Depression & Older People – An International Perspective

Depression impacts 1 in 5 of the population

As the saying goes, ‘time flies’. Suddenly we’re already in March and no one can quite believe how our lives can move on so quickly. When you have the energy and distractions of youth, it can be easy to forget that the passage of time affects others much more drastically.

Older people are more likely to suffer from depression, an issue which impacts 1 in 5 of the whole population; and feeling like time has left them behind can bring about intense feelings of loneliness and sadness. So, the dilemma presents itself: how can we help?

What are the ‘symptoms’

Depression can manifest itself in the elderly through symptoms such as lack of energy, sleep disturbances, neglecting personal care and a loss of interest in socialising or previous hobbies. Whether living in their own homes or in care homes, older people of society struggle to fight depression once their regular routines of work or childcare are lost. Retirement brings an era of great change for people and as their health begins to deteriorate, it can be easy to slip into a sense of hopelessness and depression.

Now, it must be recognised that diagnosing depression in older people can be tricky, because the symptoms can be mistaken for grief – an unfortunate companion of the passage of time. As we age, time takes people we care about from us and processing loss can be an incredibly difficult part of life. Therefore, it’s important that we all learn these differences, so that we can be present and able to help those around us who may be going through a tough time. Looking out for our elders does not always involve them directly; it can sometimes be more about the younger generations clueing themselves up on mental health and how things change over time. By understanding what older citizens may be going through, we can then be in a better frame of mind to provide the comfort and support they need.

Understand the role depression

Once we understand the role depression plays in the lives of the elderly, it’s then the case of figuring our how best to fight it. For this, sometimes it’s best to widen our horizons and compare how other countries are finding different ways to support the elderly. While countries such as Germany, who have a current epidemic of “exporting” their elderly due to the price of care in state, are not the example to be followed; another European country is setting the bar pretty high: Denmark.

Envy of the Scandinavian lifestyle is now extending beyond IKEA meatballs and a “hygge” approach to interior design and into the care sector all because of Denmark. Not only do they spend 2.2% of their GDP on the elderly and establishing the necessary facilities for them, but they also have councils of senior citizens to advise on the improvements needed to create the best quality of life. The Danish have also put in place financial help by providing a basic pension of £811 before tax AND making medicine cheaper for those who don’t have a private pension. Their centralised e-healthcare database is also a great source of pride for the nation, as it allows them to be more aware of medical issues their elderly may have; working in conjunction with a policy that all 80-year olds are entitled to home visits to show the older citizens that they are still a priority. We could definitely take a page from their book.

Denmark is not the only nation to take a new look at as we try to rethink how we try to provide the best care for our elders and protect them from the pain depression brings. Canada and the USA are currently taking on an adorable approach to revitilising the elderly: by throwing a bunch of energetic toddlers at them. In Seattle, a living care community shares its facility five days a week with a kindergarten, looking after 125 children aged 0-5. The senior citizens are mostly in need of serious care but being around such young and enthusiastic children reminds them of how vibrant life can be. “Humans are, and have always been, an intergenerational species” so bringing together these vastly different generations of society is both an act of innovation and tradition. After all, before there are friends and bosses and the pressures of adulthood, there have always been grandparents ready and waiting to join in with the daily game or sing a nursery rhyme with.

Depression in older people can stem from feeling out of touch or alone

Here in the UK, we’ve started to recognise these benefits through the Channel 4 programme “Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds”. But one TV show is not enough if we want to truly help our senior citizens feel an equally-valued part of our community. Depression in older people can stem from feeling out of touch or alone if they live far from family or in a care home because their bodies are not working as they used to. Four-year olds are the very epitome of joy, with their weirdly wonderful train of thought and infectious laughter – so it’s hard to feel depressed and helpless around them.

Our senior citizens are our grandfathers who sit in a deck chair and talk to you about the garden, our grandmothers who never think you’ve eaten enough and will always smell of cake, our parents who would move mountains for us even when they struggle to walk. They fought for women’s equality and in a war unlike any of us want to really understand; they designed the fashion statement pieces we now are calling “vintage chic” and fought against politicians for our futures. Now it is our turn to stand up for them and we are not doing enough. Ideas like integrating the care of older people with the education of the young should be rolled out nationwide and providing financial and structural support shouldn’t be up for regular debate. The UK always strives to be different, but that shouldn’t mean ignoring successful policies from other countries. After all, we owe our elders this much.

Did you know you can find a job and upload your CV? You can also search, find and refer to the latest social work and care courses and events.

Resources addressing Depression - download for free

Understanding Social Work Roles: AMHP

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”5417″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Continuing in our new series of interviews with front-line practitioners, we’ve now had the chance to speak to an Approved Mental Health Practitioner (AMHP) about what their job role is like. Many social work students may be interested in pursuing a career in mental health, but unsure what that path entails; so we want to help explain and guide where we can.

 

What is involved in working as an AMHP?

“I’ll probably get shot down for saying this, but in my opinion the role of the Approved Mental Health Professional is (amongst other things) to determine whether a person requires detaining to hospital under law for treatment of their mental health.

There are other facets of this role – I find giving people advice or a better understanding of the law is a big part of what I do, because AMHP’s can have some of the best working knowledge of the Mental Health Act 1983.”

 

What does a normal day look like in your role?

“Well, no two days are the same! I think any AMHP reading this will recognise the concept of clock watching, wondering if the phone will ring. Days can go on into the late hours and there can be a lot of travelling, as it is not always the case that a bed will be found in the area you work.”

 

Did you need any particular training or accreditation for this role?

“To become an AMHP you have to be a qualified Social Worker / Nurse/ Occupational Therapist. You have to have worked in your specified profession for sometime before you go on to do the AMHP course.
Becoming an AMHP involves intensive study at Masters Level to make sure that the professional understands the legal framework the Mental Health Act sits within, and how it relates to the European Convention of Human Rights and Mental Capacity Act 2005. It’s full on because frankly, you need to know what you are doing as you should never take the decision to deprive someone of their liberty lightly.”

 

Why did you choose to go down this particular area of social work?

“As a wide-eyed social worker, the dream was always to become an Approved Social Worker (this was before the change to AMHP in 2008). I think it was always the path I wanted to follow, and I had a dream to get to what I perceived as the pinnacle of the profession.”

 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

“Knowing that you helped someone at a time where perhaps they were unable to help themselves due to their mental health issues. There are times, literally, where I have saved someone’s life. I think its human nature. I’d want someone to help me if I were in that situation.”

 

What is the most challenging part of being an AMHP?

“Working as an AMHP can be challenging at times – there are sometimes difficulties with people’s perceptions of when a Mental Health Act assessment should be used.

Organisational challenges also exist, in terms of the assessment process, which are known nationally. (Find out more here)

Long days and late nights are one of my personal bug bears. But at the end of the day I enjoy being an AMHP. It gives me my sense of Social Worker identity.”

