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Milestones Trust

Mental health and managing stress

J. W's story

I think it can be difficult to relate to people until you experience something like this yourself, but the important message is speak up about it, ask advice and seek support. More than likely the people around you are or have experienced similar issues and will understand.

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I work at a home supporting adults with enduring mental health issues. And who better to ask about how to cope with mental health than someone who is going through it day to day?

I asked our service users how they deal with stress, anxiety and their general mental health on an average day. One woman said that practicing mindfulness and listening to music helps her, while another service user said he likes quiet time to gather his thoughts and he also likes seeing his family. Another service user stated that having time with family is important.

Statistics show that 1 in 4 people will experience some sort of mental health issue every year. In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK alone. In 2014, 19.7% of people in the UK aged 16 and over showed symptoms of anxiety or depression. This is why it is so important to acknowledge mental health and seek support. We wouldn’t tell someone who broke their arm that they were weak, so why do we do this with people with mental health?

One of the things we do here to support people in coping with their mental health is to have morning house meetings 3 times a week. This gives people a chance to star their day, find out how each other are feeling and engage with what will be happening throughout the week both in the home and in their own lives. 5 of the 7 people who live here said they preferred the house meetings being in the morning as it helped them begin their day early and made them feel motivated for the activities ahead.

Our service users are learning more about how food can have an impact on their mental health and consequentially one of our service users has chosen to adopt a vegan diet. She states she is just trailing it out, but hopes this will improve her mental health and her relationship with food.

Most people at one point in their life will experience feeling mentally unwell, whether this requires medication, some time out to regather theirselves or using services such as counselling and hospital services. I think it can be difficult to relate to people until you experience something like this yourself, but the important message is speak up about it, ask advice and seek support. More than likely the people around you are or have experienced similar issues and will understand.