It’s Not Just The Therapist or Psychiatrist Alone: Why Treatment Centres Matter in Mental Health.

(Image: David Travis at Unsplash)

It’s not just the therapist or psychiatrist alone. The treatment centre/hospital matters in mental health.. It’s not that therapists are bad or unimportant; they can be critical in helping people with mental health concerns start on the road to recovery. However, sometimes treatment centres can have a huge impact on mental health and well-being, as a whole.

Lasting Impact of the Environment

First, the environment in which individuals with mental health concerns receive treatment can have a lasting impact on their mental health. Is the institution warm and welcoming to visitors? Or does it feel sterile and cold? Does it have adequate resources to meet the needs of its patients? Or is it underfunded and overcrowded? All these factors can have a significant impact on recovery, as they may create feelings of anxiety or alienation in the patient. For example, if the institute has Knightsbridge Furniture and a welcoming waiting area for visitors, it may make people feel less anxious about their treatment, because the furniture is designed to provide comfort.

Supportive Staff Members

Secondly, supportive staff members are paramount for mental health recovery. Not only do staff members need to be competent and knowledgeable about the latest treatment techniques and practices; they also need to be warm, welcoming and supportive towards their patients. They should be able to provide a safe space for individuals with mental health concerns to explore their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or punishment. This will help foster an atmosphere of trust and healing at the treatment centre/hospital.

Accessible Resources

Third, centres should strive to make resources accessible and available to those in need. Mental health concerns can often be complex and multifaceted, so individuals may require a variety of services. Treatment centres should provide access to everything from basic mental health services such as counselling, to more specialised resources like crisis intervention teams or support groups. If these resources are not readily available, then individuals might not get the help they need when they need it.

Appropriate Levels of Care

Fourth, treatment centres must provide appropriate levels of care for the patients they serve. This includes ensuring that each individual gets the right combination of treatment and support based on their specific needs. For example, a patient with severe depression or other severe illnesses may benefit from both medication management and psychotherapy while someone with mild anxiety may only require weekly therapy sessions.

A Holistic Approach

Finally, centres should strive to provide a holistic approach to mental health care. This means taking into account not only the individual’s diagnosis or symptoms, but also their lifestyle, environment, and social support system. Taking these factors into consideration can ensure that individuals receive the most appropriate treatment for their unique needs. Additionally, it can help facilitate long-term recovery and prevent future issues from developing.

It is clear that when it comes to mental health recovery, a treatment centre/hospital plays a vital role in helping individuals achieve positive outcomes. From providing supportive staff members to making resources accessible and offering a holistic approach to care – institutions must strive to meet the needs of those they serve in order to ensure the best possible outcomes.

So, while it is important to have a skilled therapist or psychiatrist, never underestimate the importance of a supportive and well-resourced treatment centre as part of that overall care. Together, they can provide individuals with everything they need to start on their journey to mental health recovery.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

6 Ways Living By The Waterfront Can Improve Your Mental And Physical Health By Rachelle Wilber

If you want a change in life, moving to a waterfront community may offer you a great new perspective. Buying a home that’s next to the ocean can have many advantages and improve your physical and mental health in different ways. 

Stress Reduction 

Waterfront living can reduce your stress and help you feel better physically and mentally more of the time. When you’re feeling stressed, the calming maritime scenery and the sounds of ocean waves crashing onto the shore can put you into a better mood almost instantly. The reduction in stress can also be good for your blood pressure and heart health and soothe your body and soul. 

Possibly Less Air Pollution 

You might be exposed to less air pollution if you live next to the ocean. Studies show that air pollution is often higher in valleys because of topography and temperature factors. With less air pollution, you’ll be able to breathe easier and inhale more of the clean oxygen that your mind needs to function at its best. 

Less Crowding Than in Big Cities 

Waterfront communities are often less crowded than big cities. Living in an overcrowded community can expose you more to communicable illnesses that are passed from other people. You may also feel more stressed and combative if you have to contend with large numbers of people in your daily life, and you may avoid these problems by buying a waterfront home instead. 

Chance to Connect More with Nature 

Being around nature offers you one of the best ways to minimise your problems and view life from a broader perspective. When you look out onto the ocean each day from your home, you’ll have the chance to connect with nature more and think about what’s most important in life. As you search for your new home, you can choose from many waterfront homes for sale that can put you in better touch with nature. 

Encourages More Physical Activity 

You may be inspired to get out and exercise more if you live by the ocean, which can help improve your physical fitness and keep your stress levels in check. People often like to jog and ride their bikes next to the sea, and seeing these passersby near your home can encourage you to join in on the activities. You may also be inspired to take up boating if you see boats on the water frequently. 

