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Mental Health First Aid Kit For Young People + Help-lines + Tips for Self-Care + How to Stay Safe Online + Coping with Anxiety + Understanding Mental Health

Created by Merthyr Tydfil Borough Wide Youth Forum, Georgetown Youth Club and Up and Coming


Helplines and Information “I need to talk to someone now.” Childline Help and advice on any issue, for young people up to age 19. Helpline: 0800 111 (24hr Freephone) Samaritans For those in distress or struggling to cope. Helpline: 116 123 (Free 24hr) Web: Email: If you are in severe distress, make an emergency appointment with your doctor, call NHS non-emergency 111, or go to your local A&E.

Mental Health

Housing and Money Problems

Mind Information about mental health conditions, treatments and legal advice. Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm, except bank holidays) Text: 86463 Web: Email:

Shelter Housing and Debt Advice. Web: Tel: 0345 075 5005 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm). Email: or use online email tool.

Young Minds Information for young people regarding mental health problems. Parent Free Helpline: 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm) Web: Hafal Signposting support for those with mental health conditions and their carers. Tel: 01792 816 600 (9am-5pm) Web: Email: Merthyr and the Valleys Mind Drop-in centre for information and advice. Address: (9am-3pm): 107 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8AP Web: Tel: 01685 353 944 Email: CAMHS NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services You will need a referral from your carer, teacher, parent or GP for an assessment.

Citizens Advice Bureau Advice and signposting services for those with money, benefit, housing or employment problems; or need help with legal advice or health problems. Look at the website or phone the Citizens Advice Admin Line for your nearest outreach drop-in centre. Web: Adviceline: 03444 772020 or 0300 456 8356 Tel Admin Line: 01685 382188 (to arrange appointment) Address Main Office: 1 Post Office Lane, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8BE

“The bravest thing I did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.” Juliette Lewis, Actor.

B-eat Information and support for those with eating disorders. Tel: Helpline: 0808 801 0677; Youthline: 0808 801 0711 (4pm-10pm) Web: Email: (under 18); (over 18) Hearing Voices Network For people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual perceptions. Web: Tel: 0114 271 8210 Email: No Panic Information and support for those with anxiety disorders. Web and online chat: Helpline: 0844 967 4848 (10am-10pm) Youth Helpline 0330 606 1174 (for ages 13-20, Mon-Fri 3pm-6pm) DASPA Cwm Taf Drug and Alcohol Single Point of Access. Signposting, selfmanagement and recovery training. Referral tel: 0300 333 0000 Email: Twitter: @SORTEDCYMRU



What's Inside: Page 4

Page 12

Find out why and how we made this magazine.

We look at the famous singer who suffered from depression in a very public way

Mental Health First Aid Kit Page 5

FEELING GOOD? Tips for taking care of your mental health and wellbeing.

Pages 6 - 7

THE beauty myth Are you feeling the pressure to look a certain way? We take a look through history to find out what it means for men and women to be beautiful and where to find help for bullying and eating disorders.

Pages 8 - 9

WELLBEING GRID A fun activity to manage your mental health and wellbeing.

Pages 10 - 11

LIFE ONLINE Ways to protect yourself on social media as we share the ups and downs of living during the online age.


What is anxiety? Do your anxious feelings leave you feeling overwhelmed and unable to do everyday things? We talk about what anxiety is and give tips to manage it.

Page 14

CASE STUDY: Heath Ledger Discussing the actor’s mental health issues, we talk about why men statistically have poorer mental health.

Page 15

NATURE VS NURTURE Are you born with it? An exploration into why we might have positive or poor mental health.

Page 16

MENTAL HEALTH DEFINITIONS A basic go-to guide for all those tricky terms.

