Peace of Mind

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Peace of Mind

Think.

verb: to consider, judge, or believe.

Environment is everything

The term mental health often has a negative meaning however that isn’t the truth.

Defining mental health.

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to download this app - we hope that you find some useful information on here and it meets your needs - it is a small guide to some of the more common mental disorders which include anxiety, depression and phobias that make up the great majority of mental health diagnoses in the UK. Common mental disorders cause considerable personal distress and are often highly disabling. They can affect people's ability to work, damage their enjoyment of family life and friendships, and reduce their capacity to function in the wider community. A person who is considered 'mentally healthy' is someone who can cope with the normal stresses of life and carry out the usual activities they need to in order to look after themselves; can realise their potential; and make a contribution to their community. However, your mental health or sense of 'wellbeing' doesn't always stay the same and can change in response to circumstances and stages of life. When it comes to mental health we know some of the obstacles you face for example, some people fear other people discovering they have a mental health problem or you my be one of those people who feel the pressure to always be strong . For many they simply find it difficult to verbalise (put into words) how they are feeling inside and, don't forget some won't even recognise their problems instead blaming others all the time for their behaviour.

Everyone will go through periods when they feel emotions such as stress and grief, but symptoms of mental illnesses can last longer than normal and are often not simply a reaction to daily events. When the symptoms become so severe that they interfere with a person's ability to function on a daily basis, they may be considered to have a significant psychological or mental illness disorder. This app is for those who want some more knowledge and tips that can help you or someone you come into contact with.

Stress comes in many forms.

People often misunderstand the negative labels given to mental health issues.

Different Conditions

Mental health problems are defined and classified to help experts refer people for the right care and treatment. The symptoms are grouped in two broad categories - neurotic and psychotic. Neurotic conditions are extreme forms of 'normal' emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Around one person in 10 experiences these mood disorders at any one time. Psychotic symptoms affect around one in 100 and these interfere with a person's perception of reality, impairing their thoughts and judgments. Conditions include schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Recovery

Mental illness is common but fortunately 3 out of every 4 people recover or learn to live with the problem, especially if diagnosed early. The key to successfully overcoming any illness is getting the person the right support quickly and, that is why it is so important not to ‘bottle it up’ or keep things hidden. Getting help or support is not a weakness, if it will improve your own life or someone you care about it then it is the right thing to do. The stigma surrounding mental health costs lives, as young people can be too afraid to ask for help or support in case family or friends judge them or worse.

Thoughts and Beliefs

People can get confused and upset over the differences people have towards the things they put a value on.

One of the most important things to know about the mind and reality is the difference between thoughts and beliefs. The difference between a thought and a belief is that you may have thousands of thoughts going through your mind but none of them have any power except those that are beliefs. A belief is a thought that you make real, or accept as true. You cannot decide to believe one thing this week and another, opposing thing, next week. You might think you can, but it really doesn’t work like that.

Thought

It is important to understand that is not our thinking that creates our circumstances, but the emotion that is attached to our thoughts. Thoughts can become something however not all thoughts do clearly, only the thoughts that are accompanied with strong feelings and emotion. For example, look at some of the questions below:

  • 1. NAME. How important is a persons name to you?
  • 2. GENDER. Are you satisfied with being who you are?
  • 3. BODY. Are you satisfied with your physical appearance?

Did they get harder for you to answer? Did you notice which questions felt very powerful with all those emotions attached?

Emotion

Thought is first a conscious suggestion, then it becomes a subconscious memory, working day and night. Thoughts may be conscious to start with, but they are subconscious as soon as they are set in motion. The subconscious mind is the seat of emotion and the storehouse of memory, therefore memory is tied to emotion. Emotion is energy in motion. The more emotion a thought has, the more it is able to move things. Weak thoughts have little emotion. Strong thoughts have much emotion, for example try these below:

  • 4. PEOPLE. Who influenced you most when growing up?
  • 5. MOTHER. What is your opinion of your mother?
  • 6. FATHER. What is your opinion of your father?

Can you see how much more emotion is involved when your thoughts are stronger about certain people? People can have similar strong emotions towards places, certain situations, physical objects and more commonly with their pets.

Anxiety in a nutshell.

Some of the most common or typical conditions that you may notice around you.

What exactly is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion. When people describe anxiety, they tend to use words like worry, nervousness, fear, panic, tension or even dread. Most people will feel nervous at some point in their lives for example, starting a new school or job, performing in a school play or going on a first date. It is normal for us all to experience nerves in new situations or that mean a lot to us personally. It is also normal for us to worry about certain things or people depending on the situation for example, if a loved one was taken severely ill suddenly. When people are faced with life threatening or dangerous situations it is normal to feel fear, in fact fear triggers a series of events within us that allows temporary physical changes to be able cope or escape dangerous situations.

Living in the land of giants.