Cooler in the Summer 

Even though you’ll still likely get plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures if you live by the ocean, you probably won’t have to deal with the heat spikes that you would if you lived farther inland. Excessive heat can cause breathing problems and lead to other serious health conditions. The hotter temperatures can also make you feel more irritable, and living next to the ocean can help you keep your cool with the sea breeze. . With all the different waterfront homes that are on the market, you should have no trouble finding the house that’s the most suitable for you. 

Remember to think of what is best for your mental and physical health, as well as needing to be near your support networks.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer based in San Diego, California.

Tips for Identifying and Overcoming Seasonal Mood Changes by Brian Thomas.

(image: free image)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that some people experience with the changing of seasons. Usually, it is associated with the transition from fall into winter, but it can also happen during the summer. Either way, there is a noticeable pattern with signs of SAD due to many external factors. Here are some ways you can identify SAD and work to overcome some of the symptoms. 

Spend Time Outdoors 

SAD is thought to be caused by fewer hours of sunlight due to the shift of the planet’s position going into the autumn and winter months. It is also believed to be linked to the production of melatonin, a hormone that we produce when it is dark outside. Not getting enough sunlight can affect your mental and physical health. Therefore, it is important to remember to get outdoors and soak up the sunshine even during the colder months. 

Snow activities, such as snowshoeing, skiing, and sledding are all fun ways to spend time outside in the cold, if you’re in a country where you have snow. Weather permitting, a walk around the neighbourhood is a more manageable daily outdoor activity that you can do with a furry friend or family member.

Not only will you be able to maximise your vitamin D intake, but you will also be able to spend quality time with your walking partner. If you’re finding it difficult to leave the house to get your vitamin D, consider taking a supplement or buying a sun lamp. 

(image: free image)

Increase Exercise 

Exercise can help boost energy levels by producing endorphins, giving you that “runner’s high” feeling and keeping your SAD symptoms at bay. Some of the outdoor activities listed above are also great methods of exercise, but if you can’t get outdoors to get active, have no fear. There are many at-home workout videos on the internet that you can follow along with. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, or HIIT, find what works for you and get into a routine. 

If getting outside of the house is high on your priority list this time of the year, we hear you. Try taking a tour of a local fitness center or gym that you’ve never been to. You may find that you enjoy being around other people who are as motivated to move as you are. Not every “New Year’s Resolution” has to start on January 1st, you can set goals on your own time.

Seek Professional Advice 

If you feel like you’re experiencing more than just a case of the blues, consider talking to your doctor or therapist about next steps. Medication may not be right for everyone, so it is important to consult with your healthcare professional about what is best for you. These conversations are not always easy to have, but keep in mind that your mental and physical health always come first. 

If addressing your mental health seems intimidating or you don’t have a therapist, consider an online teletherapy service. Over the past few years, virtual appointments have grown in popularity because of their practicality. Many people feel more comfortable in their homes than in an office,which is important for a productive session. 

Get Creative 

Writing and journalling are two ways to get your thoughts onto a page and out of your head. This tip is especially important to consider if you feel like you’re stuck in a creative rut. You can draw, write fiction, or find prompts to follow online.

Gratitude journalling is a great way to reflect on what you are thankful for in your life and is especially relevant with Thanksgiving coming up. This holiday season, consider sending a Thanksgiving card to the people in your life that make you feel grateful. It will make them feel appreciated and you are sure to feel good about it too. 

You can even try a meditation colouring book. In the past, it may have seemed like an activity meant for a younger group. But now, it is gaining popularity because it can be calming and a great way to focus your mind for a while. When you’re finished, you’ll have a piece of art that you created and can hang up wherever you’d like. 

During these cooler and busier fall and winter months, it is important to make time for yourself and your mental health. SAD is not something to be ignored or swept under the rug. If you are looking to read more about mental health, check out our other blog posts! 

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult a medical professional if you are seeking medical care or treatment. 

Brian Thomas is a contributor to Enlightened Digital. He enjoys reading and researching tech and business. When he’s not looking into the latest trends, you can find him out cycling.

Small But Powerful Ways To Improve Your Mental Health.

Photo by Anastasiya Gepp

How many people do you think are currently struggling with their mental health and want to know how to improve it? The answer will probably surprise you; around a quarter of the population have a mental health disorder, and this can either be minor or something that needs serious medical attention. 

That’s a huge number, and it could be that you are one of these people. If that’s the case, it’s crucial to know what you can do to improve your mental health and ensure that you start to feel better. Of course, medication and therapy can be the ideal solutions in some cases, and it’s important to see a medical professional for help no matter what. However, if you can do as much as you can at home to help yourself, things will get a lot better.

Read on for some useful suggestions about some small but powerful ways to improve your mental health.

