Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

World Mental Health Day 2017

World Mental Health Day is a time that has been set aside each year to celebrate and promote global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.  It's an initiative run by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries, and the day was first introduced in 1992.

Since then it has focussed on such topics as; the link between mental health and meeting and eating with family and friends, mindfulness, depression and how to take a proactive approach to your personal wellbeing.  This year it takes place on Tuesday 10th October, with the theme Mental Health in the Workplace and is a good opportunity for us all to consider our approach to our own personal mental wellbeing and that of those around us, espeically at work.

 

What's the problem? 

Colleagues often become friends and provide a good support network for those going through emotional distress, but it is the line manager relationship that allows for the official communication between the organisation and the employee.  This is why it is key that your leaders have the right skills and approach to deal with staff who suffer from mental health problems compassionately and effectively.  Getting it wrong can be a distressing and costly mistake for the team and the business.

The line manager relationship is where discussions about personal wellbeing, performance and progress are likely to take place, so it is there that any issues are likely to become apparent.  It is not necessary to be a doctor or therapist to adopt an open and honest approach to reviews and a culture of understanding and willingness to address problems.  

 

What should I do or not do?

First contact is key in distress.  How an initial conversation is handled can affect the ultimate outcome, and it is important to display empathy without making rash promises.  There should be no implication of weakness, incompetence or blame, but a positive hopeful discussion led by the needs of the indivudal.

We all have times when we struggle, and often temporary adjustments can make a huge impact on someone's abiity to cope and to make logical choices to improve their situation.  It an employee feels supported and that an employee truly cares about their welfare, this can vastly improve their loyalty, attitude and ability to perform and succeed in the long term, which can only be a positive outcome for the employer.  Resilience and the ability to manage challenge and change effectively is a key skillset in the modern workplace.

 
 What can I do to help my staff?

Organisations have a duty of care to their staff, which you can help to fulfil by working with Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counsellling to provide services for those in need.  You may find World Mental Health Day a good opportunity to initiate a conversation about what steps your co-workers could take to provide for their mental fitness.

Our services include:

  • Face to face and telephone counselling on a 121 basis.  Assessment plus 6 sessions on a 'pay as you go' basis
  • Mental health presentations to guide your staff in managing and improving their own mental health
  • Mental health workshops to help line managers take a proactive approach to employee wellbeing, within the parameters of your HR guidelines

For further information about these or any of our other services for organisations, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Cares?

12th-18th June is Carer's Week, when we think about the 6.5 million people (1 in 9) in the UK who are caring for relatives or friends on an unpaid basis because they are elderly, disabled or facing difficult life challenges. 

Who cares for the carer?

3 million of these people also have paid jobs to combine with their caring roles, and many forego full time work, promotions, or even have to stop working altogether to care for those in need.

There are many stresses to consider, and according to research by Building Carer Friendly Communities, over a third of those asked say their employer does not understand their caring work, to not have policies to cover carers, and that they don't feel comfortable talking to their employer about their caring responsibilities.  60% of carers have either reduced their hours or given up their paid jobs to care.  42% say that they struggle financially.

Many feel isolated, as they are unable to lead a fulfilling social life and have little leisure time.  Carers report that they would welcome the opportunity to meet with other carers who understand their plight, but the constraints of caring prevent them from doing so.  Many lose friendships because of a lack of shared experience and opportunity to go out.  Some even start to face their own mental health problems because of overwork and isolation. 

 

So what can employers do to help carers? 

  •      Introduce and promote flexible working where possible.  In most roles, this is workable provided core

                hours are completed

  •      Introduce some paid leave for carers to attend medical appointments or emergencies
  •      Set up and encourage carers to join a Carer's Staff Network for support and sharing of experiences
  •      Ensure that all carers are aware of their rights to request flexible working and time off for emergencies
  •      Ensure that a caring and supportive culture is adopted by line managers and co-workers
  •      Encourage carers to share their stories with colleagues, leading to a more collaborative and

                understanding co-worker culture, preventing resentment

  •      Provide mental health awareness training for carers and other staff facing stress in or outside work

                (click here to find out more)

This will result in a more loyal and collaborative workforce and increased productivity, but could also reduce absence for stress and depression.

