“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new centre of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”
A woman’s position in society is forever changing. With everything that has happened this month every woman across the UK is questioning safety, boundaries, relationships and gender identity. There will always be change and society is constantly evolving.
What is important now is to show kindness and respect to one another, whilst listening to the voice of all women and then focussing on how to share personal stories and let voices be heard. That is what will bring about true change not through violence but through compassion and listening.
In its simplest form, resilience can be defined as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress”. In essence, resilience is our ability to ‘bounce back’ when faced with challenges.
Why is resilience important for mental health?
Resilience is key to help us overcome adversity and maintain good mental health in the face of challenges that we will all face in our lifetime, such as bereavement or unemployment. Adversity can be extreme, for example the war in Ukraine and the chronic stress, anxiety and forced migration this is causing civilians. Adversity increases risk of developing a mental illness; however, research has found incidence of mental illness to be reduced in those who are resilient.
Why are some people more resilient than others?
While many individuals are mentally resistant to the repercussions of traumatic events, many people will develop chronic, debilitating mental disorders that reduce their quality of life and daily functioning. Why some people are more resilient than others is a complex question with several factors to consider, including:
Political/Social landscape: Social and political systems differ in terms of their capability to support and promote the psychological wellbeing of groups and individuals. For example, the current resilience of Ukrainian armed forces and civilians is in part being supported by a strong government and international aid. This moral togetherness and material support facilitates individuals’ ability to cope and maintain mental resilience.
The importance of childhood: Research shows that being presented with and overcoming challenges in childhood without parental intervention helps build resilience through development of problem solving skills, emotion regulation and self-efficacy. These experiences, ideally paired with a secure attachment to the parent are key to develop resilience skills which are carried into adulthood .
Social Connections: Research shows that more social connections, and close friendship groups help combat stress and anxiety, and aid in resilience against adversity, as evidenced during the Covid – 19 pandemic
Christmas is always a joyful time of the year. Families enjoy decorating the whole house together, decorating the Christmas tree, exchanging gifts , baking and decorating Christmas cookies and also making Christmas cards. It’s a wonderful season that brings loved ones together and connected in a special way.
However, with the cost of living rising the festive season is looking rather expensive for families this year. Usually hundreds of pounds are spent on Christmas gifts and presents for our loved ones.
The cost of living crisis has had a huge impact on the lives of people within the economy. Families have had to resort to local food banks to help feed themselves and their families this season. Some people may be worries about how to pay their bills and have an enjoyable Christmas. This can have a negative impact on mental health and put people in real mental crisis. It is hard to get into the spirit of the season. Thats why more than ever it is important to be kind to one another.
With all this going on it seems nearly impossible to stay positive and have an enjoyable Christmas. However there is always a solution to every problem.
Reach out to a loved one or neighbour. Is there someone you see in your area that could do with some food and a smile? Christmas is meant to bring families together even distant ones. Reach out to friends or families and don’t be alone with your feelings and worries. Or do something in your community go to help at a local crisis centre or food bank. Please access organisations or support groups that are available 24/7 and are always willing to help. It may be a difficult time but you are never alone.
Remember to not overwork yourself this period. The bills are coming in and the kids need to be happy but this can lead to negative issues that cause harm to your body and I doubt your family would choose money over your wellbeing. Finally, spend time with your family or community. It’s Christmas after all .
Gambling addiction is a prevalent issue in the UK today and rates have increased across the pandemic, especially amongst younger people. It has recently been recognised as a serious mental illness, as brain imaging shows the neural reward pathways that are formed, similar to those seen in alcohol and drug addiction. The seriousness of the illness can also be seen in the disastrous effects it can have on one’s life, including relationship issues, job loss and bankruptcy, all of which increase suicide risk.
