Why Better Mental Health Training is Important
Companies that actively support better mental health training tend to be better places to work.
From construction companies to pharmaceuticals the importance of good mental health training is not in doubt. The difficult thing is making sure that you get training that is right for you.
In this blog I am focussing upon mental health training and stress.
For 10 years I have been designing and running workshops and courses to;
- educate and share my work and experience.
- to improve understanding of mental health training and issues within corporate businesses.
The field of mental health training is wide ranging. I have found it helpful to organise my presentations around particular ideas that help to clarify and focus thinking.
1 Our mental health tends to relate to experience, it has a context.
2 But, this may not be clear to the person going through the experience.
Mental health training aims to improve our capacity to take our experiences seriously, so that we can:
- think more thoroughly about it,
- learn about and develop a better perspective on ourselves and other people.
Our mental health nearly always relates to our experience – our emotions and feelings have a context. The key thing is to try to be clearer with ourselves about the context in which we are experiencing an increase in stress.
Mental Health Continuum
We can think of mental health as a continuum, with good mental health at one end of the continuum, and poor mental health at the other.
Though it may seem surprising to some people, the fact is that through life our position on this line changes. Some experiences have the effect of increasing our stress levels, others make us feel more relaxed, confident and creative.
To help yourself to understand the feelings and stresses that you are going through it is useful to try to help link the experience you are having with events that have happened to you. Often we look at the experiences we have, of anxiety stress and so on, as being stand alone and of not being connected to events that we go through and experience. Becoming better at seeing the links between our emotional states and the events that happen to us is crucial.
Mental Health Training: Stress – what do we mean by stress?
It is difficult to pin down exactly what we mean by the term ‘stress’. Different people will have different opinions about what stress is. We know that some pressures make us feel energised while others cause us problems.
- Stress is both an emotional and a physical response.
- A complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine are released into the body.
- A rush of energy, for either fight or flight. That heart pounding, fast breathing sensation is the adrenaline; as well as a boost of energy, it enables us to focus our attention so we can quickly respond to the situation.
- Stress can lead to an inability to ‘think straight’; a state that is a great hindrance in both our work and home lives.
Symptoms of stress
Awkward, overwhelmed, irritable and ‘wound up’, anxious or fearful, lacking in self-esteem
racing thoughts, constant worrying, difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions
Tension, headaches, muscle tension or pain, dizziness, sleep problems, feeling fatigued, eating too much or too little
an increase in drinking or smoking
snapping at people, avoiding things or people you are having problems with
What causes stress? What does it relate to? What is the context of your stress?
- both ordinary and traumatic events
- life changes
- feeling that you aren’t in control of events
- a high workload
- divorce, relationship difficulties
- moving house or problems with neighbours
- personal issues – coping with a serious illness, bereavement or financial problems
Tackle the causes of stress if you can. Avoiding problems rather than facing them can make things worse.
14 self-help ideas to help you tackle stress
- be active
- take control
- connect with people
- have some ‘me time’
- challenge yourself – build self-confidence
- avoid unhealthy habits
- accept the things you can’t change
- try mindfulness – studies have found that mindfulness can help to reduce stress and improve your mood (apps)
- use breathing exercises
- share your problems with family or friends
- make more time for your interests and hobbies
- take a break or holiday
- take some regular exercise and eat well
- make sure you are getting enough sleep
When to see your GP about stress
- If you’ve tried self-help techniques and they aren’t working, see your GP. There are lots of other options open to you, such as psychotherapy or counselling. Organisations like Mind can provide helpful information.
Question: What one thing can you do to address stress?
Answer: Try to remember what the stress relates to.
My experience is that there is a strong link between what happens to us and the emotional states that we experience. But, it is common that people going through different states of stress and distress and so forth, have lost the sense of the link between one thing and another.
So in the corporate environment, we may find that a colleague at work becomes anxious, or stressed around certain types of people, without seeing that this has become linked to changes in the reporting lines or changes in the demands that the client is being put under. Usually in corporate life, context is everything.
Mental Health Training Workshops
In my mental health training workshops I illustrate a continuum of mental health experiences ranging from good mental health at one end, to bad mental health at the other.
I take my audience or my clients through the range of experience that can categorise each one, starting with stress then moving onto anxiety, depression and trauma. I develop the workshops and presentations according to your needs.
I have ten years experience of helping organisations and people to improve their mental health awareness training.
All workshops and consultations are developed through conversations that aim to understand your organisational and individual needs.
Contact me to arrange a free telephone consultation to discuss how my work might help you improve your mental health awareness training.