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In October 2020, I had a chat with Stuart James of Emotive-Eye for his ‘The Personal Connection’ podcast series about the importance of health, wellness and looking after you.

We discuss a range of subjects including stress, burnout, knowing your own mind and body, listening to yourself and others, and boundaries.

Why not make yourself a cuppa, decide to chill for a bit and listen it to see if there are any hints and tips that could suit you, to help you look after your physical and mental health.

The impact that social and cultural attitudes to mental illness can have on individuals and their care.

This is the 6th in a series of blogs, using answers to pass Mental Health qualifications.

Negative attitudes can cause situations to worsen as people having mental ill health may find it harder to seek help and support, which can cause further isolation and decreasing health.

Difficulties that people already have may worsen.  Whilst there remains a stigma towards mental ill health, people struggling will continue to do so, to talk and still feel further stigmatised, excluded and discriminated against.  This can cause further isolation and individuals will not share their problems and concerns.  Naturally, this can stop someone seeking the correct help and support, potentially making problems worse, especially if they take on self-medication and self-care techniques of substance abuse to help, which of course, it does not.

Obviously, the exact opposite can happen.  If people opened up and felt able to be open and sought the correct help and support, education and realisation would increase and improve, reducing stigma and individual isolation.

Better healthcare techniques could be advocated and be more widely recognised.

The economy could improve as people with mental ill health may find it easier to be accepted into the workplace, causing less strain on the benefits systems and the healthcare system.

The next blog will focus on the legal context of mental illness.

Tracey of PlumEssence Therapies and Training is a Mental Health First Aider and teacher / trainer for a range of Mental Health Awareness qualifications and accredited First Aid for Mental Health courses. 
If you are interested in any therapies, treatments or courses, please make contact on 01889 808388 or 07803 399594 or email [email protected]

How I see how Mental Illness is portrayed by the Media

How I see how Mental Illness is portrayed by the Media

This is the 5th blog in a series about Awareness of Mental Health Problems.

These blogs are written based on work I completed for my mental health studies, of which the majority is written from the heart and based on my own personal experiences of poor mental health.

This part is based on how I feel mental illness is portrayed by the media in films and newspapers and how that coverage can influence attitudes in the general public.

How do I think mental illness has been portrayed by the media in films and newspapers?


Usually in a dramatic, negative way.  Some of the films portray people as ‘mad’, being out of control, causing both emotional and physical damage to people and physical damage to other people’s items.  On the whole, it makes those watching the films, fear mental illness as the people are portrayed as dangerous.


Again, usually in a dramatic, negative way, causing destruction and damage in their path, especially the sensationalised stories of celebrities ‘going off the rails’.

I feel there is some changes but positive reports are small and inconsistent, and easily forgotten with some sensational, poorly, worded headline along the lines of ‘Bonkers Boris causes Bedlam’ or ‘Made Justin hits fans!’

There appears to be no portrayal that these people are suffering in some way and need help, and so the people reading (and believing) the paper will not see this.

How does media coverage influence the attitudes of the general public?

If media coverage can affect people’s attitudes and beliefs in a negative way, it can do the same in a positive way.

Media coverage could do this by high-lighting positive success stories of people over-coming mental ill health to achieve something and so be a positive role model for others.

The stories could also be about how a mental health condition could be used to be an advantage of success, for instance, someone with OCD tendencies using that to be a success because an actor wants the lines to be absolutely correct, or the goal-scorer always scoring the goals.

If more ‘celebrities’ spoke out like those of Stephen Fry just recently, then people would follow and share their stories.

If you want to talk about your own mental ill health, learn about some natural therapies to help cope with mental ill health, or learn about mental health awareness and first aid, then please get in touch.

PlumEssence is based in ST18 near Stafford, and easily accessible for Rugeley, Cannock, Hednesford, Hixon, Uttoxetor, Trentam and surrounding areas.

The Meaning of Mental Health and Mental Ill Health

This is the first in a series of blogs and videos to help give you an initial awareness of mental health problems.

