World Mental Health Day 2012
Today (10th October) is World Mental Health Day. This year the focus of World Mental Health Day is depression.
Depression is a condition that affects day-to-day life. It is more than feeling a bit low, or reacting to negative circumstances, it is not a weakness, a personality trait, or a choice of any sort, it is an illness.
This little video, released in time for WMHD, by the World Health Organisation and the incredibly talented author Matthew Johnstone, depicts the condition very well. Please do take a look and share:
“Medication can help some, and others might need a different approach altogether…
Keep a mood journal; getting your thoughts on paper can be cathartic and often insightful. Also keep track of the things that you have been grateful for.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter how bad it gets, if you take the right steps, talk to the right people, black dog days can and will pass.” - Matthew Johnstone
If you would like to try keeping a mood journal but don’t know where to start, visit our site MoodPanda.com, which is an online website and iPhone App that lets you do exactly that, with a support community around it to help pick you up when the black dog visits.
Read more about World Mental Health Day 2012 at MentalHealthy
The Blackdog is Howling
Over the last 2 years it has been refreshing to see that so many websites, bloggers and tweeters have started focusing on the area of depression or as it commonly called “the black dog”
Here is one of my favorite descriptions of the name “Black dog”:
‘Black dog’ is a powerfully expressive metaphor that appears to require no explanation. The combination of ‘blackness’ with the negative connotations of ‘dog’, noun and verb, seems an eminently apt description of depression: an ever-present companion, lurking in the shadows just out of sight, growling, vaguely menacing, always on the alert; sinister and unpredictable, capable of overwhelming you at any moment.
I don’t know if this is a symptom of the current economic turmoil and political unrest across the world or just the fact that people are starting to understand that it is OK to talk in public about mental illness. But from where I’m sitting it can only be a good thing that more and more people are speaking out, tweeting, blogging and propelling the issues into main stream media.
It‘s also amazing to see top celeb’s like Ruby Wax, starting up websites like “Black Dog Tribe” which focus on keeping the black dog at bay and locking it in its kennel. As more high profile people get involved in the black dog movement it’s exciting to see what can be achieved through different forms of technology and media.
Here at MoodPanda we will continue to push forward self tracking as much as we can by creating a place where you can let go of the struggle to appear as happy as everyone else.
Because life is not always shiny.
Ross on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/RossLarter
My favorite Resources:
Moodpanda iPhone App:
Posted by Ross, Co-Founder of MoodPanda.com
Sorrow comes in great waves—no one can know that better than you—but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot and we know that if it is strong we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain.
March 1st is Self-Injury Awareness Day
Research by ChildLine, selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds to coincide with National Self-Harm Awareness Day (1 March) has found that, among 1,398 young people surveyed, more than half admitted to hurting themselves on a daily basis or a few times a week.
What do these high profile individuals have in common? Singer, Fiona Apple; Comedian, Russell Brand; Actress, Drew Barrymore; Actor, Johnny Depp; Actor, Colin Farrell; Actress, Megan Fox; Actress, Angelina Jolie; Singer, Demi Lovato and Princess Diana….
Before finding emotional health, they struggled with self-injury.
Self-Injury is a deliberate, non-suicidal behavior that inflicts physical harm on one’s body to relieve emotional distress. Self-injury has a paradoxical effect in that the pain self-inflicted actually sets off an endorphin rush, relieving the self-harmer from deep distress. It’s important to note that self-injury does not involve a conscious intent to commit suicide - and as such, the clinical term for this behavior is called Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI), NSSI can take many forms from cutting, picking, burning, bruising, puncturing, embedding, scratching or hitting one’s self, just to name a few.
In its simplest form, NSSI is a physical solution to an emotional wound. Generally, it is a deliberate, private act that is habitual in occurrence, not attention-seeking behavior, nor meant to be manipulative. Self-injurers are often secretive about their behaviors, rarely letting others know, and often cover up their wounds with clothing, bandages, or jewelry.
Symbolically speaking, deliberately injuring one’s self can be viewed as a method to communicate what cannot be spoken. With self-harm, the skin is the canvas and the cut, burn or bruise is the paint that illustrates the picture. Most individuals who self-injure are struggling with emotional expression. This clinical experience is known as Alexithymia - the inability to recognize emotions and their subtleties and to understand or describe thoughts and feelings. Many other self-harmers are struggling with internal conflicts, may have anxiety, depression, may have experienced physical or sexual abuse, or other more serious psychological concerns.
Statistically speaking, approximately 4% of the population in the United States uses NSSI as a way of coping. Individuals who self-injure are represented in all SES brackets in the United States with the behavior usually starting in adolescence. Girls and women tend to self-injure more than boys and men, but this may be represented by the fact that females tend to turn to professional help more than males.
Those Who Self-Injure Are Often Trying To:
* Distract themselves from emotional pain
* End feelings of numbness
* Offset feelings of low self-esteem
* Control helplessness or powerlessness
* Calm overwhelming or unmanageable feelings
* Maintaining control in chaotic situations
* Self-punish, self-shame or self-hate
* Express negative thoughts or feelings that cannot be put into words
* Self-nurture or self-care
10 Tips for Reducing Self-Injury
1) Create an Emergency Kit. Place positive things in your kit like photos of people you love, notes to yourself or from friends or family, a journal for writing, markers or art supplies for artistic expression, an inspirational poem, beloved stuffed animal, upbeat music, favorite scents, things like that.
2) Use positive imagery. Visualize yourself moving through your painful moment without self-harming. Research shows that using positive visualization can keep you in-the-moment which is a key tool for recovery.
