Rellie (aka 'the elephant in the room') is a valued member of the SWR Mind team. She is, as you can see, an elephant! She joined us in 2013 to help us tell you about interesting stuff happening locally, and to raise awareness of the importance of looking after our mental health and challenging the stigma and discrimination that so often affects people with mental health problems. Rellie usually posts to this Blog on Friday's, so do call back regularly to see what she has been up to and what she has to say ...
Friday September 19 2014
Can't wait! I'm off to SWR Mind's Annual General Meeting (AGM) next week. It's all happening on Wednesday 24 September at the Rainbow Centre in Scarborough. I am told that light refreshments will be available from 12.30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 1 p.m. My friend Pat Marsburg, the Mayor of Scarborough, is coming along as our Guest Speaker - she's going to tell us why she chose SWR Mind as her Charity of the Year, so that should be really interesting. Anyway, if you are a member of SWR Mind, I hope you can make it and look forward to seeing you there :).
Friday August 15 2014
Hi everyone, I've been out and about with Pat Marsburg, the Mayor of Scarborough Borough, again! Had a FANTASTIC time at Scarborough's Cricket Festival. I took my nephew, Marcus (he's come to live at SWR Mind too), and we met the 'king' of cricket umpiring and commentating, Dickie Bird ... I can't tell you how thrilled Marcus was to meet such a famous person!
Anyway, all this excitement had an important reason. Pat the Mayor has chosen SWR Mind as her charity of the year, great news for us because she is helping to raise money for us and, just as importantly, awareness of the importance of good mental health. In the wake of the tragic death of Robin Williams to suicide, and the growing awareness of mental health problems amongst sportsmen and women Marcus and I were warmly received by the folk at the dinner and were just overwhelmend by their generosity. Those present dug deep and donated an amazing £1,134. SWR Mind will use this money to help more people in our area to step on to the road to recovery.
You may be wondering why Marcus is called Marcus. Well, SWR Mind and the Mayor decided to name him after the cricketer Marcus Trscothick who lost his career with England through depression and anxiety.
Here I am with Marcus, Pat and Dickie Bird.
Friday July 18 2014
What a fun day I had on July 15. Having spent a week or so with Pat Marsburg, the Mayor of Scarborough Borough (I was spoiled rotten!), she brought me back to SWR Mind for an exciting interview with Yorkshire Coast Radio, and a photo shoot with Scarborough Borough Council. The point was to let everyone know that SWR Mind are launching a Summer Scavenger Hunt and that the Mayor is supporting SWR Mind because she appreciates what an important cause mental health is.
Personally, I would like to sincerely thank Yorkshire Coast Radio for promoting our Scavenger Hunt and Pat Marsburg for choosing us as her Charity during her year as Mayor of Scarborough Borough.
Here I am with 'Mayor Pat' (my pet name for her) and DJ Dex from Yorkshire Coast Radio
Friday June 27 2014
Hi All, Rellie here, just a quickie to let you know that I am spending a few days with the Mayor of Scarborough. I am soooo excited! The Mayor is called pat Marsburg and she has already given me a posh necklace to wear so that when we have our photograph taken together next week we will look like twins. Come back soon to see the photo ... In the meantime here is Pat in her Mayoral gowns with Mayoress Hilary Groves.
Friday 7th March 2014
Weekly meditation classes at Woodend in Sitwell Library, The Crescent, Scarborough (YO11 2PW) - Tuesdays 7.30pm til 8.30pm. Donation of £5 recommended but no-one is turned away due to lack of funds. The class is run by Ani Tselha, a Buddhist Nun who has a heart of gold! No religious exclusions, this class is for everyone - you'll be greeted with a warm welcome :)
Some benefits of meditation include better focus, less anxiety, more creativity, more compassion, better memory and less stress.
If you can't attend the class, or don't fancy it, you can download an App called Headspace (it's free!) which provides a guided 10 minute meditation.
Friday 21st February 2014
Laura Stephenson from Pickering was kind enough to share this wonderful piece of her own artwork with us.
The painting represents subjective feelings of mania and depression associated with Bipolar Disorder. Laura says "I know a lot of people aren't aware of the condition itself hence my inspiration for the piece".
If you're looking for a creative outlet, there are groups available locally:
The Supportive Art Group is a twice monthly art therapy group for adults with mental health difficulties or learning disabilities. It's run by Sue Holmes who is a qualified Art Therapist and offers the opportunity to "paint, draw, create, sculpt, think and relax" in a supportive art studio space. The group meets on Wednesday afternoons between 1pm and 3pm at The Street in Scarborough. Booking is required and there's a small charge (£3 per session).
