Anxiety

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.

Depression

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.

Back to education

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.

  • De-stimulating yourself

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.

Relax

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

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.

men, guitars, silhouettes-723557.jpg
  • 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/
  • Mind – www.mind.org.uk

By more men accessing mental health support we can help them to stop being statistics and they can start on the road to recovery.

Pride Month

50 Years of PRIDE 2022

 Pride Month 2022

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.

Mental health statistics: LGBTIQ+ people. Mental Health Foundation. (2022). https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-lgbtiq-people.

Dementia

Dementia is a progressive and irreversible neurological disease characterised by cognitive and physical decline due to decreasing brain function which affects movement, memory, speech and mood.

Diagnosing Dementia

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Diseases[1] (DSM-V) diagnoses dementia according to the following criteria:

A. Evidence of significant cognitive decline from a previous level of performance in one or more cognitive domains:

  • Learning and memory
  • Language
  • Executive function
  • Complex attention
  • Perceptual motor
  • Social cognition

B. The cognitive deficits interfere with independence in everyday activities. At a minimum, assistance should be required with complex instrumental activities of daily living, such as paying bills or managing medications.

C. The cognitive deficits do not occur exclusively during the course of delirium.               

D. The cognitive deficits are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., major depressive disorder or schizophrenia).

Types of Dementia – The Three Most Common Forms:

Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia and is characterised by the build-up of plaques and tangles in the brain, causing the decline and death of healthy cells and neurons, resulting in the ‘shrinking’ of the brain. Memory loss is the main symptom of Alzheimer’s, but other symptoms of the illness include depression, delusions, mood swings and withdrawal.

Vascular Dementia:

  • This is the second most common form of dementia and is caused by limited blood flow to the brain due to damaged blood vessels, for example due to a stroke. The effects are most acute in terms of reduced cognitive speed and concentration, seen in issues with organisation, planning and communication.

Lewy Body dementia

  • This occurs when clumps of proteins called alpha synuclein (‘Lewy Bodies’) build up in the brain, resulting in confusion, delusions, hallucinations and parkinsonian behaviours such as reduced movement and gait changes. Sleep disturbances and changes in the autonomic nervous system are common, causing lower blood pressure, dizziness and incontinence. Memory loss is still present, but the decline is less rapid than that seen in Alzheimer’s.

Causes and Risk Factors

Age

  • Dementia is not a natural part of ageing, however the risk does increase with age, particularly once a person passes the age of 65. A factor in this is that ageing brings with it higher incidence of other health conditions that can increase the risk of dementia such as high blood pressure, reduced blood flow and stroke.

Genetics:

  • Certain genes play a role in increasing risk of dementia, for example the gene APOE4, involved in transporting fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream brings increased Alzheimer’s risk and is expressed in more than one in two individuals with Alzheimer’s[2]. However, genes only play a small role in causation of dementia and no one gene guarantees the development of the illness across generations.

Lifestyle and Environment  

  • Poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, and drinking increase the risk of dementia due to factors such as the high blood pressure and limited blood flow they can cause[3]. Poor diet including processed foods and lack of exercise also increase the risk, especially If this leads to cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure and arterial cholesterol build up[4]. Environmental risk factors include air pollution which is linked to faster cognitive decline[5]

Treatments

Medication

There is no medication that can cure or completely stop dementia, but these medications do act to slow the process and reduce symptoms:

Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors:

  • Acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter in the nervous system, playing an important role in both physical and cognitive function. Individuals with dementia have a lack of acetylcholine, therefore this group of medications works to prevent enzymes breaking down this neurotransmitter, thus allowing for better communication between neurons. While these medications have been shown to be effective, they can have several adverse side effects including nausea, vomiting and insomnia[6].

Memantine Hydrochloride:

  • This medication works to block glutamate production which is often overproduced in those with dementia, causing cell decline and death[7]

Therapies

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST):

  • This is a 14-session therapy course for mild to moderate dementia patients, most commonly delivered in groups and involves activities to stimulate social interaction and memory such as playing games, singing and discussing current news. Research shows CST can be as effective as medication (and avoids side effects)[8].

Life Story Work:

  • This involves working with the patient (and often their family) to reminisce on one’s life in a positive way to help take focus off the dementia. This can be done through a variety of mediums, including music, pictures and objects that take a person back to a happy time in their life.

