One Year On... by Libby Reid

A year ago today our lives quite literally transformed. Who would have thought, driving home for Christmas so excited belting out “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” to turn into the most painful and shocking night of our lives.

A year on without my big brother and quite literally, a day hasn’t passed by without thinking of Sam. Sometimes it’s funny thoughts like “boy he would be chuckling” and some sad like “oh I wish I could tell Sam that” but that’s missing someone and the grief process right? 

This year has been a year of firsts. Birthdays, summer, Christmas.  It has been a hard one and the most challenging year yet but I/we as a family had a choice to make: were we going to question why this had happened? grieve every single day for the rest of our lives and curl up in a ball, never leaving our rooms? or would we share Sam’s story to help others, to try make an impact in breaking the stigma of mental health. The latter is the option we went with and so far it has turned out to be a pretty good one!

I never thought a year ago today I would be running a website, a goal of mine for some years but especially not one based around mental health. We definitely couldn’t see past the facts of what had happened and not in a million years did we think we would have appeared on the radio, in the newspaper and on social media.

My highlight of this year has been the H.U.G event, which happened in October. Firstly, I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the night because all I could picture was my brother shaking and burying his head in utter embarrassment and secondly, because we managed to pack out the building with people who shared the same interest, raising awareness of mental health. With that we raised £3000 and were all just in shock for weeks after and overwhelmed of the stories and loved shared in just a few hours. 

Friendships have been another highlight. Whether that be reconnecting with old friends, getting closer to those already around us or building up new relationships with the people closest to Sam. We have been blessed with them all and in some sense it has been quite overwhelming. Something I have loved and has really helped me is talking to Sam’s best friends. They remind me so much of him and having that big brother figure has been so comforting. I suppose it is quite sad that it takes an event like this to realise who your closest friends are, the people you know you can turn to no matter what, but I think we have all realised who they are and have made some lifelong friends through such occurrence. I can confidently say we wouldn’t be getting through the day to day with out you all, so thank you!

There are many positives and amazing things which have happened and are still happening but there have been some pretty rubbish days too. It may be a smell, Sams aftershave, something someone says that triggers everything to come rushing back. Even though it will never go away, it gets easier and how I specifically cope has changed throughout this year, even with it all being so raw still. Goodness knows what this next year looks like but I hope we can continue to raise awareness of mental health and more people can continue to seek help (another incredible thing that has happened this year, the amount of people, whether that be family members or strangers who have spoken out about their own mental health problems). 

The most exciting thing I am looking forward to in this forthcoming year is running the London Marathon with my Dad in aid of two mental health charities. Who knows what we have let ourselves in for but every ache and pain we encounter is because we are both so determined to make a change and ultimately because we loved Sam so much and want to remember him in a unique way.

I am still, a year later, coming to terms with the loss of my big bro and I would say this Christmas season has been the hardest so far. Almost as if the shock has gone, but realisation is kicking in and you replay the events leading up to it. Everyone is talking about family time, what to buy their siblings or looking forward to their siblings coming home for the Christmas period. Yes, it hurts but also makes me so happy that people are so loving and looking forward to family time because that is the most important thing to me at Christmas and something I would say to anyone still with a sibling. No matter what you or they do, never stop showing your love for them and never take your family or even the day for granted because a normal day for me turned into a tragic one.

So, despite the difficulties this year has brought and the challenges still to come, I am determined to make this Christmas time a good one and do what my brother loved best at Christmas, which was be with family… oh and eat as much as you can on Christmas day. 

Lots of love and hugs,

Libs xx

McPin Foundation - "Transforming Mental Health Research"

McPin Foundation is a charity, with their main aim of “transforming mental health research”. They conduct their own research and provide methods of coping with a mental health condition as well as building up individuals, equipped with the necessary training and skills so they can conduct their own research.

They have recently conducted a research program, releasing the top 10 questions with which young people, carers and professionals want answering with a report accompanying. They state specifically the questions finalised are “unanswered by research” or at least, little evidence surrounding the matter and hence requires more work and research in dealing with them.

McPin Foundation gathered these groups of people to find out what issues were important to them, as well as their career plans. They were all asked to submit questions they thought important, which were analysed by professionals and common themes determined. The questions were narrowed down and grouped into research questions with the top 25 most common questions analysed. These were then finalised into the top 10 which were published on the 27th November.