 

What advice would you offer to a student social worker or NQSW who is considering working as an AMHP?

“Recognise why you would want to be an AMHP. Ask to shadow and AMHP to get a sense of what they do. Spend some time with AMHP to see what they like about the work etc. It’s important you’re clear that this is the path you want to follow.”

 

While you’re here…

If you’re looking to work as an AMHP or any other role within mental health, there are several resources on One Stop Social that can help aid your practice. It’s important to understand the different topics within mental health and the legislation which influences decisions.

 

 

 

 

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OH! What’s occurring? – Barry Comes Together for Their Community

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”5321″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk/social-work-membership/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]If I were to ask you to think of the town Barry in Wales, many of us would only have the TV show Gavin and Stacey for reference. We imagine every neighbour is an Uncle Bryn and there’s always a friendly face about to share a pint with. Something this idyllic can’t be real life though can it? A new community centre is working to prove that the “family” feel of the town from Gavin and Stacey might not actually be far from reality.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_single_image image=”5320″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Tammi Owen’s professional and personal experiences had shown her that the community in Barry, like any region, had vulnerable people who weren’t getting the real care and help they needed. Some of the people closest to her were evidence that those in need in Barry didn’t have the right facilities in place. Enter Tammi and her vision for a community support centre driven by the community needs, for the community, run by the community.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”“Going back to the core of social work principles. Putting people, communities and partnerships at the heart of solutions.“” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20italic%3A400%3Aitalic”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I had a chance to speak to Tammi about this new endeavour shaking up the streets of Barry and it’s a conversation that has really stuck with me. There are countless people working tirelessly like Tammi across the UK to help the vulnerable but to hear first-hand her unwavering love for not only the area but the people who make up her community; it’s truly remarkable. Her love for Barry sound like something out of a TV show, but her heart is so genuine you can’t help but share in the drive for this project to succeed.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Here’s just a small insight into this fantastic project.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Tammi, tell me about your background in social work and your interest in mental health.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:300%20light%20regular%3A300%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]I started my social work career working within a multidiscipline mental health team in the heart of the diverse cultural city of Cardiff, worked mainly with young people with major mental health diagnoses and ran support groups. I then moved into Children Social Services and then ended up in Residential Care. After I decided to leave social work, I went back to university to re-train as a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor; and I’ve now spent the last 14 years working within the field of domestic abuse and mental health.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Although I moved away from front-line practice, I’ve never really stopped feeling passionate about social work and 3 years ago was privileged to be part of the partnership that set up a whole family intervention called Choices for Change. It’s intensely whole family approaches with those affected by mental health, substance use and domestic abuse; and really looks at teaching families how to communicate better.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”How does Heroes Rights fit into things?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:300%20light%20regular%3A300%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Alongside my work within social work, I’ve been very fortunate to have delivered services for different agencies such as domestic abuse services, programmes for men and women. 2 years ago, I set up Heroes Rights – a not for profit organisation to spread awareness on the impact of male victims of domestic abuse and whole families.  Last year Heroes Rights established a Peer to Peer Network, a support network for anyone working with or supporting people.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Our membership is for anyone that wishes to meet with likeminded people, to share best practices, to drive social change and most importantly to work together collaboratively not competitively.  People who work with the vulnerable often forget to look after our own self-care.  Our mission statement is simple: who else supports the supporters.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”“Social workers are taught to put our own emotions in a box.“” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20italic%3A400%3Aitalic”][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”You might also like:” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:300%20light%20regular%3A300%3Anormal” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Flatest-news%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Reality, but not as we know it.” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Freality-tv-mental-health%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Why I’m Worried about the Future of Fostering” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fworried-future-fostering%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Stop Boasting about Your “Beach Body”: Looking at Body Dysmorphia” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fstop-beach-body-dysmorphia%2F||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”For those not lucky enough to live in lovely Barry, paint us a picture of what it’s like in a social work context.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:300%20light%20regular%3A300%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]The social workers in Barry do a great job and families are responding really well to the new Family Support line from Social Services, but we have a really high turnover. This means families find it difficult to establish trusting relationships with the support mechanisms, so they don’t get the real help they need.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Despite all this though, Barry communities’ strengths are that when the community comes together, they really go above and beyond. They really engage and get stuck into what they want to achieve.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”5314″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk/social-work-membership/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Why a community centre?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:300%20light%20regular%3A300%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]From the very start, this project has come from the community. The people of Barry made it clear that support services were badly needed for mental health, domestic abuse and substance abuse. They felt that a whole family approach, where everyone could access support and services all under one roof, with 1 point of contact throughout their time was of the utmost importance. They want to feel part of a community, to have access to whole family services rather than be split up to access support, to develop tools and techniques to communicate and improve their relationships whilst gaining support at the centre. This has translated into our vision of putting people, communities and partnerships at the heart of solutions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”How did you decide what to include?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:300%20light%20regular%3A300%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Heroes Rights and the community came together to plan what the service should look like and what types of interventions and activities they would need.  The idea of having a peer mentor to support the person/family at the centre came from the community; which was then broadened to have ‘buddy’ training for community members to support the person.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”What is the main mission for the centre?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:300%20light%20regular%3A300%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]We want to create a culture where people are the expert in their own lives. We want the interventions, activities and support delivered to the community maintains the people at the heart of their solutions. When the culture allows people to be the voice of expertise about their own lives, they can take responsibility for themselves and their actions, developing an inherent resilience.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“The fundamental is that this is such a simple process: the person is the expert”” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20italic%3A400%3Aitalic”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”4646″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk/social-work-membership/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”How are you and the community making sure it fits in with the needs?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:300%20light%20regular%3A300%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]This centre has been set up understanding the thoughts and feelings from the community who it is for. We’ve spoken to as many people as we can, involving them in the process to shape the centre and informed them at every stage what developments were happening. This is not something I or anyone else is presenting to Barry, it’s being made completely in partnership with those who need this centre. 8 community members with different lived in experiences will be board members for the centre, 10 volunteers for community buddy training and 2 single mums with social anxiety working on fundraising events. Barry is showing its true colours and coming together as a community, for the community.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“Relationships matter”” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20italic%3A400%3Aitalic”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”5316″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk/social-work-membership/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Finally, what do you want people to know about the GoFundMe page?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:300%20light%20regular%3A300%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]The fundraising is both the most and least important part of this process. Everything we’re doing is driven by the people we’ll help, the volunteers getting involved and the heart of Barry working together. However, to achieve that, we need the funds to enact the centre. We want to raise awareness about why this centre is needed. We all have a loved one who has faced their demons, and those who lost that battle left a permanent mark on their community. This GoFundMe page is a way for the community and its supporters to come together to help drive change for lives tragically derailed by mental health, domestic abuse or substance abuse.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Find out more about the GoFundMe for the Community Support Centre” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gofundme.com%2Fcommunity-support-centre%3Fmember%3D2231608||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Contributed in collaboration with Tammi Owen.

