Do you own or manage a business?
Do you have a team of staff who you care about?
Are you concerned about staff well-being?
To create a mentally healthy workplace you need to develop a comprehensive strategy that:
• promotes wellbeing for all staff
• tackles work-related mental health problems
• supports staff who are experiencing mental distress.
By doing this, you will create a place your employees want to work in and where they can perform well.
Some questions to ask yourself and others:
Do you think that work has an impact on your mental wellbeing?
Do you think that your mental wellbeing has an impact on your ability to do your work?
Have you noticed work having an effect on your colleagues’ mental wellbeing?
Organisations such as Mind produce information to help employers find the right way to introduce healthier work environments and make a big difference.
As well as developing a mental health policy and building awareness, you may at times wish to provide access for your employees to a BACP registered, experienced counsellor.
Contact Insight Counselling for counselling for your employees
Claire works in private practice in Hove and Brighton. She has frequently taken on clients who are introduced by the employer, manager or HR department. A contract for number of sessions and fees can be agreed in advance and the employee is then treated as a normal client with full confidentiality.
Get in touch via the Contact form or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have recently come across this discussion series – We are Man Enough. It’s an insightful, interesting discussion about what it means to be a man and about showing vulnerability and being authentic about thoughts and feelings. I recommend finding 30 minutes and watching an episode or two.
I often talk to people who are interested in working in the community in some way, perhaps volunteering with the elderly or young people or with homeless organisations.
Volunteering can be an incredibly powerful way to help improve your own confidence, self-esteem and feelings of worth. You can clearly see the impact your time and effort makes with the people or organisation you work with.
Here are a few links to help you make a choice about where you might provide assistance or time. Some of these are specifically aimed at people living in and around Brighton & Hove. I have included more general UK links at the end. Please feel free to contribute other suggestions in the comments.
Befriending an elderly person in Brighton and Hove
“For many older people loneliness is an unwelcome feeling of loss. The fear of loneliness alone is said to cause more anxiety than a lack of money or deteriorating health. In fact, loneliness is proven to cause early loss of life which is why services like ours are needed to help elders to feel connected with their community, with volunteer befrienders and each-other.” ( www.tttb.org.uk).
Contact Time to Talk to discuss ways you can help. Time to Talk Befriending – Hove Tel: 01273 737710 http://www.tttb.org.uk/
Volunteering and befriending vulnerable adults across Brighton and Hove.
Brighton and Hove Impetus are an independent organisation delivering a range of services aimed at improving the wellbeing and quality of life of vulnerable adults across the City. They support people with learning disabilities, people with mental health issues, older people, people with physical disabilities and people with autistic spectrum conditions.
Volunteer roles include: Home visitor, volunteer drivers, phone support – further information can be found on the BH Impetus website http://www.bh-impetus.org/
Brighton and Hove Befriending Coalition “a group of organisations that provide befriending services to a wide range of people at risk of isolation and loneliness in the city” http://www.bhbefriending.org/
Call 01273 229005 email email@example.com
Volunteering with organisations working with homeless people
The Clock Tower Sanctuary provides a friendly, bright, centrally-located, safe space for homeless young people to engage with their peers. t: 01273 722 353
BH Community Works has a volunteering search platform for local volunteering opportunities in Brighton and Hove.
UK wide links:
“vinspired is the UK’s leading volunteering charity for 14 – 25 year olds. vinspired helps young people to make their mark on causes that they care about, whilst learning new skills and talents along the way. vinspired recognises that volunteering can help young people thrive, and transform the communities they live in. It teaches them vital skills, like teamwork and problem-solving. It prepares them for their future.” (https://vinspired.com/ )
Are you the kind of person who uses their mobile phone to organise, keep notes, sync calendars and even check step count? You might find using a mobile phone app to support your mental health journey could also be beneficial.
Mental Health Apps
There are lots of different types of apps that you could try. At Insight Counselling, the mental health app Pacifica has been trialled over the last six months with some really good results. Clients find it easy to use, helpful to record moods and feelings and to carry out CBT thought experiments. There are also audio mindfulness meditations and self-help CBT advice.
It’s free unless you wish to delve deeper, so worth taking a look.
Anxiety is a word that gets thrown around a lot and can mean different things to different people. Essentially, it’s used to describe feeling uneasy, worried and afraid and the mental and physical effects this can cause. For example, before sitting an exam it’s natural to feel scared, worried, sick, have stomach cramps, etc.
So when does anxiety stop being a natural response to a stressful event and turn into something more significant?
Anxiety is caused by the ‘fight or flight response’. A normal biological reaction to when we feel threatened, and something that has been with us since the dawn of man. When your body feels under threat it automatically releases hormones that physically prepare you to fight the danger, or run away from it.
Although we don’t have much use for the fight or flight response anymore – we’re unlikely to be charged at by a woolly mammoth any time soon, our biological reactions to it remains.
Anxiety becomes a problem when the fight or flight response stays switched on and the physical and mental symptoms have an impact on your quality of life.
Long term anxiety can be extremely difficult, and is often experienced alongside other illnesses such as depression and chronic pain. One of the key difficulties is that anxiety can lead to you feeling trapped within a ‘vicious circle’. When you’re feeling low and run down you tend to avoid activity because you don’t have the energy for it, or just can’t muster the motivation. This can lead to you feeling guilty and that you haven’t achieved as much as the ‘healthy’ you would have – you don’t feel like the person you used to be anymore. This makes you feel worse and you avoid more activity and you seem stuck in this never ending circle.
As anxiety can affect your health and wellbeing in numerous ways it is important to figure out the causes and find a way of resolving the anxiety whilst managing the symptoms. Although self-help and medication are useful in reducing symptoms, research has shown that therapy is usually the most effective option when it comes to treating anxiety.
Therapy looks at the causes of triggers and any underlying issues that might aggravate it rather than just treating the symptoms.
One starting point to be used in combination with other therapeutic approaches is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT uses the basis that it’s the way you think and react to a situation that’s causing the anxiety, rather than the situation itself. CBT challenges the way you think in a process called ‘cognitive restructuring’.
It’s a three step process that involves:
Identifying the negative thought processes
Challenging the negative thoughts
Replacing the negative thoughts with realistic thoughts
CBT may also include learning to recognise when you’re anxious and what that feels like for you – often there are some signs that anxiety is going to kick in that when you learn to recognise what they feel like, can help you prevent the anxiety from kicking in.
Therapy gives you the tools to be able to manage the symptoms of anxiety and employ coping mechanisms and relaxation techniques to lessen its impact on you and your life.
Whilst self-help alone may not be effective in treating your anxiety, it is useful when combined with therapy. From writing a journal or diary to help figure out patterns of thinking, or even identifying triggers; through to mindfulness and breathing exercises that can help you through a panic attack. For some great tips and ideas for self-help visit the Mind website
CBT is best used as a ‘holding approach’– it’s useful for managing the anxiety and lessen its impact with a supportive counsellor guiding you through and challenging the negative thinking, but often there are deep rooted issues causing or aggravating your anxiety. So in the long term, it’s important that these issues are resolved through exploration and discussion with an experienced counsellor.
There are various kinds of therapeutic approaches that can be used to discover these causes which are tailored to your needs, problems and requirements ensuring that you get what you really need out of therapy.
Having an open mind is important when starting therapy as the process can be a difficult one with long-term thoughts that have to be challenged and adjusted. However, it is effective in treating anxiety and can mean the difference between coping with your anxiety and living your life how you want to.