Diagnosing Gambling Addiction (DSM V) (APA, 2013)
The diagnostic and statistical manual for diseases (DSM V) diagnoses ‘gambling disorder’ according to whether the individual exhibits four (or more) of the following symptoms in a 12-month period:
Causes and Risk Factors:
Gambling Environment: Seeing others, especially parents and friends gambling normalises the act and increases the risk of addiction
Advertising: Despite being regulated by the Gambling Commission, restrictions on advertising in the UK are evidently still questionable as gambling advertising has steadily been rising since the commission was founded in 2005. This has a particularly harmful effect on young people and vulnerable adults and the sheer quantity of advertising serves to normalise gambling.
Personality traits: Being anxious, neurotic or impulsive can increase risk of any addiction, including gambling
Gender: Men are more at risk of gambling addiction than women, however this gap is smaller than assumed and is shrinking. Recent research shows that women’s gambling addiction is an increasingly prevalent issue that is not recognised and is often hidden
Other mental illnesses: Comorbid illnesses such as anxiety, personality disorders and ADHD all increase the risk of gambling addiction
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is highly effective in treating gambling addiction, involving a therapist working with the client to replace irrational thoughts and behaviours with more considerate and realistic cognitions and decisions.
Medication: Antidepressants and mood stabilisers can be effective in reducing impulsive behaviours, particularly if the client has a dual diagnosis with another mental illness such as depression or anxiety
Group therapy: This may involve talking amongst a group with similar issues. Opening up about your problems and sharing common experiences can be very helpful and supportive contacts and friendships can be built from these meetings.
Family Therapy: Working with patient and their family can be key in identifying why they gamble and the harm it does to their family. Family understanding the illness and actions that they can take to help also aids in recovery.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.
 Emond, A., Nairn, A., Collard, S., & Hollén, L. (2022). Gambling by young adults in the UK during COVID-19 lockdown. Journal of Gambling Studies, 38(1), 1-13.
 Murch, W. S., & Clark, L. (2016). Games in the brain: neural substrates of gambling addiction. The Neuroscientist, 22(5), 534-545.
 Andreeva, M., Audette-Chapdelaine, S., & Brodeur, M. (2022). Gambling-Related completed suicides: a scoping review. Addiction Research & Theory, 1-12.
 McComb, J. L., & Sabiston, C. M. (2010). Family influences on adolescent gambling behavior: A review of the literature. Journal of gambling studies, 26(4), 503-520.
 Newall, P. W. (2017). Behavioral complexity of British gambling advertising. Addiction Research & Theory, 25(6), 505-511.
 Mehroof, M., & Griffiths, M. D. (2010). Online gaming addiction: The role of sensation seeking, self-control, neuroticism, aggression, state anxiety, and trait anxiety. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and social networking, 13(3), 313-316.
 Castrén, S., Heiskanen, M., & Salonen, A. H. (2018). Trends in gambling participation and gambling severity among Finnish men and women: cross-sectional population surveys in 2007, 2010 and 2015. BMJ open, 8(8), e022129.
 Walther, B., Morgenstern, M., & Hanewinkel, R. (2012). Co-occurrence of addictive behaviours: personality factors related to substance use, gambling and computer gaming. European addiction research, 18(4), 167-174.
 Bodor, D., Ricijaš, N., & Filipcic, I. (2021). Treatment of gambling disorder: review of evidence-based aspects for best practice. Current opinion in psychiatry, 34(5), 508-513.
 Lupi, M., Martinotti, G., Acciavatti, T., Pettorruso, M., Brunetti, M., Santacroce, R., … & Di Giannantonio, M. (2014). Pharmacological treatments in gambling disorder: a qualitative review. BioMed research international, 2014.
With all that is going on in the world at the moment many people are feeling anxiety and suffering from depression. Even though we try to get through the day without the stress caused by outside stressors, it can get increasingly difficult to find time for ourselves.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, like a worry or fear that can show mildly or severe. It can present symptoms like a racing heart, shortness of breath and feeling shaky. It can also cause changes in behaviour like being overly cautious or avoiding things that trigger anxiety. It can cause you to not want to go outside, meet loved ones or generally interact with others.