Take Mental Health Breaks Throughout The Day

If you’re feeling as though you’re struggling with your mental health on any given day, you should be able to take a mental health day. This means staying home and doing what you need to do to feel more positive. This will be down to you, but some people like to go for walks in nature, catch up on sleep, read a book, enjoy a spa day at home, and so much more. 

However, if you can’t take a whole day for any reason (although it’s wise to try if you can), taking a mental health break of anything from ten minutes to a couple of hours is the next best thing. When you are starting to feel overwhelmed, take some time for yourself. Not only can you protect your mental health in this way, but taking breaks when you’re busy can actually make you more productive rather than put you behind because when you get back to what you were doing, you are more focused and feeling healthier. 

Look For The Positives

As much as we all love technology, sometimes it serves as a negative force in our lives. Social media, 24-hour news feeds, online newspapers, and even channels like YouTube, can offer us a glimpse of the bad things that are happening around us, and when you have a mental health disorder, this can make things worse. Even if there are positive things happening, it can be hard to see them through all the negative things. 

However, in order to improve your mental health, it’s important to change things and ignore the negative to see the positive. The easiest way to do this to begin with is with your own life. Stop scrolling through social media if you know it upsets you and makes you angry, and instead focus on the good things all around you. That could be anything, no matter how small. Perhaps you notice a flower blooming. Your coffee might be delicious. Your little one might make you laugh now that you’ve seen ways to help your baby rollover. There are hundreds of tiny but important positive things happening all around you all the time. When you are feeling down, look for them. This will help to make you feel better, but it will also distract you from your feelings, and that will improve your mental health as well. 

Ask For Help When You Need It 

They say that communication is the cornerstone to a healthy relationship, and that is true not only with other people but also with yourself. If you trust your partner or a friend, it might help to talk about some of the problems you’re having and get those concerns out of your brain. This can help make things clearer. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open when you feel safe to do so. Emotional stress can sometimes make other problems worse in your relationships with your spouse and other people.

And if you feel like you can’t talk about your mental health, there are multiple types of therapeutic interventions that might help you work through some of the problems you’re having.

When you start to feel like you can’t handle day-to-day tasks or when you often think bad things about yourself or other people, it might be time to ask for help or talk to someone about what’s been going on.

Exercise Every Day

When you stay active and work out every day, your blood flow improves all over your body. With more oxygen in your body and more blood flow, you feel more energetic, fresh, and mentally alert.

If you work in an office, it’s even more important to exercise and do other physical things. Exercise not only keeps our bodies in good shape, but it also keeps our minds in good shape. You don’t have to pay a lot to join a gym to do that. A simple walk is all you need. The most important thing is to do this every day. 

Exercise is good for your mental health, but it also makes your bones and muscles stronger, which keeps you from getting hurt while working out or running errands. Since being injured can be a terrible thing for your mental health, exercise can help in this way too. 

Expose Yourself To Sunlight (Carefully)

A lack of vitamin D can lead to a number of mental health problems, like Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. When you go outside in the sun, your body releases endorphins, which are also known as “happiness hormones.” These hormones make your brain work better.

So, take a break from your normal routine (which we already know is a good thing to do) and go outside. But make sure you wear sunscreen so you don’t get a sunburn.

Learn To Live In The Present 

When a person stays stuck in the past, they are more likely to have mood swings, depression, and anxiety. Negative self-talk like “Why did people do this to me?” steals a person’s happiness and makes them miss opportunities in the present. Try not to think too much about the future and learn to live in the present. By doing this, we can be much more prepared for anything that might happen in the future, so there is no need to worry about it.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

How to Address Issues Harming Your Mental Health.

(image: Unsplash)

It is so important to look after your mental health. Many people struggle with their mental health and with illness that feels beyond their control and often they will need medication or therapy to help them. However, there can be other issues that need to be addressed if they are harming your mental health.

Learning to appreciate the issues that you may have overlooked is the first step to success. If any of the following are relevant to you, address them ASAP. you should find that your mental health reaches a far more stable place.

Untreated PTSD

If you have tried fixing a mental health issue without getting to the root cause, the benefits will be restricted. So, finding the right PTSD therapies that get to the bottom of poor mental health could be the greatest decision you make. It will provide significant direct rewards. Working with a therapist and understanding your personal situation is essential if you want to improve it.

Almost everyone has experienced at least one traumatic experience. So, it’s could be likely that mental health issues you experience will have PTSD, or a similar issue, linked to them.

Worries Behind The Wheel

The knowledge that you are in a potentially vulnerable position can be the biggest cause of anxiety. A car that has experienced problems or required frequent trips to the garage could be causing anxiety if you rely on it to get to work and travel independently. There may also be finanical worries for you.. A professional service like Edmunds can help you appraise your current car and upgrade to a better model. This could make you feel more comfortable and reduce anxiety.

