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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?

Films:

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.

Newspapers:

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.

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