It were facts such as, 1 in 8 children and young people aged between 5-19 years old had experienced a mental health problem in England, 2017. Moreover, around 50% of 17-19 year olds had either self-harmed or made a suicidal attempt with suicide been the leading cause of death among the younger generations in England, 2015. If you are interested in other statistics you will find them on the report they released (link below) along with all the questions from the survey.

http://mcpin.org/get-involved/youngpeoplemhq/

Self Help Books for Young People

Attached (click the title and you will be taken straight there) is an excellent list of books given to GP’s, with the aim of providing young people with resources to help them with a wide range of mental illnesses, whether that be anxiety or an eating disorder for example.

Definitely worth looking at or sharing with those you know this may be of benefit to.

https://www.gp-update.co.uk/SM4/Mutable/Uploads/medialibrary/GP-Update-Handbook---Self-help-books-about-mental-health-issues-for-young-people.pdf

H.U.G Success

Our first event was a massive success thanks to all of you that turned up and donated sooo much for such an incredible cause. Ticket sales, donations on the night and the silent auction resulted in us raising a huge £3000. We were quite speechless to say the least. We will be splitting this between Mind and Young Minds, both part of Heads Together.

Thank you to everyone who made the night possible with months of hard work and preparation!!

Now on to the next and let’s keep raising as much awareness as possible.

xx

Let's Talk Campaign

Charlie Clift, a professional photographer and Kate Forrester, a lettering artist have gathered a bunch of celebrities, whom suffer from mental health issues, to create an artistic and thought-provoking outlook on mental health. Forrester paints people’s most distressing and challenging thoughts on their faces and Clift captures the moment. Jordan Stephens, who was involved in the campaign explains it as “wearing my heart on my face”

People may view this as harsh and difficult to understand, as the painful words written upon their faces is striking but in actual fact it has created something so positive and somewhat joyful. These “legends” have been so open, and committed an act which needs to happen more and is currently the main problem surrounding mental health. Speaking out. #itsoktosay

Celebrities which have gotten involved in this campaign are: Jordan Stephens (rapper in Rizzle Kicks), Sue Perkins (comedian and was a presenter on The Great British Bake Off) and Alastair Campbell (British journalist and author) as well as many more. Sue Perkins stated “if you suffer with anxiety or a panic disorder it doesn’t mean you can’t also be strong, fun or capable”. Perkins said she found the experience “liberating” and said “I know I am not weak, we are all a work in progress”. Personally, this is a fantastic and realistic statement to make from someone whose career is to make people laugh and happy but yet deep down they have really dark days off the stage and television.

Just a little food for thought - what do you think would happen if we were all to write our feelings on our faces? How many people do you think would have words written the same as yours? Perkins said “It would be like: I can’t believe you get anxious, too. I had no idea.” and I totally agree.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/30/brave-words-a-photographic-project-is-helping-people-with-mental-health-issues-express-how-they-truly-feel

 https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/30/brave-words-a-photographic-project-is-helping-people-with-mental-health-issues-express-how-they-truly-feel

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/30/brave-words-a-photographic-project-is-helping-people-with-mental-health-issues-express-how-they-truly-feel

Libby Reid’s Experience of University So Far

So starting university can be daunting and you are most probably feeling very anxious. Trust me I have been there and wow it was tough.

 It may be your first time away from home or maybe the fact of having to make new friends daunts you because you have been at the same school for your entire education. Well I arrived at university with thousands of question just spinning in my head to the point where I needed my parents to keep reassuring me and just say “relax” for me to understand that everyone else is in exactly the same position! I thought, what if I don’t make friends? What if I fail? Aren’t people going to judge me for going to church after everyone at school were so supportive of my faith and accepted me for who I was? What if I get homesick? What if I didn’t pass the first year and couldn’t get into dentistry, what would I do with my life? All these things were going through my head for weeks and weeks and it got worse as I started to meet new people on my course and thought, they didn’t like me or feeling angry that I couldn’t ask them what I wanted because my anxiety yet again prevented me from doing so. 

