Mental Health | Thrive Stress Free App

Good evening my lovelies!

I’ve recently been covering mental health on the blog, if you are a regular reader then you will know my thoughts on this topic and how important it is to continue to raise awareness and reduce the amount of stigma surrounding it.

Thrive gave me the opportunity to give their relatively new app Stress Free* a whirl, their Stress Free app released in 2016 set out to help prevent, detect and manage mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Their evidence-based app allows you to use a variety of techniques to cope and manage stress and anxiety.

With the current waiting process for seeking help for your mental health, anything that can help people with their struggles is a huge bonus, generally the only way to get access to receiving treatment is when your mental health is deteriorating and you warrant a referral by a GP or need to be hospitalised which should never be the case. Andres one of the founders of Thrive is a UK trained psychiatrist, his aim is to form an app to try and prevent mental illnesses from progressing.

Thrive is clinically focused using evidence based activities to try to treat and prevent common mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression. The app is super easy to navigate around, to begin with your asked to answer a couple of questions of how you have been feeling over the past week, Thrive ask that you try not to think about the responses because it’s best to give your immediate answer.

Thrive have incorporated a mood meter into the app which asks you daily how you are feeling, the mood meter is a slidable scale from feeling low to feeling really happy which is what I like to see, because lets be realistic you are never one or another. I know that sometimes when i’m feeling rather rubbish I might not be right down to the red side of the scale but just into the orange, so I like how realistic it is.

Once you’ve used the mood meter it leads you onto the thought trainer, this is cognitive behavioural therapy based and helps you train those pesky negative thoughts to see the positive in them.

I’ve used the mood meter to generate the results below, so i’ve put my moods relatively happy, I’d say about mid way through green. I was recently interviewed for a Senior Mental Health Support Worker position and am yet to hear back from it, but I am feeling really positive and have had good feedback so far. I have always dreaded interviews as my brain goes to mush and heart ends up in my stomach but I managed to hold it together and I feel great.

After filling your mood meter the app asks you a couple of questions and allows you to pick from a variety of options based around your answers. Thrive then gives you suggestions of which activities to complete to help you build resilience, combat stress and eliminate negative thoughts.

Thrive’s various activities provide you with ways to help you cope with daily stresses and negative thoughts and include:

Breathing

Deep muscle Relaxation

Self hypnosis

 Meditation

By doing deep muscle relaxation it tenses and relaxes your muscles which in turn calms your mind. Meditation teaches you to not engage with your negative thoughts and allowing to them pass by. The self hypnosis section will try and train you to put yourself in a hypnotic state and the calm breathing helps you to relax your mind and body, just three minutes three times a day will have long term positive benefits.

The Stress Free App allows you to track your progress throughout using it which is really handy as you can see where you are progressing.

I really like the applications activities and I can see them being beneficial to someone that is struggling with their mental health but I think that charging such a high fee for people to have access to it is the wrong approach.

I believe that people with mental health issues could be put off paying out such a large amount of money to get help as i’ve found that when suffering from depression it is hard to realise that you are struggling especially to the point where you are willing to resolve it financially.

Download the app getting yourself a free trial using FSFJUNE310617

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Mental Health | Self Care

Mental Health is such an important topic that needs to be more widely discussed but unfortunately there is still so much stigma surrounding it. I’ve recently covered mental health on my blog with posts on my own mental health story and MQ Mental Health Charity so that’s where this post comes in, what can you do to help manage your mental health with self care.

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When struggling with your mental health sometimes even the basic daily routines become a problem such as taking a shower, socialising with friends, attending appointments, not being able to get out of bed, that might seem unrealistic to those who haven’t had a mental illness or not know much about it but when you’ve got a mental illness such as depression these simple daily tasks become unmanageable and less important. Practicing self care techniques may help manage or prevent symptoms from developing but this is not always the case for everyone, some might require the use of medication and/or therapy, everyone is individual and unique, what works for me might not work for you.

If you’ve read my post on my own mental health journey you’ll notice that my mental health is a lot better than what it was, it’s a lot more manageable, it’s not totally gone as I do go through periods where I am pretty low in mood but nothing that requires the use of medication just a little self care when I finally force myself to do it, I am a little stubborn and i’ll keep telling myself and my husband i’m fine.

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With working full time which involves 12 hour shifts 3 times a week and being a mum to a 3 year old life is pretty hectic, it’s really important for me to set a side at least a hour for some self care whether it would be binge watching Netflix, going to the gym or a pamper evening, just that little bit of time for myself. Usually my self care routine involves me running a bubble bath, lighting tonnes of candles, grabbing my favourite face mask out of the drawer which is currently Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal  Purifying Glow Mask (£16), caking my ever so dead hair in a Argan oil mask and catching up on my current favourite shows which are Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy and The 100. Sounds perfect right?! it is, it really does the trick with helping me relax which in turn washes away half of the problems that which when you step back and look at the bigger picture, shouldn’t be an issue.

