World Mental Health Day
The 10th of October 2018 – we have dedicated this day and date to increase and spread knowledge and awareness towards Mental Health, worldwide.
What is Mental Health? The functioning level of psychological and emotional well-being considered healthy from the absence of any mental illness due to the right balance of behavioural adjustments.
Simply put, having a clear state of mind at all times. Is this even possible, during these times that we live in? Has there anyone who has not been affected by mental illness during their lifetime?
It has somewhat become apparent to put ‘Us’ aside and prioritise externalities.
We see changes happening around us, every day and certain behavioural patterns on our colleagues at work, mates in school, closest friends and even at home by family members. Most often, we choose to ignore because we do not understand what exactly are the reasons behind these dramatic changes in their behaviours. Or our own.
Mental illness affects everyone – from that one person who is suffering silently or loudly, to their loved ones supporting them, young and old, poor and rich, educated or not! Because it comes without warning. Because it does not choose its’ victims by a voting poll but the situations and the way we handle it, is what causes the long-term damages.
The following are some of the common types and signs and symptoms of mental illnesses that affect children from ages 8 to 12, teenagers, younger and older adults.
What are the common Mental Health illnesses?
- Depression – feelings of severe despondency and dejection; also the most common mental illness which is always the first and at the top of the list.
- overwhelming emotions, extremities in projecting feelings, silent or talkative
- breaking down in tears, not having a reason to cry, despaired and hopeless
- feeling pessimistic and hostile of their situation, defensive and irritated
- extreme lethargy and fatigued, not interested in any daily activity, discouraged
- suicidal thoughts and risky actions that cause self-injury and harm
2. Anxiety – feelings of worry, nervous and agitated without any particular reasons. Usually a reaction of feeling uneasy to one or more phobia and/or a result of isolation and withdrawal.
- Social anxiety, fear of meeting people, communicating and even travelling either alone or public transportation
- Childhood traumas that cause a lifetime of an unhealed wound, post-traumatic stress disorder
- Emotionally unable to express themselves freely due to bitter, fear and loneliness.
3. Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder ( OCD ) – a mental illness which in itself has two parts and the person usually will experience one or the other, and at most times both.
- Obsession, constantly disturbed by repetitive thoughts which are unwanted. This does not necessarily be a focus on one thing that is particular, it could be anything and changes from one obsession to another.
- Lack of focus and attention. Easily distracted by their own thoughts.
- Compulsion is what the person does to control their obsessive thoughts. This is something the person has a slight control of since they know what they are doing like arranging and ordering things in a certain way, cleaning and tidying to keep one busy
4. Eating Disorders – abnormal and extreme eating habits due to concerning body shape and size. Affects both men and women and the particularly the younger
- Anorexia Nervosa is an emotional and psychological disorder which causes the person extreme weight loss of the constant fear of weight gain.
- Starving themselves to lose weight and the body suffers malnutrition due to lack of essentials
- Bulimia Nervosa an emotional disorder which due to their obsession to lose weight, bouts overeating and forcing themselves to vomit and purge
- Also exposing their bodies to extreme health risks
As a woman who has suffered depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder ( OCD ), I can tell you that it was never easy to be me, to be in my head. But I managed and took control of my mental health by focusing on my overall health and surroundings.
A person is not fully recovered from these illnesses but with the right guidance, support, and care any long-term damages could significantly decrease and kept under control.
How do we do this? By identifying the symptoms of Mental Health illnesses.
What are the symptoms of Mental Health illnesses?
- Mood disorders – unpredictable and rapid changes in moods throughout. E.g: Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorders in women, Anxiety.
- Personality change – a dramatic change in projecting themselves as in their appearances, opinions, actions and exaggerated emotions.
- Hopelessness and overwhelmed – portraying to have given up or given in to the situation, not seemed to have control of the situation, good and bad.
- Withdrawal and Isolation – staying aloof from the outside world, anxious and nervous, changes in self can cause fear and confusion.
- Poor self-care and risky behaviour – alcohol and drug abuse. Ignoring their health, hygiene, well-being. Could also be threatening to others due to their indulgence of illegal substances.
If you can recognise any of these changes and symptoms on somebody or even yourself, it is time to seek help.
There are many campaigns and programmes which are readily available in your country. Your local medical and general practitioners are there to give you all the information that you need to identify, diagnose and help you take the first steps for recovery.
These are just some forms of help that you or your loved one could be receiving right now to tackle Mental Health illness:
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ( CBT ) a concept which is based on your thoughts and mind, emotional and physical energy and senses, that works with the positives that could help you keep negative and destructive behaviour from your life.
You get to share and talk about your troubles, worries, problems. Someone who will listen to your fears and help you rediscover and improve.
Prescribed medications for certain disorders such as:
Antidepressants – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Anti-anxiety – Benzodiazepines for general and social anxieties, panic attacks.
Antipsychotics – Antipsychotic pills prescribed to treat Schizophrenia and Bipolar.
Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder ( NMD ) – a type of brain surgery which is only used in extremely rare cases where the small area of the brain tissue contributing to the mental disorder is destroyed.
There are solutions and cures for every problems and illness. But we can together prevent major damages that are caused by lack of knowledge to these issues by simply educating yourself and using these to get the help we need.
Together we can create awareness of the importance of Mental Health.
1 can Tuna in spring water – drained
1/2 cup Lettuce – chopped
1/2 cup Cucumber – chopped
4 baby plum Tomatoes – chopped
3 Radishes – sliced thin
2 Thai red chillies – chopped fine
1 Spring Onion – sliced thin
5 – 7 Almonds – toasted and roughly pounded.
