Today is …

..NHS Change Day, and I am feeling good.

I am proud to be a nurse.

Today I pledge to continue to honour my profession and use my skills and passion to improve the mental health and emotional well being of all I come in contact with.

I pledge to support my organisation in improving the mental health of our staff in order for them to act as good role models, feel comfortable to talk to patients about mental health and in turn improve the general health of our community.

Hertfordshire Community Health Service can feel proud of its staff who really want to make a difference to the health of their community.

As a patient I pledge to talk to the staff, who are treating me for myeloma, about my mental health and emotional well being. I shall demonstrate it is good to talk about mental health and the difference it can in turn make to physical health.

Today I appreciate all that life has given me and YES that does include Cancer. I thank the cancer cells for the challenge to become stronger and the opportunities that have been presented to me since the diagnosis. I thank it for teaching me how better to live in the moment, for inspiring me to write the blog, for the wonderful people I have met on my journey and for opening my eyes and ears to all that is good in the world.

I appreciate life and thank God,The Universe ( including the Parellel one!) science, human kind, evolution, dinosaurs, consciousness and whatever made , brought about, contributed to life today.

Being emotionally and mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.

The difference is that people with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.

So who wouldn’t want to help others to feel emotionally healthy, what a privileged position I am in.

In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Don’t let stress and negative emotions build up.

Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise. Remember the blog about the importance of looking after yourself.

Here are a few tips for improving your mental health today:

  • Do something today that has a positive impact on someone else. (I am sure you all do this everyday anyway , just become more aware of it). Being useful to others and being valued for what you do can help build self-esteem.
  • Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
  • Learn or discover something new today. Think of it as “exercise for the brain”.
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature or art. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Physical exercise releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.
  • Manage your stress levels. Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance.
  • Limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying. Try to avoid becoming absorbed by repetitive mental habits – negative thoughts about yourself and the world that suck up time, drain your energy, and trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.
  • Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
  • Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Meditate, pray, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.

As we know, everyone is different; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people.

Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel good.

The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give yourself a boost today you never know you might fancy doing it all again tomorrow!

I will get back on track tomorrow about ….which therapy, I just wanted to honour and share in the NHS Change Day today.

If you are a health professional or patient please make a pledge today by visiting:

http://www.changemodel.nhs.uk/pg/groups/33183/NHS+Change+Day/?community=NHS+Change+Day

A Special Request…

I would really appreciate it if you could share your pledge with me through your comments on this blog – Come on i know a lot of you read the blog now it’s your turn – Thank you

Scores on the board:

Physical health = 5.5 ( the leg pain is improving or at least kept at bay with the pain killers)

Mental Health = 2 It feels good to have my positive mentally healthy head back on!

Which therapy is best for me?

Oh dear it’s another early start for me as I avoided taking a sleeping tablet last night. I have however still had 5 hours sleep which, for me, is pretty good going and I have at my disposal a day of succumbing if need be, but I do hope not.

I have been thinking about mental health, as I usually do, and the minefield of different types of therapy and therapists out there. How does one choose which is best for them. I of course have my own ideas and preferences but these are based entirely on my own experiences and my personal  map of the world.

This blog post would be far too long if I were to tell you even a little about some of these in one fell swoop so I shall do so over the next few days.

I shall start with sharing my own journey into therapy and why and how I have come to the conclusions I have. Please do remember these are not necessarily the right ones they are just MY beliefs and like I said based on my experience of the world so far. I am forever in training and learning more, so develop new thoughts and ideas as I go along.

Many years ago, person centred counselling was the buzz word and therapy around, and I took up the opportunity to train undertaking a diploma in counselling at my local college. As part of the training you go into therapy yourself.

I will be explaining more about what each therapy contains in a little more detail in the days to come, but generally this type of therapy is one where you sit and talk as much or as little as you want , and the therapist skilfully listens and reflects back, clarifying what they think they have heard. Some people go into this type of counselling for many years.

