Reflections on Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

Last week was witness to a plethora of rich conversations led by the Mental Health Foundation about the intersection of body image and mental health. Hannah from our policy team reflects on how body image can impact people severely affected by mental illness and what we are doing about it… Last week, the spotlight was on body image and how it can be seen as a public mental health issue. The Mental Health Foundation has highlighted how higher levels of body dissatisfaction can be related to anxi

Eating Disorders Awareness Week: How can UK bridge the gap between eating disorder prevention and healthy weight management for people living with a mental illness?

For too long, society’s messaging regarding obesity has been stigmatising, accusatory, and encouraging of disordered eating behaviours. We consistently hear tales of people who experience dramatic fluctuations in weight – whether that’s weight gained or weight lost – often as a result of unsustainable dieting which is being advertised insidiously. My name is Hannah Lewis and I work for Rethink Mental Illness as a Senior Policy and Practice Officer, where I facilitate the co-production of Equall

Stigma often stops people seeking help for eating disorders

The theme of this year’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week is ‘Why Wait?’. On average, nearly three years pass before an individual seeks help for an eating disorder. There are multiple reasons why this could be the case, but I know for sure that stigma is often one of them. There’s something oddly shameful about speaking out about when I experienced bulimia. For years I have blogged about my mental health and mental illness, disclosing some of my darkest experiences with the whole of the internet

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2018: Why are prevention and early intervention strategies crucial?

Approximately 1.6 million people are diagnosed with an eating disorder in the UK and recent reearch shows that people aged between 14-25 are most likely to be affected. For Eating Disorders Week, Hannah Lewis and Sophie Ulhaq from our co-production team look at why early intervention is key to helping young people get the help they need. Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses which affect an individual’s relationship with food. Eating disorders can be classified into a number of categori

Mental health policy: three key issues from the past 12 months

As a Politics graduate with lived experience of mental health challenges, the opportunity to be the Policy Intern at the Mental Health Foundation was a placement that was perfect for me both personally and professionally. The Mental Health Foundation’s public mental health and prevention focus have shaped both my academic and professional interests, particularly with regards to the mental health of children and young people.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week: the importance of early intervention

By Hannah Lewis, Policy Intern at the Mental Health Foundation and postgraduate student in Cultural and Global Perspectives in Mental Health Eating Disorders Awareness Week provides the opportunity to challenge widespread misconceptions and to acknowledge the vast health and social complexities associated with eating disorders. This year’s theme of early intervention provides a much-needed platform from which to explore new avenues to support the early identification of problems

Mental Health A-Z: T is for Top telly to watch when you’re depressed | The Gryphon

As I’m curled up on the sofa in the clutches of depression once more, in the onesie that I haven’t got out of for three days (yes, onesies are back – spread the word (did they ever leave?!)), I got to thinking what else I would do when I felt so terrible other than become a statue in front of the television. The conclusion is nothing. I would do nothing else but watch TV all day because telly is the best.

A-Z of Mental Health: O is for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder | The Gryphon

If I had a pound for each time I heard the term ‘OCD’ used out of context, I’d be a rich woman. Amongst friends, family and even through the media, I’ve heard phrases such as: “Oh I’m so OCD, I always need to fluff my pillows before guests arrive”; “I’m sorry the house isn’t immaculate – I’m just not OCD you see” and “Oh I always need to ensure my DVDs are in alphabetical order, I’m just dead OCD me”. No, no and absolutely not.

Why Brexit would be detrimental for mental health care

With the likes of Farage, Gove and Johnson using scaremongering tactics to instil fear into British citizens, coupled with cries for us to make our “own laws” in a bid to preserve British sovereignty, it is easy for us to forget the many areas where shared decision-making at the EU level has a very positive impact on the quality of our lives. Let’s assess one of the areas of healthcare which has attracted unprecedented media attention over the recent years: mental health care.

Confessions of a Christmas Grinch: why I hate the holidays | The Gryphon

Right don’t judge me, just hear me out… By the time Christmas comes around I’m already in a foul mood due to having my birthday two weeks prior (yes, I hate my birthday too), and I’m absolutely dreading the ultimate anti-climax of all – New Year’s Eve. Like, who even wants to go to a club that will be overcrowded and overpriced? In the middle of these two monstrosities is Christmas.

MENTAL HEALTH A-Z: D is for Dermatillomania | The Gryphon

The word Dermatillomania derives from the Latin language; Derma meaning ‘skin’, tillo meaning ‘to pull’, and mania meaning ‘madness’ or, well, ‘mania’. Also known as Compulsive Skin Picking Disorder, this disorder comes under the Body Focussed Repetitive Behaviour (BFRB) category of mental health disorders. It adopts the same ‘anxiety cycle’ as OCD and other Anxiety Disorders. For this particular disorder, the anxiety in your body manifests itself by pulling or picking at your skin.

MENTAL HEALTH A-Z: B is for Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Do you know what you look like? I don’t, and I never have. I have an idea of course, but then it’s hard to distinguish which parts of my body image are factual, and which have been created by my Witch. That’s what I call the Body Dysmorphic voice in my head, because my god is she a nasty piece of work! She says the most evil and cruel things to me, and the most annoying part is that she has said these things to me so many times, and for so long, that I have been believing them for years now.

#WMHD15: Holding on to your dignity whilst enduring a mental illness

It’s the lead-up to World Mental Health Day 2015, which is taking place this Saturday on the 10th October. Each year, the day itself and the week leading up to it will focus on a different theme surrounding mental health issues, in a bid to raise public awareness. This year the emphasis is on ‘Dignity in mental health’, and this theme struck a chord with me as I have often felt as though my dignity has been robbed from me by my mental illnesses.

Hannah Lewis’s Guide to caring for your mental health during Freshers | The Gryphon

Your first year of university is one of the most exciting times of your life. However, it is also a time of great change and new experiences, where there is a risk of exacerbating pre-existing mental health conditions, as well as exposing new ones which you may not have experienced before. Below are a handful of tips and tricks to keep your mental health in the best condition that is possible during this year…

Am I A Bad Feminist Because I Have Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Being a 21-year-old woman in the 21st century, I, of course, consider myself to be a feminist. I want equal rights and equal pay, and body-shaming and victim-blaming infuriates me. At the same time, I have suffered from body dysmorphic disorder for around 12 years, since I was 9 years old. This brings about an interesting internal conflict, and I sometimes have to ask myself, “To what extent am I an internal misogynist?”

How going on a year abroad can help when you have depression.

As I write this article, I am sat on the plane home from my year abroad and feeling very reflective whilst witnessing the southern French countryside disappear from beneath me. I think back to my flight out here at the beginning of September, and the mixture of emotions I felt then; anxious, petrified, ecstatic, unstable, hopeful and a bit fraudulent. Although there was one thing that I was 100% sure of – I was not going down without a fight.

What It's Like To Live With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

What do Sylvia Plath, Robert Pattinson and me — a 21-year-old student from Manchester, England — all have in common? We all have suffered or are suffering from a condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). I suffer from the comorbidity of depression and anxiety, which are both mental illnesses widely discussed and understood. However, when I tell anyone I suffer from BDD, I’m greeted with a confused reply like, The truth is, living with BDD is so much more than that.
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