About a quarter of us will experience a Mental Health problem in the course of a year.
At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week (8th to 14th October) we are taking the opportunity at Bethlehem and Omokoroa Medical Centres to provide our patients with some resources to support their mental health. These are by no means meant as an alternative to a visit to the GP but are available to support your mental health around your consult.
In times of severe mental health distress out of hours the hospital crisis team is available. Their contact phone number is 0800 800 508
How to tell if you or your family member needs help
Even if you are close to someone, it can sometimes be hard to tell how much emotional pain they are in and whether they need help; and it can be equally as hard recognising in it yourself. Often, it’s something small that can make you think something isn’t quite right – and more often that not, that hunch will be right. You might see it in yourself or in someone else, or someone could see it in you.
You might want to get extra support if they or you:
Don't want to see their friends or no longer enjoy spending time with their friends and family
Stop doing things they used to love or don't seem to be enjoying themselves
Can't remember things, concentrate, or pay attention
Feel bad about themselves – guilty, worthless or ashamed
Have a big change in eating patterns or appetite
Have extreme mood swings
Feel hopeless or really sad, or cry a lot
Feel anxious, stressed, nervous or scared a lot and can't seem to relax
Are not happy unless they're using drugs or alcohol
Don't take care of their appearance or personal hygiene
Have physical signs of injury or that they are hurting themselves
Have panic attacks – rapid heartbeat, unable to breathe, feeling dizzy and extremely scared or anxious all at once.
If you, or someone around you is living with “The Black Dog “ of Depression, our experienced team of practitioners are able to support you and your mental health.
Your GP may talk to you about a number of ways to tackle mental health conditions. These may include medications. However, they are just as likely to include other ways of finding the way through that may include lifestyle measures ( healthy eating, reducing alcohol consumption, exercise and self care), mindfulness and counselling amongst other things.
We have access to refer our patients for free counselling. However, at some points in the year demand outweighs supply. There are a number of options available to people living in the Bay of Plenty in these cases.
Free / Subsidised Counselling Services.
Te Manu Toroa provides counselling and a mental health team for NMO enrolled patients. In addition it also provides other community mental health services for non-enrolled patients, e.g. community alcohol and drug support.
Private Psychologists and Counsellors
Funding for private psychologists and counsellors may be accessed through WINZ, ACC (if the mental health problem is directly linked to the accident) or through some employers EAP (employee assistance programme)
Apps e-therapy & guided self help.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a technique you can learn which involves making a special effort to notice what's happening in the present moment (in your mind, body and surroundings) – without judging anything. It has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don't have to be spiritual, or have any particular beliefs, to try it.
It aims to help you:
become more self-aware
feel calmer and less stressed
feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
be kinder towards yourself.
Many people find practising mindfulness helps them manage their day-to-day wellbeing, but it doesn't always work for everyone
Can mindfulness treat mental health problems?
Common mental health problems. Studies show that practising mindfulness can help to manage depression, some anxiety problems and feelings of stress.
How does mindfulness work?
The way we think (and what we think about) can affect how we feel and act. For example, if you think or worry a lot about upsetting past or future events, you might often feel sad or anxious.
The theory behind mindfulness is that by using various techniques to bring your attention to the present (usually focusing on your body and your breathing), you can:
Notice how thoughts come and go in your mind. You may learn that they don't have to define who you are, or your experience of the world, and you can let go of them.
Notice what your body is telling you. For example, tension or anxiety can often be felt in your body (such as in a fast heartbeat, tense muscles or shallow breathing).
Create space between you and your thoughts, so you can react more calmly.