Mental Health in Bassetlaw: Our poster and key rings are now available!

Within the North Nottinghamshire area there is a wide range of help available for anyone who needs support. However, it is not always easy to know who is out there and how to find them, especially when it comes to children and young people.

You Before Two and the Bassetlaw Place Based Partnership (BPBP) have teamed up to design and produce posters and key rings as a quick and easy way to locate different organisations, locally and nationally that can be accessed for support. The money for this project was secured through a successful grant application to the Bassetlaw CCG Small Grants Scheme to ‘Support Men’s Mental Health- Suicide Prevention.’ (NB: Our posters are for all ages and genders).

Asking for help can be one of the hardest steps, especially as a young person, so we have put together this poster that can be downloaded and printed off and also links to the QR code on key rings that are being given out for free in local secondary schools.

You may need support on sexual health, mental health, eating disorders, bereavement, suicide, self-harming, homelessness or just need someone to talk to.

Everything is covered here! However, if you still do not know where to start, please contact your local GP or speak to a trusted adult.

If there are any more contacts that you would like to be added to this contacts poster in the next issue, please contact us at info@youbeforetwo.co.uk.

https://www.youbeforetwo.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/18565-You-Before-Two-Mental-Health-Bassetlaw-Poster-Revised-Version.pdf

That together thing

Hello 2022. Hello you.

Still remote. Mute? Frozen? Oh no, we are just so skilled now with that coordinated action of camera and microphone, like some kind of new breed of zoomie wizards. I’m 14 days in and no talk whatsoever of ‘seeing me but not hearing me’ or vice versa. Dare I say it, we are pros at this and have decided that two years of a new ‘thing’ automatically entrenches it into our every ‘thing.’

Shall I tell you what I’ve learnt? Go on, humour me? Yep, that together thing. All warm and squidgy and dare I say a tad earnest. But my oh my, going it alone, in virtually anything nowadays, is pretty horrifying. Grab yourself an emotionally intelligent friend, family member or colleague and life starts to creak itself out of almost any trauma. After all, how good do we know we really are without asking someone? The chances are we aren’t going to give an accurate description of ourselves, to ourselves. But someone else? Someone else can see us, hear us, help us and you never know….join us?

Having recently read the utterly captivating book ‘The Choice,’ by Edith Eger, where another soul, or belief in another soul, can salvage hope when all of life appears hopeless, I am reminded of the human spirit. A reminder of how humans need other humans even when we
don’t believe that to be true. Edith talks about ‘never criticising’ others. ‘Ever.’ Now there’s a thing. To really think about that, every time we speak. Try it. Something extraordinary happens. We are led onto a road where the only paths are friendly. Well what a thing. Delivering bad news, but never actually being bad. This is where humans learn to like each other despite disagreeing. Mmm, novel. I LIKE!

Nothing impresses me more than ambitious young people. Last night I had the privilege of meeting some of the members of our local youth council. An erudite teen chairing her way through an online meeting of mixed ages and sexes, like a knife through butter. We have never owed the stage to young people more than we do now. Time for adults to step out of the way and for the teen-massive to get back to what they do best, being together with their mates, as much as humanly possible. Something we need to aspire to ourselves in adulthood, even if it now feels a bit wrong, or a bit wierd.

As I said, together is better.

 

 

On Me Heart Son!

Being one of those that, ‘only watches the England matches,’ I am probably not best placed to pass any kind of judgement. However, it is hard not to get swept up and share the sentiment that footballers cut rather a different dash in 2021.

As a child I remember the fast balls, cars, cash and ‘wags.’ All washed down with copious amounts of booze, babes and greasy press coverage.

What we see now is very, very different. Those white shirts spark a fresh joy that feels clean for all ages, and an influence that is inherently good, infectious and impressive. A goal scored on the pitch is now matched off the pitch, by the players being named seemingly one by one, on the Queen’s Honours list for services in their communities. This has become so much more than football and the ultimate pandemic antidote that we want to wash down in great big joyful gulps.

If you need any help to push all this cerebral percentage sport that we now see almost everywhere, down into the depths of that beating red organ in your chest, watch Mason Mount give his shirt to a little girl waving to get his attention after the match on Wednesday night.

If that doesn’t get you then tune into Radio 4’s ‘Profile’ on Raheem Sterling, who’s father was shot dead when he was 2 years old. Listen to how his mother brought him and his sister to London for a ‘better life,’ and his commitment to training, catching three buses every afternoon and returning at 11pm each night. Hear how badly he was treated by fans and how doggedly he came through it. It is 14 minutes of your life you won’t regret giving up.

Learning of a grown man sobbing this week as the NHS covid-app removed his ticket to the Final in one intrusive ping, I wanted to cry myself, for that is one moment that cannot be rolled over to next year like our lamented holidays.

The anguish of a loss tonight will be sharp indeed. If the unthinkable happens, I will focus on the words of Winston Churchill, for it will be a moment for only the biggest of statements.

‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’

 

 

Are you a Saint Bernard or a Jellyfish?

Seven hours later I felt somewhat subdued trying to absorb my BEAT Eating Disorders training for healthcare professionals. I was relieved the training was in two parts as I did need some time to reflect on just how inadequately we manage this condition in society and the healthcare system.

