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World Suicide Prevention Day 2020- What are your top tips for mental wellbeing?

Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
edited September 23 in Disabled people

TW: Suicide

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is often a difficult thing to talk about, but it’s really important that we all learn how to start conversations around mental health with those around us. It’s also vital that we all start to prioritise looking after our own mental health. This can be through accessing therapy or medication, but it can also be through making time for small acts of self-care every day.

Facts and figures

Experiencing suicidal thoughts can be isolating, and it can often feel as though you're the only one who has felt this way. However, experiencing suicidal thoughts is actually very common. Research published on the Mind website has found that 1 in 5 people have suicidal thoughts, and 1 in 15 people attempt suicide.

Research by the Samaritans found that, in 2018, there were 6859 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland combined, and that the number of deaths by suicide rose by 10.9%.

These figures show that, unfortunately, suicidal thoughts and behaviours aren't rare, and that more needs to be done to prevent the number of deaths by caused by suicide.

Reasons why someone might feel suicidal

Suicidal thoughts are very complex and individual, and there are many factors that can cause someone to feel suicidal. As so many of us avoid talking about it, there are lots of myths surrounding suicide and suicidal thoughts. The Samaritans have listed some common myths about suicide here, which is worth a read.

I've listed some reasons taken from VeryWellMind as to why someone might be experiencing suicidal thoughts below, to show that it's not any one 'type' of person who can be at risk of suicide.

Mental illness

There are many mental illnesses that can contribute towards, or cause, an individuals’ suicidal thoughts. These can include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder, amongst others. That being said, not everyone experiencing mental illness experiences suicidal thoughts.

Traumatic stress

Lots of different events and experiences can cause trauma, and this can affect people in a range of different ways, including leading to thoughts of suicide.

Substance use

Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can make someone experiencing suicidal thoughts more impulsive and likely to act upon their urges than they would be when they were sober. There are lots of reasons why someone might turn to alcohol or drugs, so it’s important not to make any assumptions or judgements.

Loss, or a fear of loss

Loss is something that we all experience and fear from time to time, but this can sometimes become too much for a person to handle, especially if they try and deal with it alone. There are lots of different circumstances or events that can trigger feelings of loss, such as:

  • Academic failure
  • Bullying, shaming, or humiliation
  • Financial problems
  • The end of a close friendship, family relationship, or romantic relationship
  • Job loss
  • A loss of social status

Hopelessness       

Feelings of hopelessness are a big risk factor for suicide. When people feel as though they have lost all hope, and don’t feel able to change that, it can overshadow all of the good things in their life, making suicide seem like a viable option.

Chronic Pain and Terminal Illness

If a person has chronic pain or illness with no hope of a cure or reprieve from suffering, suicide may seem like a way to regain dignity and control of their life.

Chronic pain can also bring on anxiety and depression, which can also increase your risk of suicide. According to research, people with chronic pain are four times more likely to have depression or anxiety than those who are pain-free

Belief one's life is a burden to others

Many people who decide to commit suicide often state that their loved ones, or the world in general, would be better off without them. 

Social isolation

A person can become socially isolated for a number of external reasons, such as illness, retirement, or moving away, and internal factors, such as low self-esteem or social anxiety. This is something that many of us have struggled with more over the past 6 months or so in particular, which is why it's more important than ever that we all look out for each other.

What we can do to help prevent suicide

Preventing suicide can feel like an impossible task, especially when dealing with it alone. No one should feel as though they are alone in helping someone else with their suicidal thoughts, or as though they are alone in dealing with their own suicidal thoughts. 

Talk

If you’ve noticed that someone seems low, or has been acting differently, open up a conversation about how they’ve been getting on.

I've listed some useful tips from the Start A Conversation website on how to open up a dialogue around suicide below:

  • Try and understand their state of mind: ask them how they’re feeling, and try to build a picture of what's going on
  • They talk, you listen: let them talk to you about what’s going on, and how it’s making them feel. Ask questions to help you understand the situation more
  • Ask the ‘suicide question’: by asking the question, you’re showing them that you’re supportive and giving them the chance to talk about their thoughts. Remember to ask the question in a positive way. Say clearly and calmly something like “I’m hearing what you’re saying, and it sounds like you have a lot going on at the moment. People who feel this way may have thoughts of suicide. Have you had any thoughts of suicide?”
  • Let them answer: try not to be shocked, and don’t judge them or act annoyed

arial image of two people sat at a table with coffee

Find sources of external help

If someone is feeling suicidal, it’s very important that they get the support they need as soon as possible. The type of help needed will vary from individual to individual, but I’ve listed some key resources below:

  • Samaritans: call 116 123, or email [email protected] It’s free, and the service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • SHOUT: if you'd prefer to speak to a trained volunteer over text, text SHOUT to 85258. Again, you can contact them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • CALM: anyone of any gender can call CALM on 0800 58 58 58, or speak to someone via webchat, from 5pm-midnight 365 days a year
  • Papyrus: designed to help young people, you can call Papyrus on 0800 068 4141, or email them on [email protected] from between 9am-12am
  • GP: it’s a good idea to see your GP if you’re experiencing any kind of mental health problem, and encourage others to do the same if you’re concerned about their mental health. They should be able to signpost you to resources that you can access, such as talking therapy or support groups, and can speak to you about options for medication where appropriate
  • 999: always call 999 in case of an emergency

What to do if you see a post that worries you on the Scope online community

If you see a post or comment on the online community that concerns you, please report the post immediately. A member of the Scope team will check-in with the community member, and can help the individual take steps to ensure their safety. It's better to be safe than sorry, so please don't hesitate to get in touch!