Contact Sue on 07888 998 962 or through arttherapyyorkshire.co.uk to book your place
The Embroidered Table Cloth "Befriending through the Arts" group is run by Whitby, Scarborough & Ryedale Disability Action Group for people looking to make new friendships, develop their creative skills, share their skills and experiences and take an active role in the community. The group is free.
Contact Kelly at the DAG office on 01947 821001 or at email@example.com
Friday 7th February 2014
Aquarist Josh Saunders with one of the depressed penguins at Scarborough Sea Life Centre
Suffering with a touch of the winter blues? Well, you're not alone - The Northern Echo reported yesterday that penguins at the Sea Life Centre in Scarborough are so fed-up with the relentless rain and wind that they're being treated with anti-depressants! Display curator Lyndsey Crawford commented to the newspaper "After the first week [of bad weather] our birds were just a bit subdued, but after over a month now, they are thoroughly fed-up and miserable, much like the rest of us".
So, hang on in there, it's getting to us all... But surely the weather has to p p p - pick up soon!!
Read the full article here
Wednesday 5th February 2014
Time to Talk Day: 6 February
Tomorrow brings a whole day of conversation on mental health. There are a many ways you can get involved either online, through social media (#TimetoTalk), head out and have a cuppa with a friend or perhaps like me, drop a line to someone you haven't talked to in a while and let them know you're thinking of them. I had a lovely chat to Aunt Nellie; it's good to hear a friendly voice!
Friday 24th January 2014
Big thanks to Sally and Corinne for helping me choose dinner and I'll be looking forward to the next big trip out!
Friday 17th January 2014
Claire at work (above) is a great believer in the benefits of Mindfulness. I wanted to know a little bit more about what Mindfulness is and how it could help, so I asked Claire to write something for the blog so we can all learn a little more.
Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body based approach which involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings so we become aware of them, less enmeshed in them and better able to mange them. It’s about accepting life and ‘living in the moment’. It doesn’t mean escaping unpleasant feelings or a “relaxation exercise” but an approach to life that can help people relate more skilfully to thoughts, emotions, body sensations and impulses as they arise. Although commonly associated with Buddhism, developments in psychology and neuroscience support mindfulness as being an inherent part of the human mind that can be developed and enhanced through secular meditation practice.
What does all this mean?
It means that Mindfulness can be a very important part of a person’s recovery from their own mental health problem.
Mindfulness- Based Cognitive Therapy has a proven record of preventing the relapse of depression. In fact MBCT is recommended in NHS guidelines published by the National institute for Health and Care Excellence as a treatment of choice for recurrent depression. Over the past three decades Mindfulness has been applied in clinical settings worldwide for the promotion of physical and emotional well-being among individuals suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and a range of chronic health conditions such as Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia.
Where can I find out more?
Search the web, there are courses run in York, Scarborough and Whitby. You can talk to your GP about being referred for MBCT. Many books are available and there are courses online at www.bemindful.co.uk, The Mindfulness Association has more information and runs courses as well.
Monday 13th January 2014
I’d like to wish all my keen readers a peaceful and healthy 2014. It’s that time of the new year when all our unrealistic resolutions are beginning to falter! I'vealready broken my no-peanut January and the fridge in the office appears to be steadily building up our usual stash of tasty treats.
Did you know that every year almost 80% of us fail to achieve our resolutions? Some clever folks with big beards have decided that it must be because we have unrealistic goals and try to do too many things at once. (Sophie in the office disagrees, having only made resolutions to stop smoking, lose weight, start karate lessons, learn the guitar and finally finish reading ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’)
I think perhaps it’s sometimes just as good to focus on things that we would like to do and so I’ve been spending my week trying out some new hobbies to tickle my trunk!
After twenty minutes hard climbing, I decided that perhaps cycling was not going to be the best way for me to get fit and eventually enjoy the beautiful scenery in our area!
After a chat with Claire in the office on the benefits mindfulness, meditation and yoga could bring I decided to get my trunk in a knot. Sitting still was definitely my preferred form of exercise!
Rather than a healthy eating plan, I’m resolved to learn new things to cook. Peanut butter sandwiches just don’t warm me up in cold and dreary January! I took at trip to Scarborough Library and raided the cookery section. This is my first effort at a Hairy Bikers curry.
After using all that energy, I decided that perhaps some more leisurely hobbies were in order. Recent research has shown that reading, particularly in shared reading groups really helped people suffering from depression in terms of their social, mental, emotional and psychological well-being. Lots of local libraries run reading groups, as well as lots of websites and it’s definitely more my pace!
