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Imago Magazine

FREE mental health and wellbeing publication for young people in Birmingham.

Spring 2017

Relax your mind, body, spirit.


Interviews, Events, Spa Treats, LGBTQ+

Contents Pages 4-7: Interview with Maria Cridge, Manager at Santai Spa. Pages 8-9: Michelle tells her story about being born in the wrong body. Pages 10-11: Lush Cosmetics, ingredients for better health. Pages 12-13: Singer-Songwriter, Dee Ajayi shares her views on the industry. Page 14: Laura, a student from BCU gives insight into life with Cyclothymia. Page 15: Advice, and the perspective of a mental health nurse. Page 16: The health benefits of hugging Page 17: pet therapy and its health benefits. Page 18: Mental health myth busting to break the stigma. Page 19: Foods for cognitive function. Pages 20: More fun ways to work out, instead of going to a gym. Page 21: Crossword and wordsearch puzzles. Pages 22-23: What Birmingham City University can do for you. Pages 24-25: Advertisements. Page 26: Useful websites, helplines and services. Page 27: Credits and Contributions.



From the Editor Welcome to Issue One!

Steff Hanson

I hope you enjoy this first issue of Imago magazine. Spring is a time of hope, re-awakening and renewal, as well as looking forward to warmer days to come. This magazine will provide you with insightful interviews, uplifting articles as well as hints and tips for wellbeing and more. In Imago Magazine, there is something for everyone to put a spring in your step.

Editor in Chief

About Imago Magazine You may be wondering what the name means and why there is an image of a butterfly on the front cover! The name Imago is simply defined as the final, fully developed stage of a winged insect, (hence the butterfly images). The second definition is an idealised mental image of someone who influences our behaviour. This magazine shows that we don’t have to live up to an idealised image of ourselves. We can be that beautiful, fully fledged butterfly without conforming to social stereotypes and gendered expectations. The butterfly image was chosen as a metaphor for life. We all start off as an egg, then as a baby we eat and grow, just like a caterpillar. Teenage years are a time of confusion and figuring out life, this is similar to the caterpillar melting down into a chrysalis. The final stage is adulthood, where we hopefully emerge from the trials and tribulations of growing up, and take flight into our future. To be a successful adult we have to overcome difficulties in our life. A buttefly has to fight its way out of its chrysalis and pump fluid into its wings before it is strong enough to fly. If you help it out of its chrysalis it will never fly; this is a metaphor for life.


Resort’s World Birmingham


It’s Not All Sparkly Nails and Botox... A friend and I were invited to sample the delights of Santai Spa. Our focus was not on the beauty treatments, but on what they had to offer for health, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Santai is a Malaysian themed state of the art medical spa. Its facilities overlook a picturesque lake and views of the local wildlife. Santai Spa is also a stone throw away from the vibrant National Exhibition Centre and the Genting Arena. This means that the guests are close to the action, but can step away into serenity and luxury at their leisure without any noise from the surrounding area. I had the opportunity to interview the Spa Manager, Maria Cridge who kindly booked me and a friend for a tour of the magnificent spa, an indulgent afternoon tea, and of course, the incredible treatments that they have available. Hello Maria! how do you feel spa treatments can help people suffering from stress?

“Spa treatments are designed to relax and in some cases detoxify. A good spa treatment will also use other elements to relax all of the 5 senses:1. Smell - Aromatherapy oils – their aroma calms the senses and can promote feelings of happiness and peace. 2. Sight- Lighting is dimmed to relax the client and promote relaxation or even sleep. 3. Touch – A good spa will train the therapist to have an excellent touch so they can alter their massage movements from light, relaxing Effleurage movements, to deep penetrating muscle lifting movements which reduce lactic acid build up and give a tingling sensation. 4. Hearing- Soft, relaxing music or sounds of nature will be played in the background to place the client into the feeling of a ‘safe’ place. 5. Taste – Spas offer everything from herbal teas and iced drinks to decadent afternoon teas. Santai offers a Malaysian, citrus, Kalamanzi fruit Sorbet to awaken the senses after their massage.” What particular treatments can be beneficial for this? “All treatments in spa can be relaxing, however, massage treatments which also work on pressure points are known to have very deep relaxing effects on body and mind. Santai’s Lava Shell massage uses polished tiger-clam shells which glide effortlessly over the skin. They are also filled with volcanic powder which heats up and gives the client a seamless massage of heat and touch.” Santai Spa had only been open for one year when it won Best Spa at the 2016 Birmingham Food, Drink and Hospitality awards. The Medispa has also recently won another two awards for Best Ambassador of Heaven’s luxury facial and body treatments. The other award was for giving the best customer service, it was titled as the ‘Above and Beyond Award’.



