World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is held on Thursday 10 October. This year focuses on men’s health and suicide prevention.

What is mental health?

Mental Health is our social, emotional and physiological well-being. It can affect how we think, feel and act, which is why it is so important that we look after it.

Key Facts from Samaritans

Information from based on statistics from England
  • In 2017 there were 6,213 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • Of these, 5,821 suicides were registered in the UK and 392 occurred in the Republic of Ireland.
  • In the UK, men are three times as likely to take their own lives than women.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, men are four times more likely to take their own lives than women.
  • In the UK, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 45-49.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 25–34 (with an almost identical rate for men aged 45–54).
  • In Northern Ireland, suicide rates for both men and women are higher than other UK nations – however rates are not necessarily directly comparable.

Call Samaritans anytime, day or night for FREE on 116 123 or send them an email (response time: 24 hours)

How can libraries support mental health?

Libraries are a fantastic place to socialise, take part in activities and find books to support you and boost your mood. They are a welcoming space that invites everyone, from all walks of life, through their doors with no judgement.

Libraries hold many groups such as Knit & Natter, baby play groups, rhyme time, story time and many more! These are free to attend and you can drop in on any of the sessions. They give the opportunity to meet new people and also allows time to bond with your children.

Find out about activities in libraries.

Learning Courses for Wellbeing

There are learning courses, many of which are free, which you can book on to develop your skills, try something new and to meet like-minded people. These can be booked online via the online shop or at your local library. Check out the shop today to see what our libraries have to offer. Some of the learning courses include looking at your wellbeing; previous courses libraries have held are Complete Wellbeing and Mindful Photography.

Books on Prescription

The Reading Agency have created a reading well booklist to support mental health.

The Reading Well Books on Prescription is a national scheme available with recommended books from a range of self-help books which have proven value in helping people who suffer from common mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, anger and panic attacks.

Benefits of reading on mental health

Information from The Reading Agency

Each week about 1 in 6 adults in the UK are affected by a common mental health disorder. (25)

Children with reading difficulties are at greater risk of developing mental health problems later in life, including depression, anxiety, behavioural problems, anger & aggression. (26)

Non-readers are 28% more likely to report feelings of depression, and about 1.3 million people in the UK say they rarely read because of depression. (27)

Proven power of reading. An online poll of over 4000 people from a representative sample in the UK revealed that regular readers for pleasure reported fewer feelings of stress & depression than non-readers, and stronger feelings of relaxation from reading than from watching television or engaging with technology intensive activities. (28)

Studies have shown that those who read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem & a greater ability to cope with difficult situations. Reading for pleasure was also associated with better sleeping patterns. (29)

Adults who read for just 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction.  (30)

25 [Hilhorst, S, et al. (2018) A Society of Readers Demos p. 30]↩26 [Boyes, M. E., Leitao, S., Claessen, M., Badcock, N. A., and Nayton, M. (2016) Why Are Reading Difficulties Associated with Mental Health Problems? in Dyslexia, 22: 263-266]↩27 [Billington, J (2015) Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Quick Reads, University of Liverpool p. 5-6]↩28 [Billington, J, (2015) Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Quick Reads, University of Liverpool]↩29 [Billington, J, (2015) Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Quick Reads, University of Liverpool]↩30 [Billington, J, (2015) Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Quick Reads, University of Liverpool p. 7]↩

Mind charity

Hampshire County Council is linked with the mental health charity, Mind. They seek to help anyone who is suffering from a mental health problem and assist them in getting the support they need. Their other aims are to raise awareness and understanding about mental health and try and reduce the stigma associated with this.

For more information check out Solent Mind

Connect to Support

What is Connect to Support Hampshire?

Connect to Support Hampshire is a website for adults in Hampshire. Its aim is to help you stay independent and to manage your own care.  You can find local groups, activities and services within your community as well as formal care services.

If you or someone you know needs support around mental health, then this is a fantastic online service to use.

Hampshire Libraries booklist for World Mental Health Day

How to stop feeling so damn depressed : the no BS guide for men / Jonas A. Horwitz.

In this no-nonsense guide for men, psychologist Jonas Horwitz presents straightforward, jargon-free strategies to help you identify and overcome depression, once and for all. The damned thing about severe depression is that it takes over your brain, body, and spirit. It wants you to say to yourself, ‘There is nothing I can do to make myself feel better. I am helpless in the face of my problems’. Even at this very moment as you read these words, your severe depression is whispering in your ear, ‘This is all bulls**t’. Your depression has lived with you for a long time, and has seldom left your side. It’s relentlessly pessimistic, and wants you to believe that your misery will never end. In a nutshell – your severe depression is The Beast that you just can’t seem to escape.