Cast your mind back as far as you can to when you were so small and everybody else seemed like giants. No? Instead let’s imagine we are living in the dinosaur age and you’ve just turned around from the cave entrance and you’re face to face with a predator. Would you a) defend yourself and fight back, b) sprint back to the safety of the cave or c) stay absolutely still hoping the predator passes you by without incident? This is known as the fight, flight or freeze response which all humans have built in to protect us, but what does this all have to do with anxiety? Ok so imagine you have to go to a party later tonight. In theory it sounds easy however what if as the day goes on you start to imagine what might happen at the party. What if you start to think that really bad things will happen to you if you go? If you don’t think you will be safe at the party then your fear response will kick in. As your body naturally produces different chemicals to cope with fearful situations this in turn can cause stress to your system that can overwhelm you. If you get stuck in a habit of always fearing the worst from social situations or people this change or stress to our system can mean that we always feel stuck in the fight, flight or freeze response – as if it is permanently on. This is what we call anxiety.

Four components of anxiety

Anxiety can strike you in four main ways: Cognitive, Physical, Emotional and Behavioural. Here are some examples of each area however please remember that this is not a complete list – just several to demonstrate the differences for you. Cognitive can affect the memory, affect your concentration levels, fill you with many negative thoughts of self-doubt, many ‘what if’ or ‘I can’t’ thoughts, self-harm or even suicide. Physically you may experience sweating more than usual, headaches, dizziness, nausea, a shortness of breath, rapid heart beating. Constant worry, low mood, low in self-esteem, feeling trapped, no motivation are all indicators that you are emotionally troubled. Lastly, people can also display anxiety in their behaviour and some typical signs can be someone who constantly seek reassurance, who needs strict routines, constantly checking for signs of danger, skipping meals, binge eating, acting irritable or aggressively towards people or even complete avoidance of people or places. As you can see from the examples some people may be experiencing anxiety in one or more of the areas that makes it become very complicated for those suffering from anxiety. Common anxiety disorders that you may have heard of before or affect someone you care about are Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Attacks, Phobias, Complex Phobias like Social phobia (also known as social anxiety), Separation or health anxiety or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

You’re not on your own.

Everybody who suffers with anxiety always want to know how to break the vicious cycle. A healthy part of managing it effectively is to realize that you are not on your own in having those symptoms or feelings.

One national survey discovered that nearly 5% of all 11-16 year olds have some form of anxiety disorder whilst the NSPCC’s own study reported 34% of young people worried all the time about something.

My Anxiety Questionnaire.

How often do you feel anxious? Most of the time? Sometimes? What if we asked you how long have you felt like this? Would you answer for as long as you can remember or only recently? What are your physical symptoms like? Do you ever act irritable towards people (especially at home) or self-harm? Do you focus on negative thoughts until they overwhelm and disturb you? If you ever want to really beat your anxiety then you must learn what your own triggers are. Simply divide a page of A4 into 4 boxes and list down all your sources of anxiety or triggers. Some suggested headings for your zones to consider would be: people, places, situations, things about you or objects.

Do you see any patterns or main triggers for your own anxiety? Many people suffer in silence with anxiety. Now that we have discussed how common anxiety is we hope that you can recognize how people and qualified health professionals can support you through difficult or stressful situations if you need support. What you must do is be proactive instead of reactive. Get yourself some support and make sure your emotional needs are being met before it becomes complex.

Our in-house panic attack tips - try this guide:

Breathe in and out slowly, focusing on counting to 7 when you breath in, and 11 when you breath out.

Close your eyes and think about your heartbeat, try and hear it or feel it, and only think about this, and your breathing.

Clench your fists as tightly as possible, tensing all of the muscles in your harms, push your fists together, staying like this for one set of breathes and let go.

Repeat to yourself ‘I will be okay’ in your mine (or out loud) and keep doing this until you feel calm enough to talk to someone.

Support

If you would like to learn more about the information on here then we have more practical opportunities available to you.

Workshops

Our signature Dragon self-development programme has been designed from the ground up focusing on the most important aspects of support we encounter in our daily work. They are easy to understand and ‘not too heavy’ as that can become a barrier for engaging young people. The workshops cover negative thinking, relationships, self-esteem, anger, confidence and reflection.

Drop-in Service Available

Mindzone is a free, confidential drop-in service for young people aged 11-18 years old. Anyone who feels in any kind of emotional distress or ‘bad place’ can talk to someone about their worries and access professional support on Mondays between 5-8pm at the RVS in Hanley (next to Iceland).

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Relationships

Noun: any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interests or results

Are you Good at Relationships?

We all need relationships to grow and the people we live or work with can have a tremendous impact on our lives.

When we are first born we are like a blank canvas. We instinctively know how to cry for support, food, and security. However, that is pretty much it. By the time you are in high school you will have picked up many things from your surroundings and the people that have touched your life. We are all a product of our environment. Think about your own relationships with people who have or haven’t cared enough for you, the people you lived with were they present or missing all the time, those who have nurtured you to learn new things and those who have simply enforced rules. All these relationships will have impacted on you as you have grown up.

Relationships are one of the most important parts of self-development. How we interact with those around us, how we relate to people, how we form friendships, how we learn to trust and accept other people, what roles we take on in a group situation or how we manage one to one scenarios can really affect our happiness. Imagine getting what you want from a relationship without conflict or manipulation.

Drama Scenario Take 1

Girl going on a night out with her friends suddenly gets accused of dressing provocatively by her partner. Does she a)change her outfit? b) tell boyfriend he’s being rude or c) feel upset that she looks ‘tarty’

Throw your toys out.

