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Answers to Mental Health Mondays Questions Vol. 1

Answers to Mental Health Mondays Questions Vol. 1

Last month we introduced Mental Health Mondays, a segment on our Instagram stories where we allow our followers to ask us questions they would like to ask a mental health professional. This will take place on the last Monday of each month. Next Mental Health Monday will take place on Monday 30th September. Answering Augusts’ questions is Dr. Erica Lam.

1. What current resources are there for people struggling with anxiety?
You can find some resources listed here: https://alexpantonfoundation.ky/find-help/. Below are some of our recommendation for seeking self-help.
Young mind – focuses on young people and mental health.
Mind  -is a UK based mental health charity.
Mood Juice – is a self-help resource for young people.

2. When work load/pressure and work environment are the source of stress, what can you do to manage?
Having coping strategies can help to combat stress in everyday life, below are some strategies:

  1. 1. Take time for self-care: Things like healthy food, non-harmful substances, sleep (young people need a minimum 8-10 hours a night of sleep, anything less than that is sleep deprivation, which directly impact on our health), down time and pleasure activities, sport and exercise, as well as fresh air and sunlight can all promote positive changes in our mental health.
  2. 2. Learn to change your thinking. If you can’t change the situation, then change the relationship you have with the situation. Instead of looking at demand as stressful, see it as a challenge, come up with a plan to manage it.
  3. 3. Break things into small steps to a manageable size so you can achieve them. Having a plan would immediately make you feel in control.
  4. 4. Lower the expectations/goals, lowering goals does not mean you are being lazy. Lowering it means that you have a higher chance of achieving them instead of feeling overwhelmed and getting nothing done
  5. 5. Stay focused and balanced, during exams/assignments, every 10 to 15 minutes, bring yourself back to the task, look around your surrounding and check in how you are doing as a way to stay mindful and focus. No one can stay focused constantly, but being mindful of what we do, we are able to stay focused and engaged

3. Mental Health in children can be hard to identify – as parents, what are the signs to look for?
You know your children well, pay attention to their changes and ask open questions. Model open discussions of mental health and physical health, so your children feel equip to talk about difficulties when they come up. Change in behaviour, sleep patterns, appetite, school performance are often the sign of distress and worth exploring to find out what cause the changes. Children are often very resourceful and filled with solution if they are given the opportunity to talk.

Young Mind have a great resource in explaining the common symptom and difficulties in children  https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/parents-guide-to-support-a-z/

4. How do you know the difference between a mental illness and just a low period in life?
A low period of life will shift and the child will get back on track to his/her normal self. Whereas mental illness may not shift, it stays for a long period of time affecting our daily functions, our mood, and our interaction with those around us. Being proactive in addressing distress and low mood help to prevent the development of mental health difficulties. Here is some helpful tips https://alexpantonfoundation.ky/find-help/

5. What do you do if you feel a friend may have a mental illness but they do not agree?
People’s resistance is often a sign of their anxiety and fear of not able to cope or something is wrong. Mental health stigma often stops people from seeking help, however, with open discussion, resources, and support in a non-judgmental manner it helps those who are resistant to feel less threatened by the stigma and more receptive about seeking help. Changes take time and patience, showing support in respectful manner help the person to feel accepted hence empowering them to accept themselves.

But if you are worried that a young people is at risk or safe guarding issue please contact  the police and/or Family unit https://www.rcips.ky/the-family-support-unit-multi-agency-safeguarding-hub

6. Who is the first person to talk to if you have questions? Family, counsellor or doctor?
There is no right or wrong person, the first person came to your mind when you are in distress is often the right person to talk to. A person who you trust, feel comfortable and confident that they have your best interest at heart and willing to do the right thing is often the right person to talk to- a trusted adult, teacher at school, counsellor, mentor, coach, doctor, church member, mental health professional are often the choices. The Kids helpline is always a good way to seek help- 649-KIDS (5437)

About the doctor: Dr. Lam is a U.K.-trained Clinical Psychologist an trauma specialist with advanced training and extensive experience working with looked-after children (children in the care system and/or juvenile justice system) and complex mental health difficulties such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative identity disorders (DID). She holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, a Master of Research in Psychology, and Post-grad Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Her practice, Aspire, is located in Unit A13, Crown Square, Eastern Avenue, George Town, Grand Cayman and offers services such as assessment, therapy and training. Dr. Lam is also an Alex Panton Foundation board member, clinical consultant and clinical education committee lead. 

To learn more about Aspire, please visit https://aspire.ky/
 

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