[1] American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596

[2] Safieh, M., Korczyn, A.D. & Michaelson, D.M. ApoE4: an emerging therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s disease. BMC Med 17, 64 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-019-1299-4

[3] Sahakian, B., Jones, G., Levy, R., Gray, J., & Warburton, D. A. V. I. D. (1989). The effects of nicotine on attention, information processing, and short-term memory in patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 154(6), 797-800.

[4] Peters, R., Peters, J., Booth, A., & Anstey, K. J. (2020). Trajectory of blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol and incident dementia: systematic review. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 216(1), 16-28.

[5] Peters, R., Ee, N., Peters, J., Booth, A., Mudway, I., & Anstey, K. J. (2019). Air pollution and dementia: a systematic review. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 70(s1), S145-S163.

[6] Mohammad, D., Chan, P., Bradley, J., Lanctôt, K., & Herrmann, N. (2017). Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors for treating dementia symptoms-a safety evaluation. Expert opinion on drug safety, 16(9), 1009-1019.

[7] Wang, R., & Reddy, P. H. (2017). Role of Glutamate and NMDA Receptors in Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD57(4), 1041–1048. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-160763

[8] Spector, A., Thorgrimsen, L., Woods, B. O. B., Royan, L., Davies, S., Butterworth, M., & Orrell, M. (2003). Efficacy of an evidence-based cognitive stimulation therapy programme for people with dementia: randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 183(3), 248-254.

Bipolar

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar is a common mood disorder characterised by episodes of mania and depression that can suddenly come on and last for week or months:

  • Mania: This is manifested in extreme optimism, self-esteem and positivity which are part of an overwhelming sense of euphoria. This may seem like a positive mood change but the goal directed energy that comes with mania can cause irrational and inconsiderate behaviours such as reckless driving or misinformed investments. These are not ‘normal’ periods of happiness and involve uncontrollable delusions of grandeur and exhaustion from no sleep and hyperactivity. Given this heightening of emotions, an individual with bipolar may experience a period of psychosis too, during which they lose contact with reality, with delusions and hallucinations being common as well as incoherent speech.
  • Depression: This can be seen in extreme lows in mood, motivation, lethargy, and a general sense of hopelessness, which can often come immediately after a manic episode.

Types of Bipolar:

  • Bipolar I: This type of bipolar involves periods of mania, depression, and other negative moods. The mania is very acute, often accompanied by psychosis and has a very severe effect on daily functioning and often leads to hospitalisation.
  • Bipolar II: Like bipolar one, bipolar two still involves depressive and manic episodes which alternate but they are typically less severe. For example, individuals with bipolar two will experience brief episodes of hypomania which are less extreme than manic episodes. For most individuals with bipolar two, depressive episodes tend to be more difficult than the hypomanic episodes and are often equally as severe as in bipolar one.

Causes and Risk Factors:

  • Genetics: Being a relative of someone with bipolar can increase the risk of the disorder developing in others in the family by as much as 18 times[1]. As with other mental disorders, there is no one gene that causes bipolar and while there are high risk alleles, these are nonspecific in that that are also linked to depression and schizophrenia risk[2][3]
  • Environmental triggers: Adverse life experiences such as bereavement, relationship breakdown and childhood abuse increase vulnerability to bipolar[4][5]. Concussions and traumatic head injuries can also increase the risk of bipolar developing[6]
  • Neurotransmitter Levels: Abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain such as noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine can trigger bipolar behaviours such as mania and depression. For example, elevated levels of noradrenaline have been linked to manic episodes and low levels of noradrenaline are a factor in depressive episodes[7][8]

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of bipolar can be very difficult given the differences between bipolar one and two and the similarity of symptoms in other disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, and manic-depressive disorder. This unfortunately means clinicians may fail to diagnose a case of bipolar in a patient. Given these complexities and different treatments that are needed according to the behaviours presented, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 10) makes different diagnoses according to which bipolar behaviours are being displayed by the individual, including:

  • F31.2: Bipolar affective disorder, current episode manic with psychotic symptoms: “The patient is currently manic, with psychotic symptoms and has had at least one other affective episode (hypomanic, manic, depressive, or mixed) in the past.”[9]
  • F31.4: Bipolar affective disorder, current episode severe depression without psychotic symptoms: “The patient is currently depressed, as in severe depressive episode without psychotic symptoms (F32.2), and has had at least one authenticated hypomanic, manic, or mixed affective episode in the past.”[10]