Self-care 

As well as looking out for others, it’s really important that you look after your own mental health. Self-care activities can form a really important part of suicide safety plans, but should also be used all year round to help you maintain good mental health. 

Here are a few self-care ideas:

  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Do something relaxing that you enjoy such as reading, doing puzzles, or playing a game
  • Get outside
  • Do some exercise
  • Speak to a friend. This can be online, over the phone, or in-person!
  • Sleep. It’s hard to feel good when you’re tired, so make sure you’re well rested
  • Eat. Make sure you're eating enough of the right foods, but feel free to treat yourself too!
  • Use an app, such as Headspace, to practice mindfulness and meditation
cosy image of a blanket book and mug on a sofa

I hope that you've found the above information useful! I know they can sometimes seem like empty words, but please remember that you're not alone, and there are people who truly care about your wellbeing :)

You can also watch the official World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 video here.

What I'd like to know is: what are your favourite self-care activities? What lifts your mood, or distracts you from negative thoughts? Please let us know down below!

Online Community Coordinator, she/her

Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think

Replies

  • roberttaylor570roberttaylor570 Member Posts: 568 Pioneering
    edited September 10
    @Tori_Scope I have been involved with a group called Medway Men in Sheds for a few years now since it was formed.  The Men's Shed Scheme is available Nationally.  We cater mainly for Men aged 25 plus who are for one reason or another out of work.  We provide a place to meet, chat, share skills, make items for ourselves or others.  We built a Chatty Bench for #ABetterMedway which is a Council initiative to promote wellbeing and healthy living.  The bench is taken around the area and, before covid, people who sat on it were giving a signal to others saying " I am lonely and want to chat to someone"  The group and the Wellbeing Cafe provided a place for those who would have been in their own four walls to break the cycle of Social Isolation.  In turn it helps prevent suicide in Men which is a consequence of isolation.  

    Happy to help with further information and contacts if anyone needs them.

    There is also a Men's shed Association covering the UK which could help find local schemes to other members.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    Thank you for sharing that @roberttaylor570 :)

    I think I've heard of the Men's Shed Scheme before. It seems like a great idea to get more men talking whilst doing something that they enjoy! The Chatty Bench sounds absolutely fantastic, as does the Wellbeing Cafe. We need more of those kinds of initiatives around for sure. 

    I think your point about the breaking the 'cycle of social isolation' is really important, and that's a great way of phrasing it. Mental illnesses are annoying in the sense that they stop us from doing the some of the exact things that could help us feel better, such as getting us out of the house, taking up a hobby, and talking to people, so it's great that there are schemes that can help people to break that cycle.

    Keep on doing what you're doing! I'm sure you get a lot out of it too
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    Hi @Tori_Scope

    I don’t know if my suggestions will help but I am speaking from my own experience:

    Actually try to listen to what someone is trying to tell you and if you don’t understand then ask them. A big problem is others not actually trying to listen and being dismissive😞

    Be honest with the person as sometimes you can’t meet their expectations but at least they know where they stand👍

    If you cannot help someone then signpost them to an organisation such as the Samaritans or some of the others mentioned above.

    Share your experience if you feel able to on an online forum such as this one. I can say that joining this wonderful online forum has really helped me. I have had support from other members and hopefully I have helped others😁

    Try to spend time outside if you can as this really helps me. Many of you know about my little squirrel families that I feed. Spending time outside interacting with wildlife really helps me.

    I also enjoy gardening and reading.

     I hope this helps😁




  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    These are really great tips, thank you for sharing @RAwarrior :)

    Active listening is definitely a really important skill, and one that I think we should all aim to work on.

    I love your second point too. It's important that both people involved know what each other's boundaries are. I quite like the phrase 'you can't pour from an empty cup'. You have to look after yourself in order to be able to look out for other people. Another way of thinking about it that I've seen uses the analogy of oxygen masks on aeroplanes; you should put your own on before you start to help other people put on theirs.

    I'm so glad that you find the community so helpful! We all love seeing your animal pictures, and I know that your input on other discussions about PTSD have been really beneficial for other members too. Thanks for being here!
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope

    Thank you very much for your kind words😁

    I am glad I have been able to help😁

    A common myth is because someone has mental health issues that they can’t help other people which is so untrue.

    I think I have a very good understanding about one of my original disabilities which is Rheumatoid Arthritis so I try to help other people especially people that have recently been diagnosed because it can be a quite scary experience when you are first diagnosed.

    I wasn’t always like the way I am now as I didn’t have the mental health issues that I have now. As I have said previously, my PTSD was caused as a direct result of being bullied and harassed at work😞

    As I have alluded to on other threads sometimes it’s like there are two different people posting on here depending on the subject if that makes any sense. 