About Us We are young people from around Merthyr Tydfil who are part of the Up & Coming project and the Merthyr Tydfil Borough Wide Forum. We meet once a week at Georgetown Youth Club where we developed this project; we led the discussions, researched the topics, wrote the articles, and created the artwork for this magazine. Contributors: Ashleigh Davies, Lauren Davies, Leila Davies, Evan Davis, Morgan Ellis, Jennifer Owen, Shauna-Leigh Llewellyn, Ethan Scriven, Kaitlin Sutton, Hollie Symmonds, Ellis Thomas, Matthew Webb, Josh Williams, Ryan Crowley. With support from: Maxine Ridge, Jamie Scriven, Tom Stupple, Janice Watkins Thank you too: Susan Vaughan and her team at CAMHS and Darrell Clarke from Cwm Taf University Health Board for taking the time to give us feedback and guidance on the magazine content. A special thank you to Bethan Bartlett and the team at Georgetown Youth Club – this project would not have been possible without your support.

Magazine designed by: Joy Creative | Safer Merthyr Tydfil Voluntary Action Centre 89-90 Pontmorlais Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8UH Registered Charity Number 1062150 Registered Number 3361902 Tel: (01685) 353999 Fax: (01685) 353990 INVESTING IN A SAFER MERTHYR



Mental Health First Aid Kit Young people all over Wales are concerned there is not enough information or guidance given to encourage positive mental health. 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health issues at some point. For some of us, mental health issues start from being bullied, facing peer pressure, a break-up or a traumatic event. This magazine aims to help us understand mental health, keep positive mental health by providing helpful tips and ideas, and suggest what to do if we develop poor mental health. There are four key messages we want to share:





Life can be hard, confusing, stressful, lonely and challenging, and often this is even worse as your growing up. Life isn’t always smooth sailing, there are going to be hard times, you don’t always have to pretend that everything is alright.

If you are going through a hard time, feeling depressed, anxious, frightened, angry or lost, then the world can feel very lonely. Remember no matter what the situation you are probably not the only person feeling this way and you are not alone.





“If I could give one piece of advice to other young people it would be – don’t bottle it up!”

“Sometimes it’s really hard to even understand what’s going on in my own brain.”

Sometimes this is the biggest step and can feel incredibly hard, but sometimes just talking to someone can totally change how you’re feeling. It might be a friend, family member, youth worker, school teacher, helpline or health professional, but find the right person for you and tell them how you are feeling and what’s going on.

The more we can understand our own thoughts and feelings the better we can deal with difficult situations. Working out what things might be triggers to making you feel worse and what things help sustain you is a big step in the right direction and a key to nurturing positive mental health.

"All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells that we are all more alike than we are unalike." Poet and civil rights activist,

Maya Angelou. 4


Feeling Good?

When it comes to mental health, self-care is often the best place to start. One of the best ways to start is to recognise the things that actually make us feel good, and some the things that don’t. Here are some of our suggestions to nurture good positive health.

Write a Journal

Relaxation Techniques Tense and Release

Note when you feel good or bad. How do you feel after certain activities or foods, at different times of the month, when you have to go a particular class or see a particular person?

Sit or lie somewhere comfortable and quiet. Tense each part of your body, and then tell that part to relax, starting at your feet, then calves, then thighs, making your way up the body to your face. Spend a few moments in silence. Come out of the relaxation, starting by wriggling the fingers and toes and then giving a big stretch and yawn.

Little Book of Positivity Get a notebook and every time something nice happens, you read an inspirational phrase, or you are complimented, write it in your book. At times when you are feeling a bit low, you can take out your book and read all the lovely things you have written.

A Month of Happiness Take thirty pieces of paper and write something nice that you like to do, for example: “eat a bar of chocolate,” “make a smoothie,” “walk to the park,” “spend time reading,” “give someone a sincere compliment,” “give my change to charity.” Place them in a box or jar. Every day, take out one piece of paper and dedicate some time to yourself.

Relaxing Breathing Exercise To begin, close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing this. Breathe in for 4 seconds and then out for 4 seconds. After you’ve done this a few times increase to 5 seconds... taking a deep breath in for 5 seconds and breathing out for 5 seconds. You can increase the time/seconds as long as it is comfortable, to a maximum of 8 seconds. Then reverse the time from 8,7,6,5 seconds until you are taking deep breaths of 4 seconds in and 4 seconds out.