Husband comes home from work to find the wife relaxing on the sofa, angrily he asks why hasn’t the food been made? Does she a) ask him what his last slave died of b) get upset as he’s moaning already or c) jump up and make the meal.

Manipulation verses Vulnerability

Manipulation

People rarely put themselves in another’s shoes otherwise they could not commit acts of drama. People seek power over others to get what they want. We all like to be spoiled.

Vulnerability

The common fact between the three of them is that none dare show their ‘softer’ side or the ‘real’ person - as they are too scared they won’t have their own needs met.

Family patterns

There are many patterns that we can learn from.

Drama creates cracks in your relationships. When you attack each other and say hurtful things to win the argument you can also create or plant insecurity in the other person’s mind. For example, how could they say that if they really didn’t mean or think it? In the long term damaging exchanges when people ‘fall out’ can have a devastating affect on a person’s mental health. You may just be repeating family patterns that you witnessed when you yourself grew up for example, if you thought your parents arguing was ‘normal’ behaviour then you probably will accept it as normal in your adult life and relationships. This ‘way of living together’ might not be true for the other person in your life as their childhood may have been very different. By exploring what your triggers are and, learning a strategy on how to avoid manipulating people can save that relationship and make all of your relationships healthy.

Communication skills

Some tips on how to create safer, secure relationships with people you care about.

Now you've started to look at your core beliefs and understand what your triggers are you may recognise that this can be a difficult process. Seek professional help to support you with this change if it is very distressing for you. Here are 5 tips to help keep your relationships healthy.

  • Be respectful and polite always in the way you speak to people, like ‘the honeymoon period’ only extended.
  • Avoid acting out the drama in your life.
  • If you like to be spoilt find a healthier way to ask loved ones for your needs.
  • Be honest about your needs and ask for the same back.
  • Doing something rather than nothing is vital.

Drama in a triangle?

The power of personalities and how they interact with one another.

The Drama Triangle is everywhere and surrounds us all. You can find it in fairy tales, on TV, in school, at work and most commonly in your home. The main problem is that it is addictive, comforting and seductive. It is also highly dangerous and dysfunctional, destroying healthy relationships and your own long-term mental health wellbeing.

Look at the two typical examples of drama in everyday lives:

Drama Scenario Take 1

Girl going on a night out with her friends suddenly gets accused of dressing provocatively by her partner. Does she a) change her outfit? b) tell boyfriend he’s being rude or c) feel upset that she looks ‘tarty’.

Drama Scenario Take 2

Husband comes home from work to find the wife relaxing on the sofa, angrily he asks why hasn’t the food been made? Does she a) ask him what his last slave died of b) get upset as he’s moaning already or c) jump up and make the meal apologizing that she had lost track of time?.

To have healthy relationships you need to be aware if you are caught or stuck in the drama triangle. Draw a triangle and label each corner with one letter A, V and R. Identify which role you normally take and try to be completely honest with yourself. Are you normally the Attacker, Victim or Rescuer? They are all unhealthily linked to one another. Each role needs the other and supports or feeds them, but not necessarily like or respects them. Manipulation is the ‘cement’ holding it all together.

Victims avoid responsibility. They seek to blame anything but themselves for their circumstances.

Rescuers like to feel needed, appreciated and loved.

The Attackers want to feel powerful and have a sense of control.

Now go back to the two drama examples and see if you can match the A, V and R label to the responses given – can you see how easy it is to fall foul of the drama triangle?

Breaking the cycle

Stopping the drama from ruining your own relationships.

When most people learn about the triangle they want to know how to free themselves and save their relationships. Remember it takes two people who both want to find a solution to an existing problem. It can be very damaging to your own mental health if the changes aren't working and you feel solely responsible for the failure. The other person must want to break the pattern too and don’t forget people naturally resist change - especially if it means not getting your own way as easily.

Attackers can stop by simply applying good old fashioned manners. Being respectful to other peoples feelings and thankful for them in your life.

Victims need to become more responsible in a relationship. Stopping telling tales and dropping the selfishness will overcome negative moods.

Rescuers can stop by simply backing off from a dysfunctional situation and being too ‘needy’.

Support

If you would like to learn more about the information on here then we have more practical opportunities available to you.

Workshops

Our signature Dragon workshops have been designed from the ground up focusing on the most important aspects of support we encounter in our daily work. They are easy to understand and ‘not too heavy’ as that can become a barrier for engaging young people. The workshops cover negative thinking, relationships, self-esteem, anger, confidence and reflection.

Drop-in Service Available

Mindzone is a free, confidential drop-in service for young people aged 11-18 years old. Anyone who feels in any kind of emotional distress or ‘bad place’ can talk to someone about their worries and access professional support on Mondays between 5-8pm at the RVS in Hanley (next to Iceland).

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Esteem

Noun: respect and admiration

What is self-esteem?

Valuing yourself is one of the most important things you can do to look after your mental health.

Most people have an opinion on themselves and it's these thoughts that affect how you feel about or ‘value’ yourself. If you have low self esteem these beliefs will often be negative and tend to focus on what you feel are your weaknesses, faults or even mistakes that you have made. If you have high self-esteem you generally see yourself in a positive or ‘healthy’ way.

Holding negative beliefs about yourself is very damaging. Over time your confidence, your resilience and your ability to cope with the stresses of life get worse. This puts you at a greater risk of developing other mental health problems such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety or social phobia which is closely related to your mood and self-belief.