    I am confident when I talk about Rheumatoid Arthritis because I know so much about it because I chose to read a lot, ask questions and obtain the information I needed to manage my disease. I also understand how to live with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    However, it’s very different when I talk about what happened at work and the resulting PTSD😞

    However, although I don’t know if my posts are useful, I know that  I have at least tried my best to help other people regardless of the cause of their PTSD.

    I have not only been supported by lots of people in this online community but I have also obtained very useful information from them which might help me because people have taken the time to share useful information😁

    I have had so much support on here after years of being seen as “an afterthought” which is so upsetting because I know I can make a positive contribution but because I am seen as weak many people don’t bother even listening to me.

    I agree with you that actually listening is so important and to be quite frank if someone can’t help me or simply doesn’t want to help me then I would rather they told me.

    I appreciate that you can’t always help someone so it’s essential that if you can’t that you say so and you signpost them to an organisation that can. 

    A very positive aspect of this online community is the fact that so many people are willing to help each other despite their own disabilities😁

    Thank you for your comments about my animal photos😁 

    I am really pleased that people on here like the photos😁


  • roberttaylor570roberttaylor570 Member Posts: 568 Pioneering
    @RAwarrior @Tori_Scope Thank you for you contributions and I would like to add that the aim of Men in Sheds is to get people talking.  We in the group have become friends and it is easier to chat with a person who knows where you are coming from.  Many of us do not have mental health issues, I am disabled with poor sight, epilepsy and arthritic.  I lost my Partner of 30 years in January of 2019.  Being part of the Shed made it easier for me to deal with the loss.

    We look out for each other and as was said, if we notice that someone is down one session we can have a word, if they want to chat, they will and it may help to ease the burden.

    The wellbeing Cafe is not happening and may not return in its old form as the cafe at the community centre may now not reopen after covid..  There are Gardening clubs, a friendship group for the over 50s and a community radio station.  We can  train up to be presenters.    There is also a fully equipped Rehearsal and Recording Studio with full mixing suite and instruments.  The shed make guitars to play and have built a baffle screen to dampen the sound.

    We are much more than a community centre, we are a community.
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    Hi @roberttaylor570

    Thank you so much for your comments😁

    I think that the Men in Sheds sounds like a wonderful group who are actually helping people😁

    I really like the idea about the bench. Many people even before Covid 19 were isolated and lonely so I think the work the group is doing sounds really good😁

    I didn’t have mental health problems before. I have had Osteoarthritis for many years and Rheumatoid Arthritis for several years. 

    I started a thread about Rheumatoid Arthritis and another one about Workplace Bullying in which I explain my situation.

    I also started a Squirrels and Friends thread (most of which is light hearted) but I have mentioned my PTSD in that thread as well😞 

    On a positive note I have posted lots of photos of wildlife which hopefully will bring a smile to your face😁

    I also think that the Gardening Club is a brilliant idea as gardening can be very therapeutic😁

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your partner😞 However, I am glad to hear that the Men in Sheds group has helped you to cope with your loss.

  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 2,461 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 10

    What lifts your mood, or distracts you from negative thoughts? 

    Knowing that all things change and pass, impermanence is actually our friend in the long term. Moods pass, current thoughts pass, this is a natural decay of impetus and knowing this can help, perhaps we can hold on by using normal routines whilst the storm rages so to speak. 

    Secondly, it’s tempting to notice things which are wrong after all things which are okay don’t need our attention however to habitually do so nurtures a negative disposition. It’s simple enough to look around us and perhaps even at ourselves and see what is right, to literally count our blessings from time to time. This may seem trite but things can mostly always be worse in some way.

    There are many positive ways to look at negativity too, it’s not all bad, since negative things tend to challenge us. Again there are degrees to this but up to a point a negative occurrence can help us to grow to overcome the adversity. Good can come from bad, within limits and only an individual will know if that is true in their particular case.

    these are some of the thoughts I think when I’m feeling very very down.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    A common myth is because someone has mental health issues that they can’t help other people which is so untrue

    You're right @RAwarrior. Helping other people can improve your own mental health too, I find. 

    I know that I find your comments on PTSD really insightful, so I'm sure others do too. Sometimes just reading a comment from someone else who is able to relate to your experience can be really healing, so I think that you'll definitely have made others feel validated :)

    Enjoy your Friday! Are you up to anything nice this weekend?

    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    edited September 11
    That sounds really lovely @roberttaylor570 :)

    I'm sorry to hear that you lost your partner, that must be really difficult. I'm glad that the Men's Shed Scheme has been so positive for you though. 