When working as a specialist nurse for children, mostly teenagers, who had been in care, I
listened to their experiences of counselling, and decided for myself that there must be a better approach to helping this group of young people. Many of them had told their stories over and over again to numerous social workers etc. Some of the young people were now living semi independently alone in their own bedsits. They often reported how unhelpful they found it to go and sit with a therapist where they felt they had to bring up there past yet again and then return to their homes to mull it over. They also reported that they were looking for more practical advice and support rather than someone to feedback what they think they had just heard. I felt fully in agreement with that and was anxious about the effect some of this therapy was having upon them. This is what led to my journey into finding out more about Human Givens (HG) and completing a diploma with the Human Givens Institute to become an HG therapist. During this time I managed (quite a feat I must say) to get hold of some funding to employ two qualified human given therapists to work with this group of vulnerable young people. This produced some excellent results and some very positive anecdotal feedback from the young people themselves. HG therapy is short and quick and does not require the client to go over their story in great deal or in fact at all in some circumstances. You will just have to wait a few blogs to find out more!

As I was coming to the end of my HG training I stumbled across Neuro- linguistic programming (NLP) and as I have previously explained in an earlier post.

https://mymyelomajourney.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/nlp-and-my-personal-journey/#comments

I found this personally life changing. NLP to me, is more of an attitude and a deeper understanding of what is happening in my mind and body as well as the external world around me. For me it is a toolbox of different techniques drawn from, or very similar to, a number of other therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy , Psychoanalytic Therapy and Human Givens. NLP uses a range of techniques to help the client and the therapist gain a better understanding of their own world and resources, helping the client to move forward in their lives.

The biggest difference between the traditional therapies and the newer therapies like HG and NLP is the scientific evidence to back these newer theories up. However both of these are going through much research and analysis and the evidence is stacking up as to the positive impact they are having, so I hope they will soon be fully accepted and more respected by the scientific and academic community. All I can share is that for me personally and from what I have seen and experienced with my clients the techniques have had good results.

Since setting up a small team of mental health advisors and employing two excellent Clinical Psychologists I have been very lucky enough to listen and learn a little from them and their views and experiences. I have also experienced the support from a Clinical Psychologist on my own recent health journey as I tried to come to terms with my diagnosis. I learnt from them the importance of knowing and understanding something about my narrative. The story of my life to date and why this might be important in understanding the here and now. So I have a much more respectful view of why sometimes this may be appropriate.

At the end of the day , I believe it’s back to that old sage TIME. For me it is all about giving myself and the client time to think and explore together their resources and the best tools I have to share with them in the given time and situation being presented. Therapy is not something you do to some one else it is a journey you go on together with the therapist acting as a guide along the way. I believe you come into therapy to change your future not your past, but having a greater understanding about how your past history may have influenced your thinking today can be the key in helping you move forward.

So we have lots to explore together and over the next few blogs, I will talk in more depth about the different approaches and types of therapy you can access to help you with this.

On a different note, today I hope to bag up all the lovely scarves and hats that have been donated so far, ready to deliver to the Macmillan Centre next week. I shall make sure I get some photo’s to show you.

I also hope to have a visit to the wholesaler’s and start to better organise all the gear I have collected for the Village Secret event. So not much time for succumbing today I just hope my body agrees!

Have a happy day.

Are you getting your messages from the universe yet? If not don’t forget you can have them emailed to you for free by signing up at:

www.tut.com

Deborah x

Two sleeping tablets later…

…and I managed 8 hours sleep, I want to jump out of bed with joy but feel the remnants  of my deliberate choice to increase to double my dose, holding me back.

Yesterday I was yet again reminded of the kindness of the human spirit. Another beautiful new scarf was left on my doorstep, and some lovely friends from the village delivered us a whole truck full of logs. This will make such a difference as Colin should not really be chopping away and putting further strain on his heart, and I am feeling the cold more than ever
So Thank You dear friends and village buddies.
Kate will drive and chaperone me to my final beetle juice and stomach injection of the week, today. This will give Colin a much needed break from it all, and a rest from my continuos steroid fuelled chatter.  On the journey I may get the chance to help Kate explore some of her excellent training ideas. I like helping others and feel disappointed when my body has other ideas and I have to go back into succumbing mode.
Tomorrow is my planned day of rest but I do have some other ideas for it so I am willing my body to synchronise well with my mind.
I am excited about the future.
Firstly I am really getting excited about the Village Secret event on a March 22nd I do hope many of you will come and support me. I hope I have enough clothes and shoes that you will like but if not we will just have a fun evening together any way.
Secondly I hope to deliver all the new scarves to the cancer centre next week, I should have received the white paper bags that I want to decorate by then and have written all the positive messages to accompany.
Thirdly I now have the NHS Change Day  to attend  on March 13th, so I can share my pledge and join with colleagues nationally who want to make a difference and improve the services we deliver to our patients.  I will just need to find myself a healthy chaperone who is  willing to wander around with a blown up baldy, (that’s how I feel sometimes), maybe I had better get the wig out!
Then it’s the BIG one, the prep for the Hinxworth Charity Birthday Festival. I want it to be the best night ever so I am busy visualising a lots of sunshine and plenty of people willing to lend us their patio heaters, just in case the air gets chilly in the evening .
I need to stay as well as possible, as does Colin, to acheive all of the above, so we are doing our best to follow instructions ( not my usual modus operandi) and succumbing when we really have to!
Please note,  this blog has been complied  in rather a drug induced state so I hope the above makes some sense.
Back on form tomorrow is the plan,
All the best
Deborah x

