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Mental health matters. You matter.

Pia_Scope Scope Support to Work service Posts: 41 Courageous

This week (14 to 20 May) is Mental Health Awareness week. Today we are talking to Pia about how stress and outside influences can impact mental health, and what can help us cope. Pia started running meditation groups in 2005, and has had an interest in mental health and well-being ever since.

I would love to see the day when mental health can be talked about, lived and experienced without any feelings of embarrassment or judgements. I wonder how many people are suffering in silence as they are finding it hard to open up and speak to someone about how they are feeling, especially since there is a stigma about mental illness.

Life can be tough, and it can influence our mental health, sometimes causing mental illness that affects the way that we think, feel, behave, or interact with others.

The experiences that we are going through can be a challenge and just as the physical body can become ill, our mental health can suffer too, so it is important to look after our mental wellbeing as much as we look after our physical body if we would like to maintain a good balance.

Our emotions are constantly changing and reacting to the happenings in our daily lives. That is completely normal and healthy, but if those happenings are affecting our emotions in such way that we no longer feel happy and healthy, and we are unable to function in a constructive and positive way, we might need to seek professional help.

At times we might not even be in a place to make that sound decision ourselves, and that’s why it is important to care about one another and act if someone appears to be out of character. Other times we might not even need to seek professional help. We might just need a friendly listening ear, maybe a shoulder to cry on, or maybe that big warm hug from an understanding friend, family member or partner for us to feel better.

So, do we choose to be physically ill? And do we choose to become mentally ill? In general, the answer to those questions is no.

Stress, trauma, isolation, financial or relationship problems, are just a few examples of causes that can manifest themselves as an illness in our body and/or in our mind. What we and society could benefit from accepting is, that this is nothing but a response to an outer negative influence that we don’t always have the strength to stand up against, hence why we can become ill.

Our well-being is associated with balance, understanding, acceptance, constant growth - personally, I would like to say love as well - and there is a lot that we can do to maintain this. Apart from keeping a healthy diet, making sure that we are getting enough sleep and doing some form of physical exercise, there are a few key points that we can use as guidelines when it comes to improving our lives.

“You are perfect the way you are. You don’t have to be anything more or anything less, or be similar to someone else. Just be the best that you can be”

No matter how unfair or painful we perceive an experience, the best choice for our own well-being is to accept the difficult times to try to move forward with life. Accept the feelings of disappointment, accept the pain, but don’t let them overshadow the things in life that you enjoy doing and that give you a sense of happiness.  As hard as it may seem, try to live in the present by avoiding dwelling on issues that happened in the past, especially if there is nothing that we can do about them. Sometimes, we might need professional help to do this.

If you struggle to find anything enjoyable, challenge yourself a bit by perhaps doing something that you have never done before. Sign up for that course that you always wanted to do. Are you able to meet up with friends that you have not seen for a while, or why not try to make new friends?

If possible, only surround yourself with people that have a positive impact on you and then aim to find that beautiful place of self-love and self-acceptance, because it’s right there within you.

You can also start to meditate as this is an effective way to improve overall health and general well-being and, last but not least, don’t forget the importance of laughter that is such a powerful tool when it comes to self-healing. A good way to find that laughter is to sit down in the quiet, close your eyes, recall a funny memory and relive it in your mind – soon you might just be laughing away.

Take care of yourself & allow life to inspire you!

You can read our information page on mental health to find tips for positive mental habits and for seeking professional help. What helps you to cope with stress and difficult events? Do you have any tips or experiences to share?

Scope Employment Advisor
Phone: 0300 222 5742
Email: [email protected]


  • Waylay
    Waylay Member Posts: 971 Pioneering
  • lovebear
    lovebear Member Posts: 2 Listener
    My husband that I have known 30 yrs bt we have been together 20 plus did try to take  his life before we were together as he had no way to cope but he now knows it's ok to have a bad day and have counselling we also found painting was a way for him to  go to another place, he has been disabled all  these yrs through an accident ,I am now disabled due  to very bad health for me  I found it hard as I was the one who would  do it all ever ask for help, but as it got worse and more serious I have learned  to be nice to myself so if I'm having a bad day like today I come to bed put tv on and rest and then he may come up and watch TV so  it is about knowing your limits and  knowing it's ok and talk  be open more ppl then ever talk now 
  • Roland
    Roland Member Posts: 27 Courageous
    I live with HIV and AIDS.  The stigma surrounding the condition has a huge impact on mental wellbeing.  The suicide rate amongst HIV+ people is 30% higher than in the HIV- population.  I did make one attempt pretty soon after my diagnosis 12 years ago. I found talking therapies (counselling, group therapies), online forums and peer support so invaluable in my road to recognising that life is still worth living.  I was frequently prescribed anti-depresseants but I have refused to take them.
  • annajj
    annajj Member Posts: 16 Connected
    More support needs to be out their.  Also educating people to be made aware of the symptoms . My son tried to take his own life . He 21 years old . I wasn't even aware he was going through this stuff. He now getting support . But you got to fight to get it . 
  • annajj
    annajj Member Posts: 16 Connected
    Roland said:
    I live with HIV and AIDS.  The stigma surrounding the condition has a huge impact on mental wellbeing.  The suicide rate amongst HIV+ people is 30% higher than in the HIV- population.  I did make one attempt pretty soon after my diagnosis 12 years ago. I found talking therapies (counselling, group therapies), online forums and peer support so invaluable in my road to recognising that life is still worth living.  I was frequently prescribed anti-depresseants but I have refused to take them.

