On World Mental Health Day, Cathy Smith, Head of Mental Health (Corporate), shares what drives the organisation and its mental health experts to do the work they do.
Every year, World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10th. It’s a day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health and driving positive change for everyone’s mental health. Alongside my colleagues, I’ve been reflecting on our purpose, our vision and our values at Vita Health Group (VHG).
We are committed to making people better and this drives everything we do. For World Mental Health Day this year, I wanted to take the opportunity to share more about why we – a leading healthcare provider – and our mental health professionals do what we do every day. Read the full article here.
As we continue to navigate the pressures of an uncertain world, our mental wellbeing is constantly being tested. And it’s certainly no secret that mental health related conditions have increased at an astonishing rate worldwide.
Although there are many things that influence the development of poor mental health, we do know that the global pandemic followed by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis has substantially contributed to this alarming increase.
In reality, we all have mental health, just as we do physical health. And we all experience times when we feel like we can’t cope. But sometimes this can start to affect our everyday lives and prevent us from doing things we normally do.
The challenge – particularly in our world of information overload and misinformation – is that many people do not have the tools at hand to manage mental health. And if they do, they do not necessarily know how to apply them. This is where the vital work our therapists come in. Our approach is people centric – we work with patients collaboratively to lessen the noise and apply the techniques that will help to focus the mind. We can’t do the work for our patients but we are here to guide them in the right direction.
Worrying about lots of different things a lot of the time can leave you stuck in a vicious cycle where your worries may start to feel uncontrollable, impact your behaviours and intrude on your day-to-day life to a point where you can’t function. We also know this as an anxiety disorder.
You’ll often see the words anxiety and worry being used interchangeably, but it’s important to recognise that they are different and have different implications for health and wellbeing.
Often the biggest barrier to reaching out for support when we’re not feeling ourselves is talking about how we feel. This often is down to the stigma that still unfortunately exists around mental health.
Hopefully we’re moving in the right direction and this stigma is reducing, but it is still there. The only way we’re going to reduce the stigma is by having conversations. Talking about our mental health and how we feel.
Loneliness can have an impact on our mental health and has been widely seen as an impact of the pandemic. We can feel lonely, even if we physically have others around us.
Remember that even if there aren’t people close to us that we feel we can talk to, there is always someone you can talk to via a helpline such as the Samaritans.
It may be that someone around us is struggling with how they’re feeling, or may not be feeling themselves and we can be an ear to listen for them.
Our thoughts are so powerful and can have a huge impact on how we feel. When we’re not feeling ourselves, we can get stuck into vicious cycles, of how our thoughts (what is running through our mind), impacts on our physical symptoms (how we feel on the inside) which impacts on our behaviours (the things we’re either doing more or less of because we’re feeling a certain way), which impacts on our emotions and so forth.
What can be helpful to do is to write this cycle out for ourselves and really start to understand our own vicious cycles.
Worries are normal and natural, but sometimes worries can be debilitating and really impact on our ability to carry out our day to day. I like to think about worry, a little bit like a big heavy metal chain.
The first link in the chain is the first worry, the next link in the chain is the next worry, and so forth. Before we know it we’ve got this big heavy metal chain that can make it really difficult to carry out our day to day.
Mood fluctuations and changes are normal, we all have times when our mood feels low or we’re feeling sad. Usually these feelings pass. If these feelings persist or return frequently it may be a sign that we’re experiencing depression and it may be that seeking some further support could be helpful.
There is evidence to show that mindfulness can help with feelings of depression and low mood. Mindfulness is about being present and grounded in this very moment.
To highlight Mental Health Day, Vita Health Group’s Phil Adkins and Lucie Ironman discuss the topic of mental health and provide practical advice and guidance on maintaining mental wellbeing, what to look out for and how to get help. Listen to our Podcasts!
This fascinating podcast features a discussion with a patient who has been supported through mental health challenges with help from Ryan Luney, one of Vita’s Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners.
This is where the vital work our therapists come in. Our approach is people centric – we work with patients collaboratively to lessen the noise and apply the techniques that will help to focus the mind. Everyone should have access to mental health support. Ultimately, our dream at VHG is to help people live healthier, happier lives and a critical part of that is ensuring everyone has access to mental health support.
Click our ‘discover resources’ button for useful and easy-to-read guides on common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. hey also contain tips and strategies to improve your mental health and wellbeing such as how to sleep better and reduce stress.Discover resources