A very proud mum and the NHS change day…

I am very proud of both of my daughters but today I want to share with you the success of my eldest daughter and how I feel so proud of her, especially in the last few weeks and months.

Pollyanna is undoubtably a very bright and focused young lady. This is not only demonstrated by her academic achievements that include, a first degree in politics and philosophy, a distinction in Masters of research, and her recent completion of the CIMA
(Chartered Institute of Management Accounts) course, (so far she has passed all of her exams for this with flying colours and is all set to receive her qualification as a charted accountant). I also want to acknowledge her dedication in supporting my own organisation, me personally and the rest of her family.

Pollyanna is always ready to help her elderly grandmother calling her most days and visiting her weekly, she supports her sister with her baby Elliot, and of course is there for me and her step father, calling us daily with offers of support and regular visits.

She finds the time and energy to do all this whilst finishing her NHS graduate scheme, which was no mean feat to get on (the competition was very tough) and is juggling her studies with her regular work place.

I am sure like me, having the support of a caring partner helps, so I must also thank her lovely boyfriend for his contribution.

I certainly appreciate that I couldn’t achieve all I do without the support and care of my loving husband and I often think Colin should be on my trusts pay role with the unseen time he spends rushing around printing, binding and generally supporting me behind the scenes. No wonder the poor guy has chest pains! Maybe I had better take a look at his work / life balance! Colin really is the wind beneath my wings.

Pollyanna has lots of resilience factors and her mothers drive, energy and enthusiasm for life.

Only a few years ago her paternal grandfather, to whom she was very close, died of Myeloma and her biological father has only recently got over ( if you can get over such a thing) bowel cancer. Now with my own diagnosis to come to terms Pollyanna’s powers of resilience and positive mental attitude are really coming into play

She is presently being offered various jobs and has to consider her next move very carefully. There is nothing tying her in to the NHS and with her connections in the city she could easily get a job with a bank earning mega bucks.

But not Pollyanna she is passionate about the NHS and making a difference, (now where may that have come from, I wonder ?).

Relatively recently , together with a few of her young graduate colleagues, they came up with the idea of the NHS Change Day.

This day is drawing close, it is set for March 13th, so only one week to go.

If I had been well and working (not signed off on sick leave) , I would have been more involved in our trusts drive to get our staff involved. I do hope, however, that many of the staff have read the newsletter that came out on February 27th . It was all about the NHS change day and how our chief exec David Law, is calling on us all to make a pledge.

David Law, will pledge…….”We will discuss how to reduce paperwork for the clinical teams”

and…The Quality Directorate Team pledges that on that day, each member of the Quality and Governance Directorate will visit one of the Trust’s services to meet the patients and team members, find out more about the services offered and support them to get involved in the day.

If you are working for our organisation have you made your pledge yet?

You didn’t think a little thing like Cancer would keep me quiet and off your back did you, even if I am running a little behind schedule?

For the many readers of this blog who aren’t health professionals and we are up to nearly 10,000 views now , let me explain to you what this is all about.

This information is taken directly from NHS Change Day website:

NHS Change Day is a single day of collective action to demonstrate how small changes can have a big impact.

On the 13 March 2013 NHS Change Day will bring together the individual creativity, energy and innovative thinking of thousands of NHS staff from across clinical and non-clinical areas of work, in a single day of collective action to improve care for patients, their families and their carers.

Change Day is an NHS grassroots initiative devised and driven by new young and emergent clinical and managerial leaders from primary and secondary care across the NHS in England, who want to make this call to action the single largest simultaneous improvement event in the NHS.

It is an ambitious programme of activities aimed at galvanising and engaging the frontline in the process of improvement through individuals and teams pledging to make a change in their practice which will improve patient experience and/or clinical outcomes by spreading and adopting best practice and championing innovation.

