It’s okay to ask for help

We all need a bit of help sometimes, but it can be difficult to know when exactly help is needed, who to ask, and how exactly to ask for it.

Life can surprise us. Unexpected things may happen, or perhaps you just have a lot going on. Whatever it is, sometimes things can seem overwhelming. You may feel like you’re the only one struggling to keep your head above water.

Whether you’re having a bad day, or you have a mental health problem, it’s important you don’t try and cope on your own. However strong you are, we all need support. When feeling low, vulnerable and unlike yourself, spending time on your own is unlikely to help. This is the time when you need to talk to someone – someone you trust – who can offer love, an ear to listen and guide you to the other side.

What’s stopping you?

There are many reasons why a person won’t ask for help. You might not like asking for help. You may feel afraid and ashamed. You might not want to burden anyone with your problems. You may be worried what others will say and what they will think. Perhaps you don’t know where, or who to turn to.

The thing is, people do care. Help is available and even if you’re not comfortable speaking to a friend or family member, there are professionals ready to support you. You just have to ask.

Who can you ask for help?

If you have come to a time where you need a helping hand, there are many roads you can follow. If you have a supportive family network and are comfortable speaking to them, consider talking to your family about how you feel. This may be your parents, your siblings, your grandparents or your cousins.

If you’re not ready to speak to your family (and that’s OK!) it’s important you know there are other options. Know that it’s OK to talk to your friends, neighbours or even colleagues. They won’t judge you – they care about you and to be frank, people love to help.

You can also speak to a professional. If you’re worried about your health – emotional or physical – you can speak to your GP or consider talking to a counsellor. Sometimes, the simple act of speaking about your feelings can offer a sense of relief and ease some of the stress.

How to ask for help

Asking for help is incredibly daunting, but don’t be afraid. If you need immediate help, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. They’re available 24/7 and all calls are anonymous.

If you’re ready to ask for help but not sure how, here are some ways you can prepare.

Decide who is best to talk to, and who you feel most comfortable speaking to. While many of us can get the support we need from family and friends, others will need to follow a different path. If you’d prefer to speak to a professional or support group, that’s OK.

Choose your time wisely and in a place you feel comfortable. If you like walking while you talk, ask the person to come with you. If you prefer a cafe, or the privacy of your own home, invite them over. Try and choose a location that is relaxed and where you won’t be interrupted.

What do you want from them? Acknowledge what it is you want from speaking to them. Do you simply want someone to listen? Or would you like more support? Go in knowing what it is you want from them, and don’t be afraid to ask.

Make notes and plan ahead if you’re nervous. Asking for help can be very overwhelming, so writing down everything you want to say will help you remember.

Explain how you feel and tell them what it is you want from them. Tell them how they can help you – being on the other side can be just as difficult, so be clear and as understanding to them as they are with you

Mental distress – an overview

How common is mental distress?

According to the mental health charity Mind, one in four people in Britain are affected by or living with a mental health problem.  People with mental distress may experience problems that affect the way they think, feel and behave. The term ‘mental distress’ is used to describe a range of mental health issues, from the more common problems such as anxiety and depression, to the less common, such as schizophrenia.

Mental distress in the UK

A 2016 Time to Change survey of over 7,000 people living with mental health issues found that 64% were feeling isolated, 61% worthless and 60% ashamed of their condition. They explained they felt this way because of the stigma and discrimination they regularly face.
That said, the results suggest progress has been made in raising awareness and reducing discrimination. Time to Change explained that over half of those involved in the survey said it is easier to talk about their mental distress now than ever before. 60% also said they felt relieved and “like a weight had been lifted” once they talked about their condition.  Unfortunately this isn’t always the case and not everybody feels they can speak out.

Types of mental distress

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the most common mental disorder in Britain is mixed anxiety and depression, with up to 10% of people suffering from depression at some point in their lifetime.

Following depression, the most common conditions include:4
• generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
• social anxiety disorder
• obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
• panic disorder
• post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In the 2013 Wellbeing Survey, almost one in five people in the UK aged 16 or over showed symptoms of anxiety or depression. This result was higher in women (21.5%) than in men (14.8%).5

Symptoms of mental distress

Any form of mental distress will be accompanied by a set of symptoms. However, each will differ from person to person and vary in severity. Some of the symptoms commonly associated with mental health problems include:
• panic attacks
• self-harm
• psychotic experiences
• suicidal thoughts.

