Wellbeing in Wokingham – a whole system approach
LAST month Healthwatch sponsored an event in Sindlesham focusing on wellbeing in Wokingham. It was part of Brighter Berkshire, a community-led and organised year long initiative which aims to help reduce stigma about mental health and improve local opportunities.
The highlight of the event for me was not all the pampering but the fireman that spoke publicly for the first time about his breakdown and road to recovery.
Whilst many of us will worry about all the pressures we have on us – work stress, financial strain, family pressures – one in 20 of us will experience a full blown nervous breakdown which is described as a crisis situation where we reach rock bottom and feel broken, preventing us from ceasing to function in a normal way.
There is no textbook experience of a breakdown, it is a general term that captures some of the experiences. People may feel increasingly hopeless about what they are doing, some people may experience panic attacks, increased vulnerability, insomnia, paranoia or hallucinations. Then there comes a day where you can’t face getting out of bed or going to work, normal functioning is too much.
What struck me about the fireman’s recovery was not the treatment he received from the
NHS, which consisted mainly of medication and a number of psychiatric admissions where amongst other therapeutic activities he was offered adult colour in! But how he had to take a different view on life in order to live well.
He began to look at his diet and what he was fuelling his body with. He started working out to build his physical strength, while not religious he developed a sense of spirituality by doing mindfulness and meditation daily. Developing a purpose in life and a passion was crucial to getting his mojo back. Getting his well-being back is an ongoing, daily process of prioritising what is important. It is a way of life that requires commitment.
We can get so caught up in being busy, particularly at this time of year, we often focus on things that in the long run are inconsequential. Why not make a new year’s resolution to yourself that will change your life?
Make a pact to lead your life in a way that is conducive to well-being. Ensure you have looked after your physical body each day as well as your emotional state. Mind, the national mental health charity, talk about five ways to well-being – be active, learn, take notice, give, connect. I can personally recommend looking into the Action for Happiness 10 Keys to Happier Living.
I am delighted to say that Wokingham
Borough Council and Clinical Commissioning Group are talking about the possibility of commissioning a Recovery College which is a more holistic model to support those that need mental health support. Watch this space!
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