    Have there been any activities going on remotely over lockdown? It'd be a shame if the cafe didn't open again, but a lot of places have been struggling without any income :(

    Are you involved with the radio station? That sounds great!
    We are much more than a community centre, we are a community

    I absolutely love this! I don't think that people always realise the power of supportive communities, both in-person and online. 
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    Knowing that all things change and pass, impermanence is actually our friend in the long term. Moods pass, current thoughts pass, this is a natural decay of impetus and knowing this can help, perhaps we can hold on by using normal routines whilst the storm rages so to speak. 
    Beautifully put @leeCal <3
    It’s simple enough to look around us and perhaps even at ourselves and see what is right, to literally count our blessings from time to time
    I know lots of people do daily gratitudes where they list a couple of things they're grateful for each day, however big or small. Here's a guide on one way to keep a daily gratitude routine for anyone who's interested. I can't pretend that I do this every day, but maybe we should all give this a go!

    How are you feeling today? 
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • roberttaylor570roberttaylor570 Member Posts: 568 Pioneering
    Good morning @Tori_Scope I hope you are ok.  Thank you for your interest in the centre and your kind words.  I am loosly involved with Radio Sunlight which broadcasts online at the moment having being forced to give up our FM licence due to cost and the draconian regulation of what could be broadcast and the mix of talk  radio, Music, news etc. Our old frequency 106.6 has I think been reassigned. Before th  e lockdown Men in Sheds would go to events such as The Medway Mile at Rochester Castle and Radio Sunlight would do an Outside Broadcast.  We all work together to help each other so I suppose we are all unofficial "roadies".  I have sat in on a couple of shows but not presented.  We have A station Manager and Producers.  We used to carry Sky News and we would plug local events such as church jumble sales etc.  During lockdown all the services at the Centre, including the GPs Surgery were closed.  Men in Sheds carried on with an online facebook group which already existed but was beefed up to show what each of us was doing.  The co-ordonator of the scheme would phone us regularly to check on us all and have a chat.  We are a very supportive bunch and all the groups mix together, or used to.  The Shed group is back up and running with limited numbers and the Cmmunity Gardens, two of them are being looked after.  If anyone else is interested you can find us on Facebook as eitherMedway Men in Sheds or Sunlight Development Trust or sunlight Radio.

    Have a great day.
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope

    Thank you very much for your lovely comments😀

    What I was also trying to explain is that because I have mental health issues many people assume that I am not capable of making a contribution especially at work😞

    Despite mental health being talked about in the media, there can still be a stigma attached to it because people can regard you as being weak.😞

    As I said previously, I wasn’t always like this. I was subjected to bullying and harassment for many years at work which has made me the person I am today. 

    One of the reasons I keep talking about workplace bullying is because many people assume that there are no long term effects which is very wrong.

    I am glad that I can at least try to help other people on this wonderful online community. I have skills and knowledge which I can use but at work I am just an “afterthought” unless someone actually does need my help😞

    It’s a loss to my employer as well because of its failure to stop the bullying and harassment, I am no longer the same person because I can’t function in the same way as before the bully came to work at my workplace. 

    This means I am less productive, I get easily distracted and I switch off completely when equality is mentioned😞

    I don’t trust many people because having PTSD means that my brain is alert expecting something bad to happen. 

    However, I have found sharing my experience (and not necessarily about PTSD)as it could be about Rheumatoid, wildlife, gardening etc in this online community has really helped me.

    It might sound really strange but for the first time in ages I have actually been taken seriously by lots of wonderful people in this online community.

    Many people with mental health issues are labelled as weak, as a nuisance and the person who people avoid😞

    Sometimes if people would actually try to get to know the person and give them a chance instead of assuming that they are not capable of contributing. 

    Another thing that really annoys me is when someone asks me how I am but they don’t actually mean it or before I have had a chance to reply they walk away😞

    I only ever wanted to go to work and do a good job, a job that I was really good at, a job I had still managed to do despite having Rheumatoid Arthritis but when the bully was sent to my workplace that all changed😞

    A good analogy is if you break your leg you know approximately how long it will take to heal but with PTSD I don’t know the answer.

    At least here I can use the skills, knowledge and empathy that I have to at least try to help others. I might not be able to help others but at least my intentions are good because I do want to try to help others.😁 

    It’s so frustrating for me to be in a situation which wasn’t my fault. My employer looked after the bully’s welfare by refusing to deal with his behaviour but didn’t care about the impact of his behaviour on people like me. He used to refer to disabled people as “sickies” and nothing was done about it. That was one of the milder things he used to say and I can’t post those things because they are too offensive😞

    I am hoping to visit my squirrel friends in the forest at the weekend🐿

    Enjoy your weekend😁

    Thank you very much for your support😁

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    I'm very well thanks, I hope you are too @roberttaylor570.

    unofficial "roadies"
    I love that! The radio station sounds really good.

    It's great that the Facebook group has allowed you all to stay in touch. The coordinator of the group sounds nice, are they a volunteer too? 

    Things have obviously changed a bit now, but fingers crossed the group will be able to safely continue some of the in-person activities, like tending to the community garden, and will be able to resume more activities as time goes on. 

    Have a great Friday and weekend @roberttaylor570 :) Are you up to anything nice?
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    Ah yes, that is also very true unfortunately @RAwarrior :( There's definitely still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health problems, but hopefully we're moving away from that as a society, and will continue to do so. We've got a way to go though.

