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

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

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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Prenatal mental health

Although the majority of perinatal research focuses on mental health problems in the postnatal period, the beginnings of a shift to recognise the mental health problems women can experience in the prenatal period is emerging … Prenatal meaning before birth, and postnatal meaning after birth.

Prior to introducing this guide, we want to highlight that it is completely normal to experience a range of emotions when preparing for your new arrival. Pregnancy and planning for your baby can bring an element of worry and anticipation about the future. Mixed emotions such as excitement, worry, happiness, and sadness are common when anticipating a change in lifestyle.

Pregnancy hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone can contribute to these emotional changes, particularly in the early months of pregnancy (National Childbirth Trust, 2019). Such emotions are to be expected and do not necessarily indicate a mental health problem. However, there are occasions when women do experience mental health problems in the prenatal period: firstly, we will address the typical changes pregnant mothers can experience, followed by looking at prenatal mental health conditions. Note that we will not discuss postnatal mental health problems in this guide, however you can download our guide to mental health during pregnancy and the post-natal period.

To find out more, download our prenatal mental health guide:

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Mental health during pregnancy and the post-natal period

Mental health during pregnancy and the post-natal period is often treated as a taboo subject, especially by those who are suffering. Some people think that having a mental health problem is a reflection on their parenting ability. Others fear that reporting their concerns will lead to the removal of their new child by social services.

Thankfully, these lines of thinking are not based on fact. Social services worldwide want children and parents to stay together as often as possible, and they understand that parental ability is not determined by mental health. Unfortunately, treating the subject as taboo means that many sufferers do not seek the treatment they require at early stages and often suffer unnecessarily.

With this leaflet, we’ll talk you through a number of mental health conditions that affect new mothers. If you are expecting a baby, try not to worry. As a new parent, it is good to be mindful of these things. And, what everyone reading this needs to know is, these conditions are treatable. Never, ever feel ashamed if you are suffering. You are not alone; there are many people, all over the world, in a similar position to you.

Throughout this leaflet we will be using the terms post-natal and pregnancy. In many instances these terms are interchangeable and can also reflect other phrases such as postpartum, antenatal or prenatal, that all relate to various stages of the pregnancy cycle. Whilst there may be certain scenarios that only occur in one stage of pregnancy, there is general agreement in the field that you can use any of these terms when referencing the whole of pregnancy.

To find out more, download our mental health during pregnancy and the post-natal period guide:

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Positive mental health as an employee

Please note, this guide is currently being updated.

We now spend a great portion of our adult lives either in the office or completing work related tasks at home, instead of taking the time to relax and recuperate. Spending this much time on work related tasks increases the impact that working life has on our mental health. Therefore it is important that as an employee you find a way to improve your mental health at work and encourage your employer to make necessary changes for the good of their workforce.

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Depression

Please note, this guide is currently being updated.

We will all, at times, experience low moods and sadness in our lives. Often we are aware of why we feel this way and it is a response to something upsetting, stressful or frustrating happening to us; however, there are times that we may not be able to pinpoint why we feel sad or low.

Usually these feelings pass in a short amount of time and we are able to move on with our lives. But unfortunately, for some people, they either do not stop or frequently reoccur. In these cases, the person is likely to be suffering from depression.

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