This will be a country wide event covering the whole of the UK and will coincide with Healthcare Innovation Expo at Excel in the same day.

The idea of NHS Change Day is to create a mass movement of people working in the NHS
demonstrating the difference they can make – by one simple act – and proving that large scale improvement is possible in the NHS. The aim is for 65,000 people to take part, 65 being the number of years the NHS has been in existence.

Those who wish to take part can go to the NHS Change Day website at http://www.changemodel.nhs.uk/changeday and make their pledge online, join in the discussions on the forum and become part of the growing list of active supporters and organisations taking part on the day.

You can see how proud I am of Pollyanna for coming up with such a great idea , (alongside a few of her colleagues of course)

My pledge is…to increase the resilience of our workforce by empowering them to improve their own mental health and emotional well being and achieve a better more healthy work / life balance.

I intend to do this by writing a blog for our organisation, very similar to this one but perhaps more specifically sharing the mental health parts of this blog with all the Hertfordshire Community NHS staff.

Should I just share this blog, which could perhaps act as a good role model for coping with adversity and demonstrating resilience?

Or write a more specific new blog? I am not sure as this one is quite a bit more about me rather than how I can help others.

I know some of you reading this are working in our trust so I would value your opinion in particular. Also have you made your pledge yet?

Remember you only have a few days left to deliver your pledge.

I am also considering going down to London ( yet again but not for treatment this time) to take part in the Heath Innovation Expo being put out on to celebrate the day.

I just need to find some one to go along with who is happy to perhaps drive or at least accompany a bald, bloated but enthusiastic cancer patient who is still holding on tight to her passion for work and mental health.

I think I must also ask the nurses etc at UCLH today what they know about the NHS change day and check to see of they have put their pledge in yet.

Hmm I wonder if my own team have put out their pledges, it’s hard being out of the loop. Hopefully one of them will be reading this blog and encourage the others to get their pledges in. It doesn’t have to be anything big just one thing that you are pledging to do to make a change in practice that in turn will improve our patients experience. Please let me know.

I urge you all not to just read, or necessarily believe all the bad spin stories often reported about us in the daily papers. We are, in the majority, a caring bunch of extremely dedicated people who want to keep the NHS alive and something that our whole country can feel proud of. I do however feel thst we have the private sector biting at our ankles, hungry for a piece of the action, and just perhaps offering a cheaper but not necessarily greater quality of service. In this day of financial constraints , even at the cost of reduced quality, money talks, and with new commissioning arrangements we are all having to work with a business head on. This is not necessarily something nurses have had needed to think about never mind worry about and do before.

Well it looks like I have got plenty to keep me motivated and out of mischief, so I am so pleased those cancerous cells have been taking note and dying off. They really do have no place to hide in my body. Together we are seeking them out and if one rat gets pregnant we shall be after it and its young, (sorry poor rats I didn’t mean to necessarily pick on you as my metaphor).

I am also grateful for my ten plate spinning abilities and will certainly not let the ‘Village Secrets’, ‘ Especially for You ‘ charity scarves or ‘Hinxworth Festival Birthday Charity Party’ , fall to the ground, with much family and community support they are continuing to spin well.

So just to finish off, this post is dedicated to Pollyanna.

Thank you for being the beautiful shining star you are and letting others benefit from you glorious rays of sunshine.

Your very proud mum

Deborah

X

Plate spinning and apologies…

Firstly let me yet again apologise to my early morning readers for the lateness of this blog I have been up since 3am but blame the steroids for me getting distracted.

Today I want to talk about plate spinning something I allured (allure is a good Miranda word and I like it) to on face book.

Some of us are completer finishes I am not one of those. A completer finisher enjoys doing a task where he and she will get pleasure from the end result. They can be trusted to do the job thouroughy and are much needed members within a team.

I am a planter I will start  several projects off but will usually need to find a completer finisher to see some of them through, I enjoy the journey but have usually completed them  in my head so don’t need to personally do the completing in practice to gain satisfaction and gratification.

Imagine the plate spinner at a circus spinning as many plates as possible. I would go for at least 10 if not more plates enjoying the risk and excitement of keeping as many up in the air as possible. Not too concerned if some drop to the ground.

The work place needs 10 plate spinners (well maybe just one per team or organisation) and 1, 2 and 3 plate spinners. It would be no good if we were all trying to spin 10 plates we would have a hell of a mess to clean up!

So knowing what you are and adapting the way you operate to fit into this may be helpful to yourself,  business and your family.