  • annajj
    annajj Member Posts: 16 Connected
    So glad you're getting support and finding ways of managing Roland.
  • leeCal
    leeCal Member Posts: 5,220 Disability Gamechanger
    My advice is to to try honest, sincere prayer as well as other therapies if you need them.
    in a very noisy world which demands our constant attention seek out a quiet place, clear your mind and see one trouble at a time as a small white puffy cloud in a clear blue sky. Watch it shrink, evaporate and slowly completely disappear. Then just enjoy the silence and gently calm your mind and enjoy the peace. When you are still like this, pray gently knowing that your prayer is heard. 

    Peace be be with you.

    “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

    ― Dalai Lama XIV
  • thespiceman
    thespiceman Member Posts: 6,389 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @pia_scope Thank you for writing this. I have issues with anxiety and depression. Most important thing to me is be aware of your self.

    All of us get stressed and nothing is simple and what it is seems. So try to stay calm and be focused.

    Have days where everything falls apart and I end up stressed, anxious and most of all angry.

    Have organisational tools in to place planning, diaries and post it notes for reminders.

    Every day occurrences happen and you think nothing ever goes right.  Understand I am fragile and need solace and peace. Understand if I get annoyed and upset. Then I am aware of my past history. Cannot go back but stride forward.

    Having some one to listen.  Usual here on the forum. Thanks to them.

    Have quiet moments do prayers.  My bible plus try to relax and some days simple is best. Watering the garden for half hour. Also potting herbs and plants. Have Classic FM on every day. Plus have my music really helps . That is positive and up beat.

    This my advice long term suffer of anxiety and depression through addiction. Still clean and marching forward.  After eleven years but it a struggle and have pain days ache all the time. Pain in muscles from addiction.

    Had all these treatments but found them not from the very start never ever been working.  Whether it is CBT or Mindlessness. For me the way I have coped.

    Have now found tools and guides from organisations. Especially mental health ones.

    Done a lot around understanding myself.  Health and sleep and medications.  All help and contribute.

    Open to still learning.

    Take care

    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
  • Pia_Scope
    Pia_Scope Scope Support to Work service Posts: 41 Courageous
    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and talking about how you are feeling and coping. 

    We are all individuals and what might help one person might not help another so it is very much about finding a solution that works for you.

    Opening up about how we are feeling and talking to others about it, like here in the forum, might help us to understand that we are not on our own, and who knows, maybe someone else's way of coping or feeling better will work for you too.

    Look after yourselves & thanks again for your posts.


    Scope Employment Advisor
    Phone: 0300 222 5742
    Email: [email protected]

  • Anton6
    Anton6 Member Posts: 1 Listener
    So lovely to see this Pia! I’ve known you a long time and always respected you for the beautiful persona and soul that you are.
    As someone recently diagnosed with BPD, having survived so much, I love you for posting this! Keep up the good work. For all of us xx
  • leeCal
    leeCal Member Posts: 5,220 Disability Gamechanger
    It seems to me that quite a few people earn a very nice living from mental health issues and there is a bandwagon to jump on these days in the idea that there is a stigma about having mental illness and that we should talk bout mental health issues far more to ...what? Normalise mental illness? I talk with a psychologist regularly and though she is head of a psychosis unit, though only thirty odd, she is pretty useless. She also exhibits a degree of boredom when I speak to her, but I’m sure what she delights in is being head of psychosis and advocating that people talk more about mental health issues. Our nhs mental health services are full of under skilled and sometimes very lazy people. Psychiatrists operate on a conveyor belt quickly diagnosing and condemning people hastily to drugs which often give the sufferers new biophysical problems they never had before and effectively cover up through a state of intoxication the real underlying conditions which gave rise to the mental health issues they have. They also ignore the environmental and socioeconomic reasons why they are temporarily unwell...because it’s too difficult to do anything about those elements, yet which if corrected could actually lead to wellness again. The system is not only imperfect it is pathogenic in itself.

    Additionally I think we can not ‘cure’ stigma attached to mental health issues since people are afraid of psychotic people...for good reason sometimes! People who suffer with anxiety or depression I’m sure do not suffer from discrimination in the same way as schizophrenics or people who have bipolar disorder. Understanding 5e causes of the serious mental health conditions would of course help a great deal but if you read the research you’ll  find that even the experts will admit that they don’t know the causes of mental health problems. Which is why the drugs they use simply cover up and do not cure.

    sorry to sound negative but unless we talk about the ways that are broken we shan’t even begin to fix them.

    “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

    ― Dalai Lama XIV
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,748 Listener
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • cripps
    cripps Member Posts: 412 Pioneering
    Hi not really sure how to go about this because I’ve posted my feelings once or twice and the response has been mixed. I’m disabled and really struggle with mental health, my depression is constant my anxiety is all over the place and my feelings for life is none existent . I’ve attempted sucide twice and each time I’ve come round in intensive care I’ve had a cry because i know I’ve got to struggle through life all over again. After these occasions I’ve always asked for help but after a couple of meetings with the health team it’s always stopped and time in between just drags on. All i ask for is help from the professionals and a bit of understanding of how i struggle through life. I know how people feel and the frustration of getting help so if you do fall lucky please take anything you can get. NC
  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,798 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for sharing this with us @cripps, and know that we'll do what we can to support you here on the community.


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