Tag Archives: survey

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 – Surviving or Thriving?

This week 8th – 14th May is Mental Health Awareness Week,
and this year the Mental Health Foundation have chosen the theme:
Surviving or Thriving?

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 - Surviving or Thriving - The Last Krystallos

It’s a thin line.

Two thirds of people in the UK say they have experienced a mental health problem, with women, young people, and those who live alone affected most. The survey, completed by The Mental Health Foundation in 2017, also discovered that those over the age of 55 cope best with taking steps to make their lives better, 85% of the unemployed have experienced mental health issues, and that 3 out of 4 low income families suffer compared to 6 in 10 in the highest income positions.

4 in 10 people live with depression and over a quarter of the population experience panic attacks.

Out of 2,290 people surveyed, sadly, only 13% reported a high level of good mental health.

Mental Health Awareness - the last krystallos -happiness-and-melancholy-virginia-woolf

© Lisa Shambrook

With poor mental health in such a vast amount of the population you could ask why?

The reasons are huge and we may not even understand or know some of them. Social, financial, political, familial, religious, and medical reasons abound, let alone the mental and emotional reasons that we are working with or haven’t even discovered yet.  Our modern diet, pollution, smoking, drinking, drugs, lack of exercise – all of these may add to or cause mental health issues.

The survey concludes that ‘the collective mental health of our nation is deteriorating,’ and warns thatthe barometer of success of any nation is the health and wellbeing of its people.’ We have a long way to go, and we need to support each other to become a healthier nation.

Mental Health Awareness - rain - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Perhaps the most important thing when asking the question Survive or Thrive? is to discover what we can do to help, to support those who live with mental and emotional health issues. We can help those around us thrive, despite the conditions they live with.

I’ve blogged about many Mental Health Issues, so feel free to browse to find information if you wish. Depression, Anxiety, Self-Harm, Highly Sensitive People, Misophonia, Running Away, and I’ve written a post on How to Keep Calm and Carry On – offering advice on coping with Stress.

Like I’ve mentioned in my This is What Anxiety Feels Like post, some people have circumstantial or situational mental health issues, and thankfully, most of these issues pass in time and as situations change, but others live with constant and life-long conditions.

Mental Health Awareness - dog - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

How do you support those you know with challenging conditions?

Accept – a mental health condition is as legitimate as a broken bone, you wouldn’t ask someone with a broken arm to prove it, or to pull themselves together and get on with it. Be accepting and validate us with compassion and empathy.

Listen – Be there when we need you. Be attentive and intuitive, we may not always be able to tell you when we need you. Many mental health conditions, like anxiety and/or depression, often take away self-confidence and make us very insecure, and we often don’t ask for help when we need it. Offer your ear, sometimes we need to talk. Talking can be very cathartic. If you can help or encourage us to get counselling, you can help us make big steps forward.

Support – even when we shy away, or get prickly, or reject you, we still need you. Your support and love is often what helps us hold it together when things are tough. Your support is imperative because professional help can be very hard to get, and requires long periods on waiting lists for six or ten sessions of counselling. Trying to get help can be demoralising and very often we give up. We are waiting for the government to invest in mental health care and for the stigma to be erased. We need support.

Learn – educate yourself about the mental illness that your loved one is living with. It will benefit everyone. Understanding a condition helps you live with it and offer the right support.

Don’t Judge – never tell someone with a mental illness that it’s all in their head, or that they’re work-shy, or that it doesn’t exist. Don’t ever tell them that they should be glad they haven’t got *insert cancer or other physical disease*. Many mental illnesses have very physical symptoms. Educate yourself. Please, also, don’t tell them that it could be worse. It probably couldn’t to them and we all deal with our problems in different ways and on different levels. This one goes along with acceptance, but is even more important, as sometimes those with metal health issues can be living on a knife edge and your judgement or criticism could push them over the edge.

Be lenient – make allowances (but never be patronising). Like I said many conditions have very debilitating physical symptoms like exhaustion (mental exhaustion creates physical exhaustion), tremors, headaches, racing heart rate and palpitations, physical pain, nausea, inability to breathe, and more. Our medication can also cause many side effects. Emotional responses can be just as hard to cope with for those living with these conditions. When we can do something, we’ll do it, but sometimes we just can’t.

Mental Health Awareness - first aid - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

The stigma attached to mental health is slowly fading and we can all do our bit to fight and eradicate it. We even have Royals, William, Kate, and Harry spearheading the #HeadsTogether campaign to end the stigma around mental health.

Let’s work together to support each other, not only to survive, but to thrive!

