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Are you struggling in your relationship with food? Who is in Charge?
Hi I’m Julie Davies and welcome to my first ever blog!
If you are having difficulty you may welcome support from others in the same position as you.
I am one of two facilitators running a very friendly support group which helps provide a confidential, non-judgemental environment for people to chat about their feelings around food.
My background is in nursing, but through personal experience I want to help others understand why it is a problem for so many.
The DSM (Diagnostic Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders) cites the main eating disorders as Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder.
Who can suffer from Eating Disorders?
The group with the highest risk of eating disorders are girls aged 15-19. Eating disorders are 9 times as likely to occur in girls and women as in boys and men. This is mainly due to the fact that disturbances of body image and diet are much less prevalent in young men than in young women; however, approximately 10% of cases of Anorexia and Bulimia are young adolescent men.
Onset usually begins in adolescence, but it is not uncommon for eating disorders to develop earlier or later in life. There are cases of Anorexia in children as young as 6, and some research reports cases developing in women in their 70s. This can lead to inappropriate diagnosis due to lack of understanding and awareness of eating disorders in these age groups.
Can you ever recover?
Yes! Research suggests that around 46% of anorexia patients make a full recovery, with 33% improving and just 20% remaining chronically ill. Similarly, research into bulimia suggests that 45% fully recover, 27% improve and 23% continue to suffer.
Is it dangerous?
Eating disorders can be highly dangerous. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, from medical complications associated with the illness as well as suicide. 20% of Anorexia sufferers will die prematurely from their illness.
Bulimia is also associated with severe medical complications, and binge eaters often experience the medical complications associated with obesity.
In every case, eating disorders severely affect the quality of life of the sufferer and the people around them.
Come along to our group ‘SORTED’ (Share Our Recovery Through Eating Disorders) at The ARC on 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month (except bank holidays) from 18:30 until 20:00.
The group is for anyone aged 18+ with no referrals needed from anyone.
For further information I can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve put our Santa-style thinking hats on, and come up with a few Christmassy themed ideas to help with your winter fundraising!
This time of year is a lovely one for collecting or bag packing, as shops are busy, people are full of Christmas spirit, and collecting in a Santa hat can help make shoppers extra generous! Contact your local supermarket for details on how to organise a collection.
Swish into the New Year
In with the new, out with the old! With your new Christmas clobber, why don’t you hold a swishing party with your friends and swap your last season’s clothes, or take the chance to exchange unwanted gifts – one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, you may just get your Christmas wish. Charge an entry fee for the event, with the money raised donated to the charity.
Alternatively, if you’d like to sell any unwanted gifts in the comfort of your own home, you can sell these online through eBay for Charity where you choose to donate between 10% and 100% of monies raised from items sold to your charity.
Be it in the office, at school or in your local community, why not throw a party with a difference – celebrate Christmas whilst also raising money!
Some ideas of ways to raise funds through your party include:
• Santa Hat competition – pay £1 to enter, decorating your own hat and the most creative wins!
• Strike a pose! – Grab a polaroid, take a selfie or get together for a group photo, and donate to take your photo home
• Secret Santa – rather than paying £5 for a gift, you could buy a virtual gift through a £5 donation. For example, donating £5 allows a person affected by Mental Health to receive information which will support them through this time in their lives. Or do a company donation for example £25 pays for a Volunteer to receive 4 training Modules which will support individual project and increase awareness and reduce stigma and discrimination for people affected by Mental Health. £100. Will provide much needed equipment and supplied for our wellbeing centres which are open Free of Charge to anyone affected by mental health £250 will provide support for our volunteer counsellors and provide 6 week counselling session for someone in essential need for talking therapy. £300 will pay for a person to attend a self-harm self-care workshop
Our supporters hold a great range of seasonal fundraising activities, which you can get involved with too, or may inspire you to do your own. Check out our events listing here.
If you’d like any more ideas or if you have your own you’d like to share, please do comment below or get in touch with us at email@example.com or call 01656 651 450
IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocates) and Paid Representative Services
by Keith Williams
Advocates support clients within the Mental Capacity Act. These are some of the most disempowered people, often frightened, angry and confused.
IMCAs have specific experience, including IMCA and IMCA DoLS training in addition to the core advocacy units, which becomes the NVQ Level 4 Diploma in Advocacy. They must have integrity and a good character; and to be able to act independently. Additionally, IMCAs have an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check and undertake POVA (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) training.
The aim of the IMCA service is to provide independent safeguards for people who lack capacity to make certain important decisions and, at the time such decisions need to be made, have no-one else (other than paid staff) to support or represent them or be consulted.
IMCAs must be independent.
