#EmpowerHalfHour in Mental Health Awareness Week

Busy week at the launch of Mental Health Awareness week. Visit to the fab organisation @Lindengate planning future sessions, meeting new clients and delivering Adult 2 day MFHA @mhfaengland for @Restore_Hope. Get in touch with Christine to discuss individual or organisation Mental Health and Wellbeing needs.

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Train as an Adult Mental Health First Aider – Subsidised training spaces available

Take the opportunity to book an Adult Mental Health First Aid course for your organisation. Contact for details of this time limited, one time only hugely subsidised offer of spaces through Positive Energy Being to train as a First Aider. Up to 16 delegates.

A police officer has spoken to the BBC to call for more people to talk about their mental health after he had a breakdown at work. PC Jim Morton, known as “Big Jim”, said he felt suicidal in 2015 because of personal reasons and working in such a demanding job. The 6ft 7ins tall officer said people do not expect men like him to suffer with their mental health. He said he is now one of Derbyshire Police’s “Blue Light Champions”, a mental health ambassador for the force.

Watch Jim’s video here 

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Body trauma and anxiety releasing exercises

Some basic, but very effective techniques to do oneself at home to anchor and calm the nervous system through body positioning.

With trauma, PTSD or anxiety, people can suffer extreme states of terror, hyperarousal, immobility, nervousness, internal chaos, mental chaos and overwhelm that they simply cannot figure out how to escape. These exercises provide a release.

A passivity or disconnections comes with having no access to self. Being stuck in states of immobility (deer in headlights) dissociation (mind is in another time/place) and hyperarousal (uncontrollable terror) are all versions. As the self and will has been totally obfuscated and lost, passivity would be expected. These exercises help gently bring one out of this extreme passivity.

The goal of these exercises is to calm the nervous system, bring the self back into the body, develop more body awareness, and to train one’s own nervous system to remember what normal is like. They help the body to regain the sense of having boundaries. They also help one to develop self-regulation, improving skills and confidence to positively influence the physiological and emotional states we find ourselves in.

Trauma and stress can leave us feeling scattered, broken, shattered, blown apart, chaotic, fractured, or split.  Our thoughts and nervousness may become overwhelming, out of control, all over the place. The exercises helps us feel the outer limits of our body and therefore feel ‘contained’. The body is the container of our sensations and all of our feelings; it’s all in the body. They helps create an internal state of calm because to know where we end, to know experientially (inside our body) that we are located in a specific location in space, brings a sense of calm and relief. Being scattered and not knowing where we begin and end is unsettling, even if it is unconscious.

By bringing about a ‘settling’ feeling, reduces overwhelm. By enhancing the feeling of the body as container reduces overwhelm in emotions and sensations.

Beginning this exercise, most of the time the first shift happens as a spontaneous deep breath followed by a breath change to a deeper, slower rhythm and a relaxation of muscles. In time with practice of the exercise, the shift is more subtle and gradual as if entering the space of the body in a deeper way.

It still sometimes takes a very long time to feel a shift. Perhaps the current level of chaos in the nervous system at the time will influence this. If the chaos is very high, it will take longer.

What is happening?

The human nervous system responds to touch. Hands-on healing has been used by humanity since ancient times. Stimulating and soothing the body’s natural electrical currents with hold positions. The exercises encourage focus on the body, this change of attention and awareness is therapeutic. The practice encourages a self gentleness relationship towards the self –  characterised by being gentle, caring, kind and nurturing. The self-holding exercises help with the body container strengthening and building activity which helps one begin to experience a sense of self.

Trauma, stress and anxiety can erase the sense of having a self and where that self might be in space and time. Doing either of the exercises and giving the exercise a chance to sink in, in other words opening the body to allow the body to receive the exercise, can improve the feeling of self. This might occur first by having a feeling of having a location in space, being solid and being in one location. There may be a sinking into the internal awareness that  ‘I have edges’ which in turn helps bring an awareness that ‘I am here’ (location in the world) and ‘I am me’(ego-identity). This helps with restoring one’s identity as a normal human being rather than being shattered and nothing.

Then one might experience a feeling pride in self, a feeling of fierceness, a desire to defend self. This is the sense of self-defense and self-esteem coming online. Once self is found, it is easier to feel the desire to protect and defend it, and to feel proud of it. If one has no access to self, concepts such as self-esteem and self-defense can be confusing. They may make sense intellectually but not experientially. It’s not that one does not care about these concepts, one may care a lot about them; it’s just that they make no sense without an embodied experience of self.

One may begin to gain a sense of having emotional boundaries, the sense of what is OK and what is not OK to experience emotionally and in relationships. This boundary awareness could have been completely lost or misplaced as a result of the traumatic experiences.

Accessing self would also allow access to the inner knowing of what one wants; a personal will, the ‘decider’ or action-taker. The ideas of personal truth and personal will probably are difficult for someone who has no access to self to really truly ‘get.’ Once that connection to self is re-established, feelings will begin to arise from self – the feeling of dislike for something, or of liking something. These feelings develop complexity, maturity and expression and eventually become ‘my truth” about a situation. Access to the will also may come back online and one can act on their truth which eventually turns into the development of authenticity.