    I'm really glad you feel as though you're finally being heard and taken seriously :) 

    Another thing that really annoys me is when someone asks me how I am but they don’t actually mean it or before I have had a chance to reply they walk away😞
    Yes, some people just sort of pay it lip service sadly. I also think that having conversations about mental health makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable because we're not really taught how to share our feelings very well. Again, we'll hopefully continue to move towards a more open society where people feel more comfortable talking about these issues.

    Yay! Enjoy seeing the squirrels. I hope the weather holds up. 

    Thanks :)
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • roberttaylor570roberttaylor570 Member Posts: 568 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope To answer a couple of your questions and to elaborate on the project a bit I'd like to say that No the Co-ordinator is a paid person employed by the Development Trust which is also a charity.  We get funding from Medway Council to provide services for Men in Sheds to provide the service we do to local people who may be isolated.  it is overseen by A Better Medway the Health and Wellbeing arm of Medway Council.  It means we do not have a certain future as we have to tender to carry on against such projects as Ground Works and others.  The Shed has opened up again and has been busy relocating sheds, looking for more indoor space such as another Shipping Container or a PortaKabin.  Our workshop is at the moment situated in a 40FT container.  We use a room in the centre for indoor work and refreshments.  We used to be given lunch on a Friday but the cafe is not in use at the moment..

    One of our Shedders also presents a show and he goes by the handle of Lonesome Len.

    One of the High Hopes Gardening Group which includes a number of people with learning difficulties, also presents a programme on the station.  The two gardens we look after are High Hopes Community Garden and a garden which was a community garden looked after another group but they gave it up abd the Trust took it on with Men in Sheds and High Hopes working together to run it.

    I am Going to Cell Mass tomorrow, I am a Church of England member but we are connected to The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham  which is Anglican, most would call us "High Church" or "Anglo Catholic"  my local church is part of the local "Cell" so we hold monthly Masses.  On Sunday we have our usual weekly Family Mass at 10.30.  Other than all that I will probably get involved with the task of helping to be Admin to a local Facebook group, we have 23.3K Members.  I am also a Labour Party member and sit on the Executive Committee for our Constituency Labour Party and also a member of the Medway Branch  of the Co-Operative Party.

    I hope your plans are a bit quieter than mine for the weekend.


  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    I see, thanks for explaining how it works @roberttaylor570. From working with other charities in the past I know it can be stressful when you don't have secure funding, but hopefully they'll be able to see all the great work the group has been doing.

    I love the term 'shedder' :D I just Googled his show, I'll have to try and remember to tune in!

    Working on the community gardens must be rewarding. I can't say that I have particularly green fingers, but I've always liked the idea of it. 

    What a busy weekend! Have fun, it's good to get out and about :) Community Facebook groups have become more important than ever recently, so I'm sure that's a big task.

    I'm working this weekend, so I'll be kept occupied by chatting to you lovely lot!
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    edited September 12
    I saw this yesterday and thought it was a good way of explaining how to be a better listener :) Samaritans SHUSH listening tips for becoming a better listener. Show you care, have patience use open questions, say it back, have courage
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope

    I really think the Samaritans listening tips you have posted is a really good idea :)

    I agreed that a lot of people pay lip service when it comes to mental health. I think sometimes people are scared to talk to someone with mental health issues because they don't know how to or think they might upset the person.

    I would rather that someone took the trouble to ask me about my mental health issues. The problem is that there are too many myths and stereotypes about mental health.

    I did a mental health awareness course last year and it really opened my eyes to the many types of mental health issues.

    Perhaps one of the Scope Community Team could consider starting a Mental Health Myth Busters Thread?

    I like the approach of people such as yourself and the other Scope Community Team have on this online community. You all read the posts, ask relevant questions, signpost where necessary and show empathy. 

    I think that as a society many people do find it difficult to talk about mental health. However, one of the things that really annoys me is the "I know about psychology person" when they are the ones that run the other way when there is a problem. I don't mean people who do actually try to help and may have psychology qualifications, I mean the ones that say they are experts but don't actually try to help. I remember one of these "experts" not being able to come near me when I was upset at work after going on and on at me in front of others telling me "to move on" which is a particular phrase that I really dislike.

    Many thanks again :)
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    I agree @RAwarrior. I'm definitely guilty of sometimes being scared to open up those conversations, but it is really important. 

    The mental health awareness course sounds great, I'd love to do something like that.

    A mental health mythbusters thread is a good idea. I can start one if you want, but feel free to start your own, perhaps on the Mental Health Issues category? It's your idea- I don't want to steal it! :D 

    I'm glad that you find our approach helpful :) 

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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    Hi @Tori_Scope

    Thank you very much😁
     
    I also find it difficult to open up a conversation if I suspect someone has mental health issues so you’re not alone😁

    The problem I have is with people whose intentions are not genuine because either they are trying to make themselves look good or the ones that say they know about psychology but when you actually need them they are the first people to run away😞

    I would have more respect for someone if they had actually tried to help. I have already mentioned this but sometimes despite your best efforts you can’t help so it’s better to say so or if you can signpost them to an organisation that might be able to help.
    It’s better than telling someone “to move on” or “to pull yourself together” which quite frankly is pointless and does more harm.