Relaxing Light Visualisation Every morning, in the shower, imagine a golden ball of light in your hands. Turn it around. Feel its positivity and its warmth. Let its light sink into your hands filling your body up, going along your arms, up to the top of your head, through your body and down to your toes. You feel happy and positive. The water from the shower above you showers golden light all over you, and any negative feeling, darkness, heaviness, is washed away by the light down the shower plug.

Review Jar Put an empty jar in your room. When you have a thought troubling you, or if you have a question you can’t answer, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Later on, you can come back to the thought and you may be in a position to find out the answer.

"If plan A doesn't work, the alphabet has 25 more letters - 204 if you're in Japan." Author,

Claire Cook.




Beauty Myth

In a recent study of social media sites, it was found that the more time users spent on social media the more they were concerned with their weight and body shape. We live in a world of selfies and social media and it's hard not to look disapprovingly into the mirror comparing ourselves to the images we see online. But it really is worth remembering that beauty standards are always changing, from country to country, and throughout history.

The History of Beauty Beautiful Women For women throughout history, rich and poor alike, a fuller female figure has been associated with fertility and childbearing, so women’s beauty fashions have differed over time, in hair colour choice, make-up and clothing. Medieval British society (5th-15th Century) centred on the church and girls would dye their hair black as blonde hair was seen as too flirty! But in the Elizabethan era (c.1400-1700), it was fashionable to have fair hair or red hair. We love the ‘fake bake’ spray-on tan now, but in the Elizabethan era, it was fashionable to have porcelain white skin. Rich women would even put a substance with toxic white lead on their faces to get that ‘pale and interesting’ look. The ‘high def.’ brow is currently fashionable, but the Elizabethan woman favoured thin, high-arched brows and a high forehead, plucking their hairline back for a more fashionable look. This pale, delicate look continued over the centuries but the Victorians took it to the extreme. The ideal woman in Victorian England (1837-1901) lived a motherly, indoor life. She was pale to show she didn’t do outdoor activities in the sun, and she was slim and delicate because she didn’t do manual labour. Women wore corsets to make their waists as small as possible and also wore their hair long as a symbol of femininity. Even over the past hundred years, ideals have changed and changed again. In the 1920s women wanted a boyish body, they wore clothes to downplay their waists and flatten their breasts and their hair was styled boyishly, short and straight. In the 1930s-50s, Hollywood was a huge influence, setting up contrasting onscreen ideals for male and female beauty and societal roles. Movie stars, like Marilyn Monroe, promoted curvy figures with slim waists. In the 1960s ideals changed again! Supermodel Twiggy was seen as perfect with her very tall and slim figure. In the 1980s, women still wanted to be slim and tall, but also athletic and buxom, like Cindy Crawford or Princess Diana. Women had started to want a tanned glow, showing all the expensive holidays they had been on! 6


Beautiful Men Men’s shapes have had to change with the times too. In the Classical Ancient World (c.8th Century BCE – 300AD) society wanted the male body to have swiftness and agility, rather than brute strength. The ideal male was lightly muscled, possessed low body fat, and was equally developed across the body because during this period many men would have been involved in the military and would have worn light leather armour. The muscular male figure during the Medieval Era (5th-15th Century) would have been more broadly built, with especially muscular shoulders and upper body to be able to support the heavy chain and plate armour of a chivalrous knight. However, for the rich, being overweight was seen as a desirable quality, as the fatter you were, the wealthier you were. And don’t forget leg day – having muscular calves meant you had time and money to ride and hunt, a sign of wealth. Being fashionably overweight continued for the next few centuries, it wasn’t until the Victorian era that having a narrow chest was seen as an aristocratic and superior trait; a broad muscular chest would have been the sign of a man who laboured in the fields. During the Golden Age of Hollywood (1930s-50s), there was a return to a more muscular physique. Actors needed to be slim and fit because of the mentality that ‘the camera adds ten pounds’. Later, in the 80s, a muscular gym body with a great tan was the norm but only a few years later in the 90s, the Grunge and Heroin-chic looks were fashionable, and men wanted to look tall, thin, frail and a bit scruffy!