A passivity or disconnections comes with having no access to self. Being stuck in states of immobility (deer in headlights) dissociation (mind is in another time/place) and hyperaraousal (uncontrollable terror) are all versions. As the self and will has been totally obfuscated and lost, passivity would be expected. These exercises help gently bring one out of this extreme passivity.

Contact or call 07548 690170 Positive Energy Being for session, training or exercise instructions.

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Ten Steps Towards School Staff Wellbeing

Concerns about the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people are currently in the public spotlight. However, any conversation about supporting our children’s wellbeing must also include how we support our teachers.

We must do more to support school leaders, teachers and other school staff to ensure that their mental health and wellbeing is prioritised. If we don’t recognise the importance of this, we will fail not only staff, but the children and young people they support.

This resource is based on the views of school staff who participated through the Anna Freud NCCF -Schools in Mind learning network and the Teacher Tapp survey. This resource provides some helpful materials and encourages schools to reflect that if they want to make a success of promoting children’s mental health, this can only be achieved by giving the staff wellbeing the consideration it deserves.

Contact Positive Energy Being to arrange an informal meeting to discuss your organisation’s wellbeing strategy plans.

Full report below:

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Men urged to seek help for mental health problems at work

Traditional idea of masculinity prevents many male employees from seeking help


Lee Woolcott-Ellis, a survivor of sex abuse and PTSD, is now fighting to change male attitudes to mental health © Anna Gordon/FT

Link to full FT article

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Parent leaflet – You are never too young to talk about mental health

Advice for Parents and Carers: Talking Mental Health with young people at primary school

This leaflet provides simple advice and guidance to parents and carers about how to make conversations about their child’s feelings part of everyday conversation.

It demonstrates how we can help children express their feelings, respond appropriately, and prevent small problems from snowballing into bigger ones.

Download the “You’re never too young to talk mental health: tips for talking for parents and carers” booklet.

tmh-parent-leaflet-final-all-approved-laid-out-for-web

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Girls and Autism – Flying under the radar

This guide aims to:

+ introduce the debate around autism and gender

+ identify key issues for girls with autism spectrum conditions

+ provide practical school-based support strategies

+ share family, professional and academic perspectives.

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MHFA England launches best-practice workplace guidance

Documents below
Guide-for-employers

guide-for-first-aiders

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England has today launched best-practice guidance for employers on how to implement Mental Health First Aid in the workplace. This follows the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) recent enhancement of its First Aid guidance to clarify the existing need to consider mental health alongside physical health when undertaking a ‘needs assessment’.

To date over 15,000 organisations across the country have already trained staff in MHFA England courses but that figure could rise substantially if the HSE’s updated guidance is adopted by employers. According to the regulator, 15.4 million working days are lost due to mental ill health every year, and with its updated guidance, there’s now a need for employers across all sectors to understand how Mental Health First Aid training should be implemented in the workplace. 

Simon Blake OBE, Chief Executive, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England commented,

“Our new guidance provides clear information to support employers in implementing Mental Health First Aid training in the workplace – ensuring that their first aid provision can effectively protect both the mental and physical health of their employees.

“Mental Health First Aid training should always be one part of a ‘whole organisation’ approach to mental health – helping thousands of employers to implement the core standards for a mentally healthy workplace, as set out in the Government’s ‘Thriving at Work’ review, including improving mental health awareness and encouraging conversation about the support available.”

Developed in consultation with leading employers PwC, Royal Mail, Thames Water and Three UK, the new guidance provides information on strategically embedding MHFA England training. It includes advice on how to recruit, promote and support staff trained in Mental Health First Aid as part of a whole organisation approach to workplace mental health.

Sally Evans, Wellbeing Lead, PwC said,

“As an employer that is incorporating Mental Health First Aid training into our wellbeing strategy we were pleased to share our insights as part of the development of this new guidance.

“By offering this guidance, MHFA England is providing a clear set of considerations for employers looking at how to implement Mental Health First Aid training – whilst also respecting that organisations of different shapes and sizes will need to take different approaches.”

Alongside this new advice, strengthened guidance on the role of the person trained in Mental Health First Aid skills has also been published to support the Role of the Mental Health First Aider. This covers the boundaries and responsibilities of those qualified at different levels; as Mental Health First Aiders, Mental Health First Aid Champions and Mental Health Aware.

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Wellbeing Action Plan – Youth

WAP-Y-design

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Engaging all students with The Political Toolkit

Kit used by students 10 years +

Order here

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Reframing the conversation on the social determinants of health

Why are health inequalities and the social determinants often left out from the public debate about health? Our new briefing on #FramingHealth with @FrameWorksInst gives insights into how the public think about what makes us healthy. READ ARTICLE

 Link to article

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