What is Mental Wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing describes your mental state - how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day-to-day life. Our mental wellbeing is dynamic. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year.
If you have good mental wellbeing you are able to:
- feel relatively confident in yourself and have positive self-esteem
- feel and express a range of emotions
- build and maintain good relationships with others
- feel engaged with the world around you
- live and work productively
- cope with the stresses of daily life
- adapt and manage in times of change and uncertainty
Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor of public health at the University of Warwick and a wellbeing expert, says:
"Feeling happy is a part of mental wellbeing. But it’s far from the whole. Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement with the world are all a part of mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are, too. So is a feeling that you can do the things you want to do. And so are good relationships, which bring joy to you and those around you. Of course, good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult, but it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual. It can help to think about "being well" as something you do, rather than something you are. The more you put in, the more you are likely to get out. No-one can give wellbeing to you. It's you who has to take action"
Five steps to mental Wellbeing
Evidence suggests there are five steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing. If you give them a try, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life.
Below are five things that, according to research, can really help to boost our mental wellbeing:
- Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships
- Be active – you don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life
- Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?
- Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks
- Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges
Reading for Wellbeing
Reading can help reduce stress, boost your mood and also help you understand and manage your health. The Trust library offers a range of fiction and biographies, which provide insight into mental health conditions through stories and personal experiences and give practical guidance to enhance your wellbeing. Alternatively, Borrow a poetry or short story book and take a moment to pause and read a page or two. Easy read self-help books and e-books also provide reliable health information to help you understand and manage common problems such as anxiety, stress and depression.
Pick up reading recommendations and share your thoughts with others by joining a reading group at your nearest public library or join a virtual group on the Reading Agency website. Public libraries also stock a variety of literature to suit all tastes as well as titles on health topics, diet and exercise.
If you’re unable to visit the library in person, you can get MPFT library books posted out to your workplace or download an e-book to your laptop or tablet. Public libraries also offer a range or eMagazines, eComics and eAudiobooks to borrow.
For more information visit your nearest Trust or public library, or contact:
Your Public Library
Staffordshire Libraries: https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/leisure/librariesnew/libraries.aspx
Shropshire Libraries: https://shropshire.gov.uk/libraries/
Telford and Wrekin Libraries: http://www.telford.gov.uk/libraries
Stoke-on-Trent Libraries: https://www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries
NHS Choices offer a great mood self-assessment quiz which uses questions taken from tests often used by GPs to assess whether someone is anxious or depressed. It has been designed to recommend further reading and resources that may help you better understand how you feel.
As advised on the NHS Choices site, the self-assessment they offer is not designed to replace a consultation with your GP. However, if after taking the quiz you have concerns about your mental wellbeing, it might be useful to take a printout of your results along to your GP.
The Importance of Sleep
Most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. What matters is that you find out how much sleep you need and then try to achieve it. Good-quality sleep is more important than the amount of sleep that you get and it helps to keep you feeling healthy. The 'One You' campaign has some great information in relation to this in terms of the effects on your body, mood and even weight. Its important to note why you need sleep and to know how to sleep well in relation to creating a relaxing environment, controlling your worries and evaluating your lifestyle. Click on the image to the left to go to the 'One You' sleep advice page.
Debbie Moores, former Allied Health Professions Lead and Dr Shirley Timson, Consultant Counselling Psychologist, have developed a helpful 'sleep hygiene' document for staff within the Trust. Download your copy here.
As also explained throughout our Health and Wellbeing site, the Trust is fully supportive of the 'One You' Campaign. The site offers endless amounts of information around sleep the importance of it in relation to stress. Your mood and how well you sleep affect each other. Feeling stressed can mean you don't sleep well enough, and if you don't sleep well enough this may make you feel more stressed.
To see what tools and information the 'One You' Campaign has in relation to sleep, click on the image to your left.
The BluSky therapy service is run by Dr Shirley Timson, HCPC Registered Consultant Counselling Psychologist and EMDR Consultant / Facilitator. Shirley is based on site at Trust HQ, at Foundation House , St. George’s Hospital, Corporation Street, Stafford, ST16 3AG. The service has been operational since 2009, having a track record of working with the MoD, NHS staff, emergency services, prisons and veterans.
BluSky Therapies is a specialist psychological assessment and treatment service, which our Trust employees may be referred into via the Trust's Health and Wellbeing Service. The service can address a range of the more complex presentations, including traumatized, highly distressed, anxious, or depressed individuals, plus high risk and long-term sickness cases.
The service takes referrals from working age clients, who have presented to their employer with psychological difficulties. It offers a range of psychological treatment approaches; the main psychological approach used is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Treatment is tailored to the needs of each individual client, offering excellent clinical governance from the use of subjective outcome measures and on-going anonymised audit of services. The service prides itself on assisting staff to remain at work, helping staff on sick leave to actively return to work and often reducing the need for ill-health retirement, plus working in partnership with the Trust Occupational Health provision.
Click on the image above to go to the BluSky site where further information is available on what is offered.
Staff Psychological Therapy, – Case-study
Scarlett (anonymised to protect identity), an employee of the Trust, tells of her journey through Staff Psychology. Scarlett is an Occupational Therapist. She has worked in mental health since 1997 and she is married with children.