Beauty standards have changed so much! We can see that beauty ideals have never been fixed and so if you do not fit into today's ideas of what it means to be 'beautiful,' it may be reassuring to know that the time period you're living in - and its corresponding ideals - will pass and will change. We should embrace our genetic make-up and enjoy what we've been given! This article shows that although beauty ideas are changeable, we know that what really stands the test of time are other qualities such as courage, talent and kindness.

“I’m being bullied about the way I look, what do I do?”

“I think I have an eating disorder.”

The pressure to look a certain way seems to come from everywhere: television, social media, magazines, and even our peers. In 2016, a local Youth Engagement study found that 41% of young people had been bullied, and a third of these young people had been bullied about their size or shape.

There is so much importance placed on appearance in films, across social media, in magazines, it can make you feel like there is an association between looking a certain way with positive qualities, like health and success. Eating disorders may feel like they are about appearance but often the beginning of eating problems can be linked to a stressful event or trauma, such as: physical or sexual abuse, bullying, pressure at school, or a family problem like parents getting divorced. Eating problems also often develop at the same time as major life changes, such as: puberty, going to a new school, or working out your sexuality. Other people in the family may be dieting, overeating or experiencing an eating problem, and this can have an impact too.

If you feel you are being bullied: •

Trust your instincts: friends don’t bully. Stay around people who are kind;

Join a club such as sports, martial arts, or arts, where you can make friends, gain confidence and shine;

See the bigger picture. Easier said than done but it might make you feel better knowing that often bullies are seeking attention and picking on other people to mask their own issues and feelings of inadequacy;

• • •

Ask for help: tell a family, friend, youth worker, teacher or someone you trust; Look at our social media page in this magazine for advice on how to stay safe online; Look at for advice.

1.6 million people have an eating disorder in the UK, and most of these are between the ages of 14 and 25. The people most likely to recover are those who seek help early.

• • • • • • •

Food becomes a way of gaining more control over your life. If you feel you have an eating disorder: Tell someone: family, friend, youth worker, teacher or someone you trust Call a helpline (see the first page of this magazine); Go to your doctor; Read for help and advice; Practice mindfulness or relaxation techniques – we have a few in our magazine; Find a way to change your routine to break bad habits;

" Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. " Iconic fashion designer,

Coco Chanel.



Wellbeing Grid If we cut ourselves when cooking, we put on a plaster. If we break a leg when playing sport, we go to see a doctor. We try to eat well and take care of our bodies because we want to maintain our physical health, so perhaps we should think the same about our mental health. When the doctor gives us a plaster cast and painkillers for our broken leg, we know the doctor does not physically knit our bones and sinews together and make our leg better again; and if it turns out there remains a weakness in our leg, we will have to adjust our behaviour in the future to remain healthy. In the same way, we have come to understand that we cannot always go to doctors and expect them to fix our mental health conditions with one solution; with professional help, we have to try to maintain our own positive mental health. This grid is a handy way to review how you are feeling and see where you can start making positive changes. When we are struggling, sometimes it’s hard to get into any sort of structure. It’s good to review how we are doing and see if we can do it better.

What do you do to Feel Happy? Playing with my niece and nephews

Playing sports


Socialising Playing music


Walking in the countryside

Reading Playing football

Talking to my family

Looking at the sky


Watching comedy

Crying to ‘let it all out’


Lying on the floor and shut my eyes

Binge-watching TV series

Going out with friends

Going to bingo




Fun and Activities

Learning and Education


How is it going?

What can I do to make it better?

What support do I need?

When will I do this? (date / time)

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." Theoretical Physicist and philosopher,

Albert Einstein.




ONLINE Checklist for Online Safety We all use social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. With reports of online bullying increasing, how can we keep ourselves safe online? If someone is bullying you or sending you inappropriate messages:

Stay safe:

• Unfollow;

• Do NOT share confidential information online, such as your address, phone number, area you live, school or bank details.

