Mental Health Awareness Week (UK)

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place on 10-16 May 2021 and this year’s theme is nature.

What is Mental Health Awareness Week and why does it matter?

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event when there is an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health.

The Mental Health Foundation started the event 21 years ago, and each year the Foundation continues to set the theme, organise and host the Week. The event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally.

Mental Health Awareness Week is open to everyone. It is all about starting conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it. This year we want as many people as possible - individuals, communities and governments - to think about connecting with nature and how nature can improve our mental health.

However, the Week is also a chance to talk about any aspect of mental health that people want to – regardless of the theme.

Read more here.

What is the Need for Positive Mental Health?

In an age where society is continually bombarded with information about mental health, individuals are learning that the benefits of positive mental health are hard to overestimate.

This is because they can help individuals in all aspects of their life to live in a way that is meaningful, and which better enables them to have a high quality of life for as long as possible.

What are the Components of Good Mental Well-Being?

Outline

The components of good mental well-being include:

  • Connecting with Others.
  • Remaining Active.
  • Continuing to Learn.
  • Giving to Others.
  • Being Mindful.
  • Being Able to Express Emotions.
  • Being Able to Cope with Stress.
  • Being Adaptable in Times of Change.
  • Being Confident and Having Good Self-Esteem.
  • Being Productive.

Connecting with Others

It is argued that this is the most important aspect of good mental well-being, as it enables individuals to feel part of their community or their own support group, knowing that they have somewhere to turn in times of need and that they are able to help others as well.

Making new friends into adulthood helps individuals to feel wanted and liked and this is beneficial for their confidence and self-esteem.

Remaining Active

Stating both mentally and physically active helps individuals to remain well in both of these areas, with the link between good mental and good physical health being clearly established.

Individuals who are physically well may be less likely to develop mental health issues related to long-term illness, and the benefits of exercise helps boost the release of ‘happy hormones’ such as serotonin, which enhance mood and make individuals feel good.

Continuing to Learn

It is recommended that people never stop learning, and this should continue even into late adulthood.

Learning a new skill or information about a new subject is not only useful for ongoing cognitive functioning but it can help people to remain social as well, such as by attending a college course or a book club where there are lots of opportunities to connect with other people.

Giving to Others

Any form of giving to other people is mutually beneficial; that is to say that the person giving to others feels good about themselves and the person receiving what is given fells good as well.

Giving to others may mean being active in the community, such as doing volunteer work, or it can mean doing charity events, such as sponsored walks or collecting items for a local food bank.

Being Mindful

mindfulness means that a person is able to live in the present moment without worrying about what is coming in the future or what has happened in the past.

It enables people to focus solely on what is happening in their current surroundings and is thought to be an excellent way of reducing stress and anxiety, which can be the foundation of some forms of mental ill health.

Being Able to Express Emotions

Most people will have heard the saying that it is better to speak up about something than to keep things ‘bottled up’.

When people are unable to express their emotions effectively, this can mean that they eventually become overwhelmed by their feelings, and this can lead to stress, anxiety, depression and other difficulties that may prevent them from going about their daily activities.

Being Able to Cope with Stress

The concept of resilience is closely linked to being able to cope with stress.

Resilience enables individuals to react positively in the face of adversity and to find a way of moving forwards that is not detrimental to their mental health.

Being Adaptable in Times of Change

Resilience is also linked to being able to cope successfully when there are changes in life.

This can be a minor change such as having to move to a different office at work, or a major change like moving house, losing a loved one, or being diagnosed with a serious illness.

Being Confident and Having Good Self-Esteem

Being confident and having a high level of self-esteem helps individuals to feel good about themselves. which enables them to connect with others, make positive decisions, and be resilient when times become challenging.

Being Productive

Being productive within a community, family, or workplace helps individuals to feel good about themselves, increases their self-esteem, and can help them to connect with others as well.

It also gives individuals a sense of achievement. which helps increase confidence and gives individuals a positive outlook for the future.

Book: Insane Medicine: How the Mental Health Industry Creates Damaging Treatment Traps and How you can Escape Them

Book Title:

Insane Medicine: How the Mental Health Industry Creates Damaging Treatment Traps and How you can Escape Them.

Author(s): Sami Timimi.

Year: 2021.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Independently Published.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

This book digs through the rotten undergrowth which fertilises the mental health industry. The level of failure and deceit is hard to believe. The diagnoses we use are more akin to astrological than medical constructs. We have no medical tests and despite apparent innovations in drugs and therapy, five decades of research has shown no improvement in outcomes from treatment and instead an increase in the numbers categorised as severely mentally ill. Worse, we have convinced the population that they are experiencing pandemics of mental disorders, leading us to fear our ordinary emotions and to scythe away at our natural resilience. There can be no doubt that the mental health industry has caused more harm than good. In this hard hitting book, Dr Timimi, a child psychiatrist with over 30-years-experience as a practicing clinician and researcher, reveals the shocking truth about the unintended harms this industry has caused, both to those in distress and our culture more broadly. He explains how our institutional ideology traps people into becoming long-term patients and proposes a simple theory that explains why more people become long term patients than get better as well as sharing tips on how those caught in this trap can find safe ways back to health and contentment. A revolution in mental health care is inevitable. The current systems have failed and are un-reformable. They will be overthrown. This book will tell you why.