Tammi’s passion for this project comes from a love for the community, but also from a very personal understanding of how these issues are so widespread and yet so hidden within families. She’s continuing this work in memory of her nephew, Kameron Chatwell, a bright young man who tragically lost his life this week as a result of alcohol abuse. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him, and Tammi hopes his life will encourage others to recognise the changes that are needed to protect the vulnerable.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“Alcohol is still something we don’t understand. We don’t know how to drink responsibly. If somebody reading this either looks at self-care or thinks about a general different way of working, then it’s worth it.“” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20italic%3A400%3Aitalic”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”5315″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk/social-work-membership/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1558618961571{background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:28|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1558619135044{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

Just like the team in Barry, we firmly believe that relationships within a community matter. That’s why we want you to join our collective, so that you can share your ideas and contribute unique insight into modern practice. We want the future of social work to be for everyone, and we can only achieve that by uniting and working as one community. 

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Join Our Community ” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-membership%2F||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Reality, but not as we know it.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]No matter how much we want to write about Game of Thrones some more after the season finale this week, we’re restraining ourselves and instead turning our attention to a different form of entertainment. Reality tv. Last week saw the long-awaited downfall of the Jeremy Kyle Show after the tragic death of a participant, and it’s opened the floodgates for social workers to explain to the rest of the world just how much damage this style of television can do. For years, our community has been able to see the way reality tv affects those who are involved in a show and the general population who watch it. Practitioners, in particular those who specialise in mental health conditions, understand how the spotlight of reality tv can twist the way people approach reality. Now our time has come to campaign for a serious re-examination of the moral, societal and psychological impacts of our current obsession with “reality” tv.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”The problem is, it’s nowhere near reality.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I honestly don’t care whether you keep up with the Kardashians and every new ridiculously named child they add to their brood, live your life according to the gospel from contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race or instead you are desperate to be a Real Housewife of Cheshire. We all have a free and independent will to watch whatever terrible tv we choose as long as it is not causing harm to others. However, if you buy into the notion of reality tv, then you need to think – is it really not causing any harm at all?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]The news has been filled with the recent death associated with The Jeremy Kyle Show, but this is just the latest in endless cases of mental health issues that are a product of involvement in this style of entertainment programme. 2 former contestants of Love Island have committed suicide after their time in the villa, and many reality “stars” are using the recent focus to shine a light on the lack of support from show producers; despite the evident damage being done. These extravagant or divisive lifestyles are played out for the world to see, pitching the emotionally heightened and sensationalised storylines they are “living” as real life. Naturally, this will never end well.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Reality tv brings ordinary people to new heights of fame and allows millions of people to invade their privacy and judge every detail of their lives. No-one could cope with that level of interrogation without feeling slightly anxious, overwhelmed or under pressure. It’s far too easy to fall into a cycle of tension and depression if your actions are being scrutinised under a microscope by so many people.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”You might also like:” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fcategory%2Flatest-news%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”May the Force be with you(r Practice)” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fstar-wars-force-practice%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Building a Social Worker with The Avengers” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-worker-the-avengers%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Historical Figures Who Showed Real Social Work Values” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fhistorical-figures-social-work-values%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Which Game of Thrones Character is in Your Social Work Office?” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fgame-of-thrones-character-office%2F||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Facing “reality” on your own.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Our community knows that a good support system is of the utmost importance for anyone encountering mental health issues and can make the real difference for a recovery path. Therefore, this emphasises the duty of care placed on producers of reality tv shows like Love Island and The Jeremy Kyle Show. And don’t even get me started on the Kardashians and their duty of care for their ever-growing roster of children being forced into the spotlight before they have a clear opinion on the matter. When a contestant is voted off a show, their “failings” are highlighted and thrown in their face time and time again. There are regular examples of substance abuse, depression and suicidal thoughts; but rarely are there publicised commentaries about the way shows help people through their struggles. The reason for this is obvious: the support isn’t there. People’s versions of reality are twisted, their lives laid out for judgement and then they are not properly taught how to process these changes. It’s an unforgivable and – at times – lethal combination.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Reality Role Models” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]These “stars” are pushed into acting in the most wild and extreme ways in order to achieve higher ratings and viewership numbers for the show as a whole, but do those pulling the strings realise what they’re actually doing? Impressionable children and young people will watch reality tv shows, eating up all the drama and believe that this is the example of success and positive life choices. After all, they’ll see these people on the cover of magazines and earning notable amounts of money. It’s easy to put two and two together and get seven when the media is pushing a carefully constructed message down your throat. But this is not reality. I’ll repeat it for those at the back: This. Is. Not. Reality. It’s an impossible standard to live up to, and so thousands of children are dreaming of a life they cannot obtain. So, it’s not just the contestants who are doomed to exhibit signs of mental illhealth; audiences fall into the trap too. The people on these shows are painted as celebrities and made famous for no achievement of substance, instead due to their body image or immoral lifestyle. What kind of example does that set? Surely, we should be more careful about the people we glorify? After all, there are so many fantastic people out there whose intelligence, compassion or endurance set excellent examples for young people to aspire to embody. How is it that we live in the world where I can name every Kardashian child straight off the bat, but I had to google the name of the woman who worked on getting the first picture of a black hole. This is a sign of a broken society.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I don’t know how we break this wheel of obsession with reality tv, but I know it is time for a real change. Change channel from a society that perpetuates mental health issues, and instead, let’s collectively obsess over tv shows with outstanding writing and complex, honest characters which promotes the good we all have to offer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1558367678541{background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:60|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1558367823567{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

One Stop Social are a community of practitioners who work together to develop the future of social work, and your voice matters to us in this mission. We want to champion the causes that matter to you, celebrate your successes and have a positive impact on your working life however we can.