I don’t spend an awful lot of time on the internet, it’s rather difficult to type well with great big feet but I did decide I would like to learn something new and make new friends so I have joined http://elefriends.org.uk/ to make sure there’s always someone I can chat to when I’m having a bad day. I’ve also been busy browsing free online courses from http://alison.com/ and https://www.futurelearn.com/
Planning drastic changes to keep for a whole year is just too daunting so I'm going to treat every day as a fresh new page in my book of life and do my best to make the story as enjoyable as possible! Good luck finding something new to enjoy in 2014!
Tuesday 24th December 2013
The team at SWR Mind wishes you a happy and peaceful Christmas.
"I have always thought of Christmas as a good time; a kind, forgiving, generous, pleasant time; a time when men and women seem to open their hearts freely, and so I say, God bless Christmas!" - Charles Dickens
"May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace, the gladness of Christmas give you hope, the warmth of Christmas grant you love" - Author unknown
Friday 20th December 2013
It’s chilly outside and I’ve been thinking about heating costs – I suddenly remembered (because elephants never forget!) to apply for my Warm Homes Discount. It means that I can look forward to £135 discount on my fuel bill in April. You might like to do this too - all you need to do is ring your energy provider and ask if you’re eligible (they’ll be able to tell you based on which benefits you receive). Most energy providers offer this, and it is worth asking yours.
What else have I done recently?
It’s been busy in the office as usual, but I did make a point of nipping out to the AGM at Scarborough Survivors. It’s been a long time since I went to Survivors and it was rellie (see what I did there?!) nice to see Andrea and everybody.
These cold days and dark evenings can be a bit dismal so I’m going to make sure that I meet my friends there more often and I think that I’ll go along to the crafters group on Thursdays run by our friend Carolyn.
Well that’s all for now, all that left’s to say is that I hope Christmas treats you kindly and I’ll be back in the new year to tell you my plans and what I’ve been up to.
Friday 6th December 2013
This picture might sum-up how we all feel at times during the run-up to Christmas... Tired, overwhelmed, emotional... But trying to get into the spirit!!
Just a little note from me - Rellie Ellie - to say be kind to yourself this Christmas time, remember it's just a day, much like any other. However you spend Christmas, keep warm, safe and remember we're all in it together ;)
Friday 11th October 2013
It’s Friday again so here I am
I’ve put on my footy kit and I’m going round to my mate Carl’s to watch the match … Tonight’s a big night. England needs to win tonight and on Tuesday next week to qualify for the World cup in Brazil next year.
So come on England!
I love my football. I’m an Elle’rton fan as you might expect. It was really good to read in last weeks Sunday Mirror that our Manager Roberto Martinez was backing the Mirror’s mental health campaign. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/everton-manager-roberto-martinez-backs-2343560
Martinez is, as you may know, a regular pundit on Match of the Day (one of my favourite programmes J). I was very interested to hear that he’s taking part in a programme called Imagine Your Goals in which Everton In The Community and Mersey Care NHS Trust run football coaching for more than 150 men with mental health problems.
“The men I met were finding it hard to get through periods of depression or stress,” he said. “But by playing football they recovered in an incredible manner just by doing exercise".
You see, mental health issues are rife in professional football as well, so I decided to have a chat with our Finance Officer, Carl. He loves football too and when I asked him about the issue of mental health problems amongst footballers he told me that:
“The macho world of football has been laid bare in recent documentaries, mainly through football’s suicide secrets on the BBC. The programme explored the death of Gary Speed, Gazza’s mental health problems, Robert Enkes’ suicide and Clarke Carlise’s moving story about feeling his career could end before it begun and the attempt he made on his own life.”
So, you see, just because you’re rich famous and ‘living the dream’ doesn’t make you immune to mental ill health. The football terrace is an unforgiving place and so are the expectations heaped on those who, in reality, are just young men doing what they love.
Carl reminded me that football began as a predominantly a working class sport. “It’s remains a ‘macho’ environment” he said “where mental ill health isn’t talked about. ‘Pull yourself together!’, ‘Grow a pair!’, ‘Just get on with it!’, and ‘What you got to be depressed about!’ are all things you hear at the football ground”.
Carl said that a lot of the people sat around him when he’s at games are men, which made me wonder about the number of male suicides in the UK. Carl and I did some research and we found out that the number of men over the age of 15 in England and Wales who took their own lives from 2001 to 2011 totalled a staggering 38,621. The number of women in the same period totalled 12,780. Both these figures are far too high. It seems that depression among many men is a ‘no-go subject’. It’s seen as failure and often the phrases above are applied to men suffering from mental ill health. Also many don’t recognise it. Often it ends in anger and many end up in jail rather than a doctor’s.
If you love football like Carl and I do please watch this documentary
It’s time to talk about mental health problems: managers, coaches, fans and players alike. 1 in 4 people will have a mental health problem at some time in their lives. So, when you’re on the terrace with your friends, or in the changing room with your team, remember this - in your squad of 12, 3 of you are likely to suffer some mental ill health.