Mental Health Awareness - cat - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

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A-Z Book Survey…

Following in the wake of Ang over at Ang Writes and Eric over at Project Gemini, I thought I’d answer these twenty-six book related questions in the A-Z Book Survey, which was created by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner…go take a look now and see why she started this!

By Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
Author(s) You’ve Read The Most Books From: 

Garth Nix, JRR Tolkien, Harlan Coben (and we might leave my childhood preference for ‘The Famous Five’ and ‘Malory Towers’ by Enid Blyton out of this!)

Best Sequel Ever:
‘Lirael’ the sequel to ‘Sabriel’ in the ‘Abhorsen’ Trilogy from Garth Nix…I didn’t think it could get better, but ‘Lirael’ blew me away!

Currently Reading:
‘Dead Sea Games: Exiled’ J. Whitworth Hazzard…can’t wait for the next one either.

Drink of Choice While Reading:
Water or something like Blueberry juice.

E-reader or Physical Book?
I love both. I didn’t think paperbacks could ever be bettered, but the accessibility of ebooks and the ease of storage is making a difference to my buying habits. I love my Kindle, but still love the feel of a paperback in my hands…I love flicking pages…

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
I was way too shy to have dated in High School…

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
I wasn’t going to read ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar, but when I did I loved it and it made me cry…I avoid the movie at all costs though.

Hidden Gem Book:
‘I am David’ by Ann Holm, I owned it as a child, and meant to read it, but didn’t ‘til I was in my twenties…I adored it. I also have to add ‘Ella-Minnow-Pea’ by Mark Dunn a brilliantly original book where letters of the alphabet are removed from the community in the book and subsequently removed from the text too! And…’What I Was’ by Meg Rosof, a twist that I wished I’d thought up myself…wonderful!

By Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)

Important Moment In Your Reading Life:
Funnily enough, probably the first Harry Potter as when I’d finished, I suddenly thought, hey, I could do this too, and I began writing.
Second is when I was 11 my teacher read us ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’ by Susan Cooper, and I was hooked. ‘The Dark is rising Sequence’ the whole collection from Susan Cooper totally changed my reading habits, one of my most read and thumbed through books!

Just Finished:
‘The Selkie Sorceress’ by the lovely Sophie Moss.

Kind of Books You Won’t Read:
I generally don’t rule anything out, but I’m not a fan of erotica.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
Probably ‘The Lord of the Rings’ if you count them as one book…which takes me to 1069 pages in my omnibus version, though it is set up as six books…the appendices, which I have also devoured takes it to 1172 pages…

Major Book Hangover Because Of:
Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’…just kept me thinking…

Number Of Bookcases You Own:
At least six…all packed. I grew up in a home packed with bookcases and books…I could browse anything anytime!

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
As a teen my favourite book (series) ‘The Silver Brumby’ by Elyne Mitchel and it still delights me even to this day!

Preferred Place To Read:
Curled up on the sofa, or in bed…

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You’ve Read:
“Have I gone mad?” “I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.” – Lewis Carroll from ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Reading Regret:
Watching movies of The Book before reading The Book…or even the other way round, only a handful of movies manage to work!
Oh, and reading ‘New Moon’ in the Twilight saga…barely got through it without wanting to strangle Bella or myself. Also see above comment about movies…

Series You Started And Need To Finish:
I read Christopher Paolini’s ‘Eragon’ and enjoyed it, then ‘Eldest’…got a bit bored by his extended descriptions…and have both ‘Brisingr’ and ‘Inheritance’, but just haven’t found the time or inclination to delve…
…and in need to read the latest ‘Artemis Fowl’ by Eoin Colfer, as I love those!

Three Of Your All-time Favourite Books:
‘Loser’ by Jerry Spinelli…a beautiful book, which I love because it reminds me of my own style.
‘Lirael’ Garth Nix, I love the ‘Abhorsen’ Trilogy.
And it has to be ‘The Hobbit’ followed by ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Narnia and Middle-Earth, and anything by Garth Nix.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
I’m excited for imminent releases by my indie author friends…there are several on the horizon!

Worst Bookish Habit:
Flicking pages with my thumb as I read…

By Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)

X Marks The Spot: Start At The Top Left Of Your Shelf & Pick the 27th Book:
‘The Hobbit’ JRR Tolkien…

Your Latest Book Purchase:
‘Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire’ by Paul Ramey…which I loved. I have a £25 Amazon voucher sitting patiently, but my list is so long, I still need to decide what books to buy with it!
The first book on my next to purchase list is ‘Acid’ by Emma Pass.

Zzzzz… Last Book That Kept You Up Way Too Late:
I stayed up way past ‘lights out’ to finish ‘The Selkie Sorceress’