Monthly Archives: October 2013

Mental-Health-First-Aid

The Importance of Mental Health First Aid

We have a colleague who is a senior HR professional in a high pressure industry. Some weeks ago an employee came into their office and admitted they were considering suicide, largely because of the pressure at work. While this is a confronting situation for anyone, that was our colleague’s third incident that year.

Everyday, two hundred people in Australia attempt suicide and, in any given year, one out of every five Australian adults develop some type of mental health problem. Until now, mental health issues have remained in the dark, heavily stigmatized and often forgotten about. Recent events you may have seen in the media from the shockingly tragic to the desperately sad have brought the issue of mental health problems into the forefront. No longer able to push the issue aside, many people are starting to step up to the plate and are willing to help but just don’t know how to go about it.


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The more people that take the time to learn about Mental Health First Aid, the more the stigma on mental health patients will fade. Currently it is more common for a person with developing warning signs of mental illness to be avoided or ignored rather than helped. Because mental health issues are often misunderstood by the public, the person suffering from the illness is less likely to reach out for help on their own.

MHFA training will allow you to become a vigilant observer, a person that has empathy for others, and will give you the confidence you need to follow through with a plan of action. Through outreach such as this, a difference will be made in the lives of people suffering from mental illness.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
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7 Ways To Enhance Hope

One of the common themes that emerges from stories of people who have recovered from mental illness, is that of Hope. In studies of consumer recovery stories, it has been found that having Hope for a better future is a major, if not essential element of recovery.

So, how do we help engender hope for someone living with mental illness? Here are 7 ways you can help a person find hope for their recovery.

1. Have Hope Yourself

We must first hold the hope that a person can recovery, even if they themselves do not. Even beyond ‘hope’, have a certainty that Recovery is possible. While we can never know for sure what the future will hold for a person, it definitely won’t happen if they don’t believe it is possible.

2. Say it

It sounds so simple, but many people have been told that they will always have a mental illness, that their condition is ‘chronic’ and that they cannot expect any better, essentially ‘this is as good as it gets’. Simply saying ‘recovery is possible’, can have a huge impact.

3. Look at the Statistics

There are plenty of longitudinal studies that show that over time, up to 68% of people will experience either total (clinical) recovery or significant improvements which are considered ‘psychological’, or ‘personal’ recovery. Those studies also show that we cannot predict which people will experience this recovery based on the severity of their symptoms at any one time. It doesn’t matter how bad it seems, Recovery can happen for anyone.


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4. Look at Others who have Recovered

For some people, the statistics may not be enough, but actually seeing, reading about, or meeting people who have recovered from mental illness can be a very powerful experience, and help them to have hope for their own future.

5. Help Create a Vision

Snyder and colleagues have studied Hope and found that there are 3 components of hope. The first is that people must have something to be hopeful for. As practitioners, we can help people to consider some of the things they would like to have for their life. Exploring personal values, what is important to the person can help them to identify a picture of how they would like their life to be (see next month’s newsletter for ways to explore values).

6. Set some Goals

It has been said ‘the tragedy in life does not lie in not achieving goals, but in having no goal to reach’. Sometimes we worry about setting people up for failure. While it is important to consider the timeframes we place on our goals, we do need to have something to strive towards. Research has shown that simply having a goal improves wellbeing, whether or not the person achieves it.

7. Build Self Confidence

The third of Snyder’s components of Hope is ‘agency’. This is the person’s own belief that they can achieve their goal. You can build agency by helping the person to identify all the things they have accomplished in the past. Help the person make a list, a song, or a drawing about those achievements. Ask them what their strengths are, or use strength cards, to help them identify their own internal and external resources.

Hopefully, we have given you some new ideas on how to help a person find Hope for recovery from mental illness. Do send us an email at [email protected] to let us know how you go with these ideas, or if you have any others to suggest.

Smiles,

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
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true-false

Zen and The Art of Effective Anxiety – 10 Tips To Hold On To Your Anxiety

It’s not always easy to hold onto your anxiety. At times, when you least expect it, a strong feeling of relaxation can come over you. To make matters worse, although anxiety is common, many people out there want to stop you from feeling anxious and uptight. Oh! How much do we love you dear anxiety! The feeling of nervousness, restlessness and discomfort that is caused by some inner storm that does not let us stay in peace. There is absolutely no way in which we would want to steer clear of the path that leads to your home.

If you too love this feeling of uneasiness and discomfort, then we bring 10 tips for you that would help in keeping your beloved anxiety by your side, always.