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There are so many different types of self care that you could try such as meditation, starting a blog/journal, declutter, wear your favourite perfume, spend time with your loved ones or go to an exercise class.

Your mental health is important, it doesn’t matter if you feel it’s the smallest thing in comparison to others it still matters.  If you are suffering from any form of mental health speak to someone, a friend, a family member, a charity, your GP, it is really important that you don’t let it take over your life. I’d like to think that I will always make time for anyone that wants a chat if they’re feeling low.

Do you have your own mental health story? I would to hear how you coped with it in the comments below!

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MQ Mental Health Charity | Young People’s Mental Health

I recently covered my own mental health journey on here, I think it is such an important topic, we need to raise more awareness and get rid of stigma surrounding having a mental illness. There is absolutely no shame in having a mental illness, i’ve had one and it’s more common than you think. People shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed to seek help from professionals, family or friends but unfortunately this is still the case.

I believe that mental health should be part of the national curriculum, young people should be educated about this, in my opinion it’s crucial. If children are educated about what types of mental health they could come across and where they can seek help, it may help them take the first step quicker as they will recognise the signs instead of ‘on average taking 10 years to seek help after the first symptom has developed’.

MQ stands for mental health and quality of life, they are the first major mental health charity  funding pioneering research into mental health, they aim to create a world in which mental illness is understood, effectively treated and prevented.

MQ’s current campaign is about raising awareness to the lack of funding for Young People’s Mental Health and how this is negatively affecting the diagnosis rate and treatment, it is just as important as any other type of illness. Three quarters of young people with a significant mental illness are not in touch with mental health services which is shocking, this might be due to fear surrounding the stigma of having a mental illness, rejection and embarrassment. The infographic below highlights all of these shocking statistics.

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Sensitive Post | Mental Health Awareness & My Own Journey

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Mental Health is always a touchy and sensitive topic for anyone that is going through it or has experienced it in the past, with 1 in 4 people experiencing mental health in the UK and 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem. With working in the mental health sector as a support worker it is definitely something people need educating about as there’s not a lot of understanding surrounding mental health and the different disorders there is, which leads to a lot of stigma surround it there is absolutely no shame in having a mental health problem.

Mental health hits close to home for me, I have experienced depression about 5 years ago when I was with my abusive boyfriend, at first he was lovely and then he totally changed I would say he didn’t necessarily hit me but put pressure on my arms to restrict me from moving sometimes leaving bruises, was controlling and always played mind games but at the same time reverting back to the person I first met, it got to the point that honestly I didn’t want to be around anymore I just felt utterly useless and stuck in a rut it triggered i’d say unresolved feelings about the death of my mum. My mind would instantly wander to thinking of my mum, the grief of when she passed away and not the thoughts of the good times before she passed away but the bad when she went through domestic violence herself on many occasions I saw first hand so as you would imagine wouldn’t do well for my deteriorating mental health.

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After months and months of being with him and constantly feeling utter rubbish I took myself off to the doctors who prescribed antidepressants, and of course that didn’t go down well with him as he kept making me feel like I was attention seeking. After a year of being with him I was lucky enough to be speaking to a guy that I had met through Instagram who is now my husband, he made me realise how much he was controlling me without knowing about the situation, it helped me finally open my eyes. It’s so easy to get blind sighted being with someone who is controlling and nasty even after promising yourself you would never put yourself in that situation regardless of what any one says.

I took the antidepressants for quite a while, they seemed to work but I really needed to get myself out of the relationship where one day I really just had enough of feeling so horrible, it’s not me and to be honest I thought that i’ve been through enough shit in the past without that adding onto it, I broke free of the relationship and persisted despite the endless calls, texts and turning up outside my flat and it honestly was the best thing i’ve ever done. I now no longer need the antidepressants, I have a lovely husband and the most beautiful daughter and aiming to go back to university to progress my psychology degree and do mental health nursing, don’t get me wrong I do feel depressed at points surrounding anniversaries of my mum which as you’d imagine is understandable but it’s manageable without medication.

Your mental health is important, it doesn’t matter if you feel it’s the smallest thing in comparison to others it still matters.  If you are suffering from any form of mental health speak to someone, a friend, a family member, a charity, your GP, it is really important that you don’t let it take over your life. I’d like to think that I will always make time for anyone that wants a chat if they’re feeling low.

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