Autism and ADHD

Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are both conditions that affect a person from an early age and can greatly impact their development and social functioning. Whilst these disorders are often found independently of one another you will notice when reading this brochure that they do share some similarities and in some cases these conditions will both affect a single individual at the same time. They both unfortunately do not have a cure, but instead treatments exist to manage the symptoms and to improve the quality of life of the sufferer. This brochure will outline the basics of each of these disorders, as well as showing how often they occur and what treatments are available to improve the symptoms. We will look at these disorders individually and will then briefly touch on the instances where they both affect the same individual.

It is important to note that in this brochure we will be using the terms Autism and ADHD. Whilst we do appreciate that both of these conditions can be broken down into other disorders or sub-groups and sub-classifications, such as a selection of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Disorder, these are beyond the scope of this brochure. We need to also highlight that in
many instances the research and general information in the area looks at the disorders when they appear in children. This is because these are developmental disorders that need to be present since early childhood. This does not mean that adults are not suffering, in many instances without a diagnosis or the help that they deserve. Where we can we shall endeavour to include information that also pertains to adults.

To find out more, download our Autism and ADHD guide:

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Agoraphobia is an anxiety related disorder that revolves around a disproportionate fear of situations in which a person may struggle to escape. Whilst it is often referred to as simply a fear of open spaces, it is in fact much more complex than this and can apply to situations such as leaving the house, standing in line or using public transport. Individuals with agoraphobia tend to associate fear with certain places, often evaluating them to be much more dangerous than they are. Entering these places, or even the anticipation of entering them, can cause a great deal of fear or anxiety to the sufferer. This then results in some of the symptoms we will discuss below.

Interestingly, the thoughts and fears that an agoraphobic person experiences are likely to adapt with age. For example, a child with the disorder may fear being lost in a certain place, whilst an adult may fear falling over in the same situation. Most sufferers will be able to realise that their fear is irrational, but they are unable to change their behaviours. As with many disorders, agoraphobia can become very debilitating, with severe cases often leaving people housebound and unable to work. In other cases, people may be able to function and conceal the fact they are suffering.

It is important to note that, until very recently, the manuals that psychologists used to diagnose a patient did not treat agoraphobia as an individual illness, and instead it was classified as a type of panic disorder. Whilst there are still a great number of links between these disorders, the new Diagnostic Manual, the DSM-V, has classified agoraphobia as its own condition. While this is good news as it means agoraphobia will receive more funding and research, it also does limit the current information available that looks at agoraphobia as its own condition. This brief information sheet may therefore also include information drawn from the previous diagnosis where relevant.

To find out more, download our agoraphobia guide:

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When people think of homelessness they tend to think of people living on the streets. But there are much broader definitions of homelessness for people who only have temporary housing, or live in sheltered housing, and for people who couch surf or stay in hotels and motels, to list just a few. With all these definitions it can sometimes be difficult to gather accurate information on the full scale of the problem. While this brochure will focus solely on statistics relating solely to street sleeping, we acknowledge that homelessness is a much bigger issue. It is also important to acknowledge that due to the transient nature of homelessness it can often be difficult to ascertain accurate or long term statistics, which limits the production of accurate information. We also acknowledge that mental illness can render a person unable to give consent to take part in studies. So when reading this brochure, it’s important to keep all these points in mind.

To find out more, download our homelessness guide:

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Mental health in minority populations

For some time, minority populations have been more susceptible to mental health problems, and have received insufficient treatment from their health care networks. This brochure will outline some of the potential problems, and consider some of the reasons why people of a minority background may be averse to seeking treatment. We will also look at some potential improvements that have been suggested, or are now being implemented.

Throughout this brochure, we’ll use the term ‘minority population’ to refer to any population that is not the predominant population of that region or country. In most cases, this is based on ethnicity. In the case of the USA, we will also refer to the Native American population. Whilst we do acknowledge there are a number of flaws in grouping all minority populations into one all encompassing group, we are following the pattern laid out in the research literature. It has also been found that many minority groups will have similar living and health seeking experiences, which justifies this grouping.

There are also problems with incorrect categorisation when it comes to racial minority classifications, with one study finding up to half of classifications to be incorrect. So we’ll overcome some of these problems by using the larger grouping in this brochure.

Globally, it has been known for some time that those who are in minority populations have received sub-par mental health care, compared with the majority population. With less than optimal treatment, people in these populations are less likely to achieve a full recovery, meaning an ongoing negative impact on their life. This is a circular issue as it means they’ll continue to suffer and struggle, which increases the risk of further mental health problems. And this may be compounded by the risk of double discrimination: an ethnic minority who is suffering from mental illness. In other words, somebody who is a member of both categories is potentially at risk twice. This further highlights the need for mental health services globally to adapt to the changing needs of their citizens; particularly now that globalisation is leading to more ethnically diverse nations. Studies have found that those who immigrate are often mentally healthier than those in the destination country, but this wears off after several years, implying that the services available are just not suitable for these minority populations.

To find out more, download our mental health in minority populations guide:

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Please note, this guide is currently being updated.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) are both anxiety related disorders that revolve around intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Due to their similarities we will discuss these two disorders together. Unfortunately, media representation has often led to a distortion in what people believe these disorders to be and as such we will attempt to correct these mistaken views.

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PTSD in the military and veterans

When people think of mental illness in the military it is unsurprising that many of them think of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), formerly known as shell shock. Whilst this may not be the most commonly occurring condition in those who have served, it’s the one the general public tend to associate with the armed forces. For this reason, we have decided to publish this stand- alone brochure focusing on PTSD in the military, which can be read independently, or in conjunction with our brochure on mental health in the armed forces. Inevitably, there will be some overlap between these two publications.

