World Mental Health Day
Members of the Mental Health Liaison Service at NNUH are sharing their advice on World Mental Health Day, which takes place today (10 October).
Gemma Lawrence, Mental Health Acute Care Pathway Operational Manager, said: “The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is kindness. We have seen kindness prevailing across the world this year during some uncertain times and as part of the NNUH mental health team I am often humbled by the kindness and support shown between colleagues to one another and to our patients. Showing kindness to others is often a natural ability for those staff working within the NHS but we must not forget to show kindness to ourselves. World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to encourage us all to stop, take time to reflect, and do something for our own mental health and wellbeing so don’t put off until tomorrow what you can achieve today.”
Clinical Psychologists Dr John Davies and Dr Adrian Leddy, added: “In these challenging times, a simple act of kindness towards another person will go a long way to ensuring that we retain our collective humanity. Call a friend, send a gift to a loved one, help a stranger; gestures such as these will undoubtedly create a shared sense of wellbeing at a time of fear, uncertainty and separation.”
Kim Goodby, Associate Director for Complex Health and Safeguarding, said: “If one of our patients had cancer we would not blame them for having this disease in the body so why, as a society, do we place stigma and blame on mental health issues? It is well documented that stress and anxiety can take a toll on your physical health, causing the body to release stress hormones that speed up your heart rate and breathing, raise your blood sugar and increase blood flow in the body. Overtime the effects of stress and anxiety on your body can affect your heart blood vessels, muscles and other symptoms and can result in the need for a hospital admission, in some cases the simple fact that somebody is in hospital can lead to levels of stress and anxiety that they have not previously experienced.
How we cope with our mental health needs is important but the starting point is for us to start talking about it so others can come forward. If we can acknowledge our own struggles and anxieties we can, in turn, help others to acknowledge their own struggles and accept themselves. Encouraging ourselves to list our triggers and warning signs will mean that our own mental health will not suffer unduly and we can then show greater compassion to those experiencing mental health difficulties in our care.”
Caitlin Buck, Clinical Team Leader for Mental Health Liaison, added: “Relationships can be tough, but the most complicated relationship is the one we have with ourselves. I’ve come to learn that to be happy (or sometimes just to tolerate) being in our own minds and bodies, we need to care for ourselves the way we care for those we love. It’s a balance though. It’s great if we can make time for our wellness. Other times, just to eat cake and survive is enough.”
NHS Wellbeing provides a free service throughout Norfolk and Waveney for anyone age 16 or over. Offering different kinds of support to help you make positive changes in your life, to improve your wellbeing and to help you cope with stress, anxiety and depression. The service also offers a variety of webinars.