• Unfriend; • Block; • Report – what if they are doing this to other people? • Spam – so they cannot contact you; • Tell a friend or adult so someone else is aware of what is going on;

• Make your profile page super private in settings, so only your friends can see your page. This is good practice for when you start work. • Do not add or accept anyone you do not know. There are plenty of pages to talk to like-minded people in a public setting.

• Report them to someone in authority such as a teacher or the police.

Indecent Images Hindsight is a wonderful thing. What once seemed like a fun idea is now creating a black cloud over your life. If someone has an inappropriate video or image of you and is sharing it with other people or threatening to share it against your wishes, this is ILLEGAL. Tell an adult, contact Childline on freephone 0800 1111, or call the police on the non-emergency number 101. They are not going to be judgemental, they want to keep you safe. It is also illegal if anyone of ANY AGE: • Shares an explicit photograph or video of a young person UNDER 18, even if they share it with someone of the same age; • Creates, possesses, downloads, or stores an explicit photograph or video of themselves or another young person – even if that young person gave their permission for it to be created.

Don't share images of someone you know just because everyone else is! You could end up on the sex offenders register. Be a shepherd not a sheep. 10

TOP TIP Do a social media detox every now and then. Are the people on your Friends List people you know in real life? Remember, you can ‘unfollow’ negative people without having to ‘unfriend’ them.

TOP TIP Social media sites such as Facebook have algorithms, so when you click on certain news stories it keeps on showing you the same types of articles. So, if funny videos of cats make you laugh, but crime news stories make you sad, choose carefully what you click on and choose the things that make you happy.


Our thoughts on social media “Sometimes, I feel like social media is a good way of reaching out to people if you are feeling down. There is someone there to chat to or that feels the same way.”

“There was that story about those boys on a school trip who videoed their friend in the shower, without him knowing. It was sent around all their friends, even the ones back home. By the morning, they were sent home on the next flight and are now on the sex offender register.”

“Sometimes social media makes you feel worse, seeing how everyone’s lives look better than yours.”

“If people have gone out without you, you can see it across every social media platform they are on, and you can see exactly where they went and who they were with. It’s a lot harder to switch off from the outside world, and being left out has a whole new way of showing itself.”

“I feel like sometimes people are attention-seeking online; posting statuses about how terrible they feel, or that someone has upset them but they don’t actually approach the person who upset them. It’s passive-aggressive.”

“When I’m angry and want to respond to online comments, I try to remember that I only post things that I would be happy for my friends and family to hear in real life!”

“I feel like some young people are addicted to social media and it affects them socially, mentally and physically.”

“I’ve heard so many stories where someone is not who they say they are online.”

“The way people are on social media isn’t real: they only use certain photos, they use filters, they talk about the good things that happen to them. These people don’t post all aspects of their lives, the good and the bad.”

"Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people." Anonymous



Case Study: Amy Winehouse "I do suffer from depression, I suppose. Which isn't that unusual. You know, a lot of people do." Amy Jade Winehouse (1983-2011) Manic depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, self-harm, alcohol and drug misuse. At age 13, Amy Winehouse attended the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School in London. As a teen, her school reports read that Amy did not apply herself. She was rebellious, piercing her nose and not wearing her school’s correct uniform. Even then, her teachers noted that the young performer showed signs of a troubled state of mind that later developed into mental illness. There were family events which may have worsened her mental health, such as her parents splitting up when she was 9 years old and her mum’s long illness throughout Amy’s childhood (her mum was finally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when Amy was 19). Amy got a record contract at age 19. Amy had a distinctive style, with big beehive hair and iconic thick eyeliner. Her first album Frank was nominated for the Mercury Prize. With the release of her follow-up album, Back to Black, she won five Grammy Awards, three Ivor Novello Awards, and a Brit Award. She was praised by critics and other musical artists but her personal life often overshadowed her talent. She ran off stage to vomit during performances, other shows she just didn’t turn up to, tours were cancelled. She turned up too intoxicated to perform at a major televised award ceremony. In 2007, her former teacher commented: “She could be one of the greats. […] Sadly, there is a danger that Amy will be better known for her personal life than for her God-given musical gifts.” Amy said in an interview: “I’m of the school of thought where, if you can’t sort something out for yourself, no one can help you. Rehab is great for some people but not others.” Unfortunately, Amy’s tempestuous relationship and her attempts to self-medicate her condition with drugs and alcohol put her into a coma in August 2007. She mixed heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, whiskey and vodka. Documentary director, Asif Kapadia, believes that Amy Winehouse had “a mental illness and brain damage that came from all the overdoses and seizures she had over the years. That definitely affected her brain. She wasn’t thinking straight.” Amy Winehouse died in July 2011 from accidental alcohol poisoning. Adele and Amy both attended the London BRIT School and following the singer’s death Adele took a moment in her concert to honour Amy with the words: “I feel like I owe 90% of my career to her.” Amy still inspires people to this day, and she will always be remembered for her great personality and music.

