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Life happens. Sometimes good and sometimes not so good. This is an exploration of life and all that interests me. I am a therapist working in Norwich, Norfolk, UK. I'm fascinated in the world around me and how people deal with and relate to it. I like to further my knowledge of people, psychology and more. Please join me on my journey.

Friday 7 October 2016

World Mental Health Day 2016:10th October

Each year on 10th of October, World Mental Health Day is held in order to raise awareness of Mental Health issues. 

This year's theme of Psychological First Aid in crisis situations seems particularly pertinent, given Hurricane Matthew and it's path of destruction. Psychological First Aid is is not just about professionals providing support for someone who experiences a traumatic event. It is also about everyday people and how they can provide support without needing to be a fully qualified counsellor. 

Please take a look at the link here for World Health Organisation information on World Mental Health Day. 

One of the things people get concerned over is worrying what they do or say to those involved in a traumatic event. What do you say if someone has just lost a family member, witnessed something devastating happening or have just lost their home /way of life? 

Here's a list of things NOT to say or do:

  • Don’t pressure someone to tell their story.
  • Don’t interrupt or rush someone’s story.
  • Don’t give your opinions of the person’s situation, just listen.
  • Don’t touch the person if you’re not sure it is appropriate to do so.
  • Don’t judge what they have or haven’t done, or how they are feeling
  • Don’t say…”You shouldn't feel that way.” or “You should feel lucky you survived.”
  • Don’t make up things you don’t know.
  • Don’t use too technical terms. 
  • Don’t tell them someone else’s story. 
  • Don’t talk about your own troubles. 
  • Don’t give false promises or false reassurances. 
  • Don’t feel you have to try to solve all the person’s problems for them.
  • Don’t take away the person’s strength and sense of being able to care for themselves.
Here's a list of things to say and do:
  • Try to find a quiet place to talk and minimize outside distractions. 
  • Stay near the person but keep an appropriate distance depending on their age, gender and culture. 
  • Let them know you hear what they are saying, for example, nod your head and stay attentive. 
  • Be patient and calm. 
  • Provide factual information IF you have it. Be honest about what you know and what you don’t know. “I don’t know but I will try to find out about that for you.” 
  • Give information in a way the person can understand - keep it simple. 
  • Acknowledge how they are feeling, and any losses or important events they share with you, such as loss of home or death of a loved one. “I’m so sorry… ” 
  • Respect privacy. Keep the person’s story confidential, especially when they disclose very private events. 
  • Acknowledge the person’s strengths and how they have helped themselves. 
 How to Help Responsibly
Adapt what you do to take account of the person’s culture
Respect safety, dignity and rights
Safety: don’t expose people to further harm, ensure (as best you can) they are safe and protected from further physical or psychological harm
Dignity: treat people with respect and according to their cultural and social norms
Rights: act only in people’s best interest, ensure access to impartial assistance without discrimination, assist people to claim their rights and access available support
Be aware of other emergency response measures
Care for caregivers: practice self-care and team-care (if working as part of rescue team/ services)

How you can help responsibly and ethically. The Do's
  • Do listen, without judgement. 
  • Do be honest and trustworthy.
  • Do respect a person’s right to make their own decisions.
  • Do be aware of and set aside your own biases and prejudices.
  • Do make it clear to people that even if they refuse help now, they can still access help in the future.
  • Do respect privacy and keep the person’s story confidential, as appropriate.
  • Do behave appropriately according to the person’s culture, age and gender.
None of us know exactly what is going on in people's lives, this might be at work or personally. We may fail to spot telltale signs of someone feeling under par and may be suffering with mental health. Many employers nowadays understand the importance of open communication and support of mental health issues. 

The message of how we can help each other to feel mentally resilient and supported, even if we do so in small ways, hopefully will filter through into workplaces and society as a whole. Removing the stigma attached to mental health includes learning to accept the role we all have to play, and the little things we can do, to putting a stop to someone feeling stigmatised.

Thank you for taking the time to read. I have added links to various organisations that are doing a great job in raising awareness of mental health issues now and throughout the year, including the advice on what to do/ say above (details of which taken from WHO slides).



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About the Author: Angie works as a hypnotherapist, counsellor and coach at the Norfolk Clinic Complementary Healthcare Clinic, 38-40 Magdalen Road, Norwich, NR3 4AG. 
Call Angie directly on 07773 610816 or email info@angiegiles.co.uk 
Angie offers a free initial consultation to find out more. 

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