If you are a fewer plate spinner I think you need to plan your time carefully. Chunk your tasks down into small achievable parts . Make sure your goals are SMART
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time – bound

Paul J. Meyer describes the characteristics of S.M.A.R.T and I quote “goals in Attitude is Everything ref.[1]
Specific
The first term stresses the need for a specific goal over and against a more general one. This means the goal is clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. To make goals specific, they must tell a team ( or yourself) exactly what is expected, why is it important, who’s involved, where is it going to happen and which attributes are important.
A specific goal will usually answer the five “W” questions:
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Who: Who is involved?
Where: Identify a location.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Measurable
The second term stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. The thought behind this is that if a goal is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether a team (or yourself), is making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to help stay on track, reach its target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs it on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.
A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:
How much?
How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable
The third term stresses the importance of goals that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable goal may stretch you in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme. That is, the goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. The theory states that an attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals.
An attainable goal will usually answer the question:
How: How can the goal be accomplished?
Relevant
The fourth term stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. A bank manager’s goal to “Make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by 2:00pm” may be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Time-Bound, but lacks Relevance. Many times you will need support to accomplish a goal: resources, a champion voice, someone to knock down obstacles. Goals that are relevant to your boss, your team, your organization will receive that needed support.
Relevant goals (when met) drive yourself, the team, department, and organization forward. A goal that supports or is in alignment with other goals would be considered a relevant goal.
A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
Does this match our other efforts/needs?
Are you the right person?
Is this acceptable for correction?
Time-bound
The fifth term stresses the importance of grounding goals within a time frame, giving them a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps you or your team focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. This part of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise at home or in an organization. A time-bound goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency.
A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:
When?
What can I do 6 months from now?
What can I do 6 weeks from now?
What can I do today?

I hope you might find this useful

Now off to try and spin lots of plates some of which I will undoubtedly drop but I’m ok with that remember.

I shall try to be a bit quicker with tomorrow’s blog and put it further up my to do list.

Have a good day spinning your plates and remember it’s not the number of plates that’s important but being able to recognise your own best way of spinning and what you want to achieve in the long run to ensure you reach the ultimate goal of happiness for yourself and family.

Take good care

Deborah x

PS I would like to thank my special friend Julie who brought me round a lovely healing bracelet I believe it will get the rest of those cancerous cells running – So thank you Julie for that and the 15 new scarves you donated to the charity, they are perfect!  I just hope I didn’t bore you with my incessant chattering!

[1](Meyer, Paul J (2003). “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals”. Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond. Meyer Resource Group, Incorporated, The. ISBN 978-0-89811-304-4.)

Mental health (a bit of a passion of mine if you hadn’t already guessed!)

If I asked you to write every thing you know about mental health I have no doubt that most of you would think and write about mental illness, funnily that doesn’t happen when we think about physical health. So what is mental health, how can we acheive it and how can we help our children acheive it?

The world health organisation describes mental health as, ” a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”

I think Wikipedia puts it nicely as being “a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience, an expression of emotions, and as signifying a successful adaptation to a range of demands.

When talking about mental health to large groups or individual clients I use “the long and winding road” to demonstrate how none of us are mentally healthy all of the time.

road with me on

As you can see I have placed myself on the road a little way down from being 100% mentally healthy. Who is a 100% mentally healthy all of the time? Most of us if not all of us have mental health problems at some time. I mean we wouldn’t expect to be physically in top form all of the time would we?

We are all up and down the long and winding road, here are a few facts and figures about the prevalence on mental health in the UK :

  • 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
  • Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
  • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men
  • About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time
  • Depression affects 1 in 5 older people
  • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
  • Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
  • Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder

Luckily we talk a lot more about recovery nowadays.

But what sort of things are likely to bring us down the road perhaps more importantly back up again?

Well I of course believe having our LAMBSS (see previous post) met in balance is a good start.

Here is a list of some of the possible life situations or choices that can take us towards mental illness:

Substance misuse
Bullying
Bereavement
Financial worries
Stress
Family break-up
Physical ill health

And some factors that can bring us back towards being mentally healthy

A good support network (friends and family)
Talking to someone
Meditation/mindfulness
Personality (in built resilience factors)
Positive attitude
Confidence
Good self esteem
Prescribed medication

How do we ensure our children have these, what can we do as parents to reduce the likelihood of our children developing mental illness?

Again these are my personal beliefs built on my experiences and map of the world.