Our own worst enemy

Most people with low self-esteem confuse what they do with who they are. They make the mistake that a bad action is a sign of a bad person. For example, if they fail at something then they assume that means they are a failure as a person.

Making mistakes.

Everybody makes mistakes. Believing that mistakes mean you are a bad, worthless, useless or inadequate person will stop you from trying new things out. Your opinion of yourself will affect your confidence levels and your mental health.

I am Bad versus I am Worthy

I am Bad

If I let anybody close to me, they will hurt and take advantage of me. I must never allow anyone to see my true self as they will dislike me and reject me.

I am Worthy

If I let people get close to me, I get the warmth and affection that I know I need. Since my true self is worthy, I need not hide it. If some people don’t like it, thats their problem.

Recognising low self-esteem

Thinking poorly about yourself can only lead to upset.

Low self-esteem can have a tremendous impact on your relationships. For example you may feel that you don’t deserve to be treated with love and respect, and so allow people to mistreat or control you. You may get upset very easily by any comment made towards you and feel criticised or judged either at work or in your own social life. This can cause conflict, frustration or leave you feeling even more isolated

Excuses Excuses

People who have a low self-esteem generally tend to make excuses for other people’s behaviour. If you find yourself always making excuses for someone else’s behaviour especially when you are the person being hurt, ignored or taken advantage of then it is most likely that your self-esteem could do with a boost. Ask yourself why are you making excuses and allowing yourself to be treated in such a way? Do you feel like you deserve to be treated in that manner? Do you really believe you are always to blame? That every time it must be your fault? A person can only ever be truly responsible for his or her own actions so accepting the blame for something you had no part in would suggest a low opinion of yourself and suggests a little self-love or acceptance is in order.

Self-Help

Some simple tips that you can start doing today to change that negative feeling.

Now you've started to look at your core beliefs and understand where they came from you may also recognise that this can be a painful process. Seek professional help to support you with this change if it is distressing for you. Here are 5 tips to help keep you building your esteem and healing yourself.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Don’t put yourself down.
  • Say positive things about yourself and get out of the bad habit of putting yourself down.
  • Spend time with positive and supportive people who like you for being you.
  • Be assertive and don’t let people treat you badly or without respect

You can also boost your esteem in other ways like taking up a new hobby, doing regular exercise, or even getting a new qualification. Now you've started to look at your core beliefs and understand where they came from you may also recognise that this can be a painful process. Seek professional help to support you with this change if it is distressing for you.

Doing something rather than nothing is vital.

How can I build esteem?

A little guide for those wanting to build themselves back up.

Most young people recognise that they need or want to improve their self-esteem. However, they do not know exactly what can help to build it. Identifying your negative beliefs is the starting point for those with low self esteem.

Firstly, you must identify and list all of those unhelpful thoughts, rules and beliefs. List the ones ich caused you the most trouble or problems in the past. It may help to write them down on a piece of paper (like at the top of the next column) to see them more clearly.

Compare the good (positive) versus bad (negative) column to see the damage done by those self-critical thoughts. Looking at your paper do you see any patterns? Can you see what your triggers are from that list? Now that you can see them you can decide whether they still have an impact on you? Have you outgrown some of them? Ask yourself do you need to keep holding onto those hurtful things? Keeping hold of the negative things can only keep you in a bad place wouldn’t you agree? With the right support it can be much easier to let go of the bad things and one easy way to do that is to look at your own role models.

Many people share similar patterns of behavior when it comes to self-esteem. Young people make it conditional self-esteem and only recognize themselves when they do something ‘good’ or ‘praiseworthy’. The problem with this is that your own self-rating is dependent upon your ‘good’ achievements so if things haven’t been going your way for a short time then your self-esteem value will drop as you begin to feel like you cannot do things right etc. What you need tor can do to help yourself is concentrate and focus on unconditional self-acceptance. That is choosing goals and values that help you (and others) respect yourself whether or not you ‘perform’ well and gain the approval of others. Everybody has good days and not so good days, so when you feel not at your best it is still important to accept yourself and value all of your potential.

It is good to achieve goals and have purpose in your day however what is also essential is having the desire or will to do them. A person is rarely judged solely for the outcome as many people take into consideration the effort someone puts into the event. To preserve your self-esteem you have to remember that having the desire to fulfill actions is worth more than just the final outcome. Stop the self-rating game. Your self-esteem is not based on success alone, it is about how you think and feel about yourself. Don’t be you own worst critic, be your biggest supporter and see the difference how you will feel about yourself.

Who is your role model?

Never forget how important people can be that you look up to as they can inspire you to make great changes in your life.

Take some time to reflect over the list you’ve made. Where did all those unhelpful thoughts come from? Were they given to you by family, friends, peers, teachers, coaches or did you judge yourself with others in an unequal way?

We usually learn about ourselves and the world we live in from the people around us. If we have very positive people around us then that is most likely to rub off on us. Equally if you are used to hearing very critical people in your life that make you feel bad about yourself then after time you can actually start to believe those words to be true.

If you had to describe the qualities you’d want from a good role model what would they be? Do these match those of the people who you surround yourself with? Remember to be honest with yourself and ask yourself is this person good for me or do I get put down all the time?

