Reaching out to someone when you need help can be terrifying. Even if it’s someone you trust, like a family member or friend, it can still be hard to articulate what you are going through. Sometimes, you may want to seek out the help of a qualified counsellor or – in some cases – a mental health nurse. This can be intimidating. You may be scared, embarrassed, or anxious to share your private concerns with a complete stranger. However, seeking help from a trained professional is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of.
Let me say that again: seeking help from a trained professional when you need it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Trained professionals not only know how to listen, but they can talk you through how you’re feeling and offer additional resources you may not know about. In the same way that you would seek advice from a doctor if you had a cold, mental health professionals are trained to help you take care of yourself and get the extra resources and guidance that you need!
Having said that, it might be easy to think that they can’t help because they themselves have never experienced mental health difficulties and they wouldn’t understand. This could not be further from the truth! Many counsellors and healthcare workers bring their own experiences to the table when helping others. They are human too. They have emotional ups and downs, endure phases of depression and anxiety, struggle with relationships, and know first hand how hard life can be at times.
Introducing Bethany Turner
To help show this, we’ve invited our lovely friend and qualified Mental Health Nurse, Bethany Turner, in for an interview. Having obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at Keele University and qualifying as a Mental Health Nurse in 2016, Bethany has since worked on a Mental Health Ward within a large hospital and is currently working as a Community Mental Health Nurse in a Wellbeing Service.
Over the span of her career, she has cared for and worked with individuals suffering from common mental health difficulties such as Anxiety and Depression as well as more complex challenges including Schizophrenia and Bipolar. Some of her work activities include undertaking psychological assessments, determining appropriate treatments, and engaging in talking therapies with clients.
As a young professional, we wanted to know if she had any insight or tips for The Lily-Jo Project community. Below find her inspiring, insightful, and practical answers for maintaining good mental health.
Do you have any routines for starting and/or ending your day on a positive note?
“I don’t have any particular routines or rituals, however, I do try to ensure that I start every day with a hot drink in bed and a positive thought. I begin each morning sitting for just 5 minutes with a cup of tea (often made by my dad I admit!) and encourage myself to think of one positive thought about the day, despite how tired I’m feeling!”
How do you care for your mental health?
“In order to manage and maintain my own good mental health, I try to be quite self-aware. Sometimes it can be easy to fall into simple unhelpful habits that can affect how you feel overall, and I think it is important to be able to recognise these. At times, I can struggle to maintain a healthy sleeping pattern and therefore have to encourage myself to use sleep hygiene techniques. This can include: not drinking caffeine during the evening, not spending long periods of time on my phone in bed, reading a book before bed or ensuring that my room is a peaceful environment to sleep”
(If sleep is a particular struggle for you, you may find our recent blog post on healthy sleeping habits to be helpful)
What do you like to do for fun?
“I like to do lots of things to keep me happy, especially now I have more free time at the weekends as I no longer work shifts. I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, I love shopping and spending lots of time with friends and boyfriend! It’s important for me that I make time to relax and enjoy myself outside of work.”
(We’ve spotted some of Bethany’s baking creations on her Instagram, and they look divine!)
Based on your personal and professional experience, what are your top 3 pieces of advice for maintaining good mental health?
“My top pieces of advice would be:
- Be honest! Talk about how you’re feeling and be open and honest. Find at least one person in your life that you feel able to be completely open with, whether this be a friend or a professional, and talk to them about how you are feeling. Remember that people can’t help if they don’t know that you are struggling.
- Take time for you! Find something that you enjoy and push yourself to make the time for you to spend on yourself. It’s far too easy to become caught up in work and daily life that people tend to forget how important it is to take time to care for themselves, even if this is something as simple as taking time out to have a nice hot bath, or pop on a face mask.
- Acceptance. Work on learning to accept that everything can’t always be perfect all of the time, and that it’s okay to not feel 100% happy 100% of the time! We are all only human and it is natural to feel a range of emotions throughout different times of life. This doesn’t make you weak, or abnormal, or pathetic – it makes you human!”
We would like to thank Bethany for sharing a piece of her life with us! If you are struggling and looking for advice, a good place to start is our self-help resource here at www.thelilyjoproject.com/#help.
If you feel that you would benefit from a confidential chat, Bethany recommends contacting the Samaritans helpline at 116 123.
If you need face to face support, she recommends attending your GP and in emergencies attending an A&E centre.
Remember, you are #neveralone! If you’re not comfortable with sharing how you feel with a friend or family member, there are trained professionals out there just like Bethany who are not only compassionate and helpful – but also human.
Take care this week.
The Lily-Jo Project
Written and Edited by: Shelby Hale