Santai Spa offers a gym, pool and treatments, how do these complement each other? “Whilst treatments are therapeutic, the body should be kept fit and healthy in order to function well. Emotionally, a fit body which is exercised will release endorphins and so promote well-being. The gym and pool are essential to this and after a good swim, one can reward themselves with a relax with the hydrotherapy massage jets, or sauna which involves an enveloping heat to further enhance relaxation.”

What emotional or physical conditions do you recommend various treatments for? “Any condition which causes stress, anxiety, tension or tiredness will benefit from a massage treatment. Just the relaxing environment and the spa facilities alone will provide peace and tranquility. Also, those recovering from some illnesses benefit from these surroundings. If a client is unsure whether their illness can have a spa treatment, their doctor can provide a letter for them to take to a spa to inform them that they are safe to treat.”


Ithisseeprocedure? that you provide injectable fillers, what training do your staff need to be able to carry out “We have very strict guidelines for this. We only allow highly trained, experienced nurses who are insured and certificated to carry out these procedures. We also ensure they have had in excess of 5 year’s experience in this field. We only use rooms which are purpose built for injectable treatments, special flooring (no carpets) and hygienic conditions. Also the client must fill in a full medical history form – as with all of our treatments, to ensure safety and suitability.” Is there anything else that you would like to tell our readers about what Santai Spa has to offer? “Santai is a Haven for tranquillity. This spa is a double award winning spa despite only being open for 15 months. All our treatments are specially selected to ensure our client journey is sublime from beginning to end. Clients particularly love relaxing in our outdoor Jacuzzi on our 2nd floor balcony overlooking the lake. Everyone deserves to feel totally relaxed and pampered once in a while. Stress is known to be one of the nation’s biggest killer, shocking, but true. This is why people should purposely make time every day to relax, even it is a brisk walk, reading a book or petting a dog or cat! And yes, once in a while, a treat at a tranquillity spa that knows how to totally encompass well-being for mind and body is a real treat. For this reason, we would like to offer all your readers a 10% discount on any spa package here at Santai. Quote the code UCB to obtain this offer. (Subject to terms and conditions. Strictly over 18’s, subject to availability, not to be used in conjunction with any other offer). Please see our website for more details: www.gentinghotel.co.uk/santai-spa – and Happy Wellbeing to all!”


G rowing up is not easy, especially if you were born in the wrong body.

The remarkable Michelle, age 64 has sat down with Imago to tell her story of what life was like when she could not be herself in society.

Michelle always gravitated towards more feminine things, and played with dolls from the age of two. She knew from the age of five that she was not a boy, and recalls telling her mother when she was seven years old. Going to an all boys secondary school was very difficult. Michelle was not able to be herself due to the fear of being bullied and discriminated against. In the 1960s, the word transgender was a very unfamiliar term. This meant that Michelle had to comply with being male at this time. She did everything she could to appear masculine, and hid her true identity from her classmates. Michelle worried that she would be abused or worse if she confided in anyone there. She even purchased an orange Harley Davidson motorbike, as another way to appear more masculine when she was allowed to drive. Michelle had always wanted to train to become an electrician. She obtained an apprenticeship when she left school. She has been an electrician ever since and enjoys her job. Although this role is a stereotypically masculine career path, Michelle knows of quite a few female electricians. She believes that no job is just for men.