Support

If you would like to learn more about the information on here then we have more practical opportunities available to you.

Workshops

Our signature Dragon workshops have been designed from the ground up focusing on the most important aspects of support we encounter in our daily work. They are easy to understand and ‘not too heavy’ as that can become a barrier for engaging young people. The workshops cover negative thinking, relationships, self-esteem, anger, confidence and the need for reflection or ‘time out’.

Drop-in Service Available

Mindzone is a free, confidential drop-in service for young people aged 11-18 years old. Anyone who feels in any kind of emotional distress or ‘bad place’ can talk to someone about their worries and access professional support on Mondays between 5-8pm at the RVS in Hanley (next to Iceland).

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Assertiveness

Adjective: Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive.

What are anger issues?

People often get labeled as having anger issues but what is the cause of someone losing self control?

Everybody has anger issues. Anger is nature’s warning sign that something is not right in your world. It could be a response to being spoken to rudely, insulted, deceived, frustrated or even attacked. We all have to deal with many challenges daily. Family members, people in school, pressure at work, money worries, bullying, bereavement; all of these can cause pain or stress. How people respond to stress can be very different. It is important to remind ourselves that anger isn’t just the demon and that everybody has anger at some point. Anger can show us many things, like when we are not being treated properly or spoken to inappropriately. It is the aggression that can comes after the anger that can be very frightening.

your anger in and avoid reacting badly to a situation. Losing self-control is always bad. Whether your anger is related to something happening now or in the past, losing control and expressing that anger can make you do things that you will regret later. It is important not only to understand what causes your anger but also how to limit the chances of it damaging either your own life or of those around you.

Mis-labelling

Most young people actually think that anger issues are an actual diagnosed medical condition. The term has been over-used particularly in schools to incorrectly label people displaying behavioural problems by calling it anger instead.

Throw your toys out.

Everybody gets frustrated and angry at times. Believing that losing self-control means you are a bad, ill-tempered person can stop you from showing your real feelings. Pushing down feelings of anger is just as unhealthy in the long Learn your triggers?

Angry verses Assertive

Angry

Being excessively angry and aggressive gets in the way of communication. Nobody listens to what made you angry instead they focus only on your threatening behaviour.

Assertive

When you assert yourself in a situation you gain the respect from the people in the room because you have shown it to them. This often brings about change and success.

Ignoring the warning signs

Being incorrectly labeled can have long term damaging affects to your mental health and social style

Uncontrolled anger can have a tremendous impact on your relationships. Being angry isn’t the problem in itself,it’s how you deal with it that counts. Taking out your unhappiness or frustrations on those around you will put a huge strain on your relationships. Conflict is something most people want to avoid especially in their private lives, and living in fear of another persons outbursts can be very damaging to their mental health. Find out what your triggers are and learn a strategy to avoid losing self- control. This shows those around that you do care and will help you save those relationships.

Self Control

The key to success is keeping your self control when in challenging situations

Now you've started to look at your core beliefs and understand what your triggers are you may recognise that this can be a difficult process. Seek professional help to support you with this change if it is very distressing for you. Here are 5 tips to help keep you on track and not lose your power.

  • Regulate your breathing by taking deep, slow breaths that can help to relax you.
  • Count to 10 before you respond to a question.
  • Do something creative to help focus your energy in a positive way.
  • Music can have a calming effect on your mood so put on your favourite music.
  • Use a relaxation technique such as yoga.
  • Doing something rather than nothing is vital.

Learn your Triggers?

Being able to spot your own triggers can help change your approach style

Half the battle in learning to master your anger is identifying your triggers. Most people get angry when they experience extreme or overwhelming feelings of rejection, disappointment, jealousy, hurt, embarrassment, grief, loss, sadness, fear, worry or stress. Think about the last time you got angry, what were the circumstances? Did someone say or do something to trigger your feelings of anger?

Noticing the physical warning signs of anger may help you prevent losing control. An increased heartbeat, rapid breathing, tense body, feeling like you can’t stop still, tapping or clenching your fists are all possible symptoms. You can then ‘anchor’ your anger in and avoid reacting badly to a situation.

Be assertive

Standing up for yourself is important for your own mental wellbeing

Being assertive means standing up for yourself, while still respecting other people and their opinions or feelings. It’s getting your point of view across without ‘throwing your toys out of the pram’.

Communication breaks down easily when people get angry with one another. The volume increases and the language changes as each party attempts to win. Talking assertively allows you to share your feelings of anger with the other person. It stops tense situations getting out of hand where everyone feels like they are walking on ‘eggshells’. Keep your relationships healthy by not attacking someone’s self-esteem. If you are not used to sharing your feelings this will take time and effort to get into the habit of doing it in a non-aggressive way.

Tip:When explaining how you feel avoid blaming people and use “I” statements instead. For example, “When …… that happened I felt angry". Learning how to master your anger and being disciplined will take time so do not put yourself down or worse give up. If you slip up simply remind yourself that it is going to be OK and continue to work hard at asserting yourself when you need to.

Support

If you would like to learn more about the information on here then we have more practical opportunities available to you.

