MENTAL HEALTH

DEPRESSION

What is depression?
Despite the everyday usage of the term, depression is more than a temporary period of sadness. Throughout the course of our lives we can expect to experience a range of emotional highs and lows. In the medical sense, depression refers to a prolonged period of unhappiness or emptiness.
According to NHS Choices, depression affects about 1 in 10 people at some point during their life. Surveys conducted by different groups have found that this number is much higher for LGBT people. A survey conducted by LGBT support charity Metro found that 42% of young LGBT people have sought treatment for anxiety or depression.
Depression can be treated, and it must be taken seriously. If you feel like you are suffering from depression you should tell your GP as soon as possible.
Symptoms?
The experience of depression will be different for each individual, but there are some common symptoms:

-Difficulty concentrating
-Persistent feelings of sadness, or anxiety
-Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
-Loss of interest in things once pleasurable
-Irritability
-Loss of sex drive
-Overeating, or appetite loss

-Restlessness
-Disturbed sleeping pattern
-Fatigue
-Persistent aches, pains, headaches, or cramps
-Persistent digestive problems
-Suicidal thoughts or attempts

You may experience any number of the symptoms above, from mild to severe levels.
If you think you may be depressed, seek help from your GP as soon as possible. The earlier you receive help, the better.
Support:
We currently offer 1-2-1 support if you wish to talk to someone within Four Pillars please contact us,
Four Pillars can not currently offer counselling however we do work very closely with:
GREC, NHS Grampian, Penumbra, fearless and ADA who can all offer counselling based upon your need. If you want help to contact these please contact us for a 1-2-1 and we can make a direct referral.
You can also contact the Samaritans or breathing space if you wish to talk to someone anonymously.

MENTAL ABUSE

Mental abuse is a pattern of behaviour that is controlling and/or coercive. It can include threats and insults, this is often done as a way of making a person feel small and stopping them from standing up for themselves. Individual actions do not necessarily define mental abuse, as most actions are often very specific to the individual. Mental abuse is defined by the intended impact – control.

You may feel that you have no autonomy or freedom, or that everything you do is dictated by your partner. You may feel like you are walking on eggshells, afraid of what your partner might do next or how they might respond to you. You may feel isolated from your friends and family and possibly have experienced abuse or insults directed at you because of your identity and who you are.

Sometimes, you may wonder whether ‘abuse’ is the correct term to describe any relationship difficulties you’re going through. You may feel like your partner shouts at you a lot or makes you feel bad, but think ‘abuse’ would be too ‘dramatic’ a word to use. 

But the point about whether the behaviour is abusive, is how it makes you feel. If their behaviour makes you feel small, controlled or as if you’re unable to talk about what’s wrong, it’s abusive. If you feel like your partner is stopping you from being able to express yourself, it’s abusive. If you feel you have to change your actions to accommodate your partner’s behaviour, it’s abusive

-​Repeatedly humiliating you
-Always criticising or putting you down
-Using emotional blackmail to control you
-Never allowing you to have a say
-Intimidating and threatening you

-Controlling your life, including maybe your social media accounts
-Withholding money from you
-Isolating you from friends and family
-Telling you what you can and cannot wear​

Every person deserves support to help them overcome these experiences, here are some links for various support agencies around Grampian

SELF HARM

It is important to remember that self harm is not a sign of weakness and is believed to be an essential release for some individuals. Only by working with people we can support them to change this habit and assist in making more informed choices.

 There are several different signs that someone may be self harming. As described in NHS Choices:

 

-unexplained cuts, bruises, or cigarette burns, usually on the wrists, arms, thighs and chest
-keeping themselves fully always covered, even in hot weather
-signs of depression, such as low mood, tearfulness or a lack of motivation or interest in anything
-self-loathing and expressing a wish to punish themselves
-not wanting to go on and wishing to end it all

-becoming very withdrawn and not speaking to others
-changes in eating habits or being secretive about eating, and any unusual weight loss or weight gain
-signs of low self-esteem, such as blaming themselves for any problems or thinking they’re not good enough for something
-signs they have been pulling out their hair
-signs of alcohol or drugs misuse

There are a few organisations that can offer help to anyone who is suffering due to self-harm. The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 in the UK on 116 123

Breathing Space is available on 0800 838587

Four Pillars members also offer advice and support and can advocate on your behalf if you want to contact us in the first instance please call 01224 211963. Although not available 24/7 we do answer the phone at different times throughout the day and will always call back if we miss you. However, it is important to remember Four Pillars do not offer counselling services and although can get you through crisis. We will refer you to outside sources for counselling based on your need.

SUICIDE

Suicide is the act of intentionally taking one’s own life. It can be attributed to a wide range of complex factors and is never a sign of weakness or failure. A person may be at higher risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts if they have an existing mental health condition such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. The misuse of drugs or alcohol is also associated with suicidal thoughts.

Suicide is an issue that affects the LGBT community. According to Stonewall’s School Report 2017, more than two in five trans young people have attempted to take their own life, and one in five lesbian, gay and bi students who aren’t trans have done the same.

There may be warning signs that someone is planning on taking steps to end their life. However, there may be no signs at all. Some common signs are listed below:

-Making threats to hurt or kill oneself
-Talking or writing about suicide, death or dying
-Putting practical plans in place to cause one’s death e.g. collecting pills or dangerous materials
-Complaining of feelings of hopelessness
-Episodes of sudden rage and anger
-Impulsiveness and risk-taking with an apparent lack of concern about the consequences
-Talking about feeling trapped, such as saying they can’t see any way out of their current situation
-Self-harm including misusing drugs or alcohol, or using more than they usually do

-becoming very withdrawn and not speaking to others
-changes in eating habits or being secretive about eating, and any unusual weight loss or weight gain
-signs of low self-esteem, such as blaming themselves for any problems or thinking they’re not good enough for something
-signs they have been pulling out their hair
-signs of alcohol or drugs misuse

If you are considering suicide, please know that their people who want to help. If you are able, please consider reaching out to a friend or family member.

There also are several organisations that can offer help to anyone who is considering suicide or who has suicidal thoughts.
The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 in the UK on 116 123
Breathing Space is available on 0800 838587

Four Pillars members also offer advice and support and can advocate on your behalf if you want to contact us in the first instance please call 01224 211963. Although not available 24/7 we do answer the phone at different times throughout the day and will always call back if we miss you. However, it is important to remember Four Pillars do not offer counselling services and although can get you through crisis. We will refer you to outside sources for counselling based on your needs.