are all common forms of self-injury. [1.2]
In the UK, you can reach out to LifeSigns UK for help in dealing with your self-injury. Know also that your GP, counsellor or mental health professional can provide you resources and assist you in developing better coping mechanisms. Some alternative coping behaviours suggested by LifeSigns UK include writing, creating something, listening to music, or going for a walk. [1.3]
If you know someone who self-injures or you think may self-injure or be at risk, learn more about how you can help in the right ways.
If you are affected by self-injury, some medical conditions may make wearing medical ID jewelry important, especially as you are working on alternative coping methods. To learn more about alternative coping methods, finding resources and support, and Self Injury Awareness Day, visit LifeSigns UK.

World Mental Health Day

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Mental health awarenessAs the years advance, it is fortunate that we hear more and more about mental health, wellbeing, mental health or brain illness, and what supports are available to help with our mental health. Conditions like anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder are becoming more commonly discussed and understood—we know anxiety is not simply panic disorder or panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder is commonly seen among military veterans but is also seen in people who have gone through other traumatic experiences, and that depression exists in the more commonly recognized major depressive disorder form, but also that it is common to have a low-grade depression, or low mood, for a long period of time, which is known as dysthymia.
We also see more and more support services advertised—from helplines, to local charities, and runs and walks that raise money for foundations that promote mental health and assist people who are living with mental health disorders. It is now more commonly understood that people do not develop mental illness due to any sort of personal weakness or fault, but because our brain chemistry and the events we go through in our lives simply may predispose us to develop any number of mental health conditions. We also have more medications available to help treat mental illness, and these medications are becoming more widely accepted and, slowly, the stigma of using anti-anxiety medicines, anti-depressants, and even medicines for attention deficit disorder is—among most people, anyways—decreasing, allowing more people to access the medicines that they have discussed with their doctors, and feel that they are making a more positive choice rather than feeling isolated or stigmatized by their choice to use medicine to help them heal.
Along with medication, therapy, social support, and a variety of other strategies and treatment methods can help people take control of their mental health. Preventative type mental health programs or interventions are becoming increasingly common, such as mindfulness meditation which is now widely available in smartphone applications and can help people feel calmer and more in control of their circumstances.
This World Mental Health Day, take some time for you, and if you are struggling, remember there are people who are there to help.
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