Workshops

Our signature Dragon workshops have been designed from the ground up focusing on the most important aspects of support we encounter in our daily work. They are easy to understand and ‘not too heavy’ as that can become a barrier for engaging young people. The workshops cover negative thinking, relationships, self-esteem, anger, confidence and reflection.

Drop-in Service Available

Mindzone is a free, confidential drop-in service for young people aged 11-18 years old. Anyone who feels in any kind of emotional distress or ‘bad place’ can talk to someone about their worries and access professional support on Mondays between 5pm - 7.30pm at the RVS in Hanley (next to Iceland).

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Self Care

Noun: the act or state of providing the means to help one self without relying on the assistance of others

Being emotionally healthy

With all the challenges that life can present us it is vital to take care of your own emotional needs.

You would be wise never to underestimate the importance of self-care. Identifying your triggers, learning how you interact with the world around you and not forgetting things can all be very challenging, so here are some simple tips to keep you safe:

  • Talk about what worries you
  • Feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
  • Remember your strengths – this will give you confidence and build your self-esteem
  • Healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, plenty of sleep and exercise
  • Time for relaxation, doing things you enjoy – spending time with family and friends
  • Engaged in purposeful activity – school, college, training or employment

Emotional health warning signs

The easiest mistake anybody can make is to ignore the signs that you are under stress or pressure

It is important that you learn to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Our emotional health can be affected by lots of things: relationships, environmental, school/college/work, social media and even sometimes by our own poor opinion of ourselves. Below are some signals that may indicate something isn't quite right:

  • Lacking energy or feeling tired
  • Not wanting to talk to people
  • Not wanting to do things that you normally do
  • Eating, drinking or sleeping more often than you normally would
  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope with feelings
  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things
  • Feeling restless or agitated
  • Not taking care of yourself (i.e. not washing, not changing clothes)
  • Feeling like you don’t matter
Some common symptoms of poor emotional health are:
  • Low Mood
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Stress
  • Low self esteem
  • Difficulty creating and maintaining relationships
  • Panic attacks
  • Social anxiety
  • Substance misuse
  • School refusal
There are more conditions related to poor mental health one of the more concerning of these is self-harming behaviour.

Reasons why people self harm

There are no fixed rules about why people self-harm.

There are a lot of myths surrounding why young people self-harm however for some people it can be linked to direct experiences they have previously witnessed or it could be something they are going through presently. Many young people who self-harm believe that it gives them some control over what is going on inside or a way to express something that they struggle to put into words. Changing the emotional pain to physical pain works for some however it can also make young people feel much worse. People who self-harm may feel embarrassed or ashamed about their actions, worrying that other people will judge them as ‘attention seeking’ if discovered. This explains how most self-harming is kept a secret. If you don’t understand the reasons for your self-harm or someone you care about who you worry maybe self-harming, remind yourself that this is okay and the only important rule is to ask for help.

Ways of self-harming can include:

  • Cutting yourself
  • Poisoning yourself
  • Over-eating or under-eating
  • Burning your skin
  • Inserting objects into your body
  • Hitting yourself or walls
  • Overdosing
  • Exercising excessively
  • Scratching or pulling hair out

How can I help someone I care about

If you have concerns for a loved one, a friend or even a family member here are a few tips.

When you encounter someone close to you who self-harms, for example a friend or a member of your family it is very easy to lose control and become upset towards them. Remember the following tips to provide a secure and safe place for them to speak.

Try to Avoid

Reacting with strong or negative emotions:

  • alarm or discomfort
  • threatening or getting angry making accusations, e.g. that the young person is attention-seeking
  • frustration if the support offered does not seem to be accepted.
When talking to the young person to it is helpful to:
  • take all self-harm seriously
  • listen carefully, in a calm and compassionate way
  • take a non-judgemental approach and try to reassure them that you understand that the self-harm is helping them to cope at the moment and that you want to help

Safer alternatives to help myself and avoid self-harm

Finding a way to stop or reduce your self-harm can be very empowering.

If you are thinking about stopping or reducing your self-harm, finding ways of helping yourself can feel very empowering. Working out your patterns of self-harm will give you great insight and clues on how to make the best choices for change. Your triggers are the things that give you the urge to hurt yourself and they can be anything from people, situations, painful memories like anniversaries, or certain thoughts about yourself.

Once you have identified the triggers it is also important to understand how you experience the urge to self-harm. For example, strong emotions of sadness, fear or despair may lead you to have the urge to self-harm. Other people may get a sensation of feeling sick or nausea, heart racing or shallow breathing before they want to self-harm.

When you can spot the signs that lead you to self-harm then most important part comes next, how to distract yourself from the urge to self-harm.

Making your own Safety Plan

A guide on how to plan out and keep yourself safe when you feel in distress.

This aim of making a safety plan is to highlight how you are currently feeling. It can also be shared with someone that you may already know is going through a tough time right now. Having a safety plan can help however remember these notes too:

  • If you sometimes struggle with suicidal thoughts, completing the plan can help when you are feeling suicidal; follow the plan one step at a time until you are safe.
  • Feeling suicidal is the result of experiencing extreme pain, and not having the resources to cope. We therefore need to reduce pain and increase coping resources.
  • Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
  • These feelings will pass.
Keep the plan where you can easily find it when you’ll need it.