 My mum said it would get easier but I really couldn’t see how, unless someone could take away all the anxiety and self doubt I was experiencing. Well she was right I suppose! I got to Christmas and I was finally starting to settle in, found people on my course, was attending the Christian Union, despite the challenges and was enjoying my course.

 Now the second semester was very challenging after my brother’s death but the fact I spent the Christmas period with my family, after delaying my January exams, helped a lot and meant I could mentally sort myself out. I was determined to go back to university and thats exactly what I did. I was just as nervous for going back this time than I was the first, especially because I was so scared of people avoiding me because they didn’t know what to say or in fact asking me if I had any siblings when I introduced myself to new people. 

I was staying in private halls which weren’t part of the university and sadly didn’t really have much communication with my flat. However, I suppose this was kind of a good thing because it meant I could retreat to my room after feeling exhausted from communicating with people all day. I knew this probably wouldn’t do me any good in the long term, that’s not to say time alone and self-care is not important. Far from that. But if I was going to do this every time I got in then mentally I would have made things worse. Thankfully, Ellie a friend from home decided she was going to move in to the room next to me, after commuting for the first semester. I was so grateful and some could say perfect timing.

Now exam period was extremely stressful. I found myself up at 11:30 pm still revising and then waking up at 8 am the next day to carry on from the night before. My self-confidence spiralled lower than it already was, asking myself was I good enough? What if I have to retake the exams? and worrying about going out at night with my friends because I should be revising.

Of course after doing my exams I thought I had failed and was preparing to retake them but my mum and dad constantly reassured me that everything was going to be ok and that if I had to retake them what was the big deal? What was really going to happen? They were right! What really would have happened if I had failed my exams and I had to retake them? Yes I would have had to revise over summer but I had 16 weeks off anyway!

Below are some top tips I would recommend for your first year of university:

 

  1. Self-care - always make time for you, it is not selfish! if you need to have some alone time, tell your friends and be honest. Are they really your friends if you can’t speak honestly and truthfully to them about how you are feeling and they don’t support you?

  2. Manage your workload - prioritise and step away when you think things are getting too much. I will now go to the gym or on a run when I am feeling stress. My parents laugh at me because I will go to the gym a very anxious and stressed person and come back completely different, my usual energetic, loud self (yes I really am very loud when I am at home!!)

  3. Literally make the most of every opportunity and try not to back out because once you have passed the first hurdle of introducing yourself and making friends it will be so much easier from there (I am still trying to get better at this one!). I highly recommend joining societies because this is where most of your friends will be made, probably not in an hours lecture where you say hi and thats it. However, don’t do too much or join too many societies to the point where you are overloaded by work, training and socials, manage your time wisely.

  4. Set your goals high but not to the point where it is unrealistic and makes you more stressed

  5. Don’t be picky about your friends and think that you have to stick with them and can’t speak to anyone else! (something I regret doing in first year, I definitely wish I had spoken to more people)

  6. Look out for other people as well as yourself, you may find a buddy which feels just the same way as you

  7. Eat a balanced diet - I believe diet and exercise vastly improve your mental state. I will be writing a little bit on Deliciously Ella’s podcast on the gut soon, where she shows the correlation between your health and your mental state, very interesting!!

  8. Most importantly, BE YOURSELF - it’s going to be a lot of hard work if you try and be someone you are not. In the end you most probably won’t be able to keep it up and will just crash in a heap. I know a few people whom live their lives based on others and it’s now you start to see that they really don’t have their “perfect” life with “perfect” friends and they in actual fact have no clue who they want to be or do with their lives. 

  9. ENJOY IT!!

I am now in second year and yes I still find things tough but the fact I am living in a house with 5 amazing girls, brings comfort and that sense of loneliness in first year has completely gone. So my parents were right all along, as usual and things will get easier, so don’t worry!!

This is just MY experience with university so far so please don’t think this is what it is like for everyone or that the tips I have given are correct or the right things to do, they are just right for me and the reason for me sharing them with you is because they might be beneficial to some. If I can help one person then that really has accomplished what I set out to achieve.

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Mentally Healthy Schools - Heads Together

Heads Together is a campaign set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex. The campaign was created to tackle the stigma of mental health and to change that conversation, for people to speak out.