I beiieve in order to have mentally healthy children we need mentally health adults that can act as good positive role models.

So take a good hard look at yourself and see what you are role modelling.

Are you demonstating how to manage stress?
Having a good work/life balance?
How to manage Anger?
Good self esteem?
confidence?

Hmm, now here’s your starting point………. YOU

It’s not always easy as we are all human and fallible, but if we really want to make a difference to our children’s mental health it’s where we need to begin.

posterchild change copy

I think we all want our children to be happy.

For those of you who haven’t yet seen or heard this young 13 year old boy speak (if you follow me on facebook you  may have seen it there), here is a very inspirational young man who can teach us a thing or two.

http://youtu.be/h11u3vtcpaY

Enjoy your day.

Deborah x

Blame the tablets ….

…for the lateness of this blog! Sorry folks I know many of you like to read it with your morning cup of char before heading off to work. But last night I had eight hours sleep, that must be a record, and no psychotic symptoms to note. Now I will have all the energy I need to enjoy the day ahead. My kitchen blackboard calendar has against today’s date In large capital letters REST DAY. Well it’s my calendar and I can rub it out if I like. 🙂

But I may stay in my jimmy jams today (so be warned if you pop by), throw a couple of logs on the wood burner and tick off a few of the items on my to do list for today.

Work on my painting
Try out my new dry cleaning unit
Shop on line for my paper bags
Prepare clothes and shoes ready for sale
Finish the Village Secret invites and email out
Make labels
Ring my pension lady
Enjoy a cuppa with my work colleagues.
Watch another episode of 24
Catch upon all the recorded TV programmes I have missed
Work on PR strategy
Reflect on my meeting with my new friend David who I have the upmost respect for and can’t wait to see playing the lead role in Phantom of the Opera, I may just have to keep hold of one of my recently required designer gowns!

I also want to appreciate today that I have been blessed with courage. I think courage comes with confidence and gives the possessor permission to step outside the normal rules that sometimes dictate today’s world.

According to my online dictionary, courage is:

1) The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
2) The heart as the source of emotion
3) To have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.

The 6 C’s is a new compassionate, caring vision for nursing that has been recently launched. The vision is based around six values – care, compassion, courage, communication, competence and commitment. I was pleased to see courage being one of them.

It takes courage to stand up for the things you believe, especially if it appears to be at odds with the people around you. In my experience however, I have found there are many people who are often thinking and believing the same but lacked the courage to speak out.

So I am grateful for the gift of courage. Courage has helped me to believe, to follow my dreams. Yesterday I met David in real life, (instead of just through the powers of technology). It felt good to have a hug from a fellow ‘Courager’ (ok I know there is no such word in the dictionary but I’ve just made it up so they can make space for it now) Couragers are role models who by example can demonstrate courage and share stories that can inspire others to take the first step. I think there are any Couragers out there, seek them out and ask them to kindly share their stories it may just change your life. I think courage could be catching.

Do you know any Couragers? Is there another word that describes people that demonstrate courage, that speak out , follow their dreams? Maybe the word is Hero?

Come on Libi this ones for you. I need a noun that fits otherwise I am sticking with Courager.

Go out and be brave today

X

Donate a scarf and make a difference.

It doesn’t always take money to help others. If we take the time and a little bit of thought, we can come up with some great ways to make a difference.

Yesterday following my daily dose of beetle juice etc, I visited the amazing “Living Room” on the ground floor of the hospital. This is a unique oasis in my Parallel Universe, crewed by a team of highly skilled and compassionate staff and has provided me with the time and space I so needed before stepping back into the reality of the outside world again. Walking through the doors you are greeted by a friendly smile, a good old cup of tea and let me say again, (as I am sure I must have mentioned in previous posts) that most precious and invaluable resource of all…TIME.