When she was seventeen, Michelle went on a blind date and met a woman. She married her for a short time but Michelle got a divorce due to her wife cheating after two weeks of marriage. Michelle then met another woman, re-married and had two sons. She told her second wife that she felt like a woman. Once all her children were grown up, Michelle made the decision to come out as transgender to everyone in her life. She began to seek medical advice and booked herself an appointment to see the GP for a referral to a gender psychologist and to discuss starting hormone therapy and gender re-assignment. It took two and a half years for Michelle to fully transition. This was from telling the doctor, to her surgical referral. She was 59 when the surgery was complete. Michelle then came out as a lesbian, as she has never been attracted to men. People in her life found it difficult to accept that Michelle is not a man. She separated from her wife, started working for a different electrical company due to discrimination, and started a new life where she could be herself. Michelle has always been ‘dad’ to her two sons and her granddaughter refers to Michelle as granddad in private, and Chel in public. They occasionally meet up with one another, but not very often. Michelle teaches dance in a local hall multiple times a week. Whilst dancing, she takes on the female role as she prefers to lead her dancing partner, especially if they are slightly taller. She now lives a happy life and is happily married to a different woman, who is the love of her life. Michelle never thought that she would find love again and that she would find someone who accepts her. Michelle says she is no longer transgendered, as she has completed the process. She is a woman, identifies as a lesbian, and is proud to be who she truly is. Michelle is an inspiration.


If yourself, or someone you know is thinking about transitioning, here are the steps that

Michelle took to fully transition. This will make the path clearer and will give someone who is pre-transition an idea of the different stages that they will possibly go through if they want to fully transition to the gender they identify with.

Michelle saw the GP (general practitioner) at her local doctors surgery. She was then referred to a psychiatrist. From there, she was signposted to a gender psychologist. Unfortunately, it can take up to eighteen months to secure an appointment with a gender psychologist. It took Michelle ten months to get an appointment. She changed her name by deed poll and lived as a woman for two years with no hormones or help from anyone. This shows to the gender psychologist and doctors that she is 100% sure that she wants to fully transition. Michelle also began openly identifying as female in the workplace at this time. LGBT support groups are important to attend as Michelle had other transgendered individuals to speak to and to discuss various concerns or queries with. You can attend a transgender support group at Birmingham’s LGBT centre free of charge. Visit their website for more details on the days and times when the various events are running: www.blgbt.org. Michelle started hormone therapy and continued living as a woman for two years. She wore very feminine clothing, wore stereotypically feminine make-up such as lipstick, nail polish, eye-shadow and mascara. Although she does not enjoy wearing dresses or many other ultra feminine items of clothing now, she dressed this way whilst in the transition stage. This was to make sure that the psychologist and doctors would have no doubts about her transition being necessary, and exactly what Michelle needed to do in order to have confidence, happiness, contentment and to get rid of her gender dysphoria. After this stage, Michelle was then permitted to go for the gender reassignment surgery. She travelled to London, where the NHS (National Health Service) carried out the life changing procedure. Michelle also knows of a few individuals who have travelled to Thailand to privately undergo their gender reassignment surgery. Michelle assured that the surgeons in Thailand are highly knowledgeable and has heard of no ‘horror stories’ where a procedure has gone wrong. Surgery takes time to settle, and Michelle was in discomfort for one year after the operation. This entire process took Michelle two and a half years to complete. It is by no means an easy road, but it is all completely worth it when everything has healed. Michelle is now enjoying her life as a fully transitioned female, and is accepted by her wife and friends. If anyone is struggling with this alone, do not hesitate to reach out to Birmingham LGBT for advice and support.

LUSH: Organic Ingredients for Better Health The ingredients in Lush products are 100% Organic and Fairtrade. This means that the

farmers receive the market price for their produce and they are treated fairly. The following are just some of the wide range of organically sourced ingredients found in your favourite Lush Cosmetics. You probably use Lush products, but had no idea how good they were for your health and wellbeing.