The Duchess of Cambridge has recently launched the first programme for Heads Together, “Mentally Healthy Schools”. The aim of this is to enable better support for primary school children by providing teachers and other school staff with practical ideas and plans to put into practice. The Duchess of Cambridge’s main goal is for early prevention to reduce the number of adolescents suffering from a mental health condition later on in life. Research has shown that more than half of all mental health problems in adults start by the age of 14 and around 1 in 10 children suffer a mental health problem before 11.

The Mentally Healthy Schools website covers 4 main areas:

  1. Teaching Resources e.g. assembly and lesson plans

  2. Risks and Protective Factors

  3. Mental Health Needs

  4. “Whole School Approach” for the school leaders

There is a whole range of useful ideas and information, explained in simplistic terms what mental health is and how we can recognise and help children suffering. In addition, there is a section of topics with reading lists e.g. bereavement, anxiety, self-harm etc all the things which are very much common in school and therefore something I think is a great resource right at the click of a finger!

Please share with any teachers or staff you know who work in a school and you think would benefit from this.

https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/

Mental Health at Work

If you are working in a toxic environment everyday, this will inevitably result in corrosive mental health. Work is where most of you probably spend most of your time as well as making most of your friends and building relationships. Research has found that the value added to the economy each year due to mental health problems is £225 billion, which is astonishing.

We all have mental health whether that be good or bad. When we experience good mental health we can deal with things, cope with challenges and generally have a good self-acceptance of ourselves. This is something we should all aim for, especially if we aren’t coping or finding it hard to deal with the challenges laid out at work.

There are a range of legal rights to protect yourself at work which come under the Equality Act (2010) and Disability Discrimination Act. These acts enable those with a mental health problem to be protected from discrimination and allows entitlement to adjustments. Personally, this is where I believe the stigma lies. The fact that someone suffering a severe mental illness is termed ‘disabled’ may like my brother feel like they stand out or have a black mark on their forehead, so to speak. This isn’t the case at all and hence why we need to try and break this stigma and start to realise it really is just an illness of the brain. The definition of ‘disabled’ is actually someone who suffers from a physical or mental illness that limits their day to day life.

The Mental Heath Foundation has released 10 evidence-based ways to improve mental health at work:

  1. Talk about your feelings

  2. Keep active

  3. Eat well

  4. Drink sensibly

  5. Keep in touch

  6. Ask for help

  7. Take a break

  8. Do something you’re good at

  9. Accept yourself

  10. Care for others

The Duke of Cambridge along with the team at Heads Together and Mind have launched a scheme “Mental Health at Work”. This scheme offers a source of resources, training and the tools required to introduce wellbeing at work. I highly recommend watching the video of Prince William talking about this scheme by clicking the link below.

https://www.headstogether.org.uk/2018/09/10/the-duke-of-cambridge-launches-mental-health-at-work/

Hope you all have a great Monday and remember the quote!!

#quoteoftheweek

Marcus and Libby Reid secure a place in the London Marathon 2019

We are both delighted to have gained a place in the London Marathon and privileged and excited to say Libby will be running in aid of Mind and Marcus in aid of the Mental Health Foundation. 

Both these charities mean a great deal to us, as many of you know and therefore this opportunity is probably going to be one of the most precious moments as we hopefully will run the course together. 

Running has become a big part of both of our lives, especially in helping our mental well-being and dealing with the most challenging year as of yet. 

These charities enable the resources to be made to try and teach more people about mental health as well as raising awareness and breaking the stigma associated with it. 

Libby has a fundraising page with more information on why she is running the marathon for Mind, where you can also donate, if able and Marcus' will be posted as soon as one has been created!!

Thank you for taking your time to read and please head over to the fundraising page for Libby. 

xx

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LibertyReid

"Dying to be Heard: the Bravest Thing You'll Ever Do" - Dr Alys Cole-King

The director of Connecting with People and Open Minds Health shares her thoughts on the reasons behind the statistics of suicide in men being higher than that in females. It is a fantastic and knowledgeable article which is simple yet informative. 

One of the quotes which challenged and inspired me was "suicidal thoughts should be seen as a sign to change something in your life, not to end your life"

Dying to be heard: The bravest thing you'll ever do

Everyone would be talking about it.

Imagine if managers and company directors all buried their heads in the sand. The industry would – quite rightly – be up in arms.