 

 Help yourself

Carers also have a responsibility to themselves and to those they care for, to ensure they keep physically and mentally well.  As well as eating healthily, exercising regularly and reducing intake of drugs such as nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, carers should also ensure they find time to reduce their stress levels.  Meditation, mindfulness, yoga and relaxation techniques can all be extremely beneficial and can be practiced at home.  Cultivating friendships with other carers can help to reduce the stress of the burden of care. 

The same study also suggests that many carers are not currently doing this.  Half report a deterioration of their mental health since starting their role as carer and have left a problem to go untreated.  Over a third have physically injured themselves, and the same number only ask for help in an emergency.

When it all becomes too much, counselling can benefit people by helping them to identify their core issues and to support them in taking positive steps to improve their circumstances.  This might include giving them the confidence and skills to speak to their employer about their needs, or to seek help from others.

 

      If you are a carer and need to speak to a qualified professional in confidence, call our nearest reception:

Cambridge 01223 233047         Peterborough  01733 553166 

Both face to face and telephone counselling is available, depending on your preference

 

To find out more about Carer's Week, visit http://www.carersuk.org/?gclid=CPq6z-_RmM0CFQo6GwodWyADkw

 

Workplace Wellbeing makes commercial sense!

It's official - workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense!

A recent study by the World Economic Forum, resulting in their Global Agenda on Mental Health 2014-2016, concludes that a mental health issue is not a lack of morality or of weakness, and outlines how organisations benefit both financially and in terms of economic engagement and motivation when practical steps are taken to support staff through difficulties and proactive measures are implemented to improve staff mental health awareness.

For many years, employers have acknowledged the benefits of promoting good physical health to their workforce, but increasingly, mental health is starting to appear on the agenda.  It's easy to see the effect on work colleagues when someone comes into the office in a bad mood, but it's perhaps less obvious when a colleague is experiencing a slow and gradual decline into a state of depression.

However, the effects are real - not only on the individual concerned, but also on their colleagues; in terms of feelings of impotence (not knowing how to help), of guilt (not being able to help), of anger (if their workload increases because of someone else's lack of productivity or their absence) and in terms of general distraction.  To address these issues, not only benefits not only benefits the affected individual and their line manager, but also all of their colleagues, and potentially, the profitability of the business.

For the small investment of only £50 per counselling session, an employer could avoid weeks of paid absence.

For a one-off fee of £450, a group of staff could learn about the most common mental health problems, how to identify if they are a colleague might be suffering from one of them, and most importantly, action they can take to reduce the effects of and manage such conditions or how to help a colleague in distress.

To find out how CCC can help your business, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Read the full report at:  http://b.3cdn.net/joinmq/7eb7e59295b1ecd263_rgm6iy3yj.pdf

Panic Attacks - how to cope

What is a panic attack?

When a person is overcome with fear or anxiety and is suddenly unable to function as they usually do, this is called a panic attack. 

There are a number of psychological and physical symptoms, which may affect breathing and make you feel as though your life is in danger or that you are unable to cope.  However, do not despair, as a number of treatments and coping mechanisms are available.

Why do they occur?

 A panic attack may be a regular event for some people who have specific triggers, such as extreme stress, enforced change or social phobias.  People who are generally anxious are more susceptible to panic attacks and a propensity to anxiety can often run in families, but others who have never had psychological challenges may also experience a panic attack.  Major life events, such as bereavement, divorce, redundancy, marriage, and debt can trigger panic attacks in otherwise mentally healthy individuals.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Panic and a feeling of loss of control
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in the chest
  • Heart palpitations or racing pulse
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest or left arm
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Sweating and/or shivering
  • A feeling of choking
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Insomnia or abrupt awakening from sleep in a distressed state
  • Feeling detatched from everything going on around you, perhaps as though you are looking down on yourself from outside of your body

Some of these symptoms can be so severe that the person believes they may be having a heart attack.  If you do not suffer from panic attacks on a regular basis and are able to recognise your personal symptoms, it is important to ensure that a medical professional examines you in cases of chest pain or shortness of breath to rule out the possibility of a more severe medical problem.

 

What can I do to treat a panic attack?

  • Although in severe cases, medication can help, it is much more beneficial when combined with relaxation techniques, counselling and lifestyle changes.  Medication can also have side effects which may increase anxiety levels in some cases.