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Find out more” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-membership%2F||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Psychosocial Influences, Healing and Recovery

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Human beings are extremely complex and amazing in equal measure and for that reason healing, treatment and support must be individually tailored, there is no “one size fits all” model that works.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]In my experience as a Mental Health Practitioner I specialised in Psycho-Social assessment and interventions, this applies Psychological and Sociological models of understanding to a persons mental health needs. I explored the nature of their difficulties within their social context whilst exploring underlying psychological difficulties. By acknowledging and exploring their social history and their perceived position in society, we usually arrived at a shared understanding of their mental health needs, which then allowed for self discovery, ownership of their symptoms of distress and what they were symptomatic of, which then lead to recovery and empowerment. Once the mind is allowed to seek its own forms of equilibrium it will find it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”“There is no “one size fits all” model for humans.“” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Filluminateuk.org.uk%2Fpsychosocial-influences-healing-and-recovery%2Fhealing-treatment%2F||target:%20_blank|” css=”.vc_custom_1558101745671{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This approach was always helpful, however some people didn’t consider themselves “cured” and this was due to being labelled with “an incurable disease” such as Psychosis or Schizophrenia, for most of their adult lives, therefore had built their whole identity based upon their diagnosis, believing that they could not secure a relationship or employment because of their illness.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The impact of the label therefore became more harmful than the symptoms they were experiencing, on top of that they also were taking toxic and harmful medications that affect functioning, thought, sexual appetite and weight, again extremely disabling and debilitating. In general these medications would be prescribed with minimal information given about side effects, if any and with the understanding that you must never stop taking them! This generated fear and dependency, but also a complete disregard for the persons choice as most, if not all, people who begin their journey are lead to believe that this is the only way to “treat” their symptoms.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]There are a multitude of labels that have been created by the Pharmaceutical industry to describe disease or Dis-ease, in order to medicate societies ills, whilst making substantial profits (multi billion dollar industry). My experience has shown that unfortunately most people are not only willing, but prefer, to believe that the root of their physical and mental Dis-ease is some abstract biological matter that they have no control over and will happily take as many pills as necessary to make it go away. Where as in reality the Dis-ease is representative of their life of what they are feeding themselves on literally and psychologically. By unifying the body, mind and spirit the human body has the ability not only to heal itself and heal others too, but this takes commitment, discipline and belief in ones self.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”4646″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk/social-work-membership/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By encouraging people to firstly BELIEVE that they would get better and secondly that they had the control and ability to make that happen, gave hope, which for me was an excellent starting point. We are social animals, how we interact with our family, partners, community and wider society, determines how we see ourselves, feel about our self and determines our social outcomes, such as relationships, employment, self discovery and financial security and every human being has the right to all those things, without exception![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]I had the privilege of working with people experiencing a range of mental health problems such as Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, Depression, Anxiety and OCD. Every single person with the same label presented with their own unique set of symptoms, but one thing they all had in common was the start of their journey as a “patient”, claimed by the system and owned til death do us part![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The journey usually began with a visit to the GP explaining the current difficulties, this was then proceeded by a prescription for medication and a label “you have anxiety” or “you have psychosis”, a “label” or diagnosis, to inform the course of action and “take this pill and you will be okay”, in reality, for most people, they made very little difference. It was the beginning of their career in mental health services, a revolving door of being discharged and readmitted, discharged and re-referred by the GP and a perpetuating fear that you wont get in quick enough at a time of crisis or when relapse symptoms are appearing.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”“Human beings have an inner sense of right and wrong.“” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Filluminateuk.org.uk%2Fpsychosocial-influences-healing-and-recovery%2Fhealing-treatment%2F||target:%20_blank|” css=”.vc_custom_1558101895397{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I firmly advocate for the non toxic treatment of emotional distress, which has essentially been pathologised for various reasons . By medicalising distress and social disharmony it does not have to be addressed at a political and community level, it remains an individual problem “you cant handle life”. Equally within our own communities there is still evidence of ignorance surrounding mental health problems, people considered being “ mad” by their own neighbours and families and as such given a very wide berth. Stigma continues to prevent mental health difficulties being fully accepted and understood, but in reality it is only by being unified, loved and nurtured, that the mind can recover, heal and remain strong in the face of adversity.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Now this is a long term approach, not a short term fix, looking at a “symptom” such as panic or mania and finding ways to dampen them down or get rid of them chemically does not allow for growth and understanding of what the problem really is. If you consider them a barometer, your internal smoke alarm, that underneath all is not well, then the root of the dis-ease or distress can be truly explored. I am not suggesting that people in acute periods of distress are left to suffer their symptoms, because when mental health symptoms become so acute that the person becomes a danger to themselves or others, then that is not the time to be exploring complex psychological and social experiences and as an Approved Mental Health Professional I have personally detained individuals, whom without medical intervention at that time would have likely ended their life, no chance of therapy then! But what was always evident was that there were multiple occasions prior to “crisis point” that the person could have been helped differently.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Mental Dis-ease or distress is symptomatic of our life experiences to date, our internal appraisal of those events, familial influences and sometimes religious and spiritual beliefs. It can occur for the first time in times of crisis or acute stress such as a bereavement, exams, a relationship breakdown or more confusingly when everything on the surface seems just fine! There is no rule book and EVERY individual is different. Some people experience a life of abuse, trauma, poverty, poor relationships and misery, yet they never develop depression, instead they develop chronic physical health problems or substance misuse issues and are seen by everyone as being ‘incredibly strong’, yet someone else could experience a life considered to be very blessed with abundance of wealth, family, success and academic attainments, yet they suffer with a chronic mood disorder. What is for sure that the signs of unrest are there a long time before they are acknowledged usually and it is when they physically STOP the person from functioning, that they are addressed.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”You might also like:” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:20|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fcategory%2Flatest-news%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”That Wrinkles My Haltung” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-pedagogy-wrinkles-haltung%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Why I’m Worried about the Future of Fostering” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fworried-future-fostering%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Making the Paper-Ditch Simple with Log my Care” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fpaper-ditch-log-my-care%2F||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This can be seen as an opportunity to “RE-SET” ones life compass and consider what the problem really is. Again this is not as straightforward as it sounds and the exploration phase can be difficult, which is why people often opt for the medication option of “these will make you better in 6 weeks”, if only that was true? For some individuals the concept of looking internally for the cause of their mental health difficulties is wholly unacceptable as it has been carefully marketed as a disease with a biological cause for many years so that now people completely expect a medical cure. What does seem like madness is that someone will happily take a pill everyday to remove their unhappiness yet engage in what makes them chronically unhappy every day? Which is why it is challenging for people to comprehend that they have a role and responsibility to address their difficulties and that it is not the role of the professional to “make them better” but to guide them to their own recovery.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Many people feel trapped in the life that has been created for them which can lead to frustration, unhappiness and eventually mental illness, which cannot all be addressed on an individual basis. The structure of the society that we have allowed to develop maintains inequality, poverty, unemployment and isolation so unfortunately people will need to reunite and reignite their sense of injustice for their fellow man and challenge oppressive regimes before any significant individual changes can be made.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]In general, human beings have an inner sense of right and wrong and they do know that it is unacceptable in the 21st century for people to be living on the streets or to be waiting for 18 months for a hip replacement or similar medical treatment, that living in chronic debilitating pain is not conducive to good mental health, but again it has become the norm amongst the working classes to accept living in this way, which should have resulted in major political pressure and change, so why are the general population so apathetic and accepting of this control that is exercised over us?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Contributed by Kirsty Barlow, Illuminate.