Treatments

Treatments are key as those with bipolar are at high risk of self-harm and suicide especially during manic and depressive episodes[11]. Medication is commonly used, as well as cognitive behavioural therapy:

  • Mood stabilisers can be very effective, especially in stopping a manic episode and reducing suicide risk. Lithium salts are the most commonly used mood stabiliser for bipolar and can be continued to be used as a long-term solution, but this comes with a number of health risks such as thyroid dysfunction and chronic kidney disease[12]. These potential negative health risks need to be weighed against the long-term benefit of mood stabilisation that lithium can offer, as well as the withdrawal from it that can increase risk of another manic episode occurring, especially if done abruptly[13].
  • Antipsychotics: These are effective in treating mania symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions and are commonly used in addition to lithium, or as an alternative if the patient is not responsive to lithium[14]. However, antipsychotics can also bring negative side effects such as increased risk of heart disease and strokes[15].
  • Antidepressants: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been used as an antidepressant for bipolar. However, their efficacy is very mixed, with research finding they can increase risk of a manic episode but are effective in treating depression in those with bipolar II[16]
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is typically paired with medication and while it is not suited to deal with an acute manic episode, it can help the client to process the anxiety that may come from the fallout of a manic episode, such as financial issues or damaged social relationships[17]. CBT can also help the individual overcome depressive episodes through techniques such as stress management, thus reducing rates of relapse[18][19]

[1] Smoller, J. W., & Finn, C. T. (2003, November). Family, twin, and adoption studies of bipolar disorder. In American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics (Vol. 123, No. 1, pp. 48-58). Hoboken: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company.

[2] Green, E. K., Grozeva, D., Jones, I., Jones, L., Kirov, G., Caesar, S., Gordon-Smith, K., Fraser, C., Forty, L., Russell, E., Hamshere, M. L., Moskvina, V., Nikolov, I., Farmer, A., McGuffin, P., Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, Holmans, P. A., Owen, M. J., O’Donovan, M. C., & Craddock, N. (2010). The bipolar disorder risk allele at CACNA1C also confers risk of recurrent major depression and of schizophrenia. Molecular psychiatry15(10), 1016–1022. https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2009.49

[3] Gordovez, F.J.A., McMahon, F.J. The genetics of bipolar disorder. Mol Psychiatry 25, 544–559 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-019-0634-7

[4] Garno, J. L., Goldberg, J. F., Ramirez, P. M., & Ritzler, B. A. (2005). Impact of childhood abuse on the clinical course of bipolar disorder. The British Journal of Psychiatry186(2), 121-125.

[5] Hosang, G. M., Korszun, A., Jones, L., Jones, I., McGuffin, P., & Farmer, A. E. (2012). Life-event specificity: bipolar disorder compared with unipolar depression. The British Journal of Psychiatry201(6), 458-465.

[6] Mortensen, P. B., Mors, O., Frydenberg, M., & Ewald, H. (2003). Head injury as a risk factor for bipolar affective disorder. Journal of affective disorders76(1-3), 79-83.

[7] Kurita, M., Nishino, S., Numata, Y., Okubo, Y., & Sato, T. (2015). The noradrenaline metabolite MHPG is a candidate biomarker between the depressive, remission, and manic states in bipolar disorder I: two long-term naturalistic case reports. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment11, 353.

[8] Wiste, A. K., Arango, V., Ellis, S. P., Mann, J. J., & Underwood, M. D. (2008). Norepinephrine and serotonin imbalance in the locus coeruleus in bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorders10(3), 349-359.

[9] International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (10th ed,; 5th Revision; ICD-10; World Health Organization, 2016).

[10] International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (10th ed,; Fifth Revision; ICD-10; World Health Organization, 2016).

[11] Jamison, K. R. (2019). Suicide and bipolar disorder. The Science of Mental Health, 115-119.

[12] Volkmann, C., Bschor, T., & Köhler, S. (2020). Lithium Treatment Over the Lifespan in Bipolar Disorders. Frontiers in psychiatry11, 377. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00377

[13] Tondo, L., Alda, M., Bauer, M. et al. Clinical use of lithium salts: guide for users and prescribers. Int J Bipolar Disord 7, 16 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40345-019-0151-2

[14] Geddes, J. R., & Miklowitz, D. J. (2013). Treatment of bipolar disorder. The lancet381(9878), 1672-1682.