What is the Role of the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Mental Health & Medication Response?

Research Paper Title

The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Mental Health and Medication Response: Parsing Directionality and Causality.

Abstract

There is increasing evidence for the role of the microbiome in various mental health disorders. Moreover, there has been a growing understanding of the importance of the microbiome in mediating both the efficacy and side effects of various medications, including psychotropics.

In this issue, Tomizawa and colleagues report on the effect of psychotropic drugs on the gut microbiome of 40 patients with depression and/or anxiety disorders.

In their longitudinal cohort, the authors find that antipsychotics, but not anxiolytics, decrease microbiome alpha diversity. They further find that antipsychotics dosage was negatively correlated with alpha diversity in these patients.

The health consequences of these microbiome alterations remain to be fully understood. In this commentary, the authors will discuss such findings through the lens of several recent studies on the microbiota-gut-brain axis. They also use the paper as a backdrop to discuss directionality and, by extension, causality in relation to microbiota-gut-brain-brain signalling.

Reference

Bastiaanssen, T.F.S. & Cryan, J.F. (2021) The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Mental Health and Medication Response: Parsing Directionality and Causality. The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 24(3), pp.216-220. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyaa088.

Book: Positive Male Mind: Overcoming Mental Health Problems

Book Title:

Positive Male Mind: Overcoming Mental Health Problems (Positive Wellbeing Series).

Author(s): Shaun Davis and Andrew Kinder.

Year: 2018.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: LID Publishing.

Type(s): Hardcover and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Mental health problems affect both men and women, in fact, every one in four of us. However, it has been widely accepted for some time that men are much less likely to seek help from a doctor or mental health specialist, as they traditionally expect themselves to be competitive and successful, tough and self-reliant and can find it difficult to admit that they are feeling fragile and vulnerable. This book aims to build on the current progressive movement by supporting men and those that care about them – be that a partner, friend, family member or colleague – by providing insight, advice, and tips on what can be done at a very practical level to make men’s mental health much more positive.

Book: Positive Mental Health: Overcoming Mental Health Problems

Book Title:

Positive Mental Health: Overcoming Mental Health Problems (Positive Wellbeing Series).

Author(s): Shaun Davis and Andrew Kinder.

Year: 2019.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: LID Publishing.

Type(s): Hardcover and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Whether you work with 10 people, 10,000 people or just yourself, paying attention to mental health in the workplace has never been more important. We all face mental health challenges, regardless of our gender, age or sexual orientation, and too often we can be guilty for taking our mental health for granted. This book aims to build on the current progressive movement around mental health awareness and is in line with current thinking on mental health in the workplace. In this book, the authors provide employees with a resource to develop greater mental health in the workplace and provide employers with a resource to develop greater wellbeing amongst their employees therefore increasing quality, performance, productivity and overall business effectiveness.

Book: Mental Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society

Book Title:

Mental Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society: A Multidisciplinary Handbook.

Author(s): Suman Fernando and Frank Keating (Editors).

Year: 2008.

Edition: Second (2nd).

Publisher: Routledge.

Type(s): Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle.

Synopsis:

This new edition of Mental Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society is an authoritative, comprehensive guide on issues around race, culture and mental health service provision. It has been updated to reflect the changes in the UK over the last ten years and features entirely new chapters by over twenty authors, expanding the range of topics by including issues of particular concern for women, family therapy, and mental health of refugees and asylum seekers.

Divided into four sections the book covers:

  • Issues around mental health service provision for black and minority ethnic (BME) communities including refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Critical accounts of how these issues may be confronted, with examples of projects that attempt to do just that.
  • Programmes and innovative services that appear to meet some of the needs of BME communities.
  • A critical but constructive account of lessons to be drawn from earlier sections and discussion of the way ahead.

With chapters on training, service user involvement, policy development and service provision Mental Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society will appeal to academics, professionals, trainers and managers, as well as providing up-to-date information for a general readership.

Book: A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness

Book Title:

A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness.

Author(s): Anne Rogers and David Pilgrim.

Year: 2020.

Edition: Sixth (6th).

Publisher: Open University Press.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

How do we understand mental health problems in their social context?

A former BMA Medical Book of the Year award winner, this book provides a sociological analysis of major areas of mental health and illness. The book considers contemporary and historical aspects of sociology, social psychiatry, policy and therapeutic law to help students develop an in-depth and critical approach to this complex subject. New developments for the sixth edition include:

  • Brand new chapter on ageing and older people.
  • Updated material on social class, ethnicity, user involvement, young people and adolescence.
  • New coverage on prisons legalism and the rise of digital mental health management and delivery.

A classic in its field, this well-established textbook offers a rich, contemporary and well-crafted overview of mental health and illness unrivalled by competitors and is essential reading for students and professionals studying a range of medical sociology and health-related courses. It is also highly suitable for trainee mental health workers in the fields of social work, nursing, clinical psychology and psychiatry.

Book: Anatomy of an Epidemic

Book Title:

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.

Author(s): Robert Whitaker.

Year: 2010.

Edition: First (1ed).

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group.

Type(s): Hardcover and Kindle.

Synopsis:

The award-winning author of Mad in America presents a controversial assessment of the rise in mental illness-related disabilities that considers if drug-based care may be fuelling illness rates throughout the past half century.