Financial Worries

Money problems are the most common source of stress. So, it could be the underlying reason why your mental health continues to hit hurdles. While there is no magic spell to suddenly make the problems fade, you can at least feel a weight is lifting from your shoulders. Good organisational skills are the key. Learn to trim the fat from your ongoing expenses, and you’ll see a big impact.

Not Enough Daylight

Spending more time outside in the fresh air can work wonders for your physical and mental wellness. Experts like Raleigh Bikes can help you find a new hobby that encourages more time outside. The fitness benefits are also supported by enjoying improved air quality. As well as vitamin D, serotonin, and experiencing life. It’s an issue that many people struggle with. Thankfully, you no longer need to!

It’s especially important in the colder months when it gets darker to try and get some exercise to help your wellbeing.

The Wrong Network

Your support network can have an impact on your life, in relation to your mental health. The right people will build you up and guide you through tough times without leading you to poor decisions. Sadly, the wrong friends cause you to make regrettable choices. Likewise, they may pressure you to support them, potentially financially. This could drag you down even when you’re in a good place.

So make sure you look after each aspect of your life and self care, in order to improve your health and overall wellbeing.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Bipolar and Perinatal Mental Health: Part One by Eleanor

(image: pinterest)

I havn’t been sure for many months whether I was ready or wanted to share about the many issues I have been grappling with for a number of years. However, writing for me is therapeutic and so I wanted to share about the reality of mood disorders and thinking about starting a family.

To begin with, this is such a personal and complex issue for anyone with what is termed ‘severe mental illness; ie bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis. Our illnesses mainly have to be managed on daily medication and for some people with severe mental illness, they may still live with daily symptoms which can cause difficulties for them.

So this article is my personal experience of living with Bipolar 1 disorder and anxiety. To note, I was started on Lithium in 2014 after my last hospitalisation- which has stabilised the bipolar episodes into remission (it does something to the seretonin in the brain). I still live with some anxiety, but the combination of Lithium, Quetaipine (an anti psychotic) and anti depressants has meant that I do not become manic or psychotic and nor do I suffer from severe depression or suicidal depression. I feel more stable and I have engaged in therapy for the trauma I went through, for 2 years. So, thankfully at the moment my illness is very much controlled well and I have support from Rob and my family.

One side effects of my medicines has been weight gain and I aim to lose weight over the next year. This is important to me because it can sometimes impact on fertility and also makes a pregnancy more high risk (physical side effects such as blood clots etc). I will also be 34 in July and so this has become more pressing for me in terms of wanting to try for a baby. However, there are many risks in choosing to do this and going ahead, without speaking to a perinatal psychiatrist or mental health team.

Today, I got my referral letter to the mental health team to discuss planning a pregnancy and am on an NHS waiting list til June. For me, because my type of bipolar can be dangerous with the mania and psychosis- and having had several psychotic episodes in my life to date that have ended me up in hospital- a pregnancy where I carry a baby myself, has to be carefully planned in terms of my medication. For many reasons, I want to stay on my medicines for the entire pregnancy- so that I don’t end up relapsing during or straight after pregnancy (with bipolar there is a greater risk of relapse and post partum depression/psychosis due to the hormonal changes straight after birth).

I have been terrified for a number of years over what to do in order to keep me and a potential baby safe. I have researched surrogacy so I don’t risk making myself unwell, but this comes with a whole host of legal challenges around who is the parent, high financial costs (of treatment and paying expenses for surrogate/agencies) etc and the wait for the right surrogate. Surrogates can also pull out before giving. birth, you have to put your trust in them if you don’t know them- and you are trusting them with something hugely important! We also thought about adoption but with my mental health history and the potential issues that a child in care may be facing, I just didn’t want to put myself through the stress of being scrutinised.

So, please God even if we are blessed with a healthy child- the pregnancy may be as a friend of mine has termed ‘high risk’. This scares me and it scares me about potentially ending up in hospital again, on a mother and baby unit. I want to stay on my mood stabiliser and anti psychotic so the bipolar doesn’t cause this- however, I have decided that as long as I can stay on my medication and have the support of an experienced perinatal psychiatrist and mental health team (as well as my therapist),- plus regular monitoring and scans… and of course a proper plan put in place in case of relapse, this is what I will do (again, no one knows until you start trying for a baby and there can be many hurdles but I am trying to think positively).

I have also been asked whether I am worried about passing bipolar on. This is a worry as it does run in my family- however, I believe the risk of this with one parent is only about 10% (I got unlucky). Sometimes, I sit and question- am I being selfish for wanting to be a mother? And I realise, no I am not selfish. I don’t want my potential child to get bipolar disorder but equally if they do, we will deal with it. We also both want to get tested by Jnetics as we are both Ashkenazi (East European) Jews so may be carriers for certain illnesses.