Before I go on I must talk about TIME again because for me, there is nothing more precious you could give to yourself or anyone else in order to make a difference. I may be digressing a little from my original blog posting for the day but it really is so important. Yesterday, listening to Radio 4 on our in, what seemed like a very long car journey, (I blame the small sprinkle of snow), I heard about yet another parenting programme. This one had been brought over from Australia, to support vulnerable families. I forget what name that was attributed to it, and I am not disputing its value but it got me thinking about the time and cost it took to train the therapists in this latest idea (which I can honestly say in my humble opinion, was nothing new.) Am I just getting old, but however you dress it up, whatever name you care to give to the latest therapy or idea the basic gift you are giving is TIME. If you are going into to a families home and spending quality time listening to their stories and working with them and their resources, it really isn’t rocket science to know you are going to make a difference. However, I do fear that maybe I have just become so unconsciously competent I am not seeing it? I am also not disputing the years of training and skills myself and the excellent therapists in my team have developed to help and empower our patients, but I do believe that if a family or person is ready and willing to move forward it is the time you spend with them that counts. Recently there has been a big change around with further investment into health visiting. Health visiting resources were reduced, and I won’t get into the politics of by whom or why, but it resulted in less time for these skilled professionals to spend time with new mums, and the consequences for those especially experiencing depression and anxiety, soon became clear, as child protection cases rose and children’s and adults mental ill health increased. Now there is a re- investment as someone who must be really smart has thought this is what was needed after all HUH, Is it just me? I must put in a plug here now for a similar investment into school nursing which I could talk for hours on!

How much time do you give to yourself, your family ,friends? Oh dear this isn’t meant to be a lecture and I can honestly say that I have been better at preaching than practicing this in the past, but being faced head on with a big life changing event pulls you up by your boot strings.

Take 15 mins of time tonight to jot down how you divided up your time today. How much time did you spend working, doing house chores, listening to your partner and family and how much time was purely spent on yourself. I can guess which comes out top. Of course most of have to work be able to afford all the luxuries that surround us and that we are convinced are most necessary in order to make our lives easier and more bearable to cope with, but at what cost to ourselves and the people we really care about and love? Ask any one in my amazing team, what is the number one criteria is for working in Step2 and if they don’t come up with the answer of, first of all making sure they are feeling mentally and emotionally healthy, and looking after themselves, then they don’t deserve to be there. How productive can you be if you are stressed out or anxious yourself, especially in a mental health service?

That reminds me, I did start to write a book which I must dig out and finish, I think I called it the Me Day concept or some other such catchy title, but it was all about permission and diary in time in for oneself. Maybe I had better get back to it?

It is amazing how powerful words are. We apply meaning and feelings to so many, and yet, often we forget that the true purpose of words is to remove the ambiguity of meaning. We get mired in what is expected of us, rather than what is right. We are more worried about how our actions are viewed, than whether the outcomes are right. We fear how others view us so we stand silent or chose conflicting courses of action.

The word ‘ selfish’ has been provided with such negative connotations. It’s seen as a tremendous character flaw. To be fair, part of that reputation is earned. We’ve all known people that are truly selfish , that step on others in order to pursue their own needs. They often know very little of caring, happiness, giving, and love. Yet it’s possible that, as a society, we’ve gone too far to the other side, promoting the idea that if we want to truly be good people, we need to be as selfless as possible. We see this with caregiving, volunteer work, and raising a family – many people dedicate their entire lives to others. But there’s a problem – complete selflessness has a cost – and that cost is often to our own health, happiness, and lives.

Having good mental health as an individual leads to good mental health as a society so let me take you back to the LAMBSS from a previous post which illustrates the importance of having our emotion and mental health needs meet in balance. I believe the same could With so much emphasis on helping others, be said for the balance between being selfish and selfless.

You should always remember that you deserve as much health and happiness as anyone else – possibly more. This is because…You Are a Person too, and with so much emphasis on helping others this can get lost with detrimental effects on the people around you that you love most and are so wanting to be there for. As much as you try to help others, the only person whose happiness you can fix with any certainty is your own. When it comes to your life, no one is more important than yourself but this last point is often forgotten. YOU are important, YOU matter. And you especially matter to you – the one person in this world that knows you best of all. It is for that reason that being a little bit selfish may be a good thing.

It’s time to be a little bit selfish. It’s time to care about your own health and happiness, even if it’s slightly at the expense of someone you care about. Your happiness needs to be important to you. But perhaps the greatest reason to be a little selfish is because it makes you a better person for others as well.

OMG this was going to be a short post about how you could possibly help me to help other cancer sufferers, and now look what I’ve done! I do hope you are still with me.

As I started saying yesterday I visited the Living Room, I was feeling a little anxious about my thinning hair and thought I would just explore a few options and before I knew it I had been whisked away by this lovely lady in front of a mirror and presented with an array of scarves, hats and wigs and I must admit I starting getting a tad excited (it doesn’t take much!). One of the very glamorous wigs, I tried on, would even give Heather a run for her money, who I think has simply gorgeous hair. ( you know who you are!) .

