Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 recently took place across the UK, as part of a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of talking about our wellbeing.
At both 58 Wellbeing Centre and 58 Lifestyle, we share the belief of the importance of wellbeing; whether helping clients on a transformative journey, or encouraging you to bring wellbeing and calm into your everyday home and life, we are constantly looking for new ways to help our clients.
As part of MHAW17, we sat down with the experts at 58 Wellbeing Centre Noam Sagi, Audrey Stephenson and Maria Bond to discuss mental health and wellbeing.
After a career in corporate marketing and sales, Noam retrained as a humanistic psychotherapist and integrates different methods, techniques and life experiences to accompany patients on the journey towards wellbeing.
Audrey Stephenson is a counselor and psychotherapist and provides deep, therapeutic and transformative therapies for clients to help them reconnect with who they are as an individual.
Maria Bond is a Care First Consultant and Senior Accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Maria’s role focuses primarily on providing brief therapy for organisations within a time-limited framework.
Q1. What is mental wellbeing?
NS: Mental wellbeing is about taking responsibility for your mental strength as much as you do for your physical health; being proactive rather than reactive. Being fit and agile mentally allows one a better quality of life through awareness, more options, and increased choices in life.
AS: Mental health has had its most powerful re-branding ever. With the bold and inspiring Heads Together campaign of the young royals, that unwieldy term, “mental health”, has had a makeover and become “mental wellbeing”. I for one, love a good makeover show. And if the result is that people in the UK are recognising that mental wellbeing is vitally important and more than just the absence of serious mental disorders or disabilities, then job well done.
MB: Having the resilience to cope especially when things aren’t going well.
Q2. Are there any clear indicators that our mental health is suffering and how can we support our mental wellbeing?
NS: As humans, we all hold a balance between how much we express and how much we suppress. When you feel unbalanced in any of the sides then it is a clear indicator and time to work it out. If you brave enough to look inside rather than outside at that stage, then the work is like preventative medicine or going to the gym.
AS: How do we know when our mental wellbeing is disrupted? We engage more in activities that we later beat ourselves up for. We may notice a harsher internal critic, telling us negative things about ourselves, and begin to avoid certain people or activities because it they have become too difficult.
Lack of mental wellbeing can be subtle, or like a two by four to the head. And ignoring it, just like with physical complaints, doesn’t usually result in the symptoms just going away and getting better. Supporting our mental health is both singular and universal – an issue for each individual, and an issue for the community at large. Mental wellbeing is not a state that one achieves, it is a practice that one works with because health and wellbeing are fluid. Even if you are dedicated to a therapeutic practice and see a therapist for a few years, you will not emerge fixed, a levitating trainee Buddha, that holds mental wellbeing in his open hands. As beautiful and awe inspiring as life is, it is also filled with pain, disappointments and unexpected shocks. A practice of mental wellbeing is what helps here.
MB: We can support our mental wellbeing by having a positive outlook, connecting with others and being active, both mentally and physically, is important for our wellbeing generally.
Q3: What can employers do to support mental health?
NS: Vulnerability is considered as a weakness in the workplace and employers have the responsibility to change that. When worked out, vulnerability is actually a strength because you stop running away from it or pretending, and can benefit the organisation as much as the individual.
AS: Employers aren’t usually au fait with the basics of mental wellbeing and often, they say they aren’t counsellors or therapists, so it lies outside of their remit. But the reality is that a staff that experiences mental wellbeing, is a staff that works smarter – not necessarily harder or longer. Employers shouldn’t be required to solve disruptions to mental wellbeing, however they have a duty of care to notice and provide signposts for their employees – whether they are a part of an EAP or not. From lateness, to gossip and bullying, employers can be encourage to support their staff before sanctions are necessary.
MB: More employers can help by having a confidential support structure in place, where people can self-refer as needed.
Q4: Finally, do you have any other advice or information in relation to mental wellbeing?
NS: Always look at the big picture, both from a client point of view and from a professional point of view. Collaborate, share and talk.
AS: “There is no health without mental health”. Think about that the next time you berate yourself for your anxiety or lack of productivity. Mental wellbeing begins by taking your emotional health seriously. It feels risky, it can feel indulgent, but mental wellbeing feels a whole lot better than the alternative!
MB: Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It is good to give as well as receive help when needed.
58 Wellbeing Centre was built on the belief that wellbeing, health and beauty should be treated by a 360º approach to wellness and that, through this approach, we can fully support our clients’ needs. 58 offers an environment seeped in harmony and tranquillity, giving clients a deeper sense of wellbeing. The centre is a uniquely rounded clinical practice with some of London’s top mind and body therapists, including integrated health, holistic treatments and western medical practitioners.
With treatments and therapies suitable for all ages, from babies, children and adolescents, to individuals or couples, we can help you across a range of areas including depression, low self-esteem and anxiety, relationship difficulties, physical pain and the management of long-term conditions, self-development and identity issues. Find out more at 58 South Molton Street, and get in touch to see how the clinic can be of help to you.
For a soothing and restorative experience in your own home, explore the 58 Lifestyle range. Formulated to balance body, mind, and soul, these products provide an accessible way of transforming your immediate environment to bring calm.