Some women don’t want to be mothers, but I always have done since I was a little girl and I can’t imagine never having a family with my husband. I want to be the best Mum I can be and reduce my illness risk as much as possible to remain stable and well.

Do I wish things were different and I didn’t have this illness? Yes. but the reality is that I do but that I have been stable for a long time. I know we will make good parents whatever way it happens and I just hope the road ahead won’t be paved with challenges… it is never easy. I write this because its not often talked about… and I know there will be more to come on this subject but I wanted to share- if you yourself are going through something similar, you aren’t alone.

It took a lot to share this because its so personal and I worry about sharing too much- but this blog has been years in the making really! There is never a right time to open up- but maybe now I can allow myself to a bit and release the burden.

People sometimes ask me if I have children (as im mid thirties and married) and my answer is always, I hope to one day soon but leave it in Gods hands.

With love,

Eleanor x

9 Tips on Prioritising Your Mental Health While Raising Children.

Photo by Pixabay: 

It’s no secret that parenting is hard. But what many people don’t realise is just how hard it can be on your mental health. Juggling the demands of work, children, and a household can be overwhelming – and it’s easy to let your mental health take a backseat. But this isn’t good for you or your children. In this blog, we will discuss nine tips on prioritising your mental health while raising children!

1) Make time for yourself.

One of the best ways to prioritise your mental health is to make time for yourself. This might mean setting aside a few hours each week to do something you enjoy or simply taking some time out each day to relax and rejuvenate. You must make this time for yourself, as it will help you recharge and be more effective when dealing with the demands of parenting. Your mental health is extremely important and and a part of taking time for yourself. It’s essential for you to seek out the help that you need when you feel as though you are struggling. If you would like to talk get in touch with Psymplicity

If finding time for yourself seems impossible, start small. Even five minutes of relaxation can help clear your mind and improve your mood. And if you have older children who can look after themselves for a little while, use that extra time to focus on YOU.

2) Accept that you’re not perfect.

One of the biggest traps parents fall into is the belief that they have to be perfect. This is simply impossible, and trying to achieve it will only lead to frustration and stress. Accepting that you’re not perfect is essential in taking care of your mental health.

It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s inevitable! What’s important is that you learn from them and move on. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, as this will only aggravate your mental health. Instead, focus on what you can do to improve things going forward.

3) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Asking for help is another sign of strength, not weakness. If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family members. They may not be able to solve all your problems, but they can offer support and understanding.

If you feel like you need more assistance, consider seeking professional help. Many qualified therapists can help you manage your mental health. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help – it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself and your children.

4) Set realistic expectations.

One of the leading causes of stress for parents is unrealistic expectations. We often expect ourselves to be able to do everything, and this can lead to a lot of frustration and unhappiness. It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself and your children. This means acknowledging that you won’t always be able to meet everyone’s needs, and that’s OK.

It’s also important to remember that children are individuals and will develop at different rates. Don’t compare your child to others – this will only lead to dissatisfaction on your part and potential mental health issues for your child. Instead, accept your child for who they are, and work with their strengths and weaknesses.

5) Take care of your physical health.

Your physical health is just as important as your mental health. When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it’s easy to neglect your well-being. But this is a mistake! If you want to take care of your children effectively, you need to take care of yourself first.

Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. These things will improve your physical health, but they will also boost your mental wellbeing. And when you feel good physically, it’s easier to deal with the stresses of parenting.

6) Set boundaries.

It’s important to set boundaries with your children, as this will help them learn how to respect your time and space. As parents, we often put our children’s needs before our own, but it’s essential that you take care of yourself too. Otherwise, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and stressed.

Set clear boundaries for yourself and your children – make sure they know when to stop playing and start doing their homework, for example. It can be challenging to enforce boundaries sometimes, but it’s crucial that you do so to maintain your mental health.

7) Monitor your children digitally.

With the rise of technology, it’s more important than ever to monitor your children’s digital habits. Screens can be addictive and damaging to a child’s mental health, so it’s essential to set rules and limits on how much time they spend in front of them.

If you’re unsure where to start, try setting a timer and limiting screen time to a certain number of hours per day. You can also install parental control software on your child’s devices to help limit their access to harmful content. You can also keep an eye on them by using innovative new technology, you can click this link to buy it at Family Orbit. Finally, remember that it’s OK to unplug every once in a while – get out into nature, read books together, and have conversations without screens!

8) Spend quality time as a family.

One of the best ways to improve your mental health as a parent is to spend quality time with your children. This doesn’t mean spending hours watching TV or playing video games – it means being engaged and present with your kids.