 

  • Identify your triggers and confront your fears - once you know what they are, you may choose to avoid your triggers (such as using alternative means of travel is your fear is of flying) but if this seriously impacts on your life, then other approaches will need to be considered.  Counselling could help you to identify your triggers.

 

  • Accept that a certain level of stress or apprehension is normal  and a healthy response to dangerous situations.  Learn about your trigger.  Establish the facts about the level of risk.  Try to rationalise whether the danger is real or imaginary.  Sometimes gaining more knowledge about something reduces the fear of it.  Exposure therapy may be useful, but in a controlled environment with a trained professional.

 

  • Avoid stimulants - as well as caffeine and illegal drugs, stimulants are often found in other foods and medicines; for example coffee, tea, chocolate or non-drowsy medication.  Although you may feel that smoking alleviates the symptoms of a panic attack, as soon as the cigarette is finished, anxiety levels will rise, usally to levels higher than before the cigarette.  Smoking also seriously damages all areas of your health.

 

  • Learn how to control your breathing - Many of the symptoms of a panic attack are accentuated by the lack of oxygen in your system.  Therefore, if you learn to breathe deeply and slowly, you can often prevent the attack from happening when you start to recognise the first symptom.  Breathing helps to reduce other symptoms of fear.

 

  • Master relaxation techniques - When practised regularly, yoga, meditation and mindfulness can counteract the body's responses to stress, both during a panic attack and in helping to prevent them.  Most people can learn to reprogram their neurological pathways in under thirty days of regular practice.  Make time in your daily routine to form new habits and adjust your ways of thinking. 

 

Above all, know that you are not alone, and if you are unable to overcome your feelings of anxiety, contact a counsellor for help.

 

For further information about how CCC can help you to manage panic attacks, contact your nearest reception

Hunts and Cambs      01223 233047                Peterborough      01733 553166

 

 

 

 

 

Client Survey Results 2016

According to the most recent survey of those who received counselling support from Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counselling in 2016, yet again, clients have been pleased with the service they have received.  Clients were asked to respond anonymously to questions about their counsellor and how they had helped them to address their problems.  The survey asked clients to rate their experience in terms of:

  • the arrangements and how quickly they were seen by a counsellor after their initial contact with CCC
  • how comfortable they felt with their counsellor and how well their issues were understood
  • whether the client had understood their situation better after the counselling sessions
  • whether the client was able to make positive changes to their situation after the counselling sessions

95% of CCC clients were satisfied, very satisfied or completely satisfied with their counselling

In fact 92% of all those who responded said that they were either very satisfied or completely satisfied with the service they received.  This represents a consistently outstanding service over many years as CCC has been providing counselling in the region since 1978. 

 

Clients were also invited to comment freely about the service and care they received.  Here are just a few:

 "I highly recommend this counsellor - exceptional!"

"Huge difference to feel that someone was on my side for guidance.  Would recommend this service as the light in the tunnel is back on"

"Cannot praise the counselling enough.  Just being given the space to reflect on my position and positive input is really appreciated.  Thank you."

"My counsellor was professional, approachable and very skilled.  I felt listened to, understood and it helped me to understand myself and make change possible."

"Despite going through a very difficult time, I found it easy to open up.  My counsellor helped me to see things more clearly and supported me in going back to work.  It was a really good and helpful experience."

 

All of the above comments came from clients whose employer had funded their counselling sessions as part of their staff wellbeing responsibility.  Investing in counselling support for your staff reduces employee absence and strengthens company loyalty as well as providing a personal benefit to your team. 

 

If your organisation would like to support your workforce, contact our Business Development Manager

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 07906 878488

In these challenging times, when many people feel under excessive pressure at work and in their home lives, it is essential that people feel able to talk to someone, who will help them to put their issues into perspective and give them the tools and confidence to make positive changes to improve their situations.  CCC has worked with people in Cambridgeshire and the surrounding areas for nearly 40 years to enrich the lives of others, providing much needed support, either through their employer, or directly as a private client. 

 

If you are an individual looking for support with any personal or work-related challenges, contact your nearest reception:

Cambridge - 01223 233047      or       Peterborough - 01733 553166

 

 If you are a qualified counsellor who would like to become a member and help CCC to continue to provide excellent support, we welcome you. 

CCC Membership