[15] Citrome, L., Collins, J. M., Nordstrom, B. L., Rosen, E. J., Baker, R., Nadkarni, A., & Kalsekar, I. (2013). Incidence of cardiovascular outcomes and diabetes mellitus among users of second-generation antipsychotics. The Journal of clinical psychiatry74(12), 8870.

[16] Gitlin, M.J. Antidepressants in bipolar depression: an enduring controversy. Int J Bipolar Disord 6, 25 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40345-018-0133-9

[17] Palmier‐Claus, J., Wright, K., Mansell, W., Bowe, S., Lobban, F., Tyler, E., … & Jones, S. (2020). A guide to behavioural experiments in bipolar disorder. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy27(2), 159-167.

[18] Geddes, J. R., & Miklowitz, D. J. (2013). Treatment of bipolar disorder. The lancet381(9878), 1672-1682.

[19] Colom, F., & Vieta, E. (2004). A perspective on the use of psychoeducation, cognitive‐behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy for bipolar patients. Bipolar Disorders6(6), 480-486.

Climate Change

Climate Change and Mental Health

The UK is currently facing the most severe storms for thirty years, cutting off power to thousands, destroying homes and infrastructure and triggering the first use of a government danger of death warning from flying debris. Storms, floods, and unpredictable seasonal weather are all evidence of climate change in the UK, and these can have a significantly adverse effect on our mental health.

Climate Change and Mental Illness:

Climate change can be both a chronic and acute mental stressor. The constant (chronic) stress it can cause individuals stems from the existential threat of rising sea levels, more extreme temperatures, and the ultimate threat to earths habitability that these changes pose. This causes mental stress, recognised recently in a new set of terms including ‘ecoanxiety’, ‘Eco guilt’ and ‘ecological grief’[1][2]. Those who suffer from chronic mental strain due to environmental change do not necessarily live in places consistently affected by adverse weather, as it is the awareness of global changes that causes the chronic stress. 

Acute stress can occur for those who directly suffer from the results of climate change. This can come in the form of sudden natural changes, disasters and weather conditions but can also be long lasting concerns such as the threat to farming and agriculture. In the UK, flooding in particular is a recurring, often yearly event which has been shown to cause significant psychological distress, especially if the individual has to be evacuated from their home[3]. This is in line with research across the globe that shows that individuals that live in areas that experience regular adverse weather are more likely to develop mental illnesses such as PTSD, anxiety, and substance abuse issues[4].

Solutions:

Because of the sheer scale of climate change, we can feel it is out of our control and we are helpless to change it, causing feelings of apathy and subsequent mental illness. However, there are small steps we can all take to reduce its negative impact on our mental wellbeing:

  • Don’t feel guilty: Environmental concerns are valid and justified, and they are not going away so they need to be managed and overcome.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint: Making lifestyle changes such as driving and flying less helps the environment but also reduces your climate change stress and offers an outlet for the frustration you may feel.
  • Reach out to others: Environmental groups are places where you can share concerns and be part of bigger environmental projects; these can also be online communities and can overcome the sense of helplessness that climate change may be causing.
  • Mindfulness: Climate change can be overwhelming but practicing mindfulness, being present and breathing exercises can help[5].
  • Seek professional help if needed: There is an increasing professional awareness of these issues and in some places, you can access climate-aware therapy which is specifically designed to address your environmental concerns[6].

[1] Palinkas, L. A., & Wong, M. (2020). Global climate change and mental health. Current Opinion in Psychology32, 12-16.

[2] Cianconi, P., Betrò, S., & Janiri, L. (2020). The impact of climate change on mental health: a systematic descriptive review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 74.

[3] Trombley, J., Chalupka, S., & Anderko, L. (2017). Climate change and mental health. AJN The American Journal of Nursing117(4), 44-52.

[4] Cianconi, P., Betrò, S., & Janiri, L. (2020). The impact of climate change on mental health: a systematic descriptive review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 74.

[5] Panno, A., Giacomantonio, M., Carrus, G., Maricchiolo, F., Pirchio, S., & Mannetti, L. (2018). Mindfulness, Pro-environmental Behavior, and Belief in Climate Change: The Mediating Role of Social Dominance. Environment and Behavior50(8), 864–888. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916517718887

[6] Bednarek, S. (2019). Is there a therapy for climate-change anxiety. Therapy Today30(5), 36-39.