    I would rather you started the thread as I think it would need some sort of introduction similar to the one at the beginning of this thread to explain the background or reason for the thread. 

    I think people like yourself and the other Scope Community Team are better placed to include the right information at the start of the thread as you know what to include or what information is appropriate if that makes any sense😁

    I think the approach that you and the other members of the community team is excellent because it’s a balance between trying to help and support people whilst encouraging them to take steps to try to help themselves😁

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    Yes, that is frustrating @RAwarrior. It can be hard to know who to trust when opening up to people about your mental health.

    No problem :) I've added it to my list of things to get done this weekend! 
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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    Hi @Tori_Scope

    I have learned who to trust and who to avoid when it comes to talking about mental health especially at work. A positive thing is that I know not to waste my time with people who I know don’t actually care especially because they are not the one with the problem.

    In my case the bully targeted disabled people or “sickies” as he called them and because he was fully supported by management he knew that he could bully people. Some people were not bullied by him as he left them alone meaning they don’t understand why I feel the way I do😞

    Many people don’t understand how difficult it is to recover from trauma especially one that went on for years because he didn’t bother them. 

    Unfortunately he has been bullying people for at least twenty years and just gets moved to other locations so he can continue to harm others😞

    Sorry for giving you additional work to do😆

    Perhaps an idea to include would be the difference between having mental health issues which all of us have at some point which could include feeling stressed and actually having a mental health illness where there has been a chemical change within the brain. 

    There is a big difference between the two which are often confused. If someone is feeling stressed or anxious this could be part of every day life however, it becomes a mental health illness of which there are at least 200 different types when the chemical balance within the brain changes.
  • davegregson40davegregson40 Member Posts: 64 Pioneering
    Thank you for sharing and this is a very important subject to talk about and only by talking about suicide can we help to prevent it and reach out to help others, its a global health risk and I recently had correspondence from the Center for Disease Control in the United States highlighting this. There are often no outward signs that someone is suicidal and there is nothing to be ashamed in openly and honestly talking about it anywhere like with any other major health condition such as for example heart disease or cancer 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    Yeah, it can be difficult for people to understand @RAwarrior

    Ha, no, it's fine! I just wanted to reassure you that I will get around to popping it up. That's a good one :)
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    Hear, hear @davegregson40
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  • Lou_ScopeLou_Scope Member Posts: 12 Connected
    Self care is very important to your mental health. I have many things that I do to make myself feel better. I realise not everyone will find these useful because your self care is personal to you and your needs.
    I like to exercise and find running or walking leaves me with a clear head. I find listening to music often helps distract me from negative thoughts
    Reading a good book can sometimes take you into another world for a short time.
    I have experienced times in my past when none of these things have helped and I’ve felt unable to do them.
    If that happens I have in the past visited my GP and they were able to offer cognitive behavioural therapy. Then I found myself able to look back on how strong I am having come through difficult times. 

    I found this really helpful to share and remind myself of my self care. :) 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    edited September 12
    Thank you for sharing your tips @Lou_Scope :)

    (and welcome to the community!)
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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    @Lou_Scope

    Welcome to the community😁

    I agree with your comments about self care. I really enjoy spending time with wildlife and just being outside really helps to lift my mood😁

    I started a Squirrels and Friends thread if you are interested in seeing some of squirrels and other wildlife that I feed🐿🦆

    I also like photography so I enjoy interacting with wildlife and taking pictures of them.

     I also find that gardening and reading also helps😁
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    Another one I just saw, posted by the Mental Health Foundation 

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  • Lou_ScopeLou_Scope Member Posts: 12 Connected
    @RAwarrior
    I would love to look at the squirrels and friends thread. Coincidentally I am at my sons rugby training and two gorgeous squirrels have run past. I took a video of them both. Autumn is a beautiful season. 🥰🥰
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    @Lou_Scope

    That’s really great and they are really sweet animals 🐿

    I originally started posting photos of the squirrels in the Wildlife and Photography threads so there are quite a few photos in those threads🐿
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    edited September 13
    @Lou_Scope @RAwarrior

    Just to make them a bit easier to access, I've linked the two threads below :)

    Squirrels and Friends

    Wildlife Photography
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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope

    Thank you very much😁
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    I just saw this, posted by the Zero Suicide Alliance: 'a month of mental health awareness'. I'm going to try and keep up with them when I can. You're all more than welcome to join me! I've listed the dates below the picture, as I don't think it's very accessible.


