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Mental health

Mental health issues are very common. This section has a dedicated link to a respected resilience resource and also looks at depression, anxiety and suicide.

Research shows that about a quarter of the population experience some kind of mental health problem in any one year. The majority of people can get over them or learn to live with them, especially if they get help early on. Mental health problems affect the way you think, feel and behave.

We all have days when our mental wellbeing is low, this could be down to feeling sad or stressed and finding it difficult to cope. There are many factors that can make someone feel more vulnerable such as; social isolation, loneliness, disability and unemployment. Sometimes there is no obvious reason why a person has a low mental state of health. Often people who suffer mental health will not seek professional help as they feel there is a stigma to the condition. This can mean it is harder for that person to work, make friends or even live a normal life. 

How resilient are you?

An individual's resilience, or ability to bounce back, to regain the confidence to manage pressure and stress is a key part of all our characters. To find out more about your own personal resilience you can take the Robertson Cooper i-resilience interactive resource.

When you use this resource you will gain an insight into where your resilience comes from and how you can develop it. It also provides some useful examples of how this could affect your responses to demanding work situations. When you complete the short questionnaire, you will get a personalised report to help you build on your strengths and to manage areas of potential risk.

Take the i-resilience questionnaire.

Depression

The term ‘depression’ is used to describe a range of moods, ranging from low spirits to more severe mood problems that interfere with everyday life. Symptoms may include a loss of interest and pleasure, excessive feelings of worthlessness and guilt, hopelessness, morbid and suicidal thoughts, and weight loss or weight gain. A depressive episode is diagnosed if at least two out of three core symptoms have been experienced for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks.

The core symptoms of depression are:

  • Low mood
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Lack of interest or enjoyment in life

A depressive episode may be classed as mild, moderate or severe, depending on the number and intensity of associated symptoms, such as sleep disturbance, appetite and weight change, anxiety, poor concentration, irritability and suicidal thoughts.

Anxiety

Studying 350.jpgAnxiety is apprehension over an upcoming event. We anticipate the future with sometimes scary predictions that don’t necessarily have any basis in truth. 

In everyday life physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety can mean an increased heart rate, poor concentration at work, sleeping problems or generally being disagreeable towards family, friends and co-workers. Anxiety and stress are physical and emotional responses to perceived dangers that are not always real. It is often the little things that put us over the edge, such as morning rush hours or losing your keys before running out the door.

There are many different types of anxiety and several recognised types of anxiety disorders, which include:

Panic disorder: people with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning – known as panic attacks.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD): people with OCD are plagued by constant thoughts of fear that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines, such as a person with unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes his or her hands.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): a condition that can develop following traumatic and or terrifying events, such as a sexual or physical assault or an unexpected death of a loved one.

Social anxiety disorder/social phobia: an overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations.  The worry often centres on a fear of being judged by others, or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule.

What are the symptoms of an anxiety disorder?

Symptoms can vary depending on the type of anxiety disorder but general symptoms include:

  • Feelings of panic, fear and uneasiness
  • Uncontrollable obsessive thoughts
  • Repeated thoughts of flashback of traumatic experiences
  • Nightmares
  • Problems sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mood Zone (NHS Choices)Palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • An inability to be still and calm.

Further information is available from NHS Choices ‘Mood zone – Stress, Anxiety and Depression’

Suicide

Most people who choose to end their lives do so for complex reasons. In the UK, research has shown many people who die by suicide have a mental illness, most commonly depression or an alcohol problem. In many cases, suicide is also linked to feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. 

It's estimated that 90% of people who attempt, or die by, suicide have one or more mental health conditions. However, in some cases, the condition may not have been formally diagnosed by a clinician according to research by the NHS.

How can GroceryAid help alleviate some of those feelings?

Counselling

For people who need a more in-depth approach; GroceryAid can provide those who meet our eligibility criteria with an assessment call and if appropriate up to six sessions of telephone counselling. Contact the GroceryAid Helpline to find out more.

Stress, anxiety and depression support

Based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), the course from SilverCloud is made up of online modules with a wide range of interactive tools and apps including; quizzes, journal, videos, mindfulness exercises and interactive charts. The course will help you understand the link between how you think and how this influences your feelings and your behaviour. The programme teaches strategies to help you cope better in the short term and workable skills for life so that you can face the future with confidence. This is an effective online treatment programme for people feeling stressed, depressed, anxious or just down in the dumps. To access this free programme you will need to meet our eligibility criteria. Contact our Helpline (08088 021122) to find out more.

Mental Health: How to support staff

We all have mental health, it moves up and down a spectrum from good to poor and it’s affected by a range of factors both in and outside of work. Starting a conversation about it doesn’t have to be difficult.

One in four of us will fight a mental health problem this year. So if your mate's acting differently, step in and be in your mate's corner.


The charity Mind, has produced a guide that sets out simple, practical and inexpensive steps that any organisation can take to support staff at every stage of the mental health spectrum – whether they are stressed or have a diagnosed mental health condition. The approaches used are universal principles designed to support a diverse range of people across a range of workplaces. It looks at:

  • How to create a culture that supports staff to be open about their mental health
  • How to have a conversation with someone about their mental health
  • How to support someone experiencing a mental health problem
  • How to manage an employee’s time off sick and their return to work

Key points from the guide can be found within our Mental Health: How to Support Staff factsheet.

Mindfulness

The Mindfulness book reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that can be incorporated into your daily life to help break the cycle of unhappiness, stress and anxiety. The book is based on Mindfulness Cognitive Therapy; it revolves around a straightforward form of mindfulness mediation which takes just a few minutes a day for the full benefits to be revealed. It’s precisely focused to help people boost their happiness and confidence levels whilst also reducing anxiety, stress and irritability.

Helpline support

GroceryAid provides a confidential 24/7 Helpline 365 days of the year to anyone who is working or has worked within the grocery trade regardless of service. The Helpline is free and fully confidential and can provide emotional support, money advice, benefits advice, legal advice, financial support and career support.

Related information

Supporting organisations

  • NHS Choices - A guide to mental health services in England
  • Mind – Information and support
  • MentalHelp.net – Mental illness information on topics 
  • Money Saving Expert - Mental Health & Debt
  • Getting Active - Being active is great for your physical health and fitness, but it can also improve your mental wellbeing (NHS Choices)

Contact our Helpline

Contact the confidential GroceryAid Helpline for a wide range of help and advice. For a personal response to your question please use the Live Chat or call us. We are open 24/7 to everyone who works, or has worked in the grocery industry.

08088 021 122

welfare@groceryaid.org.uk

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