On New Year’s Eve, a number of years ago, I experienced the death of a service user, with whom I’d worked closely for 2 years. His Father phoned me as he had found him. I gave support to the family following his death. I thought I was dealing with it well.
However, I started to notice the following whilst at work; difficulties concentrating, difficulties planning and organising and prioritising, forgetful, knock on effect of taking more work on order to feel “good enough”.
And then at home; unable to tolerate music, irritable with family, lack of motivation, disturbed sleep, increased dreams, avoiding social situations.
These issues didn’t seem related to the suicide or difficulties in dealing with it…..until, almost a year later I started working with another service user who bore many similarities to him. I realised I was feeling really ineffective, struggling and feeling generally wobbly…
In the week leading up to this I had some very worrying experiences, that concerned me greatly, and I knew I needed to seek help, as my anxiety had reached its peak!
Getting help; I spoke to my professional lead, which led to a referral to Team Prevent (Occupational Health) and on to Staff Psychology (a Trust in-house provision for more complex therapy provision); an initial assessment with BluSky therapy; six sessions of EMDR – trauma processing work, linking to the previous trauma, reflection on treatment.
My functioning improved – I can now spin my plates much more ably with a stable base.
The outcome; enabled to remain at work throughout, stronger sense of self, reduced anxiety, improved mood, increased functioning, coping strategies, increased insight; increased awareness for colleagues’ well being, greater tolerance of difficult events at work; impact Of Event Scale (revised) showed psychological recovery.
I do feel that with the help of therapy, through Staff Psychology, I have been enabled to not only process the trauma, but in doing so, to develop a stronger base to cope with all that work and life requires of me going forward!
If you are a member of staff and want to tell your story, highlighting your journey through Staff Psychology please contact Dr Shirley Timson on email@example.com.
Team prevent also provide support to managers with recognising Mental Health Concerns in staff and guidance on how to deal with this. In addition, offer help and support for staff in recognising their own Mental Health concerns, having the right amount sleep and managing stress. Tools available are things such as a downloadable four week training plan, detailing simple action points that can make a real difference to your life, podcasts and fact sheets. To access the tools and guidance available from Team Prevent please follow the following link for help with sleep or alternatively this link for help with managing stress. A video is also highlighted below from their site which give you support in getting the right amount of sleep; as described above, key to your Mental Health Wellbeing. As advised on the Team Prevent zone an access code will be required to enter the site, this can be obtained from either the OD team on 0300 790 3000 extension 7121273 or Team Prevent direct on 01372 226920.
Wellbeing and Recovery College
The Recovery College available within the Trust is a service set up to offer recovery-focused education and training, all courses fully co-produced and co-delivered by a peer training (with lived experience of either mental health challenges, learning disabilities and / or caring) and a trainer with relevant professional experience, working in partnership.
The courses offered are available not only to service users, but to all staff within the Trust and aim to equip you with new skills and knowledge to help manage your own health and wellbeing such as food and mood; building resilience, and reading for wellbeing. The Team are currently working with Forensic Services to develop courses which support learning for their service users, carers and staff, and have plans to expand the scope in the near future to include young people, those with dementia and their families, and also to offer more courses supporting physical health. In addition, the team will be developing courses to include and make recovery education more accessible to minority groups, as well as ensuring courses are available across the whole geographical area of the Trust.
The courses that are provided are currently open to all people who are over 18 and residing within the Midlands. In order to enrol, simply call 01785 257888 extension 8607 or 07891 099460, alternatively email the team at WellbeingREC@mpft.nhs.uk and ask for a registration form.
Staff Singing Groups!
Our Arts for Health Team hold regular singing groups throughout the year. Singing together in a group is a great stress reliever and one study suggests, has a similar effect to yoga on breathing patterns, and its fun! Their relaxed informal singing sessions are for all abilities led by professional singer / musician Kate Allan. Non-singers welcome! , if you require any further information, please contact Jessica Kent via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art's for Health have advised that there is an NHS singing group taking place both at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury and the Telford Princess Royal Hospital. This is open for any NHS staff. Art's for Health have welcomed this being available to staff as part of Health and Wellbeing, therefore if you wish to download their flyer with details of events, follow this link where it will automatically download to your PC.
The Trust are pleased to use the services of Red Guava Benefits. There are many deals to be had through Red Guava in terms of discounted days out, help with personal finance, breakdown cover and fantastic deals on holidays, all listed below, and many of which support a positive Mental Health Wellbeing, keeping you happy and stress free! The scheme is entirely voluntary......there are no hidden membership fees and you are able to take advantage of any of the offers available including:
- Entertainment - discounted tickets at Theme Parks and Days out
- Finance - Special deals on Wills, Insurance and Personal Finance
- Health - Money off Gym membership, Fitness Centres and Golf
- Motoring - Reduced Breakdown cover and money off Driving Lessons
- Shopping - Shopping and Leisure vouchers, flowers, mobile phones and much more
- Travel - Fantastic deals on holidays, hotels, UK breaks, travel insurance and airport parking
Please e-mail email@example.com or phone the OD office on 01785 221630 for the username and password to enter the site and to view all the offers available visit the Red Guava website www.redguava.co.uk.