    10th September: have a virtual cuppa with a friend or colleague 
    11th September: cook your favourite meal
    12th September: reach out to someone you've not spoken to in a while
    13th September: have a lie in, recharge your batteries
    14th September: use an app to guide you through meditation
    15th September: listen to your favourite song
    16th September: take 5 minutes to complete the ZSA Step Up module 
    17th September: who's been there for you in lockdown? Show them you care
    18th September: try making a healthy version of your favourite takeaway today
    19th September: check on an elderly relative or friend
    20th September:put on your favourite outfit to feel great!
    21st September: write down three positive words affirming who you are
    22nd September: listen to a song that makes you remember a happy time
    23rd September: take the ZSA Gateway module training
    24th September: reach out to a friend or family member. How are they?
    25th September: find a new, healthy recipe, and make a delicious dinner tonight
    26th September: organise a games or quiz night
    27th September: take time to do something you love, such as a craft, yoga class, or going out for a coffee
    28th September: list things you're grateful for in your life
    29th September: listen to a song that reminds you of someone special
    30th September: set aside 20 minutes, and do the ZSA Suicide Awareness module
    1st October: perform an act of kindness for a friend, relative, or neighbour
    2nd October: cook for a friend or family member
    3rd October: spend time with your favourite person today
    4th October: move your body! Get active in your own way for at least 30 minutes today
    5th October: reconnect with nature. Visit your favourite outdoor spot
    6th October: listen to music that motivates you
    7th October: identify a new skill that you'd like to learn
    8th October: reorganise your space- change-up your perspective
    9th October: make some cakes or biscuits ready for tomorrow's Big Brew 
    10th October: catch up with the same colleague or friend. How has their month been?
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  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    I'm surprised that disability hasn't been covered properly in the factors that can affect one's ability to go on.

    Both mental and physical disability can lead to grief. That can be grief over losing your self-image, your abilities, your faculties and your potential future.

    Aside from that, depression is either from internal or external factors and can range from having no trigger at all to being a totally appropriate response if you are trapped in a life situation you cannot change.

    Depression is not always a disease.
    Depressed people are not always sick.
    Sometimes it's their situation that needs treating and the rest will follow.
    During depression, the ability to see and make changes is much reduced and this is where help is needed.

    If you "wouldn't do it to a dog," don't do it to a human and blame them for not wanting that situation.
    This is why The Samaritans don't tell you that you are faulty and need fixing.

    Tea and sympathy is just step-one to helping people. They can then find a way out if there is one.
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    @Markmywords

    My experience might differ from other people. I have had physical disabilities for a long time. 

    I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. 

    Whilst having a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis along with the severe pain which is caused by RA I suffered from some anxiety but generally I thought I had coped really well with having RA.  I had a very positive attitude which means along with the medication I take had helped me to manage my condition.

    However, as I have outlined on several other threads, my mental health issues stem directly from being bullied and harassed at work for several years by one person. I now have PTSD as a result.  

    Not only do I have PTSD but when I get upset, have flashbacks, nightmares all of these things and increase my joint pain so one illness directly affects the other😞

    I tried not to think about the physical effects that RA had on me when I was diagnosed and I really pushed myself in order to successfully manage my condition. 

    However, one of the many things the bully would do is to draw everyone’s attention to was my physical condition but not in a way that would help me. He would humiliate me by saying “you haven’t aged well.” He would refer to disabled people as “sickies” and target disabled people😞 These things would not only humiliate me went on to affect my self esteem and confidence.

    I went from being someone who took pride in working especially with a serious illness such as RA to someone who felt completely broken😞

    So in my case the mental health issues stemmed not from my actual disability but because the bully targeted me because firstly he could and because I am disabled😞

    I know a lot about RA and many patients do suffer from depression because of some of the reasons you have mentioned. However, in my case I got PTSD as a direct result of what happened at work.

    As I was already disabled when the bullying started I didn’t need “an additional illness” if that makes any sense.

    Had something been done to stop the bullying and harassment instead of a series of managers covering it up then I probably wouldn’t have PTSD😞

    I do try to do things to improve my mental health issues but if only people would think before they target disabled people who already have enough to deal with😞
  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    I suspect that if you weren't there, he'd have picked a different victim. We are seen as a soft target even by the government paid to protect us.
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    @Markmywords

    Unfortunately the bully has been bullying people at work for at least twenty years. Management just move him and cover it up instead of stopping him😞

    He is teflon coated because whenever anyone tries to challenge him he accuses people of racism when it’s not true.

    He has also managed to get several managers to feel sorry for him so even with a history of actual physical violence towards other staff (not me thankfully) he is still employed, still protected my managers who would rather protect him to the detriment of others who just want to do their job and like me not end with an unwanted mental health condition😞
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    You're totally right that both the experiences of having an impairment and being disabled by society can lead to mental health problems @Markmywords!

    Unfortunately, there's not a huge amount of research into this area, and I also wanted people to be able to share their own experiences on this thread. I have found some information though: 
    I agree that opening up casual conversations is just the first step, but hopefully a step that can help people to see that there is a way forward.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I think it's a really interesting discussion to have.
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  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 2,461 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 17
    A tip for maintaining mental health is to not catastrophise.
    when we exaggerate our woes it makes things far worse and can make things seem insurmountable. So keep it real is my motto.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    Another great one @leeCal :) 

    I think another one that goes with that one is trying not to be overcome by vagueness. It's easy to get caught in the trap of thinking things like 'everything's terrible, nothing is going right, I hate everything', and it can really help to think about things more specifically to both pin down what the problem is, and to be able to look for the good things might you have in your life. 
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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    Part of having PTSD mean you sometimes have to rewire your brain because PTSD can change the way the brain works.

    I try (but I am not always successful) to distract myself by trying to focus on the positives when I feel like I am struggling. 