Even within my lifetime I know I can safely say that sufferers of eating disorders in the most part, had zero help twenty years ago. And I mean zero. Thankfully, there have been giant progressive steps since then. What we are now realising is that the bigger part of eating disorders has very little to do with food. It is a nuanced spaghetti junction completely unique to the sufferer, who will bear some, but rarely all traits of someone with the same diagnosis standing right next to them. Twas ever thus in all areas of medicine in fact, harping back to the main ethos in medicine of treating the patient, not the condition.

Indeed the features of eating disorders below could easily apply to many patients and many illnesses, or simply the human condition at certain moments in our lives:

  • resistant to change
  • ambivalent about treatment
  • ashamed
  • self-deprecating

However the list above does draw upon one common calling for empathy and understanding. This is easy to request but often so difficult to deliver, especially when the patient is a person we love, when emotion can power our limbs and lips like robots. During my two days of training I was introduced to the concept of
‘skills-based caring’ and the animal metaphors on the back of work done by Treasure, Smith and Crane. I have in fact just ordered their book!

We were encouraged to be the dolphin (collaborative, guiding) or the St Bernard (calm, warm, nurturing), rather than the less effective animal crew below:

  • The Rhino: angry and controlling
  • The Terrier: nagging and critical
  • The Kangaroo: overprotective
  • The Ostrich: avoidant
  • The Jellyfish: over-emotional

Yet again, we are reminded not to provide solutions to problems as our default parenting strategy. I suspect the problem solving prowess of the Rhino is unsurpassed, yet ultimately unhelpful. And those hyper-sensitive tentacles are something very much not to be messed with. Who wouldn’t want that jellyfish on their side?

It is a really uncomfortable thing to get our heads around. But I shan’t begrudge it of interesting. It is extremely interesting, not to mention empowering, evidence based and powerful.

Yet another wonderful bit of training leaving us all with the sense of ‘what is seen cannot be unseen.’

Me and my inner zoo have learnt a little more and it feels good.

‘If we aren’t feeling butterflies, we aren’t alive’

These were the words of a teacher I spoke to this week, and he should have felt relieved that there was a screen between us, as there was a real risk of me lounging forward in request of a jubilatory hug or a high five!

Hugh Grant who talks often about his severe stage fright.

We all remember that looming deadline being the only thing that got that essay in on time, or that burst of adrenaline on opening night, producing our best performances ever. Time and again we hear from famous actors and singers that they are quite simply paralysed with fear before they go on, but how this doesn’t stop them performing in the most part. Riding those waves of anxiety and realising how closely the physical symptoms of excitement relate to these sensations, is a really powerful thing to understand. In our workshops we talk about ‘rebranding’ those physical feelings of churning tummies, sweating palms, racing hearts, and allowing ourselves to see these as signs of excitement. It isn’t just things that fear us that create these emotions, but also things we really really want, but are frightened to strive for, out of fear of failure.

As long as we aren’t standing on the edge of a cliff or contemplating swallowing dangerous substances, we do need to encourage each other and our children to embrace being scared, and ‘do it anyway!’ The theory behind this, is that when we have tackled something once that we were initially dreading, we are able to do it again with much less fear and maybe even enjoy it.

Anxiety is our super power. It sends tingles to the outermost areas of our bodies, widens our eyes to see things more vividly, generates shivers in our skin and pounding in our hearts. It shows us we are alive and about to do something that really matters to us.

https://youtu.be/BUvEEVq4woU

If we are just a bit giddy, a bit doubty and can’t stop ourselves feeling scared, well…. we are just going to have to do it scared. This is what we should be teaching our children, not giving them options to dodge, choose something else or seek counselling when all they need is a cuddle, a kind ear and a supportive little nudge to finish what they’ve started. Who cares if it goes wrong? Making these errors when we’re young is an educational gift that should not be feared or wasted. Check out the Nike ‘play new’ campaign above to embrace all those sports flops! Come on in epic fails, we need you, we want you. You are how we learn.

 

(Extreme anxiety that is causing persistent sleepless nights, rebound depression, the inability to work, go to school or leave the house, or the need to control those extreme emotions by self medicating with drugs, alcohol or gambling is something very different. See your GP or contact any of the organisations/websites referenced here if you feel this might be how you’re feeling right now).

HELLO !!!!

Thank you so much for being the first visitors to our new website!!

It has been a spectacularly busy year.

For that, I feel completely blessed. Not a single moment has been wasted on me. Stepping out into one unseasonably balmy evening after the next, following a (very) long day in the office, with colleagues of the actual human form, has made me feel tired, but lucky, when so many other team players have been forced into isolation entirely against their will.

The NHS has risen to the challenge. Just.

The vaccines have proved a previously unimaginable triumph.

But now the real work starts to fix the broken hearts and heads. This will take time and dogged positivity. No amount of NHS alone is going to fix this. It will take extra time, effort and possibly finance from everyone to bring us back from the 2020 full body shock.

Would you be interested in volunteering for You Before Two?

What is a Volunteer?

“…An important expression of citizenship and essential to democracy. It is the commitment of time and energy for the benefit of society and the community and can take many forms. It is undertaken freely and by choice, without concern for financial gain”

The Volunteering Code of Practice

Please contact us if you would like to be part of the work of You Before Two.