Many people have different triggers but at the moment paying bills is a big cause of anxiety. People even dressed up as bills for Halloween.
There are ways to help us cope with anxiety. Trying to shift the focus helps to try and keep the mind in the present. You can try relaxation, mindfulness or breathing exercises and if they work for you then try and to do the exercises on a regular basis.
Keeping a diary might be a good practice for you as this allows you to understand your anxiety. You can write about how your feeling at different times and this can help you to identify the cause of your anxiety. From there you can build up a plan on how to tackle your anxiety.
Looking at the bigger picture could help you to see the situation your in, in a different light. It allows for you to stop and look at your problem rationally.
Try setting a specific time to look at what’s worrying you. This can help you to go through your concerns each day and can help you to focus on other things.
Now we’ve all heard of the term depression but it gets bounced around that people slip through the cracks. However depression is a genuine health concern and can last weeks or even months. Periods of depression is not something you can just ‘snap out of’.
Many things can cause depression and trigger it. Some of these can include feeling low after illness, bereavement or a breakdown in a relationship. People who are hyper critical of them selves or have low self esteem can be more vulnerable to depression. Alongside Seasonal Affective Disorder with our days becoming less bright we can literally start to feel less able and more down.
Symptoms can include physical, psychological and social and vary between people. Some of the physical symptoms can include constipation, changes in symptoms, lack of motivation or a low sex drive. Then the psychological symptoms include feeling tearful, finding it hard to make decisions, feeling hopeless of helpless or in extreme circumstances having suicidal thoughts or self harming. Finally the social impacts it can cause are neglecting hobbies, withdrawal from friends and family or finding it difficult to live life.
In many cases people can live with depression either it can pass, or you may need to take medication or you may get referred for counselling. If you have any of the symptoms go to your local GP or workplace health provider to get a check up because mental health is just as important as physical health.
Thats why its important now more than ever in this changing world to reach out and get support.
With schools and universities staring up once again, we thought we should talk about how they can both positively and negatively impact our mental health and ways to keep mentally healthy. Many people find going Uni or school to be very stressful this could be due to coursework, monetary issues, relationships, friends or if it’s the first-year stressing about the unknown.
These fears, stresses and built-up anxiety are very normal especially surrounding education and starting a brand-new journey. There are many ways we can help to alleviate some of those stresses. A big cause of anxiety is staring fresh, whether that be a new year or whole new start. For people going back it’s all about seeing those people we may have not seen throughout the summer or staring back on the course and coming to complete blank. For people just starting, it’s meeting new people, going to a totally new place and also maybe the first time away from home or parental control.
Coping Mechanisms to try:
Doing some light reading before the course re-starts.
This one seems quite obvious but when on summer break the last thing you want to do is open a book on what you’re trying to take a break from. Reading little bits before the lectures and classes start allowing for you to retain information from the previous year. It also means there is less anxiety surrounding coming to a dreaded blank.
Meeting up with friends
Meeting up with friends allows for us to support them but also be supported by another person. Even though you may not have met someone for 3 months face-to-face that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still your friend. It means that you probably had 3-hour calls with them or asking them if they are ok after a few days of no contact. Having a support network allows for you to alleviate some of that fear and anxiety because you know if you’ve had a bad day, you could have a chat with your friend.
University and school can be such an overwhelming place and with all that buzz sometimes you don’t have time for yourself. Trying to take that well needed self-care time to just be you and away from others. This could include playing some video games, reading, watching a movie, taking a long bath/shower, or just sitting. This allows for your brain to process what has happened and what could happen.
Take one day at a time
For those people who are brand new it’s a time of anxiety and stress but also excitement for a new experience. The challenge is getting swept up by everything and letting it take over everything. For many this could be the first time away from home and that can be nerve-racking however if you take one day at a time, you can rationalise everything. If you are in student accommodation, it’s meeting your roommate and going to the fresher’s week to meet new people.