    This could mean spending time outside feeding the squirrels (which many of you will know about), gardening or watching something on YouTube about something which interests me. 

    If I can’t go to feed the squirrels even looking at one of the many photographs I have on my phone of the squirrels can help to lift my mood😁

    If I am honest there are times when I can’t lift my mood because my anxiety takes over. This is usually triggered by work colleagues who make me have to repeat myself which just wears me down.😞

    I just have to find ways in which to cope with people who simply don’t understand or don’t care which is not that easy. 

    As I said my main issue is having to repeat myself even about minor issues so I start to doubt myself regarding my communication skills. 

    It’s strange because as far as I am aware, nobody within this online community has had any difficulty in understanding me so I don’t know why it feels like an uphill struggle with work colleagues. 

    I had counselling last year and one of the first things they said was the fact that nobody listens to me is really wearing me down.

    I think sometimes we have to be realistic because there will be days when I struggle regardless of what I do so I have to accept that. However, I do try to find ways in which to improve my mood.

    As I have previously mentioned, I have found joining this wonderful online community a massive help. I can’t thank people within this online community enough for the support I have received😁

    It really helps to write about my situation and hopefully in a small way I can help other people. I don’t feel alone😁

    I find it amazing that there are so many that actually want to help each other 
    😁

    I also appreciate the links to information which are provided within the online community as it’s really helpful👍

    I think I just have to be realistic and try to manage my PTSD in the same way if I can, that I have managed my Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis.

    I will have days when I feel like I am in a downward spiral because something has triggered my PTSD but I have to try to find ways of adapting😁


  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 2,461 Disability Gamechanger
    Mindfulness or being present in the now can give us a welcome break from thinking too much. Sometimes I just make a cup of tea, sit down and taste the tea, sipping slowly and really just enjoying the feeling of drinking and tasting. Just for a few minutes this can give us a welcome respite from our thoughts. 

    Any task can can be done mindfully, for example try stitching without concentrating on the task...ouch! 🙂
  • davegregson40davegregson40 Member Posts: 64 Pioneering
    What I try and do is contact somebody or contact a friend or one of the organisations or groups that I am involved with such as SCOPE and say something positive, so despite everything feeling negative around, I know that that one positive thing has happened and I have done no matter what else I may think .
  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 2,461 Disability Gamechanger
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    Well said @leeCal. Mindfulness doesn't have to be about meditation or going out of your way to do an activity you wouldn't usually do, it can be about being mindful during your usual daily activities.

    One of the many reasons I don't sew :D 
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    That's lovely @davegregson40 :) Thank you for your contributions to the community!
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  • givingupgivingup Member Posts: 97 Courageous
    I work on my old car and watch football on catch up , or listen to some music I love, read some of my old car magazines. 
    In other words, try and do something you really love and enjoy, 
  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    @davegregson40

    I think your ideas are really good.

    I have been really stressed recently and by posting what has happened in the wonderful online community, I have had so much support from people who really understand me :)

    For me it makes a huge difference if someone just posts a few words of support which means I don't feel alone.

    Sometimes I wonder if  "it's just me" but when I have posted what has happened, I have received honest and constructive support. :)
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 10,679 Scope community team
    Hi @RAwarrior, I'm sorry to hear you have been stressed, but I'm glad you are part of this community and that you find it supportive. Hope you're having a good day. :)
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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 745 Pioneering
    Hi @Chloe_Scope,

    Thank you for your support. I have found this community to be extremely supportive. 

    I am still suffering from anxiety unfortunately.
  • janice_in_wonderlandjanice_in_wonderland Member Posts: 265 Pioneering
    When I can I try to sew but I can’t do what I used to so I just sew motifs 
    I am a hermit who lives an avoidant lifestyle most of the time 
    Especially during this pandemic 
    here’s pics of a denim jacket to help inspire you 
    take care everyone 
  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 2,461 Disability Gamechanger
  • janice_in_wonderlandjanice_in_wonderland Member Posts: 265 Pioneering
    @leeCal
    Thank you 
    invisible stitching apart from the orange butterfly :-)
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 10,679 Scope community team
    @janice_in_wonderland that's amazing!
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    That all sounds great @givingup! You're right that doing something simple that you usually enjoy can be a really good way of lifting your mood :) I hope you're getting on okay today
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,001 Pioneering
    That looks fab @janice_in_wonderland! I can't sew at all :D 

    How are you feeling today? The pandemic has definitely made socialising more difficult, but I'm glad you're on the community :) 
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  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 2,461 Disability Gamechanger
    Being positive helps a lot along with a good sense of humour. 
    Things can mostly always be worse and so the present may not be as bad as you might think. 
    Over-thinking is also likely to cause problems, try to rest your mind a little for a while by distracting yourself. I already mentioned being mindful or some might call it being present in the here and now. Try peeling an orange slowly and then eating it slowly, whilst doing that you’re experiencing the present, it can be as simple as that.
  • givingupgivingup Member Posts: 97 Courageous
    Yes , even when having a meal, think of the knife and fork, spoon etc in your hand, feel the texture of whatever there made of, it does work.
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