3) Hold your ground. Sensory Grounding experiences like holding something soft, listening to soothing music, drawing or writing, for example, can interrupt the trance-like state that often comes with self-harm, shifting you towards more positive behaviors.
4) Reboot your mind. Reframe your thoughts toward helpful statements, also known as Cognitive Grounding Skills, like “Who am I really mad at?”“What is setting me off?” or “I am safe and I am in control.” These can re-orient you to the here-and-now.
5) Know your triggers. Become aware of what issues bend or break you. Try to dilute your exposure to them, call upon others to help you move through them and remind yourself that you can emerge from them successfully.
6) Take a detour. Reroute self-harm by using less severe forms of sensations. Holding an ice cube, tearing or shredding paper or a sheet, snapping a rubber band against your skin, sucking a lemon peel are ways to dilute the need to experience pain.
7) Move your body. Consider the adrenaline rush of running, dancing, holding a yoga pose, jumping rope to offset urges to self-harm. The rush of adrenaline has been known to produce the similar chemical surge that comes from self-injury.
8) Forgive yourself. As you try to interrupt your self-harming behaviors, know that it may not come as easily some days as others. Should you find that you’ve lapsed into self-harming, remind yourself that change is a process. Learn to forgive and be kind to yourself as you start anew.
9) Be supportive. If you know someone who may be self-injuring, offer support and try not to shame or criticize the NSSI behavior. Self-injury behaviors can be successfully treated, so help your friend or family member by encouraging them to seek help.
10) Consider calling a therapist. Remember that having an urge to self harm is not the same as actually self harming. If you can distract yourself from self-injury, you are well on your way to recovery. However, if the urges win out, not allowing you to reduce your self-harm behaviors, consider working with a professional.
And one final tip - The Butterfly Project
1. When you feel like you want to cut, take a marker, pen, or sharpie and draw a butterfly on your wrist or your hand.
2. Name the butterfly after a loved one, or someone that really wants you to get better.
3. You must let the butterfly fade away NATURALLY! NO scrubbing it off.
4. If you cut before the butterfly is gone, you killed it. If you don’t cut, it lives
5. If you have more than one butterfly, cutting kills them all.
6. Another person may draw them on you. These butterflies are extra special. Take good care of them.
7. Even if you don’t cut, feel free to draw a butterfly anyways, to show your support. If you do this, name the butterfly after someone you know that cuts or is suffering right now, and tell them. It could help.
Posted by Jake, Co-Founder of MoodPanda.com
2011 Happiness Infographic
Well the New Year is finally in full swing! At MoodPanda we’ve been compiling some interesting happiness stats, and we can finally reveal them!
So what’s made us happy in 2011? Our friends at MentalHealthy.co.uk have written about it
“2011 was a year of global ups and downs. The whole world celebrated as William and Catherine wed in the spectacular April ceremony, while as a nation later in the year, the UK mourned the tragic riots and black face of hardship facing our country.
Ross Larter @RossLarter is a man who knows a great deal about national happiness as he pioneered the crowd-sourced Mood Tracking App & Website MoodPanda.com and has been investigating wellbeing and happiness throughout 2011.
The unique community which allows users to track mood, share problems and celebrate success, has given fascinating insight into the nations happiness like never before. Here he gives us the lowdown of what made our moods in 2011…”
Source: MoodPanda via MentalHealthy.co.uk
Posted by Jake, Co-Founder of MoodPanda.com
January Blues Hits MoodPanda
January can make even the most energetic and lively of us feel down in the dumps, and this January is apparently no exception, with moods plummeting following the Christmas holidays, according to MoodPanda.com, a crowd-sourced Mood Tracking App & Website.
Research from a sample of 15,000 people shows a series of highly elevated happiness peaks before and during Christmas, and again over the New year, but then shows a huge overall drop in mood as we entered the 2nd and 3rd day of the New Year.
January can be a hard month, and the reasons given for the sudden slump are numerous. The festive season has drawn to a close, money is tight after the Christmas shopping, seasonal illness such as flu is rife, and people are heading back to work in miserable weather. Relationship issues over the holiday have also been flagged as a factor for the January drop.
Last year psychologists declared January 24th as the most depressing day of the year, and suicide levels peak around now according to the Samaritans, so it’s a clearly a difficult time for a lot of people.
MoodPanda.com is a community of friendly people, constantly updating their moods and sharing in each others’ problems and celebrating each others’ happiness. Testimonials from users have shown that being part of such a caring community, and focussing on one’s happiness, and the happiness of others can actually lead to improvement in your mood. It’s another weapon in our “happiness arsenal” for beating the Winter Blues!
Some of the user’s comments about tracking their mood:
“Just wanted to say… everyone on mood panda, you are awesome. Anytime I have a bad day, I am always cheered up with your hugs. <3 love you all!!” (sic) Laura E
“Finding this app really helped me. People on here are so nice and helped restore my faith in humanity. Thank all of you” - Kasey B
“Reading other peoples posts cheers me up :)” - Chloe B
“I love this new tracking my whole life kick” - Joe B
“Escaped the clutches of sadness… thank you to all the pandas out there for your support” - Heather H
“Having this app cheers me up. Have been wanting 2track my mood 4 ages now :-) ” (sic) - B-rad C
Time will tell which day of 2012 is our most depressing, and how our happiness changes as the Olympics approach, but MoodPanda.com will continue to monitor and report it live on their Website throughout the year
Posted by Jake, Co-Founder of MoodPanda.com
It’s Time to Talk
It’s Time to Change
Let’s end mental health discrimination
Don’t be afraid to talk about mental health
www.moodpanda.com - keep a happiness diary