An IMCA must be instructed, and then consulted, for people lacking capacity who have no-one else to support them (other than paid staff), whenever: an NHS body is proposing to provide serious medical treatment, or an NHS body or local authority is proposing to arrange accommodation (or a change of accommodation) in hospital or a care home, and the person will stay in hospital longer than 28 days, or they will stay in the care home for more than eight weeks.
An IMCA may be instructed to support someone who lacks capacity to make decisions concerning: care reviews, where no-one else is available to be consulted adult protection cases, whether or not family, friends or others are involved.
Any information or reports provided by an IMCA must be taken into account as part of the process of working out whether a proposed decision is in the person’s best interests.
The advocate will endeavour to build a working relationship with the client and construct a picture of their feelings and wishes. Through structured meetings the advocate supports the person to make those views known and ensure they are taken into consideration. IMCAs ensure decisions taken follow due process and raise pertinent questions in relation to the rationale. The service looks to close cases when decisions are taken and implementation plans are in place. However, the IMCA can raise questions or challenge decisions which appear not to be in the best interests of the person. If there is no other way of resolving the disagreement, the decision may be challenged in the Court of Protection.
An additional area of support provided by the IMCA service, is supporting people lacking capacity, who have no-one else to support them (other than paid staff), being deprived of their liberty, or during the process of assessment in establishing if there is a deprivation taking place.
If a person is considered deprived of their liberty, the hospital or care home has to be granted a Standard Authorisation within the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. The person is referred to as the Relevant Person; and as they lack the capacity to understand their deprivation, a Relevant Person’s Representative has to be appointed to support them. When the person has no one to take on that role, a Paid Representative will be appointed.
The Paid Representative’s role is to:
Technically, the Paid Representative role is not as an advocate. Advocates do not make decisions, whereas the Paid Representative is expected to make decisions. However, Government feels the best people to undertake this role are IMCAs because of their independence and understanding of the Mental Capacity Act.
The IMCA and Paid Representative services are only available in very specific circumstances and whilst the Mental Capacity Act is a hugely empowering piece of legislation, it is complex and to date implementation of the act has been sluggish and people are far more likely to benefit from their rights under this act when an independent advocate is involved.
Well, have no fear – MHM Wales is here! with some top tips on fundraising for November and the start of December that will kick start your fundraising (if you’ve yet to get it going) or give you a boost as you turn the corner to Christmas.
1. Bonfire night!
The smell of the fire and sight of fireworks gets everyone excited. So, why not have your own event in your back garden? You can have a ‘Guy-making competition’ for a small entry fee and have mulled wine and homemade snacks available to buy.
2. Get in touch with your local school
If you have a link with a local school, this is definitely the time to ask them to help out! ‘Non-uniform days’ are a grand tradition when the term draws to a close, so try asking your local school if the proceeds could go towards your charity.
3. Christmas wish-list
Everyone fills their list with must-haves for Christmas, but why not ask your friends and family to sponsor you in place of giving you gifts? This is a great way to fundraise with little effort on your part. Plus the holiday season always brings out the generosity in people!
4. Gift/card making
If you’re the arty type, try putting your skills to good use and start making some festive gifts for your friends to buy. You could make anything from cards to cakes to homemade jewellery.
5. Christmas Sweepstakes!
With numerous TV ‘Christmas specials’ hitting our screens, there’s no better time for a bit of friendly betting. Make a sweepstake, and ask your friends or colleagues to get involved for a small donation. There’s ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ as well as ‘Strictly Come Dancing, (a personal favourite) and the ‘X Factor’ final. You could even get your friends together to bet on this year’s Christmas Number 1, with a small fee going towards your fundraising.
6. Christmas/NYE party
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good, old-fashioned Christmas party. Every office has one, so get in on the action and ask your colleagues to do a raffle for your fundraising as part of the festivities. Or organise a Mince Pie Making competition for a small entry fee. Local businesses are often willing to help, so you could ask them to donate a prize for your winner.
7. Christmas collections
Contact your local council to get a Christmas collection going on your local high street or in a busy train station. Rope in all your mates to make it a great – and profitable! – day. Get in touch as we can provide the buckets, authority letters and some t-shirts to help you along the way – but some Christmas hats and props might make it a bit more festive! You could even add a competitive element by giving a prize to the person who fills their bucket the highest!
Phew! Well there’re a few ideas to get you going. As usual, if you need any help, ideas, or materials such as decorations/collection buckets to make your fundraising the best it can be, then please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to help.
Today is Bipolar Awareness Day. But what is Bipolar disorder? Let’s find out…
Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental health illness that causes severe shifts in mood, energy, cognitive ability and behaviour.
The term ‘bipolar’ means ‘two poles’ and signifies the polar opposites of mania and depression which sufferers are subject to.
The cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks or months and, unlike ordinary mood swings, the sufferer’s mood changes are so intense they interfere with their ability to function.