Yet in construction, secrecy and stigma surrounding mental health problems such as stress, depression or anxiety contribute to the fact that there are significantly more deaths from suicide than from onsite accidents.

Suicide is about ordinary people in despair who lose the ability to think of solutions, believing that they have no option but to end their lives. But mainly it’s about people dying from something that is preventable right until the final moment.

A disproportionate number of men die by suicide. The reasons are complex, and many people experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives, without going on to attempt suicide. So what makes men working in construction more likely to act on their suicidal thoughts, and how can we prevent suicidal thoughts from becoming suicide deaths?

Strong, but silent

In school, boys are more likely to play physical games in the playground and engage in ‘banter’ rather than have meaningful conversations with friends.

The expectations on boys to be strong is reinforced throughout teenage years and into adulthood. Men are less comfortable showing and discussing emotions, and so bottle up problems. The stigma surrounding mental health issues and suicide means – often with tragic consequences – that the more distressed someone becomes, the less they feel able to acknowledge it and seek support.

“Suicidal thoughts should be seen as a sign to change something in your life, not to end your life”

A whole generation of working men have grown up in an environment where men talking about feelings was unusual or even discouraged. Yet these same men are now expected to be emotionally literate partners and parents.

Meanwhile traditional job security has gone and many struggle financially. Men who are stressed or have mental health problems can become disconnected from social networks and sources of support. They are more likely than women to turn to alcohol or drugs, especially relevant in an industry that often requires long periods of working away from home.

Suicidal thoughts usually start because people feel overwhelmed by their situation; usually there is no single cause.

No discrimination

This can happen to anyone, and does not necessarily mean they want to end their life. It’s just that they cannot cope with their emotional pain any more.

Research shows that increasing hope, identifying reasons for living, seeking support and treatment of mental health issues saves lives. Suicidal thoughts should be seen as a sign to change something in your life, not to end it.

If someone you know is having a tough time, ask them about it, encourage them to get support, and don’t underestimate the courage it takes to admit how they’re feeling.

And finally, remember that if you are struggling, seeking help is not a sign of weakness. In fact it may be the bravest thing you ever do – and might even save your life.

Useful information

Staying safe practical, advice, links to support organisations and making a safety plan.

U Can Cope film (22 minutes long): Inspirational stories of three people who were struggling but found a way through.

Open Minds Health

Connecting with People

Dr Alys Cole-King is a consultant psychiatrist and director of Connecting with People and Open Minds Health

Mad World Article - "Goldilocks in the Work Place"

This is a fantastic and informative article which takes the childhood character, Goldilocks and illustrates the importance of exercise on our mental well-being, especially in the work place. It is an easy read and uses this great analogy, to show how we should maybe consider taking a leaf out of Goldilocks' book. 

Highly recommended to those in the working world, whom find the environment with which they work in maybe the opposite to that of "stress free" and are looking for an excellent resource of how to cope and manage, accompanied by informative data.

http://www.madworldforum.com/news/goldilocks-in-the-workplacemaking-the-link-between-exercise-and-mental-health

World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 on the 10th September

The prevention of suicide is acknowledged every year on the 10th September world-wide. The theme this year and for the next two years is "Working Together to Prevent Suicide". This bold statement highlights the key ingredient, "working together", essential for global prevention.

Suicide has and remains among the top 20 causes of deaths globally and according to the World Health Organisation, 800,000 take their own life each year which equates to 1 every 40 seconds. The 2017 Samaritans report states that in 2015 there were 6,639 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland alone. Within this group, the highest rate of suicides in men were those aged 40-44 in the UK and 25-34 in Ireland. Furthermore, male suicide was recorded as being higher than females in the UK and Republic of Ireland, however, the rate of female suicides recorded was the highest in a decade and had increased by 3.8% in the UK. 

The prevention of this heart-breaking act is possible and you can help!! Here is a list of things we personally believe could save a life:

1. Raise awareness

2. Educate yourself and others e.g. the warning signs of someone experiencing suicidal thoughts

3. Care for those in distress

4. Question the stigma associated with suicide and its behaviour

5. Share your own experiences, create a personal touch

This can't be done alone though and requires MANY people, hence the theme of WSPD 2018. There are no boundaries to suicidal behaviour, it effects everyone.

