Monday, 30 January 2017

Adolescent Mental Health

 Image result for adolescent mental health

 Adolescence is a very difficult time of transitions. Children are in-limbo evolving from childhood to adulthood; they are attempting to find their identity, fit in at school, keep up with the pressures of social media, cope with the pressure of school work and exams, decide on a fulfilling career and manage the many hormonal and bodily changes occurring. These all sound challenging enough but then imagine suffering from a mental health condition as well. This is much more common than people may believe.

Mental health is a huge umbrella under which many disorders are placed. The most common include:

  •     Depression
  •     Anxiety
  •     Substance use disorders

How common are these disorders in Australia?

The statistics when it comes to mental health disorders for adolescents in Australia are extremely concerning.

·       Australia has the second highest rate in the WORLD of antidepressant prescriptions per capita, and this is increasing by about 25% each year.
·       1 in 4 adolescents have a mental illness.
·       1 in 3 girls suffer from anxiety disorders.
·       1 in 16 adolescents suffer from depression.
·       At least one third of young people have had an episode of mental illness by the time they are 25 years old.
·       Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and accounts for the death of more young people than car accidents.
·       65% of young people suffering from a mental health condition do not seek help.

There are several factors that have been shown to contribute to poor mental health. These include:

·       Stress
·       Neurotoxic substances
·       Inflammation
       ·        Poor nutrition
       ·       Challenging life events
·       Loneliness

Apart from medication, some of the other essential treatments for boosting mood and enhancing brain function include:

       ·        Adequate nutrition
       ·        Physical activity
       ·        Adequate sleep
       ·        Meaning and purpose in life
       ·        Social connections
·       Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
·       Mindfulness
       ·        Natural treatments such as herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and flower essences.

If your child is suffering or displaying symptoms of a mental health condition it is so important they seek help as soon as possible. The longer seeking help is delayed, the more damage that will occur and the more difficult it will be to reverse. Possibly all they will need when symptoms are mild are some dietary and lifestyle modifications but if you leave it too long, medication or more serious treatments are much more likely to be required. Many of these conditions begin in adolescence and if correct support is given to these teens it reduces the likelihood that they will be reliant on medications as well as giving them the opportunity to learn better coping mechanisms that can be employed for the rest of their lives.

For those who do require medication it is important to note that many natural therapies are available that can be used in conjunction to increase efficacy, reduce side effects and possibly reduce the dosage needed. Please seek the advice of your medical practitioner for the best treatment option for your teenager.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Stress less for 2017

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If you look back at last year, how were your stress levels? Do you remember feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and run down by the end of the year? Do you want to make a change for this year? Lets get the year started with a plan to better manage your stress and cope with the inevitable everyday tasks!

Here are my three tips for a stress free 2017

1.It’s a new year; lets not make the same mistakes as last year. If you are in a high pressure job, get stressed or overwhelmed easily, juggling too many things, or have a tendency towards anxiety then there are 2 supplements you should be taking daily. These are a Vitamin B complex and Magnesium. Both of these will help to support your nervous system, helping your body better cope with stress and reducing anxiety levels.

2. Practice some form of relaxation daily. This can be whatever works best for you, whether it be meditation, deep breathing, walking, baths, aromatherapy or journaling. Take your pick and make sure you do it every day as a priority. Now is the perfect time to get into the habit before the year gets too crazy. Once you form a habit you wont think twice as to whether you have time or not in your busy schedule to incorporate relaxation. Routine is key!

3. This is a big one, get organised! You need a schedule or routine so that every little thing doesn’t make you flustered. If you get into a routine of when you meditate, when you exercise, when you cook and when you have down time everything just seems to flow. Get yourself a meal planner and every Sunday plan what meals you will be cooking for the week. Even time to play needs to be scheduled in as there is always something to do that may take preference but having some you time is so important. Get yourself a diary or calendar, organise a daily routine and stop this cycle of stress!

2017 a year of change, time to be more authentic.

Happy New Year to you all!

I am particularly excited about this year as I get a sense that it will be a year full of change, in a positive way. I don’t know about you but towards the end of last year and continuing into this year I have been noticing many people making courageous steps to move on from things that they were not finding fulfilling and deciding to chase their dreams. I have found this extremely inspiring. Sometimes we get complacent and continue on in a job, relationship, and daily routines because its what we have been doing for a while but not because it brings us joy, fulfillment or personal growth. It takes a lot of courage to remove yourself from these situations when it feels so comfortable but when they no longer serve you it is so worth taking the risk. I see all the time in my life and in the lives of those around me that once you get stuck everything becomes so much harder and only once you let go, do new doors open for you, new opportunities present and life becomes exciting again.

I think we often forget that life is supposed to be fun. We are meant to be living each day with joy, surrounded by those that we love and who make us happy. We get so preoccupied with work, making money, being who we think everyone else wants us to be, saying the right thing, and doing the right thing that we forget just to be ourselves. We forget about our playful side, or generous side, our true self. This need to fit in is just as much our own fault as it is societies as we are the ones creating a society like this.

I look around and worry about our world, the way greed has taken over, and money comes before all else. It comes before our families, before the environment, before all that is actually important. I see that we are losing ourselves but I also see a lot of compassion, a lot of change and a lot of people opposed to the way the world is going. The amount of change I am seeing gives me hope. I know the world cannot continue on the path it is going but I see many people searching for something greater and bigger and this too gives me hope. We are starting to realise what we are missing and for me I have faith that things will turn around because the solution in my opinion is so simple. We are living in an external world full of chaos; all we need to do to re-balance and slow down is to turn inwards. Re-connect to ourselves. Be more authentic; be more compassionate, more empathetic. If we can just be a little more of ourselves and share a bit more of our own magic (which we are all full of) the world will slowly start to fall back into a state of balance. Within us all we know the answer, we have just forgotten how to find it.

There are so many practices out there that help us connect to ourselves. It is important to find the ones that work for you. I know that being in nature really makes me feel at peace, particularly when I am close to water. I also find gratitude journaling very powerful.

Let me know what techniques help you feel in touch with your true beautiful self?

Iguazu Falls- A place of such beauty, staring at the volume of water allowed me to feel peaceful and connected.