Leah Connelly Counselling in Aldershot, Hampshire

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Male suicide and mental health is a huge issue, every two hours a man in the UK takes his own life, that's 84 men who commit suicide, on average each week. Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK and about 75% of all suicides are men. It is not uncommon for people to have passing thoughts about taking their own life but it’s when these thoughts become more intrusive or over whelming then it might be time to share these thoughts. People are being encouraged to talk about this difficult issue, recently Project 84 created 84 individual sculptures and these where placed on ledges on the top of buildings in London for a few days at the end of March. Each figure represented a man lost to suicide and the friends and family helped with the creation of this project. The idea behind Project 84 is raise awareness and to get the conversation going about this difficult subject, to be more open and to raise the issue regarding the lack of support available. Click here if you would like to find out more or to find a helpline number.

Matt Haig wrote a best selling memoir about depression, "Reasons to stay alive". However my favourite book by the author is The Humans, a clever and wry book about the human condition as viewed by an alien on a mission, there are some very clever, funny and sad observations. There are loads of great quotes in the book but this is one of my favourites,
"Advice for a human: Dark matter is needed to hold galaxies together. Your mind is a Galaxy. More dark than light. But the light makes it worthwhile. Which is to say: don't kill yourself. Even when the darkness is total. Always know that life is not still. Time is space. You are moving through that galaxy. Wait for the stars.” Click here to read an article by Matt Haig.

Attachment styles and how they impact our adult relationships

As adults our attachment styles develop as a result of the repetitive interactions we had with important caregivers or parents as babies and growing in to childhood. When we begin to understand our attachment style we begin to understand ourselves better, how we are within relationships in our lives and how this now impacts us as adults. This is a useful and simple introductory article on attachment styles. Click here to read more.

"When the Bough Breaks" - The importance of removing the the stigma surrounding postnatal depression and postnatal psychosis.

I recently watched “When The Bough Breaks” for the second time. It is an American documentary about postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis currently airing on Netflix. It’s a very moving and honest documentary from the perspectives of mothers that have experienced postnatal depression and postnatal psychosis and sheds light on this difficult topic and the impact on themselves and their partners.
Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) state that 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental health issue, primarily depression.

As a society we find it hard to talk about mental health. So given the stigma attached to mental health in general, how much harder is it for a new parent to talk about their feelings and the feelings towards their child? That they may not feel the elation that other new parents feel, that they don’t feel that the can connect to their baby or even in some cases that they feel they might harm themselves or their child.

Paternal postnatal depression is another area that is not often touched upon. The National Child Birth Trust (NCT) found that more than 1 in 3 new fathers, that’s 38% are concerned about their mental health. And studies show that 1 in 10 new fathers has paternal postnatal depression and are likely to suffer from depression three to six months after their baby is born.

“When The Bough Breaks” is interesting, touching and thought provoking. And is another step towards open and honest conversation. If you watch it to the final credits the impact of postnatal depression will really hit home.
The barriers of shame, guilt and embarrassment can hold parents back from having open and honest conversations about how they feel or from seeking help. A documentary like “When the Bough Breaks” is a good starting point to begin to remove these barriers and stigma, an important message from the documentary is that “you are not alone”.

Things to consider when choosing a therapist.

Click here to find a useful article on what to consider when you're looking for a therapist. It can be hard with so much choice and if you don't really know where to start. It is also worth bearing in mind that one of the most important aspects to consider is, do you feel you could build a relationship with your counsellor?

It really is good to talk.

Let's get these conversations started, there is so much stigma and shame attached to talking about our mental health. If anxiety has become an unwelcome passenger on your journey through life then you will also recognise its friend, avoidance. It can start in small ways and then over time your life looks very different to how it used to be. If you want to learn to how to manage your back seat drivers avoidance and anxiety then counselling could very well help you.

Kintsugi: The art of precious scars.

“To me, a piece of broken ceramic finds another piece, and they come to rely on one another. The cracks between them symbolise the wound. The work is a metaphor of the struggle of life that makes people more mature and beautiful as they overcome their sufferings.” Korean artist Yeesookyung.

To find out more visit my Facebook page, click here.

Small Talk Saves Lives

The Samaritans have launched a campaign to highlight how just a small moment of personal connection could change a life. The Samaritans have partnered with Network Rail, British Transport Police and the rail industry to help give people the confidence to help prevent suicide on the railways and beyond.

They want you to go with your instinct, if you think someone might need help simply start a conversation.

Did you know a little small talk can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts?

You could help save a life.

Click here to find out more.


Mental Health at Work

The charity Mind promote the importance of mental health at work.

Mental health is often still considered a taboo subject in the workplace but statistics show that at least one in six workers experience mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

Research from Mind shows:

  • One in five (21%) employees agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress affected them.
  • 14% employees agreed that they had resigned and 42% had considered resigning due to the impact of workplace stress.
  • 30% of staff felt that they would not be able to talk openly with their line manager
  • 56% of employers said that would like to do more for staff wellbeing but don’t feel that have the right training or guidance

    There is an important relationship between staff wellbeing and motivation and business performance. Mind illustrate the cost to business:

  • Work-related mental ill-health is costing businesses up to £26 billion every year, including:
  • £2.4 billion wasted on staff turnover due to poor mental wellbeing
  • £15.1 billion lost by unproductive staff at work who are unable to cope due to mental health issues
  • 70 million lost working days due to mental health problems

    There are benefits to business including financial ones such as increased productivity, reduced sick pay but there is also an ethical and moral aspect that should not be ignored. The reality is that mental health is often silent and invisible. However this does not mean that it isn’t an issue in the workplace or that it isn’t as significant as more obvious physical illness.

    If you’re interested in mental health at work Mind have many resources for employers and employees, click here to find out more.


    Time to Talk Day 2018 is on February 1st.

    It's time to talk, to listen, to change lives.

    Mental health affects one in four of us each year. Every conversation about mental health helps to make it a normal subject for people to talk about. Mental health is often treated as a taboo subject. But mental health affects us all, and everyone should feel able to talk about it.

    Wherever you are - at home, at work or down the gym have your conversation about mental health or simply take the time to ask someone how they are and really listen this Time to Talk Day.

    Click here to find out more.


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