That’s a great big 3 to 1 in betting terms.
It doesn’t have to be an elephant in the room with those odds.
Rellie and Carl
Friday 4th October 2013
Friday has come round again and so I’m back on the blog to chat to you about mental health. Surfing the Internet yesterday, I spotted some interesting information on the mental health foundation’s website about food and mental health.
As an elephant I am a herbivore and I love to eat fruits like bananas, and apples and veggies like carrots, cabbage, and spinach … I don’t mind a few peanuts either when I can get some! I drink fresh water, which fortunately is plentiful in the SWR Mind office where I live.
Anyway, back to mental health. It seems it’s becoming more and more apparent that the food we eat has an impact on our short and long-term mental health, AND plays a contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s the evidence, I asked myself. Well research has revealed that nearly two thirds of those who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or fruit juice every day, compared with less. This pattern is similar for fresh vegetables and salad. Those who report some level of mental health problem also eat fewer healthy foods (fresh fruit and vegetables, organic foods and meals made from scratch) and more unhealthy foods (chips and crisps, chocolate, ready meals and takeaways).
So, it seems that a balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring we eat healthy food. But don’t forget, whilst a healthy diet can help recovery, it should sit alongside other treatments recommended by your doctor.
I know what you’re going to say, a healthy diet can be more expensive. You’re right. Fish, fruit and vegetables can be particularly pricey. However, by cutting down on sugary drinks and snacks, takeaways and alcohol, you can save money so you can buy healthier foods. Here are a few tips you may find useful:
- Take care to buy only as much as you know you can use within the next few days, to reduce waste.
- Cut your costs by taking advantage of special promotions and by shopping at market stalls, which are often cheaper than supermarkets.
- If you live alone you could save money by splitting purchases with friends (buying bulk is usually cheaper) or by cooking several portions of a dish and freezing some of them. This also saves energy and saves you the effort of preparing meals every day.
- Frozen fruit and vegetables are often cheaper than fresh produce and are usually just as good nutritionally (with no wastage).
- Fresh fruit and vegetables are usually cheapest when they are in season. Beans, lentils and soy mince are also cheaper than meat and just as nutritious.
- Make sure you eat at least three meals each day. Missing meals, especially breakfast, leads to low blood sugar and this causes low mood, irritability and fatigue. If you feel hungry between meals you may need to include a healthy snack such as fruit, nuts and cereals. (Sugary foods are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. This may cause an initial ‘high’ or surge of energy that soon wears off as the body increases its insulin production, leaving you feeling tired and low).
- Eat a wide variety of foods to keep your diet interesting and to ensure you obtain all the micronutrients you need. Include some red meat and fish, as they are good sources of vitamin B12, another nutrient that seems to be associated with mood. If you are vegetarian or have a limited budget, include fortified soy mince and yeast extract to increase your intake of this vitamin.
- Include fish, especially oily fish, in your diet. A few studies suggest that omega 3 oil supplements may reduce symptoms in people with depression on antidepressant medications.
- Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Maintain adequate fluid intake. Not drinking enough fluid has significant implications for mental health. The early effects of even mild dehydration can affect our feelings and behaviour.
That’s all from me for this week. I hope you have found it interesting and useful. Oh, and by the way, if you want out more, have a look at the mental health foundations website.
See you next week
Friday 27th September 2013
Hi it's Rellie the Relevant Elephant here! I'm having a coffe with my friends Corinne and Sally from work. They've just told me about the fundraising walk on Saturday 5th October - can't wait! I'm definitely going to be there, hope to see you there too. Now, where did I put my trainers...
Meet us at 12pm outside Scarborough station for a gentle amble down to Scarborough Spa. Suitable for all :)
Thursday 19th September 2013
The elephant in the room is that thing that everyone knows is there but nobody speaks about.
Mental health is the elephant in the room.
I’m the Relevant Elephant ... you can call me Rellie :)
I am here at SWR Mind to talk openly and honestly about mental health and how it affects people.
The first thing to I want to tell you is that mental ill health affects one in four of us. In Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale … that’s an elephantine 39,000 people TODAY!
Bet that’s surprised you … well, here’s another surprise. Most mental health problems are caused by life experiences like divorce, bereavement, caring for a loved one, workplace stress, debt or childhood trauma. These are things you all know about, but maybe you don’t associate them with mental ill health.
Mental ill health happens when our life experiences or life situations become too much to bear. We just can’t cope any more … a perfectly normal and understandable reaction to dealing with the huge stress or situations that we don’t have any control over.
If you, or someone you know, is going through a situation like this, it’s really important to talk to someone. Talking can really help. You can talk to us at SWR Mind. We will do all that we can to help.