Spend time talking, laughing, and simply enjoying each other’s company. Play games, go for walks, cook dinner together – do whatever feels fun and natural. When you take the time to connect with your children on a deeper level, it strengthens the bond between you and helps improve your mental well-being too!

9) Use meditation to release stress.

Meditation is a great way to deal with stress and anxiety. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to yourself to meditate. This can be done in any quiet space, and there are many different types of meditation to try. If you’re not sure how to get started, plenty of guided meditation apps and YouTube videos are available online. Or, if you prefer, find a local meditation class or workshop. With regular practice, meditation can help you manage your stress levels more effectively and improve your overall mental health.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and you must take care of ourselves as a parent or carer. These eight tips are an excellent place to start, but remember that everyone is different. So find what works best for you and your family, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

This article was written by a freelance writer and contains affiliate links.

Our Blog is 6 Years Old Today!

On the 1st March 2016, I started this blog as a way to provide therapy for myself- as I was going through panic attacks, (caused by trauma due to a hospitalisation for a bipolar manic episode). Since then I have had several years of EMDR trauma therapy and my life changed so much too- I met my husband, we got married and moved to our first home. I also found a career I love after many twists and turns due to mental illness. Life is never plain sailing especially with mental health and I still live with panic attacks/ social anxiety at times but am learning to manage them.

The blog has turned into a book Bring me to Light (with Trigger), writing for Metro.co.uk, Glamour, the Telegraph, Happiful, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and other incredible organisations, I have partnered with large and small brands, charities, businesses, writers to create content that battles stigma on mental health. We have been awarded as a Top 10 UK blog by Vuelio since 2018 (thank you) and I love to share my story to help others and educate people about bipolar, anxiety, panic disorders, psychosis, mania and mental health in the workplace (amongst other mental health topics!). I have also recorded podcasts – most recently with Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP, shadow minister for mental health, Daniel Rosenberg at SodsPod and was also interviewed by Penny Power OBE with my Dad Mike (who is a mental health speaker).

When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead and its been the most special, humbling and amazing journey- with so much more to do so watch this space!. I really want to help more people this year and also have a childrens book I would love to get out there to help kids with anxiety.

As always, I want to thank all my contributors and brands (sponsored or not), as well as the digital agencies and freelance writers who provide content too. I hope to keep it going for the next year at least! Let me know what you want to see.

This year heres what we have been talking about (and big thank you to everyone. If it doesnt have a name by it, content has been written by a writer):



How social distancing is affecting social anxiety in the pandemic- Anita Ginsburg

Book Review of the Smart Girls Handbook by Scarlett Clark- me (Eleanor)

Being kind to myself, social anxiety and life in recovery- me (Eleanor)

Self care ideas for positive change in 2021

How to cope with top 4 challenging life events

The Book of Hope launchme

Sending self care packages- a guide to sending gifts

Feel less trapped with these powerful ideas

6 Tips to stay positive and help mental health

Moving to our First Home and mental health- me

How to reach for help and not be ashamed

Whats the connection between mental health and addiction- Jennifer at Mandala Healing

We are a top UK mental health blog 2021- thanks Vuelio- Me

Can you still get health insurance cover if you have a history of mental illness?

The benefits of seeking mental health support and help

The link between debt and mental health

Start Up founders are 50% more likely to suffer from a mental health condition- Daniel Tannenbaum

How can mental health workers cope with the new normal?