1/2 teaspoon Fish Sauce ( Nam Pla )
Juice of half a Lime
Dash of white pepper powder
Mix all ingredients. Garnish with toasted almonds and Enjoy!
Bone Health refers to the ability of the skeletons and density in the bones to protect, repair and recover from serious injuries. The bones in our body work as a support system, building strength and also shapes our postural by encouraging the growth and development of our skeletal frame and/or structure.
October brings us another event from the National Health Services calendar – National Back Care Week ( 8th – 12th ). The campaign organised by BackCare discusses the risks, prevention and treatments caused by back pain.
We will be acknowledging this information to help us maintain our skeletal structure from minor and severe injuries.
The development of our skeletal structure begins at a very young age. The human body consists of 206 bones which fused together from over 270 which we were initially born with. This does not include the other small bones which are found in our wrists, neck and even ears! – An amazing fact of the human skeletons!!
Our bones also help the body to store sufficient minerals and enable us the luxury of mobility. But, over time – the bones could lose its rigidity to endure deformation which may lead to illnesses and/or diseases such as:-
- Osteopenia – bone thinning due to a decline in bone mineral and also a precursor to osteoporosis
- Osteoporosis – brittle and fragile bone tissues due to lack of calcium and Vitamin D, and hormonal imbalances
- Multiple Myeloma – a bone cancer which develops in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow.
It’s vital to ensure we take great care of our bone marrow as it contains 2 types of stem cells hemopoietic and stromal which raises the production of new red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets which aids in preventing cancer!
To maintain healthy bones, foods enriched in calcium must be consumed. Foods high in Vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium intake which encourages the growth and structure of your bones.
You should consume foods that encourage healthy bone development and helps to maintain it’s vitality:-
- Salmon – one serving provides all the Vitamin D you need for a day and the canned versions with edible bones are packed with lots of calcium
- Low Fat Yogurt – one 8 ounce serving provides 42 per cent of your daily calcium needs
- Breakfast cereals and milk – consume cereals fortified with Vitamin D and reap the benefits of calcium absorption in one
- Dark leafy greens – kale, Swiss chard, turnip greens are rich in Vitamins C, A and K, which also helps calcium absorption
- Soy or almond products – consume ones which are enriched with calcium and Vitamin D
According to a recent study, younger adults between ages 25 to 45 are more likely to experience a backache i.e. lumbar disc herniation or degenerative disc disease.
Leading an active lifestyle is also a great way of taking care of the postural structures of our bones. It starts with an aligned and straight spine!
As an employer, you can encourage your employees to perform these exercises to stretch and improve their back even whilst at work. :-
- The Routine – Avoid sitting too far from the desk, ensure sight and arms are aligned to the computer and that you’re sitting all the way back in the chair to help with the natural curve of your spine.
- Planks – Lie face down on the floor with your palms alongside shoulders and that your feet and legs are together. Raise yourself and straighten your arms and balance equally. Do for 30 seconds and gradually increase time. Works abdominal muscles, shoulders and back.
- Back Extensions – Lie face down, extend your arms straight above the head. Gently lift your shoulders as far off the floor, keeping your head in line with your spine. Repeat 10 times. This exercise is great for the posture as it strengthens the back.
- Shoulder Rolls – an Easy exercise that you can do sitting or standing. Helps relieve tension and improves posture. Raise your shoulders and shoulder blades to your ears as you inhale and gently release shoulder as you exhale. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Practising these neutral postures will help in activating your core musculatures effectively, decreasing inflammation which causes degeneration of discs.
If your job requires the lifting and moving of heavy objects, always use the right equipment and effective techniques to avoid any form of injury to your spine.
- Always push heavier objects rather than pulling
- Keep the spine aligned even when reaching to pick something light off the floor
- Avoid twisting your back while lifting
Even the slightest twist in your back could cause excruciating pain and left unattended could lead to other spine related diseases.
Remember – Always use your legs to lift and never your back!
Preventing injuries at work highly benefits the productivity and profits of your business. It is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure their employees are:-
- Always equipped with the right tools which are suitable for the required duties and working environment
- Strictly adhere to company policies on implementing health and safety
- Frequently run risk assessments on all manually handled jobs
- Train employees to conduct their duties responsibly by following company procedures
- Promote frequent short breaks to encourage employees to do stretching exercises
- Encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle to promote healthy bones and muscles.
- Practice stress-busting routines among colleagues to prevent back and neck pain.
When it comes to bone health – Prevention IS better than cure!
Sit up straight and stand tall – Great posture leads to a life full of incredible health benefits including good digestion!!
So – give your backbone the attention it deserves and starts taking care of your spine!
Maintain great POSTURAL through the body’s SUPPORT SYSTEM – your SKELETAL!
* An article I wrote for a client from the Fitness and Health Industry.
2 medium sized Carrots – chopped
1 ripe Conference Pear
1/2 a Lime juiced and zested
1 teaspoon honey ( I used Manuka )
200ml Cold Water
Ice cubes ( optional )
Add all ingredients into your smoothie maker and blend till smooth!
So it begins… another day and another adventure…
Somewhere wild and untouched, the trees grew recklessly on gravelled paths as I began my journey… first steps and many that followed as if I was on a walkabout.
The rockiest roads, I was not skipping my way through this one. It was well balanced beneath my feet. Like toddler’s first steps until I discovered the stream. The glacier flows all this way not just to fill my cup but my heart with the joy of transcendence.
The journey continues, for the best is yet to come…
This looked like a bad construction site! I climbed to rocky hills to get to the most beautiful sight.
Blåvatnet or Blue Lake named for ( can you take a guess…? ) being the bluest lake! So rich in minerals, the water that flows from the glacier. And freezing cold! That 4 kilometres walk was so worth it!