The videos and blogs will cover an awareness of:

Mental Health in general, stress, anxiety, phobias, depression, post-natal depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, eating disorders, ADHD, OCD and PTSD.  All of these subjects will be based on my personal thoughts, my personal experience, and research used to pass my Mental Health Problems qualification.  I have also been asked to talk about the difference between bullying and banter, and alcohol and drug dependency.

I hope you will find the information interesting and informative.

So. What do we mean by Mental Health?

Mental health describes the emotional wellbeing, and emotional resilience of how someone is feeling and able to cope with everyday life and stresses, whether that’s in a positive or negative way.

This leads us to; what is meant by ‘mental ill health’?

Mental ill health is considered to be having a lower level of being able to cope, emotionally, with every day stresses, low personal confidence and self-esteem.

If you are mentally unwell, you tend to have low moods which can fluctuate from day to day.

Mental ill health can include suffering from such things as anxiety, low moods, depression and stress and we will discuss these further throughout this series.

To be considered as having mental ill health, the negative changes you experience must have an effect on you yourself and/or those around you.

Mental ill health can also be referred to as a mental disorder.

What are considered to be the components of mental wellbeing?

The key components of mental wellbeing are considered to be: Resilience, Self-worth, personal perspective, the view of your concerns and problems, Flexibility of being able to cope, Coping Strategies and having the ability to develop and manage positive and supportive relationships.

To go through each in a little more detail:

Resilience is about you being able to persevere, live through and bounce back to your normal (whatever that is for you) after, and while suffering stressful, difficult and traumatic events.

Self-worth is the thoughts about yourself and being able to define yourself as a person, separate from the problems around you.  I believe it is about learning and understanding your strengths and weaknesses and being able to use those to your advantage in coping well, mentally.

Having a healthy view of your problems is a healthier sign of a healthier wellbeing.  It’s about being able to analyse your problems, to manage them and to not over-exaggerate them to the point where they become the definition of who you are, and your life.

In this case, flexibility is about being able to manage your own thoughts, emotions and behaviours in a more healthy and balanced way.

Coping strategies are the ways you use to cope with everyday life, stresses and problems for your physical and mental wellbeing.

Developing and fostering positive and supportive relationships are important to everyone’s wellbeing, especially mental wellbeing.  It is often stated that we become the people with whom we most surround ourselves with, so having positive relationships can help people to see other ways of living and perhaps try to establish those ways within their own lives.  Supportive relationships are important to help people through low and tough, times.

What are the risk factors in developing mental health problems?

There are so many to consider, and there is much written on this subject, but some of the main risk factors are have suffered as well as people I know, are:  isolation, increased anxiety, low moods which can lead to depression, reducing self-worth and self-esteem.  All of these can happen quickly, or over a period of time, depending on the situations someone is experiencing at the time.

Anxiety can set in as people start to worry about the future and the possible outcomes, usually in a negative way.  Anxiety can lead to further isolation and uncertainly about the future. This is how easy it is to get into this spiral of negative thought patterns and reduced positive mental wellbeing.

Depression can take many forms, some of which I will expand upon in this series.  And, again, there has been a considerable amount written on the subject. Depression can last for short periods or longer periods of time.  Depression can cause someone to further isolate themselves, especially if their self-worth is low and cannot, or will not, seek help, love, support and friendship.  As I’ve said, depression can take many forms and there is still a stigma attached to mental health problems which stops people from seeking helps.

Risk factors can include poor physical health, side effects of medication, unresolved trauma and concerns, unhealthy relationships and loneliness.  Each in turn, you could cope quite well with, but when more than one risk factor is present, the ability to cope starts to reduce, continuing to lower your self-esteem, confidence and depressive state.

That’s all for now.  The introduction to mental health awareness.

In the next video and blog, I will provide some of the examples of mental health problems that we will expand upon throughout the series, how mental health care has changed over time and an indication of the problems people with mental health problems, may face day to day.

If you have any subjects you would like to cover, please let me know.  If there is anything on here you would like to talk about, or find out about therapies and training offered by PlumEssence to help and educate about mental health, then look at www.plumessencetherapies.co.uk or call Tracey on 01889 808388 or 07803399594

Education Sector