Easing the burden of divorce- Brooke Chaplan

Stress and Panic Attacks Part two- Me

How to remain independent and look after your health as you get older

How selfie changed my life and mental health- Kathryn Chapman

The benefits of personal training for your mental health- Life Force Fitness

Recovery from alcohol or substance abuse: benefits of a sober living home

6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Jess Levine

Work in progress- healing from trauma to find the light- me

Is stress affecting your skin? heres how to tell

Prioritising mental health on the world stage, Simone biles- me

Why privacy is critical for our mental health

Goal setting for mental health

Moving house? 5 tips to deal with moving stress

4 Ways to make mental health a priority in your life- Emma Sturgis

What you need to know about post Partum Depression- Kara Reynolds

The Midnight Library book review- me

5 interior design ideas to boost wellbeing

Steps to help aging and wellbeing

How to keep your children in mind during a divorce-Brooke Chaplan

Bryony Gordons mental health card collection for Thortful.com

The Inquisitive-a film on mental health and suicide- Kelvin Richards

Being self compassionate when I have anxiety- me

Keeping things stress free when selling an elderly family members home

7 Bipolar disorder facts everyone should know- Ronnie Deno

Recovering from an eating disorder- Kara Masterson

Wellbeing tips and activities for children- collaboration with Twinkl resources

Building trust in a relationship

How sleep patterns affect your mental health

Choosing life and freedom- my therapy journey- me

Dealing with imposter syndrome

Confidence on return to the office

lifestyles and mental health- Anna Witcherley at Head Hacks

Stress and mild anxiety formula- Nu mind wellness

Mental health problems in the pandemic- Webdoctor.ie

Patient transport helps anxious travellers- EMA Patient transport

How to stop signs of traumatic brain injury- Lizzie Weakley

Looking after mental health in a tense office environment

Dealing with anxiety as a mom/mum- Kara Reynolds

5 Self help books for 2022

Winter mental health and anxiety update- me

Tips to fight addiction- Lizzie Weakley

Lockdown, sleep, anxiety and mental health- collaboration with TEMPUR mattresses (ad)

Helping elderly people to live independently

Getting your loved one help for their addiction- Emma Sturgis

How to support your spouse with mental health issues- Kara Reynolds

Battling co occurring mental health and substance addiction- Holly

Festive season- me

Its Okay not to be Okay by Esther Marshall book review- me

The difference between a therapist and life coach- Lizzie Weakley

Managing mental health over christmas/ festive time- me

Reflecting on a new year 2022- me

Surviving trauma makes relationships difficult- self compassion helps- Taylor Blanchard

Window to the womb launches avocado app for perinatal wellbeing

Where to start when battling addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Mental health new year resolutions

Book review- Pushing through the cracks- Emily J Johnson- me

Depression meals when life gets hard- Kara Reynolds

Jami see mental health campaign blog

Recovering from cancer- the mental health aspect- Rachelle Wilber

Outdoor activities to improve your mental health- Elizabeth Howard

Mental health and eating disorder recovery journey- Emily J. Johnson

Fitness and mental health

Interview with Penny Power MBE, Thomas Power and Mike Segall on bipolar disorder

Self love for Valentines Day- with Kalms (ad)

Being debt free and in good mental health for 2022

Mental health medication- fighting the stigma- me

Overcoming alcohol addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Spiritual tips for helping mental health

Risk factors for post partum depression

Wow! Thank you for supporting me and the blog, for continuing to read and share it and to help battle the stigma around not only bipolar disorder and anxiety- but every mental illness.

Love,

Eleanor x

Taking Mental Health Medication Doesn’t Make You ‘Weak’: Fighting the Stigma by Eleanor

(image: Matthew Ball for Unsplash)

Disclaimer: All medication must only be prescribed by a psychiatrist or GP dealing with you individually. Advice from medical professionals must be sought before taking any medication., Never take someone elses medication or try to cure yourself!

This week, I had a conversation with someone about being on mental health medication, in this case, anti depressants for clinical depression. We reminisced that as teenagers, we just weren’t taught properly by school or in society about mental illness. It wasn’t talked about here in the UK back in the 2000s and everything was really hushed up, cloak and dagger, as if you had to be ashamed of it. As if anything to do with our mind was shameful- no one really had much education, unless it happened in your family.

I know that for many people, even in 2022, taking medication for their mental health carries this sense of shame.

For me personally, I was so ill that there really was no choice for me as a 15 year old, but to be started on medication. My symptoms of bipolar disorder first appeared at the age of 15 with depression and anxiety episodes, followed by mania and psychosis. So, I was on anti psychotic medications as well as what is known as a mood stabiliser, a medicine for mood disorders that stabilises moods (in this case, the bipolar poles). I also took regular anti depressants and anti anxiety medications and still do daily. My medicine regime is pretty intense but it means that my bipolar is well controlled and in remission- and that I am stable. My family has a hereditary illness that can be severe- so medication was the right choice for me.

However, for those without a severe mental illness like bipolar or schizophrenia, you may be recommended to try anti depressants first. There are varying different types which work on seretonin reuptake in the brain and help to balance brain chemistry.(although scientists cannot pinpoint the cause for depression fully yet). These can be used in combination with therapy and exercise to help treat depression and anxiety.

Some families and cultures hold great shame to be seen taking mental health medication and so hide it from loved ones. Others stop taking it, believing they are stable and well because the medication has balanced them out- and then crash into depression. For some though, anti depressants are a shorter term thing. The point is, its all so individual and there is no one size fits all medicine- you must do what is right for your recovery but definitely do not suddenly stop them.

In my family, my Dad was already on mental health medication- Lithium for bipolar, when I became ill. So, I was lucky that I had a loving supportive and accepting family, including plenty of medical professionals who understood. It was a steep learning curve for everyone though. And yes, as a teenager, I did hold some shame for taking medicines because I just wanted to ‘fit in’ and be a ‘normal’ teen. Coupled with the fact no one openly talked about mental illness at school or in general (this was just before social media!) and I felt this overwhelming sense of shame that my brain chemicals had let me down. I never once skipped taking medication though.