  • Live in Dreams – This is the best thing that you can do in order to maintain the level of your anxiety. Real fears are far smaller than we imagine them to be. When you plan to stay away from reality and live in a hypothetical world, there is no way in which your stress would lower and your anxiety would go away.
  • Never Face Your Fears – If you don’t see your fears coming, there is no reason why you have to face them. A great way to increase your anxiety is to never face your fears. Running away from stress or social situations that cause anxiety can be a great idea.
  • Never Meditate – Meditation relaxes your mind and also provides you the much needed peace. For holding on to your anxiety, never even think of doing any kind of meditation.
  • Never be social – Being social means spending your time in positive activities around positive people. If you become social, the fear of a gathering will never bother you and this resilience will make your anxiety disappear. Never do that then!

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  • Don’t take responsibility for your problems – There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. If it wasn’t everything and everyone else, your life would be perfect! Remember: Anxiety and stress do not interfere with your personal, professional and social life. Therefore, you don’t have to accept that you have a problem and you don’t even need to make an effort to solve it. So, keep blaming your problems on everything and everyone else and keep telling yourself how great you are.
  • Never Divulge Your Issues To A Confidante – If you talk to people about your fears and your issues or even maintain a log about them, you will never be able to maintain your anxiety. The stress of being with people and talking to them is too much for you to handle. Better be alone and try to be happy with your anxiety.
  • Never believe – whoever tells you that you can get over anxiety is a fool. Don’t trust him. He is just misguiding you.
  • Worst Case Scenario– never think about being ready for the worst case scenario. This would help you in decreasing your anxiety and staying happy. The worst thing you can do for your anxiety is to think of other options.
  • Have unrealistic expectations – whenever you have unrealistic expectations for yourself or for others, you get to increase your anxiety. Why not keep doing it again and again?
  • Don’t get help – anxiety cannot be cured. It is something that you must live with. There is practically no use going to a doctor nor attending a Mental Health First Aid Course. Getting help or treatment would only waste time and money. After all, you are probably the only case in the world that no treatment exists for anyway!
Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

Jim-Avoiding-Professional-Burnout

Avoiding Professional Burnout

No matter how much you enjoy your job, there are times when pressure or stress can start to take an emotional toll on you, particularly if you are in a service or healthcare related field. It is important to be able to spot the symptoms associated with professional burnout.

Burnout occurs after a prolonged period of stress under which a person feels that their emotional resources are not good enough to endure or overcome the obstacle. This can lead to a feeling of helplessness and a host of emotional and physical symptoms.

Let’s take a look at Jim, for example. Jim is a healthcare professional who is very committed to his job and genuinely cares for the patients he sees on a daily basis. His job is rewarding but he is also often witness to pain, confusion and sadness as his patients are often ill or dying. Jim works long hours and often takes work home with him or comes in on days off just to check in. Over time the emotional strain begins to build up until eventually Jim starts to feel exhausted, unmotivated, and helpless. He starts to experience sleepless nights, jaw clenching, and elevated blood pressure. His family and friends worry that he “isn’t his usually happy self.”

Jim is experiencing burnout caused by prolonged stress that he did not take the time to deal with properly. There are several self-care actions that you can put into place before letting burnout take hold. Self-care is the practice of activities that individuals perform on their own behalf to maintain life, health and well-being. Jim was dedicated to his career and to his patients, but he neglected to take care of his own personal needs.


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You can start by taking the first few minutes of each day and making them about you. Most people rise from their beds at the sound of an alarm clock and immediately start to “work.” They might get dressed, check e-mail, care for a spouse or child and rush out the door quickly. Instead, take the first ten or fifteen minutes of each day for meditation, or reflection. Spend time mentally preparing yourself for the day by focusing on positive thoughts.

Another way to practice self-care is to be mindful of your diet and exercise. Proper nourishment gives us energy and stamina to get through our day. Building a healthy body through wholesome foods and physical activity decreases the chance of sickness, improves sleep and makes us feel happier.

Limit the burdens you place on yourself. Do not take on more than you can reasonably do in a day and enlist the help of people that care about you when you feel overwhelmed. Do not stay connected to your technology all day long, occasionally take a break. It’s alright to be “unreachable” from time to time. Remember that by not focusing on your own needs and your own health you could be impacting your ability to do your job or take care of your loved ones. By practicing self-care you will become healthier, more positive and more focused than ever before. And obviously you can consider attending to our Mental Health First Aid Training where you will learn the signs and symptoms of these mental health problems, where and how to get help, and what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

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