"There's no shame in dealing with these things" Supernatural actor, Jared Padalecki Amy Winehouse is an example that if you have mental illness you can still be wildly successful. Sadly, she couldn’t manage her illness, but here is a list of successful people who have managed to control their illness: Singer, Justin Bieber – ADHD.

Actor and director, Mel Gibson – bipolar disorder.

Singer, Adele – anxiety.

Actor and comedian, Russell Brand – bulimia.

Singer, Demi Lovato – bulimia, self-harm.

Vlogger, Zoella – anxiety.

Singer and actor, Selena Gomez – anxiety, panic attacks, depression. Footballer, David Beckham – OCD. Singer and actor, Justin Timberlake – ADD, OCD.

Gold medal-winning Olympic cyclist, Victoria Pendleton – OCD, self-harm, anxiety.

Actor, Stephen Fry – bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts.

Gold medal-winning Olympian swimmer, Michael Phelps – ADHD.

Actor, Ryan Reynolds – anxiety.

Writer, JK Rowling – depression.

Actor, Leonardo DiCaprio – OCD.

Economic and Maths genius, John Nash (1928-2015) – schizophrenia

Actor, Angelina Jolie – depression, self-harm.

Apple Inc. co-founder, Steve Jobs (1955-2011) – OCD

Actor, Halle Berry – suicidal thoughts, depression.

Founder of Heinz food company, Henry Heinz (1844-1919) – OCD



What is Anxiety? Anxiety is constant worrying that gets taken to an irrational level to where you can't switch it off. We all feel anxious or worried about everyday things, but there is difference between this normal feeling and suffering from the medically-diagnosed mental health illness of anxiety. A sufferer can experience anxiety or panic attacks which can feel similar to heart attacks. They may have physical symptoms like sickness or nausea. Other people may feel extreme tension in other parts of their bodies. If the feeling of anxiety starts to build up, there some techniques we can use to help:

1. Controlled breathing Breathing is a great way to focus the mind and relax. On this page, we have a simple exercise to get you started.

2. Exercise Physical exercise is a great way to release stress and can lead to release of endorphins, powerful chemicals in the brain that make us feel happier. If you haven’t exercised for a long time make sure you take things slowly, not to strain yourself or cause injury.

3. Being around nature Just being outdoors in a natural environment has been proven to have a calming effect. You might be lucky to live by woods, mountains or a lake, but you can even head to the local park or sit in your garden. It doesn’t matter if the weather is bad – just wrap up in warm, waterproof clothes!

Controlled Breathing: Breathing Retraining Breathe in through nose and out of your mouth. Use relaxed stomach breathing: when you breathe in your stomach pushes out further than your chest and when you breathe out your stomach pulls in. • Take a breath in and think “1.” • Breathe out and think “relax.”

4. Mindfulness

• Take a breath in and think “2.”

Mindfulness is about focusing on the ‘here and now’ and living in the moment. You could try online videos or join a yoga class.

5. CBT [Cognitive Behavioural Therapy] This is a talking therapy where you work with a trained therapist to examine what you are thinking and how you are behaving. Together you will identify and challenge negative thinking and behaviour patterns.