Overall, you should celebrate yourself and appreciate that while there are those apprehensions and fears, you can work through it.
Having time to relax is something we should all have however most people seem to not take time for themselves. This means we are burning our selves out, causing our bodies stress, seeing our friends and family less and most importantly letting our mental health deteriorate. Making time to relax is not selfish.
You don’t have to change your lifestyle to help reduce street and feel mentally better. Just taking some time out if your day for yourself.
Clear your mind This means leaving work at work and even for 5mins stop thinking about your problems and try keeping a clear mind.
Have fun and do things you enjoy This tip seems very obvious but many people believe they do not have time to enjoy their hobbies. Even sitting down for 5 minutes and watching a bit of TV may help you relax.
Improve your sleep quality Having quality is important to relaxing your mind and your body. When talking about quality sleep, we mean 7 – 8 hours of sleep not bits of sleep.
Process your emotions Think about what emotions you’re feeling and what your emotions are doing to your body. Unnecessary stress can cause stress on the body.
Overall there are many positives to taking time relax and making sure you take to look after your physical and mental wellbeing.
Men’s mental health is the least spoken about in society as it mainly comes with stigma and stereotypes. In 2022 ,we would expect this to be different as we are accepting differences and being more open however this is not the case. Over many years, men have been expected to behave in a certain way and told to ‘man up’ when they open up about their feelings. These are some statistics from the Men’s health forum which may shock you.
Just over three out of four suicides (76%) are by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35 (Reference: ONS)
12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders
Men are nearly three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent (8.7% of men are alcohol dependent compared to 3.3% of women – Health and Social Care Information Centre)
Men are more likely to use (and die from) illegal drugs
Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women.
Only 36% of referrals to IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) are men.
These figures show just how much we need to beat the stigma surrounding mental health. While this paints a very gloomy picture there is help and support available. There are many charities and organizations set up to help men struggling with their mental health.
Men’s Health Forum – https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/
CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – https://www.thecalmzone.net/
Movember -Supporting Men’s Health – https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/mental-health
Father’s Reaching Out, Father’s Mental Health – https://www.reachingoutpmh.co.uk/
Men’s Sheds UK – Support for Lonely Older Men – https://menssheds.org.uk/
How we as a society understand, look at and express ourselves includes our identities and communities. Pride Month 2022 is a special month as this year marks 50 years of celebrating Pride.
Pride Month takes place in June where the LGBTQ+ community from all around the world comes together to celebrate and raise awareness and promote acceptance that love is love. It’s about embracing who they are and letting the world know who they are; they are proud to be LGBTQ+. Pride also shows how far the LGBTQ+ community has come against much adversity over the last 50 years!
This year we are focusing on gender and the difficulties individuals are facing when exploring their gender identity and expression. Such as individuals who are suffering from gender dysphoria.
Gender dysphoria is when someone is feeling distressed as the biological sex, they were given at birth does not match with their gender identity. This can cause a lot of distress for someone and other serious mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Transgender or Trans is a term which is used to describe an individual who has a different Gender from what they were assigned at birth, either male, female or intersex. Many individuals who are Transgender will take steps to change their body and appearance, to match their gender identity and feel more comfortable in themselves. This can include taking hormones or even undergoing surgery.
Non-binary individuals are people whose gender identity does not fit into the category of male, female. They instead identify as neither, both or something else entirely. It’s common for a non-binary individual’s gender expression to change at varying degrees per individual non-binary expressions come in many forms.
Here at wellbeing for us, we believe it’s of great importance that we create a safe and supportive place for those who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. We strive to provide that safe place for those who are exploring their gender identity and expression as well as any support we can provide along their journey. Our advisers are specially trained to deliver an understanding and effective environment to discuss and promote your mental wellbeing surrounding any LGBTQ+ and gender issues.
For more information for support of guidance for you or a loved one, please get in contact with us.