Who’s Caring for the Carers? Putting your mental health first

Dementia Care
October 8, 2021

World Mental Health Day

On the 10th October the World Health Organization and other mental health organisations bring our focus to World Mental Health Day.

We all have mental health

‘I’ve got mental health’ is a phrase I have heard a lot of late. I always think, yes you have, because we all do. This can be good mental health, or we may find our mental health is suffering, leading to mental health problems.

What does good mental health look like? 

The World Mental Health Foundation (WHMF) says: ‘Being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a mental health problem. If you’re in good mental health, you can:

  • Make the most of your potential
  • Cope with life
  • Play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends

What are mental health problems? 

On the reverse, WMHF tell us, ‘Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. The majority of people who experience mental health problems can get over them or learn to live with them, especially if they get help early on.’

Not sure where you or your colleagues are in your mental health journey?

Mental Health First Aid England have produced a free resource called My Whole Self MOT which you and colleagues can use to start conversations about where you are on your mental health journey.

Caring on auto

When we care for others, especially in such unprecedented times, we can often find ourselves running on auto pilot. Pushing back how we feel ourselves in favour of just functioning.

This is not a healthy way to live, and even if we are able to do this for a while, it is not sustainable or good for us. We often hear of people ‘burning out’ instead, we want to help you continue to ‘shine bright’. Here are some top tips to help you do so:

Tip One: Environment: make sure break rooms support your staff. Not just clean and tidy but decorated with colours and features that calm. This could be as simple as posters reflecting beach scenes, green spaces, and mountain ranges.

Tip Two: Focus on wellbeing in 1-1s using the ‘My whole self MOT’. Ensure it’s a standard agenda item and ensure that managers are trained to actively listen and support.

Tip Three: Train staff to be mental health champions. Mental Health First Aid is a great course with varying levels. If funds are tight, search for free training which can be available through charities and grant monies in your area.

Tip Four: Create socials focusing on wellbeing. This could be scenic walks, sharing a meal or simply having fun! Make sure you have availability for those working unsociable hours.

Tip Five: Make mental health a cultural norm. Talk about it, ask people how they are, be honest about you.

Resources

There are many resources, apps and videos you can access any time of the year including the Mental Health Foundation ‘How to look after your mental health’. Make use of live events and resources from the day itself with the links below to look after yourself and each other:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day

https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day

https://newsroom.spotify.com/2021-10-07/spotify-encourages-everyone-to-take-a-beat-on-world-mental-health-day-and-everyday/

https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day/

https://www.rethink.org/get-involved/awareness-days-and-events/world-mental-health-day/

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Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

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