I am an experienced Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) and have been working on the Fylde Coast supporting individuals and their families for over 15 years. I am passionate about providing person centred support that is led by the individual to explore their mental health difficulties and promote a truly holistic approach, which is not medically led. My experience includes working in Community Mental Health Teams, hospital settings and Primary Care, to assess and support people experiencing mental health problems.“[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Find out more about Illuminate” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Filluminateuk.org.uk%2F||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”5122″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” link=”https://illuminateuk.org.uk/about-me/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1558093197336{background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1558094654904{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

Do you want to write about your experience in social work? Or maybe you’ve got a new tool or method for good practice you want to share with our community? If you enjoy writing then we want you to get in touch with our team and starting sharing your ideas and opinions on the One Stop Social News Page!

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Get in Touch!” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:mailto%3Acentral%40onestopsocial.co.uk||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

An AMHP Analyses #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Another day, another twitter hashtag trending and shaming us into sharing a relevant post or taking some level of action. Admittedly this week, the cause is much better than #HamburgerDay or #ShortPersonAppreciationDay with the focus being on mental health, but it can be easy to feel the same level of disillusionment and weariness, no matter the subject matter. Most of us use social media on a daily basis and can become slightly immune to the latest trending topic; so what impact do these hashtag days really have? Do they allow us to understand new areas or does it just become an opportunity to share an entertaining meme or insightful quote?

Therefore, in honour of the hashtag week, we thought now was as good a time as any to sit down with a member from our community to see if they can help us see #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek from the perspective of an experienced AMHP.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Briefly explain your social work story to our community.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]My journey as a social worker in mental health begin in 2004. I was lucky that one of my university practice placements had been in mental health and I realised that it worked at my cadence. I felt comfortable, and in my element working in a sector that prior to doing my training I had largely steered clear of and definitely did not understand. Without wanting to sound like too much of a cliche, you could say that I accepted the challenge and found my calling.

From that, I went on to specialise in mental health and eventually became an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”What do you think about the awareness of mental health nowadays?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Yesterday I was walking through the streets of Manchester when I saw charity workers from a national Mental Health awareness charity collecting money. I stopped to consider this, as previously I had not been particularly aware of the increased trend in making mental health fashionable. And then it all started to click, just how many fundraisers I’d seen in the past week. Endless people shaking buckets at me. There’s no denying that people are talking about mental health more now than ever before, but I’m not convinced it’s coming from a place of sincerity. Is this from a empathetic need for a greater support and awareness of mental health needs in society? Or (as the cynic in me would have you believe) is mental health the next great cash cow?

(Total disclosure, I worked in the military and in some respects, whilst I am sure Help For Heroes does some amazing work, I do wonder if it the government transferring the financial obligation into the purses of the public. So I do have a bias here.)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”What do you think of the hashtag awareness days, weeks and months on social media for mental health? Do you think social media helps or hinders the mental health cause?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Is the use of hashtags on Twitter and other social media a positive thing? Does it polarise and create a degree of paternalism? The ‘us’ and ‘them’ element? Or does it bring us together? This will always depend on your experience, and if you’ve encountered a troll or ten on Twitter, hiding behind a keyboard. There are some incredibly supportive people out there and social media is an instant form of communication – surely the two should work in harmony…

Social media has had a positive impact on empowering men to congregate and talk about their feelings, in particular. The Halifax based ‘Andy’s Man club’ being an example of positive empowerment for men who were often considered to be resistive to intervention and at high mortality risk due to suicide. The fact that Andy’s Man club has groups all over the UK means that mental health is becoming more acceptable and I do feel social media is largely responsible to convey the real message – it’s ok to talk.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”How would you recommend those working in mental health approach social media?” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]The reality is we’ve come a long way since 2004, and our society has changed drastically since we first met the idea of social media. Even better – things will look completely different in another 15 years for us all, and in particular the mental health sector. And social media does have a place in that future. Just never forget to use your common sense, and adopt a bit of cynicism to stay sane among the mindless tweeters…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Contributed by Stephen Allanson.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1557846251395{background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1557846383729{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

One Stop Social has a whole range of useful resources for those working in mental health. So whether it’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek or just a normal day in the office and you’re after some tools to support your practice, we’ve got you covered! Don’t forget to get in touch with our team if there’s a resource you’d like us to share with our community!

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Young Person’s Self Help Guide” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4413%26title%3DObsessive%2520Compulsive%2520Disorder%3A%2520A%2520Young%2520Person%25E2%2580%2599s%2520Self%2520Help%2520Guide||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Managing Depression: A Facilitator’s Guide” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4419%26title%3DManaging%2520Depression%3A%2520A%2520Facilitator%25E2%2580%2599s%2520Guide||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Guide for line managers: Wellness Action Plans (WAPs) | Supporting Staff” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D5384%26title%3DGuide%2520for%2520line%2520managers%3A%2520Wellness%2520Action%2520Plans%2520(WAPs)%2520%7C%2520Supporting%2520Staff||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Guide for line managers: Wellness Action Plans (WAPs) | Supporting Staff” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D5384%26title%3DGuide%2520for%2520line%2520managers%3A%2520Wellness%2520Action%2520Plans%2520(WAPs)%2520%7C%2520Supporting%2520Staff||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Make your Practice Mental Health Friendly” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D3414%26title%3DMake%2520your%2520Practice%2520Mental%2520Health%2520Friendly||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Stop Boasting about Your “Beach Body”: Looking at Body Dysmorphia

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It may not seem like it when the sky is the UK-trademarked shade of grey, but summer is on its way. Now that we are fully in the month of May, everyone is thinking about sunshine, beaches and holidays. While dreaming of mai-tais in the sun with tiny umbrellas is a wonderful thing, it’s important to consider that this time can be a trigger-period for many people struggling with a particular mental health condition. There are an indeterminate number of individuals who at any one point in time are having severe psychological issues because of how they feel about their physical appearance, and summer is a critical time for those experiencing these feelings. Gossip magazines become obsessed with celebrity “beach bodies” and push their “top tips” on how to get ready for summer at men and women from every angle they can. That idea in itself is awful, because any type of body is a “beach body”, there is no 1 formula that makes you acceptable to be seen in society over summer. You don’t spontaneously combust or get struck by a supernatural thunderbolt if you don’t have a thigh gap.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Unfortunately, not everyone can approach the warmer months in this way. ” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder which people may be diagnosed with for a couple of different reasons. Mind explain that a diagnosis may occur if you:

  • experience obsessive worries about one or more perceived flaws in your physical appearance, and the flaw cannot be seen by others or appears very slight
  • develop compulsive behaviours and routines, such as excessive use of mirrors or picking your skin, to deal with the worries you have about the way you look

