By Jeremy Godwin.
Hello and welcome to another issue of Mental Health Talk! Let’s get into this week’s newsletter with a round-up of practical advice for improving and maintaining your mental health and wellbeing – this week I’m sharing articles about the neuroscience behind why we feel stressed, how mental health affects your sleep, things you can do when you feel lonely, and more. I’ve also added a one-off ‘Focus On:’ section for this week to talk about the recent passing of Caroline Flack in the UK, because it’s a very timely subject with a lot of relevance to what I talk about in Let’s Talk About Mental Health. So, let’s talk!
This week’s Episode of Let’s Talk About Mental Health…
This week’s episode/post of Let’s Talk About Mental Health is Let’s Talk About… Family. It’s all about how to establish healthy relationships with your family and how to manage dysfunctional relationships for the sake of your mental health and wellbeing. Read here or listen below:
If you enjoy the podcast, please share it with anyone you know who may find it useful and engaging. Also, if you could take a moment to click on the ‘follow’ button (like the one in the player above) that would be much appreciated, because the more followers my podcast gets the easier it is to help other new listeners find it (search engines only seem to be interested in stuff that other people are interested in!). Thanks 🙂
Articles of the Week…
The Neuroscience Behind Why We Feel Stressed – and What to Do About It (Thrive Global, 28 January 2020): I love an article that explores the ‘why’ behind the stuff that goes on in our brain, and this one looks at what’s going on internally when you’re stressed. Read it here.
Depression and grief tackled at new Bedfordshire men’s group (BBC News, 15 February 2020): I often get people reaching out to me to ask what they can do to help make a positive impact when it comes to mental health, and I always suggest to start with your own skills/passions and do something that excites you or makes you feel good, no matter how small. This article from the UK is a great example of someone doing something in their local community that serves to help others. Read it here.
How does mental health affect your sleep? (HealthTimes, 4 February 2020): I think most of us assume that there’s some connection between mental health and sleep, but did you know just how intricately connected the two can be and how different mental health conditions can have different effects? This article provides a pretty solid overview of the subject (warning: it’s a long one). Read it here.
10 Little Things To Do When You’re Feeling Lonely (HuffPost, 25 January 2020): I talked about loneliness in Episode 15 and this article from HuffPost continues the conversation with tips to help you feel a bit less lonely. Read it here.
An Island in the Storm of Life (My PH.D. Story, 27 January 2020): I don’t usually share blog posts but the author of this article, Dr. Adriana Bankston, is someone who reached out to me on social media to chat about how she might be able to make meaningful contributions to mental health advocacy and support, and I was thoroughly inspired by this article she wrote about some of her experiences which is raw, vulnerable, and downright brave (which I am sharing with her permission). Mental illness is such a personal thing and different for each person, and what unites us all is the way we can connect with one another’s stories by sharing our struggles and our triumphs. My advice Adriana? Keep doing what you’re doing and telling your story, because there will be people who connect with it – and you can count me as one of them. Read it here.
Focus on: Media Consumption, Choices & Consequences…
Trigger warning: Discussion of self-harm/suicide.
I want to take a moment this week to talk about what happened in the UK recently with Caroline Flack, a television presenter who was hounded by the media (and the public via social media) and who died by suicide. I have included links to a number of articles below about the story which make for challenging reading, especially the decision by her family to share a previously-unreleased Instagram post in which Caroline talks about the challenges she is facing (read it here in Sky News but please read my note below about my decision to share this specific article). Some specific articles I thought were relevant to the conversation were:
- The Guardian (UK) – Caroline Flack, former presenter of Love Island, dies aged 40
- ABC News (Australia) – Why Caroline Flack’s death highlights problems with UK press
- The Guardian (UK) – Politicians condemn press intrusion after Caroline Flack’s death
Here is what I want to say about what happened to Caroline: The viciousness of the media – especially tabloid newspapers and magazines – is ridiculous. If you choose to consume tabloid trash, you are making a choice that has far-reaching consequences. Famous people who are chased by paparazzi or torn to shreds by nasty so-called “journalists” are still people. Just because you choose to do work that puts you in the public eye, that doesn’t mean that people have a right to hound you and try to destroy you. If you make a mistake, you are entitled to a fair trial in a court of law rather than the court of public opinion.
Each of us has a choice to make about the energy we put out into the world, for the sake of our own mental health and others’. If you pay money to these publications or read their articles online (which then gives them more readers so they can sell more advertising and make more money), then you are part of the problem. Please stop. Do you really need to know what the latest celebrity diet is or see a blurry photo taken of a famous person’s house from a helicopter? No! Please choose to stop being part of the problem. #NoMoreTabloids
Please note: In sharing the link to the Sky News article I am not endorsing that platform/news service in any way. I chose to share that specific article because it was the only one I could find before my deadline for finishing this newsletter that contained the entire text of Caroline’s previously-unreleased Instagram message which has now been shared by her family. I felt that it was important to share an article that had all of Caroline’s own words in full, rather than one with a journalist’s commentary or analysis of specific sections. On that note… if anyone in the UK can tell me whether or not The Guardian is a fair and balanced publication (which is why I go with ABC News in Australia where I can) I would appreciate it, as I’d rather not be sharing articles if that’s not the case (so far they seem to be, but I think it’s always best to check). Thanks.
If you are having difficulties with your mental health, talk to someone.
- In Australia, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
- In New Zealand, call Lifeline Aotearoa on 0800 543 354 or text ‘Help’ to 4357
- In the United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland, call Samaritans on 116 123
- In the USA, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255
- In Canada, call Crisis Services Canada on 1.833.456.4566
- For helplines in other countries, click here and choose your country from the drop-down list at the top of the page (“Find a helpline by Country”)
TED Talk of the Week…
Living Without Fear (Dr. Jee Hyun Kim, TEDxMelbourne, June 2017): A great talk that looks at how important our early-life attachments are and how we can learn to live without fear – I talked about fear in Episode 10 of LTAMH and it’s an endlessly-fascinating subject because it goes to the core of our human experience. Running time: 18 minutes. Watch it here or in the player below.
Favourite Instagram Post of the Week…
Quote of the Week…
To finish up here’s a quote I absolutely love this week – take a few moments to consider what it means to you in the context of your mental health and wellbeing:
“Receive without pride, let go without attachment.“Marcus Aurelius
Next Week on Let’s Talk About Mental Health…
Next week’s podcast topic will be Let’s Talk About… Purpose. I’ll be talking about what purpose is, why it’s a huge part of mental health and wellbeing, and how to find ways to bring a greater sense of purpose into your day-to-day life while still paying the bills.
Podcast and transcript/article available Monday morning (Australian time) – find it and all past episodes here (where you can also subscribe to have it land in your inbox each week). Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and others (see my Podcast page for links) as well as an audio-only version on YouTube. And if you like it, please leave a review and tell your friends/family/etc!
Random cat photo/Meme of the week…
Coaching services now available…
Before I sign off today: I’ve talked a fair bit lately about the importance of talking to someone, and if you are interested I offer coaching services via video conference anywhere in the world – have a look at www.letstalkaboutmentalhealth.com.au/coaching for more information and rates.
Until Next Time…
Thanks for reading! If you liked this newsletter and you haven’t already subscribed to Let’s Talk About Mental Health, please do so at the bottom of any page on the website.
If you have any ideas for what you’d like to see/hear/read more of on Let’s Talk About Mental Health or in this Mental Health Talk newsletter, you can get in touch with me via social media using the links below.
Have a brilliant week, take care of yourself and remember: be kind to others, you never know what their struggles are and what you put out comes back to you!
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© 2020 Jeremy Godwin