• Breathe out and think “relax.” • Repeat up to 10 and then back down to 1. • Practice twice a day.

"Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step." Pastor,

Naeem Callaway.



Case Study: Heath Ledger "Why so serious?" Heathcliffe Andrew Ledger (1979-2008) Anxiety disorder, insomnia, prescription drug misuse

Actor Heathcliffe Andrew Ledger, known to us as Heath Ledger, was born in Australia and moved to the United States with his friend at the age of 16 with just 69 cents in his pocket in order to pursue his dream of being an actor. Heath was a young, good-looking guy and was worried that he would be typecast as a young hunk, which would limit his opportunity to become famous. He tried to gain a wide range of acting experience by taking on as many different types of film roles as he could. Of Heath Ledger’s 19 films, the most famous were: Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot, A Knight’s Tale and 10 Things I Hate About You. His most challenging role was as the Joker in the Batman movie, The Dark Knight. In a 2007 New York Times interview Heath admitted he found it difficult to sleep: “Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night.” It is suggested that he experienced difficulty with his Joker role, and this, combined with his insomnia, affected his mental health and wellbeing. Heath began taking prescribed sleeping pills, anti-anxiety pills and painkillers. On the 22nd January 2008, Heath Ledger took an accidental overdose of his prescribed pills and died. He never got to see how his roles in The Dark Knight and The Imagination of Doctor Parnassus were successfully received. Heath was awarded numerous posthumous awards for these roles. Heath is a sad loss to the film industry, and was an inspirational actor to so many people.

What is the Biggest Killer of Young Men? While it is generally accepted that Heath Ledger’s death was caused by an accidental overdose, sadly it is too common to hear of young male suicide. Three-quarters of suicides are by males and, shockingly, suicide is the biggest killer of young men under 35 years old.

Studies suggest that: Men are LESS LIKELY to: • Tell friends and family if they have a problem; • Tell friends and family if they have a diagnosed mental health condition; • Seek professional help straight away when they recognise they have a problem.

Men are MORE LIKELY to: • • • • •

‘Self-medicate,’ using drink or drugs to feel better, rather than seeking help; Do less well at school; Be excluded from school; Sleep rough; Go to prison.

You Are Not Alone. Of course, we cannot stereotype every male into these categories, but evidence from studies ( suggests that it seems men are less able to cope with stressful life situations. Men often have less of a social network around them to support them, and are less willing to seek help when they need it. If you are suffering from a mental health condition, don’t suffer in silence! Our magazine will give you ideas on how to cultivate good mental health and you can find some helpful phone numbers at the front of the magazine.

"Let your voice out. Don't keep silent. You're not just hurting yourself but also others around you."

"I think the first half of my 20s I felt I had to achieve, achieve, achieve. A lot of men do this. I'm looking around now and I'm like, where am I running?" Actor and singer,

Justin Timberlake. 14


Nature or Nurture? A discussion on the science of mental health There is a debate among scientists as to whether we are made who we are purely by our genetics, or whether our everyday experiences, our environmental factors, play a role.

"I think I have mental health issues. When I was younger and lived with my parents, my father had mental health issues. He had days when he seemed like a different person. I made sure I looked after him but it was stressful."

Does this person have mental health issues because of their genetics? Has the father passed on his susceptibility to poor mental health in his DNA? Has the fact that the person lived in a stressful environment caused the person to develop a mental illness? Environmental Factors

Biological Factors

Area of living


Friends and family concerns

Mutations in DNA*


Are you more at risk?

*Don’t worry! Mutations are perfectly normal. Estimations vary, but each person has a chance of mutation during DNA replication. Some cells, like intestinal or blood cells, may replicate every day.

1 in 10 young people aged 5-16 have a diagnosable mental health condition. 1 in 4 adults are said to have experienced a mental health illness. Some of your friends will be more vulnerable. For example:

Some scientists suggest that even environmental factors have a direct impact on our genetic code. In other words, the things around you affect you so much that it can create a mutation in the DNA code. So, just as smoking cigarettes will give a person a higher chance of getting lung cancer, perhaps some people who would have gone their whole life without any mental health problems, get poor mental health from the world around them or the substances they take in?