Get a sheet of A4 and divide it into six boxes then starting at top left and going right put these headings in: Me, Action, Connect, Call someone, Ask the professionals and Self-belief.

Here is a breakdown of how to complete the boxes, stage by stage, to form your very own personal safety plan. Remember to be completely honest with yourself throughout these steps so that you can get the best support for you and keep yourself safe.

Me

- What warning signs or triggers are there that make me feel more out of control?

Write down these thoughts/ feelings/ behaviours that tell you when you’re in a bad place emotionally, or becoming dangerous to yourself. e.g. Staying home, alone, in bedroom, brooding.

Action

- What have I done in the past that helped? What ways of coping do I have?

Write down when you notice this build up happening and note how You will take care of yourself by doing these things. e.g. Remove stockpile of medication – take them to a pharmacy. Throw away blades. Keeping busy. Being with other people. Writing down your thoughts and feelings – and reminding yourself of alternative ways of looking at things.

Connect

- What I will do to help calm and soothe myself?

Make a list of people or places that help you stay connected, or to distract yourself (include contact info). For example, You can go for a walk to the park with the dog, You can focus on your breathing. Do something else, anything, for at least 20 minutes to help distract your thoughts. Then do something else if it still feels overwhelming. If I still have suicidal thoughts – I’ll call X (or others in my plan) if that doesn’t help; I’ll go to A&E.

Call someone

- What could others do that would help?

Make a list of who you can share your feelings with. Contact these friends or relatives and ask them for their support (include contact info): e.g. X will remind me of my safety plan. Phoning X and being honest with them about how I am feeling will help me connect with someone and stop you feeling isolated and alone.

Ask the professionals

- When nothing else seems to be helping I will call on these professionals (include contact info):

Who can you call? What is your Doctor’s number or Health Professional? Which telephone helplines will help you the most (Papyrus and the Samaritans - see our out of hours section in this app). If you still feel suicidal and out of control then you can go to the A& E department - If you can’t get there safely, you can call 999 etc.

Self-belief

- What I will tell myself (as alternatives to the dark thoughts)

If you find yourself unable or unwilling to follow these steps you will remind yourself that you CAN get through this. e.g. I’ve got through this before, I can get through it now. These are horrible thoughts, but they are just thoughts, I don’t have to act on them. I love X and my family, and I don’t want to hurt them. This feeling will pass.

Support

If you would like to learn more about the information on here then we have more practical opportunities available to you.

Workshops

Our signature Dragon workshops have been designed from the ground up focusing on the most important aspects of support we encounter in our daily work. They are easy to understand and ‘not too heavy’ as that can become a barrier for engaging young people. The workshops cover negative thinking, relationships, self-esteem, anger, confidence and reflection.

Drop-in Service Available

Mindzone is a free, confidential drop-in service for young people aged 11-18 years old. Anyone who feels in any kind of emotional distress or ‘bad place’ can talk to someone about their worries and access professional support on Mondays between 5-8pm at the RVS in Hanley (next to Iceland).

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Family Care

Noun: A representative or promoter of a specified activity

No book for parenting?

How you can support you and those around you more.

Parenting isn’t always easy. The rewards you can get watching your children grow are priceless however sometimes it can also be really hard work. Stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness is an epidemic that impacts on family lives in a chronic and severely debilitating way. When one of your children is diagnosed with mental illness, it will have an affect on the whole family. A mother's experience is different than a father's experience and a parent's experience is different than that of a brother or sister. When you have more than one child, you may be unsure of how mental illness might affect your other children, what information they might need and how you can support one another to recover.

If you think your child is unhappy or if you are worried about their behaviour, it’s easy to be hard on yourself and think you aren’t doing a good job.

Types of mental health problems

These are some of the mental health problems that can affect children and young people.

Depression affects more children and young people today than in the last few decades, but it is still more common in adults. Teenagers are more likely to experience depression than young children.

Self-harm is a very common problem among young people. Some people find it helps them manage intense emotional pain if they harm themselves, through cutting or burning, for example. They may not wish to take their own life.

Children and young people with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) become extremely worried. Very young children or children starting or moving school may have separation anxiety.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can follow physical or sexual abuse, witnessing something extremely frightening of traumatising, being the victim of violence or severe bullying or surviving a disaster.

Children who are consistently overactive ('hyperactive'), behave impulsively and have difficulty paying attention may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Many more boys than girls are affected, but the cause of ADHD isn’t fully understood.

Eating disorders usually start in the teenage years and are more common in girls than boys. The number of young people who develop an eating disorder is small, but eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can have serious consequences for their physical health and development.

Where do I start?

If you're worried about someone try to get them to talk to you.

You might feel that you don't know how to help someone, because you don't know what to tell them or how to solve their problems. Remember that you don’t need to be an expert. In fact, sometimes people who think they have the answers to a problem are less helpful. Don’t forget that every person is different, so that what worked for one will not always work for another. Find a good time and place is crucial. Think about where and when to have the conversation before you start and, probably choosing somewhere where the other person feels most comfortable would help them to feel safe enough to open up, for example, how would you feel if someone began to talk about your private thoughts or actions in the middle of a supermarket or in the car just before school.