During a manic episode, people can become impulsive. They may find that they don’t need as much sleep as usual, become more sociable and optimistic, they may seem agitated and have racing thoughts and speak very quickly. They often become much more productive than usual and may have many ideas and plans or even take on risky activities.
When the depression takes over, they would be more likely to need more sleep than usual, struggling to get out of bed, carrying with them a mind full of self-loathing and hopelessness. They withdraw from socialising and neglect everyday tasks.
Aretaeus of Cappadocia (you know him) began the process of detailing symptoms in the medical field as early as the 1st Century CE in Greece. Aretaeus described a group of patients that who ‘laugh, play, dance night and day, and sometimes go openly to the market crowned, as if victors in some contest of skill’ only to be ‘torpid, dull, and sorrowful’ at other times His notations on the link between mania and depression unnoticed for many centuries. Bipolar only appeared in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagonostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in its third revision in 1980. Jean-Pierre Falret (1794–1870) observed that the disorder clustered in families, and postulated that it had a strong genetic basis. In the early part of the 19th Century, German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926) was able to distinguish the disorder from schizophrenia by studying it’s natural, untreated course. He coined the term ‘manic–depressive psychosis’ to describe it. Kraepelin emphasized that, in contrast to schizophrenia, manic–depressive psychosis had an episodic course and was more benign.
Today, the term ‘bipolar disorder’ or ‘bipolar affective disorder’ is used as it is thought to be a less stigmatizing term than ‘manic–depressive illness’. However, some people with bipolar disorder still prefer the term ‘manic–depressive illness’ as they feel that it more accurately reflects the nature of the illness.
Although the causes of bipolar disorder are still not fully understood, experts believe that it results from chemical imbalances in the brain, and, as Jean-Pierre Falret correctly observed, it often appears to be hereditary. Bipolar disorder may also be triggered by physical illness, sleep disturbances and overwhelming problems in everyday life, such as problems with money, work or relationships.
The symptoms generally occur in the teenage years or early adulthood, and when work, studies, family or emotional pressures are at their greatest. In women it can also be triggered by childbirth or during the menopause.
Like all mental illnesses, bipolar disorder can develop in any age, gender, social or ethnic background. Early diagnosis is the key to coping with the illness; however the symptoms can be subtle and confusing, often resulting in misdiagnosis resulting in unnecessary suffering. Managing the illness is possible and many sufferers lead a rich and fulfilling life through proper treatment involving medication, healthcare, therapy and support. Treatments focus on reducing the impact and severity of the episodes, allowing a person to live as normal a life as possible.
Bipolar UK is the national charity dedicated to supporting individuals and their families affected by bipolar.
Their services in Wales include:
Bridgend’s Bipolar Support Group runs the first Wednesday of every month at 1:30pm at the ARC Centre, Quarella Road, Bridgend CF31 1JN
All the services mentioned above are available not just to individual sufferers, but also their family, friends and carers.
To find out more about Bipolar UK and the services they provide, please visit the website
Dads Matter UK
By Mark Williams
Recent research from Oxford University found that 10% of fathers suffer from Postnatal Depression.
Hi, I’m Mark Williams. After personal experiences of postnatal depression following the birth of my son, I have worked tirelessly for many years since on raising awareness of PND in fathers.
I firmly believe that all men should have insight, education and awareness before becoming fathers.
With this in mind, we’re launching Dad’s Matter UK this Father’s Day weekend.
The aim of Dads Matter UK is to raise awareness amongst dads and to encourage open discussion and disclosure of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress during the 1001 Critical Days from Conception to Age 2. This is the crucial time when parental behaviours and attitudes impact upon the critical development of their child.
What is PND
PND or Postnatal depression is depression from the time the child is born to the first twelve months. Though more common in mothers, many fathers don’t really understand the full feeling of depression that they are going through, due to the need to be supportive of their partner and new family. Men tend to put on a brave face and can often end up masking their feelings with alcohol or other substances as a coping method. This can lead to them hitting crisis point many years later.
The Dads Matter UK team will be promoting their first conference in October and coming to Wales early next year. Perinatal mental health is everything involving postnatal depression, anxiety, OCD, stress and PTSD during the birth.
Prevention needs to be in place before the father hits crisis point and it will also save other services like alcohol and drug treatment where some men go to cope with the difficulties. With backing of Chris Bingley whose wife Joanne died five years ago after raking her life due to postnatal depression and a team of professionals already people are taking about it.
Mother and Baby Unit
After speaking to Mark Drakeford Welsh Health Minister, we are hoping to bring better services to Wales with the help of Family national charity whose been going for the past 150 years and NHS Flying starts where Mark currently works on a dads project including training. Mark is hoping that the only mother and baby unit in Wales will reopen again is firmly on the Dads Matter agenda.