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hence, for the individuals who have body image issues, specifically body dysmorphia, the constant press and subsequent pressure that surrounds the summer months in regards to appearance can be catastrophic. After all, people who are conflicted about how they look experience this every day, but as soon as the weather gets warmer, the entire nation suddenly becomes obsessed with each other’s looks. Who has a tan? Who is on a summer diet? You naturally wear lighter and at times more revealing clothes; which can stir up dormant feelings and internal tension. BDD is not a seasonal disorder, but we need to be aware of how the summer months can trigger the anxiety of those suffering from it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”How to spot it? ” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The symptoms of Body Dysmorphia will inevitably vary from person to person, as it’s about how one person interprets their own body. Someone’s version of dysmorphia will be totally different to yours. However, the NHS outlines the following as common symptoms which people with BDD:

  • worry a lot about a specific area of your body (particularly your face)
  • spend a lot of time comparing your looks with other people’s
  • look at yourself in mirrors a lot or avoid mirrors altogether
  • go to a lot of effort to conceal flaws – for example, by spending a long time combing your hair, applying make-up or choosing clothes
  • pick at your skin to make it “smooth”

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Body dysmorphia is a serious condition that can put people in real danger, and as is the case with mental health, it’s an internal battle spurred on by external factors. While there is a stereotype that it is only women who go through such body image issues, it is actually just the opposite, and men can experience terrible prejudice and exclusion by friends, peers and strangers for not looking a particular way. However, history has always placed a spotlight on how women look, so we expect a natural degree of anxiety surrounding looks. For hundreds of years, women had no real rights of their own and so they became a tradable commodity for the men in their families, and as with any tradeable good, the most appealing wins. Therefore, generation after generation, there has been an inherent pressure on women to meet a societal standard of “attractive” in order to be accepted, and in the modern era, the media exploits this system endlessly for extortionate profits.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”The problem is, we’re all sucked into it. ” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:24|text_align:left|color:%23ef7e21″ google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]So many of us buy into the notion that there is a particular appearance that is appropriate or suitable, especially on a beach or during the summer, and it sparks a wave of self-criticism. We all end up nit-picking aspects of our appearance completely unnecessarily. And while many of us are able to leave it at just a mild level of “oh I wish I looked like x y z”, for those affected by body dysmorphic disorder it is far worse. They can end up feeling fundamentally flawed because of parts of themselves that other people would not notice.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Let’s decide together now to take a stand. Let’s support those with body dysmorphic disorder and break down the control over our self esteem that the media and societal stereotypes have. Let’s build each other up and show our support for people fighting these internal battles about their appearance, proving that the power of humanity and kindness is the ultimate weapon against mental health.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1557334172763{background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1557334106755{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

One Stop Social has a range of resources on our website for those suffering from mental health conditions, including body image issues like body dysmorphia. Therefore, if you’re working with a service user who is experiencing feelings like this, why not turn to our Resources Page for some helpful tools and guides to support your practice. 

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Body Image Tool Kit” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D3490%26title%3DBody%2520Image%2520Tool%2520Kit||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”How to increase your self-esteem booklet” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4791%26title%3DHow%2520to%2520increase%2520your%2520self-esteem%2520booklet||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Self-Esteem Journal” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4636%26title%3DSelf-Esteem%2520Journal||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Understanding eating problems booklet” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4633%26title%3DUnderstanding%2520eating%2520problems%2520booklet||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

My Social Work Story Series: I thought I Couldn’t Be A Social Worker Anymore

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Being a carer changed my life.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1555065256179{padding-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_column_text]When I graduated in 2012 from University of Birmingham, I was dead set on working in children’s services. My first job post university was as a family support/learning mentor in a primary school in Sandwell. I enjoyed the role, it was fast paced and varied and I loved working in an educational setting. I got really involved in helping the Pastoral lead with safeguarding concerns and associated meetings.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I applied for an unqualified role as being in two non-statutory placements at university knocked my confidence a little in applying for a local authority post. I worried I wasn’t able to take on a LA role.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]I left my job as learning mentor in October 2012, as the maternity cover contract wasn’t extended so I chose to move to Staffordshire and began a life there with my husband. However, I struggled to find a similar post. I applied for about 9 jobs before giving up and going into care work. I became pregnant with my son and had to give up work for a time. Nevertheless, after having my son in April 2014, I found that I didn’t really enjoy being a ‘stay at home mum’. I suffered with post-natal depression and was desperate to get into a qualified post. As I began to recover (with my GPs help) I was suddenly hit with a massive blow to my heart and mind – my husband at only 29 years was diagnosed with bowel cancer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”26px”][vc_single_image image=”4808″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”My life became incredibly difficult.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1555065187344{padding-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_column_text]My husband’s condition worsened over the next 18 months and I struggled with being a new parent and felt torn between the boundaries of wife and carer. In November 2014 I began working for a private advocacy organisation – Health advocacy UK , my friend’s mum and now my best friend and mentor, Lyn, had set this company up and was looking for a social worker to complete the team. I began to review and challenge CHC decisions and found the work a good distraction from being a carer to my husband, however I struggled to balance caring responsibilities and my work often fell behind. I felt torn between my career and my personal life. Lyn was extremely supportive of my circumstances and never pressured me to increase my work load, never forced me to choose.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4809″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In November 2015 my husband sadly passed away. The cancer had spread quickly from his bowel to his liver to his spine and his recent radiotherapy treatment had not worked. After his death I tried to push my trauma into the background and as a result had a bit of an anxious breakdown early the following year. I re-applied for other social work jobs but just wasn’t able to take on the responsibility with my brain still so focused on grieving and the pain I was feeling. I felt like all my empathy had been drained away and I was no longer able to help and care for others.
I took a break from Social work for a few months to get myself back on track and give myself time to heal. I was convinced I needed a complete career change and that I’d never be myself again.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Rediscovering my strength” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1555065293949{padding-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Lyn really believed in me and slowly helped me get back into social work by supporting me with mental capacity assessments and over time and with 6 months of counselling I began to feel less anxious and began to challenge my thoughts. I realised that I could help others again, I just needed to deal with my own trauma, it wasn’t my fault what had happened and I was different but that was okay.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A year later I can now walk into an assessment without stuttering and without telling myself that I cannot do my job. I can relate to a lot of the families of service users that I work with who care for their relative. I understand the strain and the emotional challenges that they face. I have also recently been working with young people with eating disorders and although I can’t pretend I know what they are going through, what I can say is that you can go through a rough time and yes it will be hard but you are more than what you are going through and your strength can get you to where you want to be. That aspect of things I can understand completely, and it has definitely changed my practice.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”4810″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I’ve taught myself that this anxiety, this voice that rears its ugly head at times is only a voice trying to challenge me and that I do not have to listen to it, I ask it- what evidence do you have to say that I can’t do my job? Absolutely none.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I have found strength in my experiences, learning to turn negatives into positives in that I can relate to service users more and I have learnt to believe in myself.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I am just about to embark on my first LA post in a learning disabilities team and I am beyond excited. I finally feel that my struggles have paid off and I am excited to see what the future holds.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Thank you for reading my story and I hope it inspires you to know that despite your struggles you can really do what you want to do if you want to do it.