Bullying in the workplace

Rates and Impact of Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying affects approximately one in ten workers, with research typically finding rates are generally slightly higher for women compared to men[1][2]. Furthermore, research has unfortunately revealed that sexual and gender minority individuals are at higher risk of being bullied in the workplace[3]

Personal Impacts: 

  • Those with prior mental illness are more likely to suffer from workplace bullying, which often leads to the condition worsening[4]
  • Workplace bullying increases the risk of developing a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and an increased suicide risk[5]
  • Workplace bullying increases the risk of physical illnesses such as acute tiredness and pain (fibromyalgia) and cardiovascular issues[6]

Financial Impacts:

  • Loss of productivity and absenteeism: The stress, isolation, and anxiety that workplace bullying causes not only results in significant mental strain for the individual but also means those suffering are less able to work productively. This leads to loss of productivity due to absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Turnover of staff and reputation damage: Staff turnover due to individuals leaving costs companies significant amounts of money and this comes with reputation damage if the individual is leaving due to workplace bullying.

What is being done to help victims and reduce rates of workplace bullying?

  • ‘Bullying’ is not illegal in UK workplace, however workplace harassment is illegal according to the Equality Act of 2010. Harassment is when someone behaves towards you in an undesirable or intrusive way, causing feelings of humiliation and intimidation. Whether the perpetrator does this purposefully is not relevant. Harassment can be classed as unlawful discrimination if perpetrated on the basis of on gender, sexuality, age, religion, race or disability. Legal action can be taken against the perpetrator of harassment.
  • For sexual and gender minorities there has been an increase in more inclusive company policies in terms of equal treatment in the employment process and awareness raising and education for staff. This is key as studies show that the presence of other sexual and gender minority individuals and more accepting work environments are linked to less incidence of workplace bullying and increased job satisfaction for sexual and gender minorities[7]
  • More legal progress is needed in terms of the whistleblowing process as bullying, harassment and discrimination are not covered by the whistleblowing law in the UK (unless your case is in the public interest). This acts as a barrier to reporting abuse as workers who make complaints when they see colleagues being abused or harassed still face fears of losing their jobs.

What can you do if you are being bullied at work?

The main internal options are to contact your manager or speak to somebody in your HR department. When doing this, be factual about your experiences and firm about how you feel about the situation. Employers have a legal duty of care which should include policies on how to deal with workplace bullying. However, you may feel uncomfortable about approaching your manager as they may not take the abuse seriously or even openly allow it, or they may be the perpetrator themselves, often passing off abusive behaviours as part of their managing style. Furthermore, HR departments can be neglectful as they often care more about the company reputation rather than the wellbeing of employees. Companies across the UK are increasing their measures to ensure worker welfare, especially since the advent of the pandemic. However, if you are suffering from workplace bullying and do not feel comfortable about discussing it internally, there are many places where you can seek help and advice:

BULLIESOUT:

Email: mail@bulliesout.com

Telephone: 02920 492 169

Acas Helpline:
Telephone: 0300 123 1100

Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS)

Telephone: 0808 800 0082


[1] Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2015). Workplace bullying: a tale of adverse consequences. Innovations in clinical neuroscience12(1-2), 32–37.

[2] Rosander, M., Salin, D., Viita, L., & Blomberg, S. (2020). Gender matters: workplace bullying, gender, and mental health. Frontiers in psychology11, 2683.

[3] Hollis, L. P., & McCalla, S. A. (2013). Bullied back in the closet: Disengagement of LGBT employees facing workplace bullying. Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture4(2), 6-16.g

[4] Rosander, M., Salin, D., Viita, L., & Blomberg, S. (2020). Gender matters: workplace bullying, gender, and mental health. Frontiers in psychology11, 2683.

[5] Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2015). Workplace bullying: a tale of adverse consequences. Innovations in clinical neuroscience12(1-2), 32–37.

[6] Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2015). Workplace bullying: a tale of adverse consequences. Innovations in clinical neuroscience12(1-2), 32–37.

[7] Richard A Prayson, MD, MEd, J Jordi Rowe, MD, LGBTQ Inclusivity and Language in the Workplace, Critical Values, Volume 12, Issue 2, April 2019, Pages 28–30, https://doi.org/10.1093/crival/vaz004

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