Man up, man down : standing up to suicide / Paul McGregor.

When Paul McGregor’s dad tried to take his own life, it changed Paul’s worldview forever. Of course he hadn’t seen it coming, and so all his old certainties dissolved and he struggled to cope. Paul’s dad eventually recovered in hospital and went home, and it seemed as though things could now finally start to improve. But then a few weeks later, tragedy struck. Paul’s dad made a second attempt on his life, walking in front of a lorry. He died instantly. In order to distract himself from his grief, Paul began to overwork himself and chase ‘success’. He found himself in a dark place, suffering from depression and fearing that he’d follow in his dad’s footsteps. How could he, as a man, show his vulnerability? ‘Man Up, Man Down’ is Paul’s tale of recovery. It also explores what it means to be a man in today’s society.

I never said I loved you / Rhik Samadder.

‘I’m in bed with my mother, in a Bangkok sex hotel. It is my 30th birthday, it is time for me to become a man, and I have grave worries about the kind of man I’m going to become.’ On an unlikely backpacking trip, Rhik and his mother find themselves speaking openly for the first time in years. Afterwards, the depression that has weighed down on Rhik begins to loosen its grip for a moment – so he seizes the opportunity: to own it, to understand it, and to find out where it came from. Through this begins a journey of investigation, healing and recovery. Along the way Rhik learns some shocking truths about his family, and realizes that, in turn, he will need to confront the secrets he has long buried. But through this, he triumphs over his fears and brings his depression into the light. ‘I Never Said I Loved You’ is the story of how Rhik learned to let go, and then keep going.

Overcoming anxiety without fighting it / Dr Tim Cantopher.

The evidence that long-term anxiety causes a whole host of health problems is incontrovertible, as is the fact that it exacerbates existing problems, such as pain. The causal link between anxiety and heart disease, strokes, bowel diseases, inflammatory conditions and some cancers is well established. Reducing our anxiety would improve our long-term health as clearly as exercise and good diet. It would also allow us to perform better in whatever we are doing. The good news is that we can do something fairly quickly about stress and anxiety. This book examines characteristic thinking patterns in anxiety such as predictions, catastrophic thinking and assumptions, and looks at ways to accept and change the processes of anxiety.

The stranger on the bridge : my journey from despair to hope / by Jonny Benjamin and Britt Pflüger.

In 2008, 20 year-old Jonny Benjamin stood on Waterloo Bridge, about to jump. A stranger saw his distress and stopped to talk with him – a decision that saved Jonny’s life. Fast forward to 2014 and Jonny, together with Rethink Mental Illness launch a campaign with a short video clip so that Jonny could finally thank that stranger who put him on the path to recovery. More than 319 million people around the world followed the search. ITV’s breakfast shows picked up the story until the stranger, whose name is Neil Laybourn, was found and – in an emotional and touching moment – the pair reunited and have remained firm friends ever since. ‘The Stranger on the Bridge’ is a memoir of the journey Jonny made both personally, and publicly to not only find the person who saved his life, but also to explore how he got to the bridge in the first place and how he continues to manage his diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.

Suicide prevention techniques : how a suicide crisis centre saves lives / Joy Hibbins.

Focusing on the methods used at a ground-breaking Suicide Crisis Centre which has a zero suicide achievement, this guide offers strategies to help people in suicidal crisis. Founded after the author’s own suicidal experience, it challenges the established ways of working in mental health and sets out a new way to provide crisis care.

This too will pass: anxiety in the professional world / Richard Martin.

What happens when you have a mental breakdown? What does it to do to your marriage? Your job? Your kids? Can you ever pick up the pieces and start again? Or do you have to create a whole new life for yourself? Richard Martin’s book answers those questions. By all markers, Richard’s life was a success: he was happily married, a great father, and lived a fulfilling life, professionally and personally. But the pressures of a highflying legal career, his increasing social commitments, and family illness all took their toll. One evening, Richard stopped on his way home to use a cash point machine, and couldn’t remember how to use it. He sunk to the pavement, unable to hold back the tears, unable to carry on. Richard pulls no punches in describing his breakdown and the crushing social anxiety that left him scared to even answer the front door.

Reasons to stay alive / Matt Haig.

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time. We want to raise awareness to remove the stigma and so that we can all understand that talking about our mental health isn’t ’embarrassing’ and that seeking help is a sign of bravery, not weakness.

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