The wigs aren’t cheap although you do get a £64.0O prescription towards it from the NHS which isn’t bad. Also, by the time you have bought these special soft caps and an array of scarves I expect it soon adds up.

That got me thinking, I know we are all often looking for ways to help others but I don’t think it always needs to be about giving large sums of money, and, to be frank, in this day it is in short supply for most of us. So how about donating a scarf or hat? Ideally it would be new but if not I could easily wash and bag up. We could include a little inspirational note or kind message to brighten up someones day. I could hand them in to the Living Room for them to give freely away or sell them at a small charge with 100% of profits going towards the Macmillan Cancer Support charity, perhaps enabling more wonderful people to be employed to support others at their time of need.

What do you think, is it a goer? Perhaps you could get it started at your workplace and colleagues in your company could be encouraged to become involved?

I’ve also found some great knitting and crochet patterns for those so inclined to do so, in front of the latest episode of Coronation Street or Mr Selfridge, ( I am so loving that programme at the moment).

Get your thinking caps on and please let me know your thoughts.

Will I ever be short of subject matter for my blog…somehow I don’t think so.

Forever grateful knowing you are there.

Deborah x

Mental Health – Well you didn’t think I would stay quiet about the subject for long did you?

Every training workshop and conference I run starts with the audience jotting down all they can think about physical health, and you’ve guessed it the page is filled with words such as exercise, fitness , free from illness, etc but flipping the page over to mental health is a different story. Nine times out of ten the flip chart sheet will contain the words depression, low mood, anxiety, stress., dementia, psychosis and all number of descriptions of mental Illness.
So for a start lets start talking properly about the true meaning of health of the mind.
The World Health Organisation describes mental health as; “A state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
Some tall order.
So mental health problems can range from a low mood to a depressive illness in the same way as
Long and Winding Road1 copyphysical health problems can range from a common cold to double pneumonia.  Nobody is mentally well all of their lives. There are things that happen on a day to day basis that will effect our mental health in some way or another so I use this simple road when talking to patients, families or professionals about mental well being and illness.
We explore where we may be on the road and the sort of things that may take us down one way and back up again towards good mental health. For those of us who will and do experience mental illness, at the very furthest end of the road, it is good to know we talk and know much more about recovery nowadays.
As you may imagine since hearing my diagnosis I have been wandering a little further down the road than usual.  But I truly believe I am one of the lucky ones because I have a number of internal resilience factors and resources to pull on.  There are also a number of external support systems in play that are guiding me back towards good mental health, This in turn will effect my physiology and therefore, I believe my physical health.
When we look for these innate resources within our clients, we can help to empower them to use theses internal and external systems to influence their own recovery which can be amazingly successful and empowering in the long term.
This is big, passionate subject, very close to my heart so I will use future posts to talk about this in depth at another time.
A 2004 cross-Europe study found that approximately one in four people reported meeting criteria at some point in their life for at least one of the DSM-IV disorders assessed, which included mood disorders (13.9%), anxiety disorders (13.6%) or alcohol disorder (5.2%). Approximately one in ten met criteria within a 12-month period. Women and younger people of either gender showed more cases of disorder.- Alonso J, Angermeyer MC, Bernert S, et al. (2004).  
850,000 children and young people in the UK (10%) have a mental health problem – and that’s just the ones who have been diagnosed.
So you can see why it’s such an important subject that needs to be addressed.
Stigma causes problems and the fact that it’s difficult to talk about mental health problems can be one of the hardest parts of having a mental illness. It can lead to the loss of friendships, feeling isolated, not seeking help and slower recovery.
So get talking about it now this is the time to change  http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
Besides my training as a registered mental health nurse I have added to my list of qualifications over the years and want to mention two here that we’re most significant and life changing for both me and and I believe my patients. The first being my ” Human Givens” diploma http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Givens
and the second Neuro- linguistic programming (N.L.P).
The methods here alongside cognitive behaviour techniques, video interactive guidance   http://www.whatsthedealwith.co.uk/great-yarmouth/professionals/video-interactive-guidance-vig and  solution focused brief therapies play a large part of our children’s mental health service . Find out more about Step2 in our first newsletter http://www.hertschs.nhs.uk/Library/Children_Services/Step2/Step2%20newsletter%20winter%202012.pdf
There will be lots more on the subject folks but in the interest of keeping your full attention I shall be resorting back to my rather more light hearted reporting from the parallel universe shortly.
Do not fear normal service will resume, cloud costume intact!