Common symptoms of depression include low mood, fatigue and loss of interest or excitement in things previously enjoyed. Often, symptoms of depression will impair emotional and physical well-being, as well as the behaviour of the person.

Prevalence of mental distress

While the number of people affected by mental distress is shocking and appears to have risen over the years, many believe that the increase is a result of more people talking about it and seeking help. We are becoming more aware of the prevalence of mental health across all genders and age groups and slowly, the stigma is starting to change.

How can counselling help?

One way of managing the effects of a mental health problem is talking about it. Whether you are living with a mental health problem, or know somebody else who is, it is important to talk about your experiences and the stigma associated.
Counselling will provide you with the opportunity to explore and be open about your thoughts and feelings without shame, judgement or discrimination. The counsellor is someone to listen to you and offer support.
There are a number of treatments available for those living with a mental health problem. Talking therapy can help you understand what may have caused the problem and how you can manage it.

Heads Together Campaign

Heads Together are the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year.

Through their work with young people, emergency response, homeless charities, and with veterans, they have seen time and time again that unresolved mental health problems lie at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges.

Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives. The aim of Heads Together is to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing and have the practical tools to support their friends and family.

Royal Support

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading the Heads Together campaign.

There has been huge progress made to tackle stigma surrounding mental health in recent decades, but it still remains a key issue driven by negative associations, experience and language. Through this campaign, Their Royal Highnesses are keen to build on the great work that is already taking place across the country, to ensure that people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and that stigma no longer prevents people getting help they need.

The team of charity partners working on Heads Together covers a wide range of mental health issues that are close to The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry’s passions. They are:

To find out more about this campaign visit https://www.headstogether.org.uk/

 

 

One in Four

According to the mental health charity Mind, one in four people in Britain are affected by or living with a mental health problem.  Estimates also suggest around 25% will not visit a GP to discuss their concerns

Worldwide, the number of people who are affected by mental health is rising. In 1990, 416 million people suffered from depression or anxiety, rising to 615 million in 2013 (World Health Organisation, 2016).

People with mental distress may experience problems that affect the way they think, feel and behave. The term ‘mental distress’ is used to describe a range of mental health issues, from the more common problems such as anxiety and depression, to the less common, such as schizophrenia.

Mental distress in Britain

The stigma associated with mental distress is starting to change. While more people living with mental illness are starting to feel able to talk about their experiences, there is still a long way to go. Stereotypes and negativity surrounding poor mental health continue to mean that many still feel that they have nobody to talk to.

A 2016 Time to Change survey of over 7,000 people living with mental health issues found that 64% were feeling isolated, 61% worthless and 60% ashamed of their condition. They explained they felt this way because of the stigma and discrimination they regularly face.

That said, the results suggest progress has been made in raising awareness and reducing discrimination. Time to Change explained that over half of those involved in the survey said it is easier to talk about their mental distress now than ever before. 60% also said they felt relieved and “like a weight had been lifted” once they talked about their condition.

Unfortunately this isn’t always the case and not everybody feels they can speak out. The 2011 NICE guidelines reported that many of those suffering do not seek treatment; therefore many conditions are going undiagnosed.

Types of mental distress

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the most common mental disorder in Britain is mixed anxiety and depression, with up to 10% of people suffering from depression at some point in their lifetime.

Following depression, the most common conditions include:4

  • generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • social anxiety disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • panic disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

In the 2013 Wellbeing Survey, almost one in five people in the UK aged 16 or over showed symptoms of anxiety or depression. This result was higher in women (21.5%) than in men (14.8%).

 

Symptoms of mental distress

Any form of mental distress will be accompanied by a set of symptoms. However, each will differ from person to person and vary in severity. Some of the symptoms commonly associated with mental health problems include:

  • panic attacks
  • self-harm
  • psychotic experiences
  • suicidal thoughts.

Common symptoms of depression include low mood, fatigue and loss of interest or excitement in things previously enjoyed. Often, symptoms of depression will impair emotional and physical well-being, as well as the behaviour of the person.

Prevalence of mental distress

While the number of people affected by mental distress is shocking and appears to have risen over the years, many believe that the increase is a result of more people talking about it and seeking help. We are becoming more aware of the prevalence of mental health across all genders and age groups and slowly, the stigma is starting to change.

In a 2009 report, it was found that women were almost twice as likely as men to suffer an anxiety disorder in England. However, the 2014 figures released by the Office for National Statistics show there were 6,122 suicides recorded in the UK. While 24% of these were female, 76% were male.