This brochure will briefly outline the basics surrounding PTSD and the military, as well as providing some statistics on how prevalent PTSD is. It is important to keep in mind that PTSD does also affect people who are not in the armed forces, and that many people who serve will never experience symptoms of PTSD. However, as there is an increased risk for those in the armed forces, it is important to have informative resources available.

To find out more, download our PTSD in the military and veterans guide:

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Self-harm can be a sensitive subject for discussion for anyone at risk of self-harm behaviours. Reading about the subject, and especially the methods used, can be a trigger for self-harm behaviours. We appreciate that this brochure may have a number of triggers for those who are suffering, and whilst we want people to read this brochure to improve their understanding, we do not want to put anybody’s well-being at risk. Therefore, if you are feeling highly emotional, or think that you may be at risk from self- harm, we advise that you read this brochure at a later date, when you are feeling less vulnerable. If you feel any aspect of this brochure has negatively affected your mental wellbeing, then we encourage you to follow up with your regular healthcare provider as soon as possible.

To find out more, download our self-harm information guide:

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Social media and mental health

Over the last decade, the rise of social media has been hard to avoid; in fact the vast majority of people reading this brochure will use at least one form of social media on a regular basis. For many people, social media is seen as a largely positive thing as it allows people to keep up to date and in touch with people that they may not see as regularly as they may like. Whilst there are many positives to social media, there is also increasing evidence that extended social media use can be detrimental to a person’s mental health. In this brochure we will outline some of the positive and negative impacts of social media.

It is unsurprising that much of the research into social media use and its impacts on mental health have focused more on adolescents and young adults, especially when you consider that those aged between 16–24 are considered to be the first generation who have matured at a time of social media dominance. Approximately 7% of children aged 10-15 spend more than 3 hours a day on social media websites (ONS, 2015). Approximately 84% of adults ages 18-29 claim to use at least one form of social media website; with 81% of adults ages 30-49 using one or more type of social media platform (Pew Research Center, 2021).

But teens are not alone in using social media. 74% of adults who use the internet are also on social media. With so much time being spent on various platforms and apps, it is not surprising that research suggests social media can cause mental health issues. The precise effects are still being debated amongst researchers, with causation often being difficult to determine. For example, it may be that those who are already struggling with mental health problems are more inclined to seek out social media platforms.

What is agreed is that extended social media use is associated with poorer mental health, with those using social media for more than two hours per day being affected the most. However, we feel that we must discuss both the positive and negative impacts of it in this brochure.

To find out more, download our social media and mental health guide:

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COVID-19: Top mental health tips

Below are some tips and advice for helping yourself, your staff and your family to navigate the fallout from the current crisis. The list is not exhaustive, but aims to help you to maintain good mental health throughout. If you are running an organisation, be that a school, a business or CIC, the only advice we would give you is to continue to maintain open channels of communication with your teams, suppliers and stakeholders. No-one wants to be out of the loop at the moment, so show your teams that they are valued and keep in touch.

If you want to start a conversation with us today to discuss the ongoing support of your team with regards to mental health and wellbeing, something that is affecting more and more people as this crisis continues, then please get in touch with us. We have several online training courses that could help you.

  1. Stay connected – keeping in touch with people will help them and you to know the current situation, both at work and home. Set up a WhatsApp group, use Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts to maintain regular contact with the people you usually see every day. Calls to family who are far away will also help you feel reassured about their safety and will likely help you feel calmer about things.
  2. Stay safe – following Government-led advice and your own common sense should help you reduce your risk of catching and then spreading Covid-19 among friends, family and colleagues.
  3. Maintain your health – there are already challenges when it comes to food and household supplies, so make do where you can. If you’re on mediation make sure you have plenty in stock and call on a friend or neighbour to collect it if you become unwell when it comes time to collect your next prescription.
  4. Exercise – we are not suggesting that you suddenly train like an Olympic athlete, but getting outside and getting some fresh air will do wonders for your mental and physical health. Play that yoga DVD you got for Christmas in 2018, jump on your bike and simply take a stroll around the garden (if you have one).
  5. Meditation and calming techniques – find time in every day to sit and let your mind rest. There are several apps which have offered free subscriptions in the coming months to help people manage the anxiety caused by Covid-19, so make use of them.
  6. Sleep and rest – trying to relax, rest and have a full night’s sleep might become tricky as your waking mind replays all of the news, difficulties and new challenges you will face. Talk through your concerns with your partner, a friend, a colleague, the likelihood is they will be feeling something similar. By ordering your thoughts you might be able to let go of somethings that are out of your control and focus on the things you can.
  7. Plan your day – working from home or staying at home with the kids is going to be new territory for some. It will take a few days to get into the new routine and it will likely feel odd. Give yourself a break. Set up a plan for yourself, your work or your family, like the one below:

My daily plan:

  • Wake at usual time
  • Yoga (15 minutes)
  • Shower and dressed (not back into your PJs)
  • Healthy breakfast
  • Give the kids activities or set off school work
  • Work 9 – 12
  • Lunch with a walk around the block or play a game in the garden with the family
  • Give the kids activities or set off school work
  • Work 1 – 5
  • Meditation
  • Watch cartoons with the family
  • Dinner
  • Gym, walk, chores
  • Read a book, relax to some music
  • Bed
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Loneliness is becoming an increasing problem in many societies, especially for people who are suffering from mental health problems. This brochure is designed to provide information about what is meant by loneliness, as well as highlighting how many people are affected and what effects being lonely can have. We will also discuss the potential options people have to reduce their feeling of loneliness.

This brochure is primarily aimed at those people who are suffering from loneliness but may also be beneficial to family members of those suffering and people with a general interest in the area.

To find out more, download our loneliness guide:

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