72% of looked-after children have a conduct disorder or emotional problems; 95% of imprisoned young offenders suffer from mental health problems; Teenage mothers are 3 times at a higher risk of poorer mental health than older mothers; 44% of LGBTQ aged 16-24 years old have considered suicide;

Whether or not our mental health is influenced by genetics or the world around us, another idea is that everyone is able to experience bad mental health at certain times but it’s easier for some people to bring themselves out of this stage. For example, if a young person’s grandfather dies, there are a number of ways they might feel about this event. Some may not feel anything about it, whereas some may feel sad and depressed. Some people may feel they have ‘recovered’ from grief after a year, whereas for some sadness will fade but won’t leave for many years. For some people, this life event was so awful, they may never recover.

Continuing this idea, we can ask: is everyone on a spectrum of mental health?

Three quarters of suicides are male; 38% of young carers in school have mental health problems, and nearly half reported feeling stressed and tired; 45% of young adult carers (16-25) report mental health problems. (studies reported on and If you fall into one of these ‘at risk’ categories, then consider setting aside time to take care of yourself and your mental health. Look at the pages in this magazine for ideas to promote positive mental health.

"It's not being selfish. I think of wellbeing like a cup. I take time to fill up my cup with things that make me happy. But if I have an empty cup, I have nothing left to share with others."

" Maybe the reason nothing seems to be 'fixing you' is because you're not broken." Author and radio host,

Steve Maraboli. 15

Mental Health Definitions Mental health is a person's emotional and mental wellbeing. Like physical health it can change, going up or down but you can still be healthy. Mental illness is when negative mental health starts to affect your day to day life. Anxiety Anxiety is a strong feeling of unease, worry, and fear. If anxiety becomes overwhelming, sometimes with unpleasant physical symptoms, it becomes a mental health problem.

Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder affects your mood. With this diagnosis, you are likely to have times when you experience mania or hypomania: feeling very high or very low. Some people experience psychotic symptoms, believing or seeing things that are not real, during both manic or depressed episodes.

Depression Those with depression feel hopeless, worthless, unmotivated and exhausted. Depression makes everything feel harder to do and less worthwhile.

Eating Problems Common eating problems are: anorexia (restricting food), bulimia (getting rid of food from the body after eating), and binge eating disorder (eating too much, past hunger or comfort). Sufferers have a disordered view of what they really look like. Eating problems can be about difficult things happening in your life and painful feelings that are hard to face or resolve.

Panic Attacks Panic attacks are an exaggeration of your body’s normal response to fear, stress or excitement. There are often frightening symptoms, usually lasting between 5 to 20 minutes. Sufferers may experience: a pounding heartbeat or chest pain, sweating and nausea, feeling faint and unable to breath, shaky limbs, or feeling like your legs are turning to jelly.

Psychotic Experiences Psychotic experiences (or episodes) are when you perceive or interpret events very differently from people around you. This could include: hallucinations, such as hearing voices or having visions; and having delusions, such as paranoia or delusions of grandeur.

Self-harm Self-harm is a way of expressing very deep distress, where sufferers take actions to cause themselves physical pain. They may not know why they self-harm, but it can be a means of expressing feelings or feeling in-control. Self-harm practices vary from: physically hurting the body, misusing substances such as alcohol or drugs, excessively exercising, or repeatedly engaging in risky behaviour.

Suicidal Feelings Many people experience suicidal thoughts and feelings as part of a mental health problem. These thoughts and feelings can be unpleasant, intrusive and frightening to experience. Lots of people think about suicide, and don’t ever go on to attempt to take their own lives. There are lots of ideas to help you cope with suicidal feelings but if you have reached crisis point you can go to A&E in a hospital, call 111, or call contact the Samaritans on freephone 116 123.

Profile for Joy Creative

Up & Coming - Issue 2: Mental Health First Aid Kit  

Up & Coming - Issue 2: Mental Health First Aid Kit  


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