You can take part in various ways, displayed on their website, however a simple one is the "Light a Candle Event". On the 10th September at 8pm, light a candle in your window, whether at home or work and show your support to everyone out there who has lost a loved one/friend or maybe for someone you have lost to this tragic act. Below is the official WSPD postcard to share around to your friends and family and encourage them to take part.

https://www.iasp.info/wspd/light/light_a_candle_english.pdf

https://iasp.info/wspd2018/

Sophie Gradon Former Love Island Star

Sophie Gradon was a model and holder of the 2009 Miss Great Britain title. Unfortunately, a few weeks a go depression and anxiety took over her and she committed suicide. Sophie was also on Love Island in 2017 and her loving and caring personality came through. A friend, Zara Holland who became friends with Sophie from this reality TV show, posted a message on instagram saying:

"Your smile was infectious and brightened up any room. You made everyone feel special, always gave out so much love, always had time for others.

Social media is cruel and toxic at times, you do not realise how comments make others feel."

This statement really hit home and made us think if a girl like Sophie, whom seemed to have it all, whether that be in what appeared to be a stable and loving relationship, a fantastic career ahead of her and with so many amazing friends was led to taking her life then so could your best friend or even family member.

Unfortunately, her boyfriend, Aaron Armstrong was found dead days after Sophie's funeral. It appears the grief he was going through was too much for him to handle as he posted "I'm absolutely heartbroken I can't stop crying and I can feel your spirit in my soul" just days before he took his own life, so it appears.

We challenge you to speak to that friend or family member, ask them if they are ok or maybe even share this website with them to point them in the right direction. It may not seem much now but that conversation may just save their life.

Marcus Reid and Jason Westmoreland complete Leeds 10K in memory of Sam

Marcus Reid, Sams Dad and Jason Westmoreland, a family friend, completed Leeds 10K run on Sunday 8th July. They ran for the charity, Mind and as of today have raised £520, which is £220 over their target!!

For those who don't know, Mind is a mental health charity and one that is very close to our hearts. They provide support and advice to those suffering from a mental health problem but also are there for those who may be living with a family member or friend whom are suffering. On their website they say this very empowering statement:

"We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect."

https://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/

If you would like to donate there is still time and we will post the link below.

Thank you :)

(btw head over to the gallery section to see some more fab photos on race day!!!)

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marcus-reid2

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Jonathon Scarsbrook takes on Vuelta Climbs in memory of Sam

Jonathon is currently in Spain, taking on some of the most difficult and hardest mountain climbs there are! This is a mentally challenging experience as well as an extremely difficult physical challenge.

Jonathon and family were extremely close to Sam, especially in Sams early life and therefore have too felt the impact of suicide. They are wanting to raise awareness of the taboo subject, mental health, and are therefore using their experience and the impact they have had to try and break this stigma. 

It really does take some courage and determination to do this, so if you feel able I know both Jonathon and Rob, whom too is raising money for Mind and taking on the challenge would appreciate any donations to such a worthy cause, Mind. This is a link to Jonathon's Just Giving page :)

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jonathan-scarsbrook2

Mind are a mental health charity whom we as a Reid family are keen in supporting and are supporting. They provide support and advice to those battling with this illness and campaign to improve services and raise awareness. You can access their website by following the link below.

https://www.mind.org.uk/

 

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Rapper, Big Narstie Opens Up

This week the very successful rapper tells the media: 

"Sometimes I just want to sit in my boxer shorts and cry"

He is using his fame and 'status' to highlight such important issues, particularly to the younger generation, by releasing an album called "BDL Bipolar". It is fantastic that people like Big Narstie can use their position with great responsibility and showcase that, yes he has a very successful side but behind that front is a man whom suffers with bipolar and knows that, "It’s OK to have down days."

Lets hope more of these successful people can "use their power with great responisbility"!!

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week (14th-20th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. This years focus is related to "stress", and is a very important time for those with GCSE's, A-levels and University exams as well as the stress of work and everyday life.