The thing is with mental health is that you can’t see it. But, you can absolutely feel when something is wrong and when you feel chemically depressed or other mental illness. This is usually depression unlinked to a life event- you wake up with it and you know its back, you feel despondent and unable to cope.

Yet, because you can’t see it- shame is even greater because how do you explain it to others? And are you ‘weak’ or ‘crazy’ to need medication to function?

The answer is No. To have to take the correct prescribed medication for you daily is an effort. You have to commit to it and to seeing how some medicines go. To go through episodes of mental illness makes you stronger and more resilient, surviving each day. You are not weak, your brain just needs help (like helping diabetes or a heart problem) and the words ‘crazy’ or ‘unhinged’ just serve to reinforce stigma. There is no need to be afraid or filled with shame or self loathing- but it is valid to feel this way as you are human!

In 2017, it was estimated that 792 million people worldwide lived with a mental health disorder (one in 10 globally). 46 million of those had my disorder, bipolar. However, this is the tip of the iceberg because mental illness is often underreported due to stigma. So- you are not alone. There is treatment out there to help you.

Remember not to be ashamed of needing medication to cope with life’s challenges (alongside therapy etc). The stigma is slowly falling and I will continue to write and share to this end.

You are not weak! You are powerful beyond comprehension .

Do you take medication? Does it help you?


Love,

Eleanor x

Christmas For CAMHS- Helping Children in Mental Health Units this Christmas.

(image: Christmas4CAMHS)

Many of you know that I support a charity very close to my heart- Christmas For CAMHS. I volunteered with social media and raising awareness. A few years ago, it got charity status and this is so exciting but it still needs your help and donations, so read on as to why its so important to me and those children in hospital!

In 2004, when I was just 16, i was admitted to an NHS CAMHS (children and adolescent mental health unit) at the Priory Hospital North London for depression and psychosis- part of my bipolar disorder on Christmas Eve. Even though I am Jewish, I remember opening a wrapped present (can’t remember what it was) that the staff had organised for us out of their budget. The other patients also left me notes and cards. But the truth is there was no charity giving us presents and we were away from our families, all very ill- so the staff just did the very best they could under the circumstances.

Then, in 2018, I heard about a charitable enterprise set up by a lovely doctor and trainee child psychiatrist called Ro who wanted to do something about the lack of equality children in mental health units had. She and her volunteers were sending presents to children on CAMHS wards across the UK and asking for donations.

Christmas For CAMHS is a registered charity who provides special Christmas gifts every year for children and young people who are inpatients in child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) wards across the UK over the Christmas holiday period.

They want to make children and young people who are inpatients over the festive season feel thought-about, special and included – our individual gifts for each young person to keep, as well as gifts for their ward, help us to do this.

They have been hugely supported over the past few years by generous donations from the public and have received much gratitude as a result from inpatient units. However, they are only able to provide gifts with your charitable donations.

To find out how you can donate money or gifts please visit their donations page to see the Justgiving page and Amazon gift list.

They say:

Christmas For CAMHS was originally set up because volunteers saw a huge disparity in the way CAMHS units were treated over the festive period compared to other NHS services for children and young people. They wanted to do something to change that.

Children are admitted to CAMHS units to receive support and treatment for mental health issues, such as psychosis or depression or eating disorders like anorexia. There are no official figures for how many children will spend the festive season in CAMHS units across the UK, though we often give gifts to over 1500 young people. While many members of the public and corporate donors give Christmas gifts to children’s hospitals or children’s wards in general hospitals, CAMHS units, which are usually based away from other services, are often forgotten, or not known about. We don’t think this is right.

Every year they talk to every CAMHS unit in the UK to see what gifts their young people would like. Then, with your generous donations, they buy beautiful and thoughtful gifts for young people in almost every unit across the country.

We also include, where possible, some small fidget toys, a gift for the ward like a board game or sports equipment, some activities to do during the festive period and extra gifts for particularly vulnerable young people who are looked after children or who have a refugee background. We also send them an advent calendar full of inspiring quotes and pictures of cute pets. Sometimes we’re able to include a homemade card or two too.

The gifts are assembled at a packing weekend in Bath by our volunteer elves and then whizzed around the country in plenty of time for Christmas! As a charitable organisation, we rely 100% on fundraising and your generous donations. Each penny goes directly to making the magic happen.

(image: Christmas4CAMHS)

So please, support Christmas For CAMHS- if you can donate a gift or money that would be incredible. As a former child patient, the loneliness you feel is unbearable-lets work together to stop the inequality and forgotten children!

see: https://www.christmasforcamhs.org.uk/