 

Contributed by Steph Jarvis. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1555062481026{padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1555066686196{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

If you’re working with someone who is dealing with grief, it’s important to be aware of the different resources available to develop your practice in relation to mental health issues. One Stop Social host a range of helpful tools, including the following: 

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_btn title=”Modern Mental Health: Critical Perspectives on Psychiatric Practice” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D602%26title%3DModern%2520Mental%2520Health%3A%2520Critical%2520Perspectives%2520on%2520Psychiatric%2520Practice||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Managing Depression: A Facilitator’s Guide” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4419%26title%3DManaging%2520Depression%3A%2520A%2520Facilitator%25E2%2580%2599s%2520Guide||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Self Neglect Practice Guidance | Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D1328%26title%3DSelf%2520Neglect%2520Practice%2520Guidance%2520%7C%2520Somerset%2520Safeguarding%2520Adults%2520Board||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy from Uneven Stress Levels

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Childline delivered 3,135 counselling sessions on exam stress in 2016/17.” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1555321314692{padding-bottom: 10px !important;}” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nspcc.org.uk%2Fwhat-we-do%2Fnews-opinion%2Fexam-stress-overwhelming-for-thousands-of-children%2F||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]It’s probably no coincidence that National Stress Awareness Month (April) falls right before most children and young people face their end of year exams. Whether you’re sitting your first ever SAT test or working towards the A-Levels that will secure your place at university, the pressure that an exam brings is acute. Now, some thrive under this style of pressure and have the ability to craft an appropriate study environment which helps them succeed. Others, however, are not so lucky and they risk an overwhelming level of stress.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Children who come from more troubled backgrounds or have a more complicated family situation are set at a slight disadvantage when it comes to exam season. Their home environment may be too traumatic to be a conducive place for study due to violence, substance abuse, poverty or neglect; or they could face more responsibilities than their classmates, when acting as carer to an ill or disabled family member. No matter the cause, there are countless children and young people whose academic journey is made naturally harder by their personal circumstances. We all preach the value in children embracing their individuality, and yet, when it comes to academia, everyone is judged in the same ways. We all face the same exams. It’s no wonder then that such a high portion of children experience extreme stress levels as a result of exam season.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Vulnerable children who inhabit the world of social work can come from a variety of backgrounds, but the main thing in common is that they are in need of support. Should this support be lacking, they will face a variety of consequences, the most common being poor performance at school. Whether it’s due to a loss in the family or being abused at home, children are not able to fully focus on their scholarly commitments if there is an existing level of stress in their lives. This sets the scene for an uneven playing field within the classroom. Those children from stable and safe backgrounds have not only the facilities but also the positive mental health to embrace challenges at school, college or (eventually) university; while the children and young people we come into contact with, face a steeper climb to the same opportunities.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Their backgrounds will inevitably place a higher level of stress on them when it comes around to exam season. After all, you’re likely to be more stressed about a test if you feel unprepared, if you’re worrying about other issues or if this one test is representative of your route out of a bad situation. There’s also the societal pressure placed on disadvantaged children in regards to how they will be viewed by their peers. Children can be unkind, and if a child is at risk of being bullied to begin with (because they are in care, are disabled or any variety of reasons); then there is an additional level of stress, stemming from the fear of not wanting to seem “stupid”.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Side Effects ” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1555324846476{padding-bottom: px !important;}” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nspcc.org.uk%2Fwhat-we-do%2Fnews-opinion%2Fexam-stress-overwhelming-for-thousands-of-children%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_column_text]Stress is a concern for young people and children because of the impact it can have on their overall mental health. Experiencing too much pressure because of educational exams will negatively affect the mental health of young people, which will then go on to put their futures and lives at risk. Young people contacting Childline reported that exam stress led to:

  • depression and anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • low self-esteem
  • self-harming and suicidal thoughts
  • worsening of pre-existing mental health conditions

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The problem with this additional stress is that it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Children who are overly stressed during key exams because of non-academic issues are less likely to perform well in those exams, since stress can reduce your ability to focus during a test and affect your ability to retain key information. Subsequently, poor results affect the opportunities available to these children, whether it is continuing with a subject they’re passionate about, going to a more prestigious university or even just staying in school at all. The ripple on effects can then be severe, which leads them to remain in a negative situation – reinforcing the societal disadvantage that academia is meant to rescue them from.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”How to Spot the Signs” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:26|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.scholastic.com%2Fparents%2Ffamily-life%2Fsocial-emotional-learning%2Fsocial-skills-for-kids%2F8-warning-signs-your-child-under-too-much-stress.html||target:%20_blank|”][vc_column_text]It can be tough to differentiate natural, healthy levels of stress during exam season from more concerning levels; after all, if a child is showing stress, then it could just mean they take academic pressure seriously and value a good education. However, it’s important to note some of the signs that can indicate your child (or a child you are working with) is feeling the pressure too much and is in need of intervention. These are just some of the possible effects of extreme stress:

  • Nightmares
  • Trouble concentrating and completing schoolwork
  • Increased aggression
  • Bedwetting
  • Hyperactive behaviour
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Eating or sleeping disorders
  • Overreactions to minor problems

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Understanding the issues at hand aside, the main question on everyone’s lips should be how to we change things? How can we ensure that every child has equal opportunities when it comes to their academic endeavours? We should never underestimate the value of achieving a good education. After all, it can open doors that were previously closed to vulnerable people, through scholarships or allow them to vie for more prestigious careers – thereby helping to break the cycle of poverty that is so common. It seems like such an obvious cause to champion, to help children and young people have the same chances at successful and fulfilling futures. But we are continuously held back by this inherent inequality embedded into our educational system. The importance placed on specific exams raises the stakes so much, in particular for vulnerable children, and paves the way for them to experience inordinate amounts of stress. Every child has the potential to achieve great things, but if we are marking those who face external woes in exactly the same way as those with an easier, more supportive and privileged background then we will never be able to prove this. More needs to be done to re-evaluate the pastoral care given at schools to relieve exam stress, but also to the foundations of how we judge a child’s intelligence or potential. Should one exam (where some children approach it with a disadvantage that is irrelevant to their academic knowledge) hold such a power? How can we rework the system to ensure a fair chance for all, and break the cycle once and for all?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1555324830071{padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1555325337483{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

A key way to help break the self-fulfilling prophecy of disadvantage and vulnerability is to ensure those in need have the necessary toold to process their struggles in a healthy manner. One Stop Social hosts a number of resources to help children and young people cope with their stress and other mental health issues, which can develop good practice across our social work community. 