How can counselling help?

One way of managing the effects of a mental health problem is talking about it. Whether you are living with a mental health problem, or know somebody else who is, it is important to talk about your experiences and the stigma associated.

Counselling will provide you with the opportunity to explore and be open about your thoughts and feelings without shame, judgement or discrimination. The counsellor is someone to listen to you and offer support.

There are a number of treatments available for those living with a mental health problem. Talking therapy can help you understand what may have caused the problem and how you can manage it. Common forms of talking therapy include:

  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • cognitive analytical therapy (CAT)
  • creative therapy
  • counselling and psychotherapy
  • family intervention.

Mental distress can affect each person differently, while some symptoms can be more manageable, others may need specialised treatment.


 

References

HSCIC – Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Statistics Monthly Report. 2016, Key facts.

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/news/englands-biggest-ever-survey-state-stigma

NICE guidelines – Common mental health problems, Introduction, May 2011.

Mental Health Foundation – Fundamental Facts PDF 2015, (page 19).

ONS – Measuring National Well-being: Life in the UK, 2015 (page 17).

  1. Prevalence, incidence, morbidity and treatment patterns in a cohort of patients diagnosed with anxiety in UK primary care. Family Practice, 27(1), (p.9-16).

http://www.samaritans.org/news/womens-suicide-rates-rise

Ayers, S. and Shakespeare, J. 2015 – Should perinatal mental health be everyone’s business? Primary Health Care Research and Development (page 323-325).

Paulson JF, Bazemore SD. 2010 – Prenatal and postpartum depression in fathers: a meta-analysis. The Journal of the American Medical Association (page 1961).

2015. Mental Health Difficulties in Early Adolescence: A Comparison of Two Cross-Sectional Studies in England From 2009 to 2014. Journal of Adolescent Healt

Men and mental health

Mental health problems can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race or social background. However, studies have shown that certain mental illnesses affect men and women differently.

While on average more women are diagnosed with common mental health problems than men, the rate of male suicide is significantly higher.

This suggests that men are suffering with mental distress, but may not be receiving (or indeed asking for) the help they need.

At any one time it is believed that one in five women (19.7%) and one in eight men (12.5%) are diagnosed with a common mental illness, such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.

According to the Men’s Health Forum, 73% of adults who ‘go missing’ are men and 87% of those sleeping rough are men. They also found that men are almost three times more likely than women to become dependent on alcohol and three times as likely to report frequent drug use.

Depression in men

Depression is often found to be more difficult to diagnose in men. This is because men don’t tend to complain about the typical symptoms, more often than not, it’s the physical symptoms of depression that lead them to visit their doctor.

According to netdoctor.co.uk, the lifetime rate of depression is 12% in women and 8% in men. This marked difference could however be due to fewer men seeking help for depression.

Men and suicide

The main reason experts suspect more men are affected by mental health problems than is reported is the high number of male suicide.

Statistics compiled by the Men’s Health Form (July 2014) reveal the following:

  • 78% of all suicides are men
  • For men under 35, suicide is the greatest cause of death

A 2012 study carried out by The Samaritans looked into the factors that might help to explain why certain groups of men are more likely than women to commit suicide.

Middle-aged men particularly at risk

Two important risk factors found were age and socioeconomic status with middle-aged men are particularly at risk, with numbers of suicides in males aged 45-59 increasing over the last five years.

Middle-aged men today face being in two very different generations, the pre-war ‘silent’ and the post-war ‘me’ generation. This means they may feel stuck somewhere between the strong, silent male stereotype of their father’s generation and the more progressive and open generation of their son’s.

On top of this, middle age is a time when the weight of previous long-term decisions reveal themselves. Making changes can come with a hefty cost, financially and socially. Feeling trapped under choices made earlier in life can seriously compromise mental well-being.

How can counselling help?

The high rate of male suicide points to a concern that men are less willing to seek counselling than women. So, why is this? Experts agree that it is likely to be a combination of factors, from society’s expectation of ‘men’ to a desire to solve one’s own problems.

Mental health charities and the media have looked to change the stigma surrounding mental health and particularly the stigma of asking for support. The truth is, all of us need the support of others at some point in our lives – regardless of gender.

Talking to a professional is a way to take back control. You will be able to work with your counsellor to establish healthier ways of thinking and devise coping mechanisms.  Taking that first step should never be considered a moment of weakness – instead, it shows true strength of character.

The full and original article http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/men-and-mental-health-stats.html