Dads Matter Aims
If you would like more information about Dads Matter UK or would like to talk to Mark about volunteering, please look at www.reachingoutpmh.co.uk
Do you enjoy meeting people? Looking for a change of direction? Want to boost your CV?
In celebration of Volunteers’ Week 2015 at the beginning of June, BAVO’ s volunteering team will be at volunteering information stands in various locations throughout Bridgend County Borough. BAVO will be accompanied by various local community groups and organisations from 9:30 – 3pm each day in the following locations:
Volunteers’ Week, running from 1 – 7 June, is a national event which celebrates the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK and plays a huge part in raising the profile of millions of volunteers.
Volunteering is rewarding and can make a huge difference to you and your community. BAVO provides a county wide volunteer centre offering a one-stop resource on all aspects of volunteering, with over 300 registered voluntary organisations offering a wide range of opportunities to match your skills and interests.
So whatever you’re looking for, come along to one of our volunteering information stands and we can match your skills with an opportunity that best suits you!
Contact BAVO on
Tel: 01656 810 400 or Email: email@example.com
By Michaela Moore
Congratulations! You have your brand new online fundraising page set up! But how do you get the donations rolling in and maximise your total?
First thing’s first, once your fundraising page is live, you need to get the ball rolling with a couple of donations to help people take it seriously. It’s a good idea to make a donation yourself on the page first to show your commitment, others will follow.
You can boost the average amount of donations by asking the people you know first. Get your family and your well-off friends to donate, and then go to everyone else! Studies have shown that people will up their donation if they see others have donated more.
Personalise your fundraising page as much as possible. Remember, many of the people you’ll approach will have been asked for sponsorship many times before. Think about what makes your fundraising challenge or event special and communicate that to the world. Taking a few minutes to add lots of detail to your page can make all the difference.
You can add a cover photo at the top and even a video. People are bound to donate more if they see a big photograph of you working hard on your fundraising! Use the description and blogs on your page to tell people why you think your charity/challenge/issue is so important. The more people know about why you’re doing this, the more likely they are to contribute.
It is essential to get the word out on social media about your campaign, but research suggests that a direct email to your contacts is actually the most successful way to encourage donations.
Email all your friends, family and acquaintances not just once but a few times through your campaign, to boost your fundraising total.
Whether you’re boosting your total with an event or just shouting about your fundraising with some posters at work, contact the charity you want to support and see if they can help.
Use your chosen charities photographs and graphics to help tell the world about what you’re trying to achieve. It’s also a good idea to follow your charity on Facebook and Twitter where they share regular inspiring stories about all their charitable works. When you see something inspiring, you can share it with your followers.
Spread the word about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it on social media. Sharing videos and photographs is especially effective, and don’t forget to always include a link to your fundraising page.
Personal pictures and stories of you are always a good idea, but you might also like to share general posts about the charity and what your supporters’ money can help us achieve.
Reach further than your immediate friends and family for a bigger impact. If you think your fundraising is a good story, send a press release and some good photographs to your local newspapers and radio stations.
If you have a connection to a local school or college, you could also write to them and ask if they might join in by holding fundraising events. Even local businesses might be able to help; why not enquire about holding a collection at your local supermarket?
Any fundraising you do offline can be added to your online fundraising page as an ‘offline donation’.
Your workplace is a great place to collect donations.
Email the link to your fundraising page round all your colleagues, put up posters in your staff room and consider having a cake sale or other work event to boost your total.
It is also worth approaching your company to ask them to contribute. Many companies have a budget for charitable giving and will happily offer to match your total or make a bulk donation. Does your workplace have social media accounts, or a staff newsletter? Perhaps they might share your story with a link to your fundraising page? It can’t hurt to ask!
Whatever your fundraising goal, the cause you want to support will be there to help you every step of the way. So whether you’d like to chat through an idea, or just need some branded buckets to collect your colleagues’ loose change, start fundraising NOW!
You might think ‘oh, I already contacted that person’ but one email at the start of your campaign is easily missed. Plus some people will be more likely to donate further on, when they’ve seen you put some work in!
Send new emails when you have news to tell people, especially, if you’re completing a challenge, in the immediate run up to the event.
You can use your account on our website to post blog entries about your fundraising. This is a great way to keep people up to date about how you’re doing, each time you post a new blog you can share it on your social media channels, so people are reminded about what you’re doing, and given new incentives to donate.
Once your challenge or event is over, don’t forget a post about how it went, include a link for people to donate and point out that ‘there’s still time to donate!’
Michaela Moore runs the fundraising department at MHM Wales. If you would like to support people affected by Mental Health give her a call on (01656) 651450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org