  • Listen carefully to what they say Ask them how they feel. If you're gentle and calm it's ok to bring up the subject of self-harm or suicide.
  • Try to be accepting and open-minded
 Let your child know you are there for them, and that they are loved. Reassure them that it's ok to talk about their distress and that they have your support.
  • Offer to lend them a hand< You could offer to contact Samaritans, a GP or a counsellor. Avoid trying to take control though - many people who self-harm use it as a way of having some control over their lives.
  • Don't take it personally Your son or daughter might not want to talk to you because you are too close to them. If this is the case you may want to encourage them to talk to someone they feel comfortable with.
  • Don't give them ultimatums They don't work, and may drive behaviour underground. If someone needs to self-harm, they will find a way to do it somehow or other.
  • Try to understand your own feelings You might feel hurt, devastated, shocked, angry, sad, guilty or powerless. If you're struggling yourself, you might want to call us or see a counsellor.
  • Check they know where to get help If someone has been feeling low for some time it is probably a good idea that they get some support, whether it is through talking to someone like a counsellor or getting some practical help.

Useful questions you might ask them include:
‘Have you talked to anyone else about this?’,
‘Would you like to get some help?’ or
‘Would you like me to come with you?’


Or, for someone who is reluctant to get help:
‘Do you have someone you trust you can go to?’ or ‘If it helps, you can talk to me any time.’

You can also suggest to your friend that the following sources of help may be useful:

  • Papyrus by phone: 0800 068 4141 for immediate crisis help and support
  • North Staffs Mind has a wealth of counseling experience offering emotional support across North Staffordshire. Call us direct on 01782 262100.
  • NHS Choices is a 24-hour nurse-led telephone advice and information service run by the National Health Service. Dial 111 to talk to an NHS professional.

A more comprehensive list of charities providing emotional support and help for mental illness can also be found on the Young Minds website that is designed to support both parents and carers of young people. You can also suggest that the person affected checks out the information within the 'Out of Hours' section within this app. The following sources of help listed there may be really useful for someone who needs a specialist to talk to or someone outside the family at least. A more comprehensive list of charities providing emotional support and help for mental illness can be found on our main North Staffs Mind website www.nsmind.org.uk.

Last but not least

Hearing someone else’s worries or problems can affect you too.

If your child is having problems, don’t be too hard on yourself or blame yourself. Although it can be upsetting and worrying if your child is having a bad time, and it makes your relationship with them feel more stressful, you are not a bad parent. Children often take it out on those closest to them, so you might be feeling the effect of their very powerful emotions.

If you had a difficult time growing up yourself, or have had emotional problems or mental health problems, it can be very worrying to think that the same thing might happen to your child. But the love and care you show them and the fact that you are trying to help will protect against this. Getting help for them and perhaps for yourself too can give them the best chance of feeling better

Take time for yourself to do the things you enjoy, and if you need to talk, find somebody you trust to confide in. If you promised not to tell anyone else, you can call North Staffs Mind as we are a confidential service.

Don’t take on so much of other peoples’ problems that you yourself start feeling depressed.

Getting some support for yourself.

Remember that everyone is human and benefits from support.

Go to your GP if things are really getting on top of you. Asking for some support from your doctor or a referral to a counselling service is a sign of strength. You can’t help your child if you are not being supported yourself. Some people worry their parenting will be judged and their children will be taken away if they admit they are struggling to cope. This should only happen if a child is being abused or neglected and the role of professionals is to support you to look after your child as well as you can.

Please remember that If things are getting you down, it’s important to recognise this. Talk to someone you trust and see what they think. Many people go on struggling with very difficult situations because they feel they should be able to cope, and don’t deserve any help. Too many people forget to look after their own emotional wellbeing and, spend too much time trying to fix others problems that eventually leads to running themselves into the ground. Friends and family can often help so don’t forget to ask for some support for example, looking after the kids for a few hours etc. It is vital that you take time out for yourself so that you can ‘recharge your batteries’; whether that’s a night out at the movies or sitting in reading a book the important part is that you make time for yourself. It is essential to relax and relieve some of your own stress levels so that you have energy and the ‘headspace’ to deal with challenging situations.

Hearing someone else’s worries or problems can affect you too. Take time for yourself to do the things you enjoy, and if you need to talk, find somebody you trust to confide in. You will feel more available to your family and better equipped to support them emotionally in their time of need if you have the energy to do that. Making sure you get support can be as important as the person you are worrying about so don’t neglect your own needs.

Additional Support

A final note to parents and carers.

Talking helps.

If things are getting you down, it’s important to recognise this. Talk to someone you trust and see what they think. Many people go on struggling with very difficult situations because they feel they should be able to cope, and are too afraid to ask for help. Friends and family can often help so don’t be afraid to ask them to have your child for a bit especially if you know you need some time out to sort out your own stuff and get that vital ‘headspace’. Life’s challenges might mean that you are too busy, exhausted or hard up for exercise or hobbies however a good night in with a friend, a movie night or your favourite dinner can help you to relax.

Other helpful sources

Going to your GP if things are really getting on top of you remember is a sign of strength and you can always seek a professional counsellor yourself to support you as you look after your child as well as you can. Your local community will have many support groups open and running and by contact your local voluntary action services organisations they can normally signpost you to the relevant places, or at the very least give you some indication of where to look on the Internet.

The most important thing is to seek help and avoid struggling on your own.

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