The link below takes you to the Mental Health Foundations page with excellent articles on stress, including some statistics as well as tips to try and make this nation stress free. A stress quiz is also available to see how stressed you really are!! Whilst you are on there, click on the link to buy a mental health badge to help try and raise awareness, as all proceeds go to this incredible charity which are trying to find sources and strategies for mental health problems.

"Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this."

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

 

Libby Reid Speaks Out

Sometimes it is easier to write it down than it is to speak it……

If that’s you then you aren’t the only one. It’s not weird or not “normal” to not be able to express your emotions verbally, in fact I to a certain extent find it nearly impossible sometimes, like there is a brick wall between what I am thinking and how I can convey that. That’s the problem with mental health/illness and as I have just confessed I am not the best advocate of standing up and voicing my own problems around anxiety and insecurities but in a way I am trying to say that I do struggle like many others do at some stage in their lives. That is what worries me.

What if no one ever expressed verbally how they are feeling and it all builds up in their heads until they can no longer see a way out? For me I do think it is that “she is doing that for attention” thought I dread most but if I was to tell my closest friend that I had just been diagnosed with a malignant tumour, would she say it then? The answer is no. Mental health is the same. It’s an illness of the brain, in many a life long illness. Maybe not a physical illness, in that you can’t see it destroying you, every thought, every sentence you speak but it is does affect you mentally and in some people physical symptoms may be evident. 

I miss my brother Sam and wish I could have spoken to him about how I was feeling and that he could have told me how he was feeling. I knew he was ill, living with him it was impossible not to but I didn’t realise how life was such a struggle and burden to him. Yet it amazes me how something like this, how losing my only sibling, an amazing, caring, sensitive, intelligent man with such a bright future and incredible friends, who thought no one cared about him has brought so many people forward in talking about how they are feeling and revealing that mental health was prevalent in his closest friends and even family members. It’s just no one ever said it!

Sam would hate the attention he was getting through this tragedy because he was such an introvert and private person. The thing that astounds me is that he thought he was so insignificant and I wish I could show him how many people he has touched with his story and ultimately the lives he is saving/helping.

Sometimes in life we need to stop. Take a minute from our phones, from work, even from family and have “me” time, despite how difficult it is. It is important to look after our physical health but also our mental well-being also, it is our mental state that affects everything we do: communicating, sleep, work/study, relationships and ultimately with me my relationship with God. 

People may be questioning me saying how can I worship a God that has allowed this to happen? Well, I have asked that exact question too and still have so many questions. In fact I was angry, distraught, all the emotions you can imagine with a tragedy like this. But God didn’t do this in revenge or anger, He knew my brother was in so much agony and pain, He could see him struggling each day and our family taking the impact of it all. God knew my brother’s situation and knew from the 13th December 1993 that 8th December 2017 would be his time, then on 8thDecember he allowed that suffering to end, his time had come to be in the Kingdom of heaven where he would be pain free, and no longer fighting that battle. That is not to say that all those people battling with mental health that the only way out is to commit suicide because it’s not. It was just the plan that God had for my brother and us as a family and I as a Christian need to accept that and trust that God is doing this for all the right reasons and that our futures lie in His hands and He has provided us with the strength to share my brother’s story and to try and prevent this tragedy happening to any other families.

I started writing this not really knowing what to say and wow look how long it is! It is amazing how much comes out when you really accept that you are struggling and that it is time to talk. 

 

Avicii could "go on no longer"

Recent news has hit the spotlight this week about 28-year old DJ, found dead after taking his own life. His family say he could "go on no longer" and "wanted to find peace". This worldwide DJ and producer, estimated to be worth around £61 million, just wanted answers about life, yet we would probably take a glimpse at his life, his number 1 hits, his luxury lifestyle and think he had it all. Sadly that wasn't the case, and for his family he is now part of those shocking statistics.

We as a family, can relate to this story and have a great deal of empathy with Avicii's family and hope that the younger generation can see that, even with fame and money you don't have it all.

CONGRATULATIONS

Congratulations to Sarah Wood and Andrea Whitehead who completed the London Marathon 2018. Sarah ran each mile in memory of someone, mile 12 being for Sam and she even managed to record herself running each bit of every mile!! Andrea, a former work colleague ran in memory of my brother for Heads Together!

You have encouraged us (Marcus and Libby) to hopefully attempt to take this challenge on in 2019...

Well done 

xx