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”12px”][vc_btn title=”Mighty Moe: An Anxiety Workbook for Children” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4707%26title%3DMighty%2520Moe%3A%2520An%2520Anxiety%2520Workbook%2520for%2520Children||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Positive Affirmation Cards for children | Direct Resource” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D5272%26title%3DPositive%2520Affirmation%2520Cards%2520for%2520children%2520%7C%2520Direct%2520Resource||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Emotions, Feelings and Behaviour Toolkit | Direct Resource” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D5284%26title%3DEmotions%2C%2520Feelings%2520and%2520Behaviour%2520Toolkit%2520%7C%2520Direct%2520Resource||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Videos for kids on conflict, self-esteem, social skills etc” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4834%26title%3DVideos%2520for%2520kids%2520on%2520conflict%2C%2520self-esteem%2C%2520social%2520skills%2520etc||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How a Postcode Lottery is Gambling with Children’s Lives

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Are you a child or young person feeling anxious or depressed? Great news, the front-line services across the UK are of good standards and committed to supporting those in need. The recent NHS 10-Year Plan outlines child mental health as a key target. So, help is out there. As always though, there’s a catch. And this time, it’s a fairly hefty one. The help you can receive all depends on where you happen to live. Mental health treatment has become a postcode lottery of sorts, and unfortunately not the variety that involves being suddenly able to afford a luxurious holiday. Different regions in this country face such immense differences in expenditure on mental health services, leaving vulnerable children and young people at a loss if they are located in the ‘wrong’ place.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On the whole, the UK is getting better at understanding mental health as a serious issue which requires funding and effort into supporting people going through their personal battles. Spending has increased overall by 17%, highlighting a commitment from the powers that be towards an improved care service for those with mental health issues. However, when you stop looking at the UK as a whole and actually study it by region or city, the statistics start to get worrying. A recent report from the Children’s Commissioner showcased that in London, local authority spending was £17.88 per child, but the moment you look at the East of England, that number goes all the way down to £5.32. That’s a difference of £12.56 per child spent on mental health services, which will restrict the number of counsellors available to help them process their mental health and find coping mechanisms. Just this simple lack of £12.56 difference is putting the health of our children at risk. Moreover, 60% of local authorities actually saw their spending on these services fall.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”“The top quarter of local areas spent £1.1million on these services, the bottom quarter spent £177,000 or less“” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ef7e21″ use_theme_fonts=”yes” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Frightsinfo.org%2Fpost-code-lottery-on-child-mental-health-services-extremely-worrying%2F||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One consideration with how this postcode lottery is manifesting itself is the mental health issues that are suffering from the expenditure disparity. It’s usually problems like anxiety or depression which are sacrificed as they are deemed “low-level”. With the large spectrum of ways that mental ill-health can manifest itself, it’s understandable that in a time of cutting costs, some areas must receive less. However, studies show that one in four young people could experience depression before they reach 19 years old, and 8 – 11% of children and adolescents suffer from an anxiety that affects their ability to get on with their lives. Anxiety and depression aren’t uncommon problems, they are affecting such a large demographic of our society, and yet, children suffering from them face a pot-luck in relation to their treatment. Early intervention can be a life saving process for some facing depression, as early support and guidance can stave off suicidal thoughts and implement healthy preventative processes before the conditions worsen. So why aren’t we seeing the value in supporting these services and ensuring help is there for “low-level” mental health, so that then fewer cases snowball into much more serious issues? If the right preventative methods are in place, we might actually start to get a real handle on the mental health crisis occurring in the UK. This postcode lottery will only create more problems in both the short and long term.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This is simply not good enough. No child should face a lower availability of help for their mental health just because they happen to live in a different region of the UK. Most importantly, it is clear that larger expenditures into mental health services consistently occur within London; while less populated regions suffer. Local authorities in the East of England, Yorkshire and Humber however are unable to set aside those levels of money due to budget restrictions, meaning that residents miss out on key services. It’s also not just within England that the difference is felt. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales survive with 10, 8 and 6 psychiatrists per 100,000 people respectively; while Northern and Central London enjoy 13. This data shows that anyone outside of the capital city is placed at an immediate disadvantage, which only worsens depending on where you fall in the postcode lottery.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”4646″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk/social-work-membership/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The conundrum appears when we look at how these services are funded. Part NHS. Part Local Authority. Two areas who are infamously in need of funding and structural reform to remain sustainable. It’s thereby understandable how this postcode lottery for care can come about, but that doesn’t mean we all have to just accept it. The question is though, how?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]No local authority should have to gamble with the way we treat anxiety and depression. The time has come for us to reverse this situation so that every child and young person across the United Kingdom can find the same level of (potentially life-saving) help. Whether that involves establishing a more unified network of mental health services so that everyone is working together towards a unified goal rather than independently of each other; or simply just a closer look at the way central budgets are divided across the regions, to allow for a fairer distribution. The solution isn’t clear, but the problem definitely is. Children in London shouldn’t be given a natural advantage when it comes to receiving treatment for their mental health just because they are from an area of substantial wealth and political attention. Because after all, what message does that send about children in other regions who are struggling to cope? They’re less worthy of support? Their issues aren’t as important because they live in the Midlands, the North or the South East? Every child is important and worthy of our help, so let’s start showing them just how much we’re prepared to care.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax=”content-moving” css=”.vc_custom_1554907821336{padding-top: px !important;padding-bottom: px !important;background-color: #848685 !important;background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”While you’re here…” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:30|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1554907913619{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

One Stop Social have a whole range of helpful guides, booklets, tools and more in our Resources Page which can help develop good practice when working with people who are dealing with mental health issues, no matter the region! If you want further support as a practitioner then get in touch and see how else we can help. 

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”12px”][vc_btn title=”Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Young Person’s Self Help Guide” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4413%26title%3DObsessive%2520Compulsive%2520Disorder%3A%2520A%2520Young%2520Person%25E2%2580%2599s%2520Self%2520Help%2520Guide||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Someone in my family has mental illness (workbook for children/teens)” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4414%26title%3DSomeone%2520in%2520my%2520family%2520has%2520mental%2520illness%2520(workbook%2520for%2520children%2Fteens)||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”How to support someone who feels suicidal booklet” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4790%26title%3DHow%2520to%2520support%2520someone%2520who%2520feels%2520suicidal%2520booklet||target:%20_blank|”][vc_btn title=”Self Harm – Distraction Techniques & Alternative Coping Strategies” style=”outline-custom” outline_custom_color=”#ffffff” outline_custom_hover_background=”#ef7e21″ outline_custom_hover_text=”#ffffff” shape=”round” align=”center” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.onestopsocial.co.uk%2Fsocial-work-social-care-resources%2Fresources-card%2F%3FdID%3D4412%26title%3DSelf%2520Harm%2520%25E2%2580%2593%2520Distraction%2520Techniques%2520%26%2520Alternative%2520Coping%2520Strategies||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]