Tonka Absolute: Tonka is found in the seeds of a fruit from the Dipteryx odorata tree. This is a tall tree that is found in Costa Rica, Peru and Brazil. It is part of the legume plant family and it can grow up to 120m tall! Tonka is used as an anti-inflammatory and can also treat joint problems and is an antispasmodic (relieves spasms). It has a sweet, vanilla scent and it is found in 26 different Lush products, including the Lush 2017 Easter range, The Experimenter and Twilight Bath Bomb. This ingredient is most commonly found in natural perfumes and goes well with Lavender and Patchoulli.



Organic Jojoba Oil:


rganic Jojoba Oil is a liquid wax sourced by cold-pressing from the seeds of the jojoba shrub. It is a natural moisturiser, it can condition the hair as well as the skin. It is excellent at maintaining the bodies sebum levels as it stops the skin from getting too oily. It can help the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce less unwanted oil to help fight against breakouts of the skin. 153 of Lush’s products contain this oil! Popular products that contain Organic Jojoba Oil are Million Dollar Moisturiser and Love Spell massage bar.

Cinnamon Leaf Oil:

The oil is withdrawn from the leaves of tall trees by steam distillation. It has small purple berries, white flowers and green leaves. It is most commonly used to combat feelings of depression, exhaustion and weakness. Cinnamon Leaf Oil is also useful as an antiseptic, analgesic (pain relief) and an antibiotic. Other amazing ways to use this ingredient are to stimulate hair follicles to grow; this natural remedy also improves circulation. This ingredient is used in 19 Lush Products, including Spice Mountain soap and Fizzbanger bath bomb.


Singer-Songwriter, Dee Ajayi chatted with Imago Magazine and expressed her thoughts on equality and being true to herself in society...


i Dee! you wrote a song called ‘Your Idea Of Perfect’, which is about not conforming to societies image of perfection, was there a particular incident that inspired you to write this? “I won’t be this stupid concept, your idea of perfect” came from many incidents really. Since school days, I was always the odd one out - doing things my way. I didn’t appreciate people (mainly teachers) telling me how to do my work. Similarly today, I don’t appreciate society telling my how to do my make-up and clothes and how to meet people and do relationships.” Is the perception of women in society something you feel strongly about? “I feel VERY strongly about the perception of women in society. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that a woman is expected to wear makeup on a daily to be accepted as ‘beautiful’. What kind of a message is that to send to young women? “you should hide you face behind a mask of makeup‘’-- it’s terrible really. But don’t get me wrong, I understand the want to accentuate ones features but not to the extent that she does not recognize herself. NOW this may be a slight juxtaposition but I am very free with my body and I feel every woman should be able to be so without the animalistic onlooking from surrounding bodies. Fact is, we are animals so there’s not much we can do about that!” Do you think that women in the music industry are stereotyped and expected to behave in a certain way? “Yes and no, each genre has it’s own thing, female R&B artists must be sexy, female grime artists [must be] strong”. Do you think men and women are treated differently? Is it more difficult for women to make it in the pop industry? “I am not too sure if it is more difficult for women to make it in the pop industry than men as I only know myself and I am a woman. I like to believe it is equal but I don’t know!”


I know you’re also into fitness, why is keeping fit important to you? “Keeping fit should be important for EVERYONE, but it is key for me, as being healthy on the inside, assures for better work on the outside - better stamina in the studio, a more positive outlook on life, and therefore more pure, and good music/vibes”. How did you get involved into the industry and what advice would you give to other people trying to get into the music industry? “Getting involved in the industry is easier than people think. There are wonderful programmes across the country that dedicate themselves to aiding young people in doing just that! My ‘in’ was with [Capital Xtra’s] Music Potential. From there, it was constant research into where artists are, making sure I was there too, singing live as much as I could, getting the studio as much as I could and in time, people started to notice”. Where can we find you on social media? “My social links are all on my website - www.deeajayi.com”. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

“The only other thing I’d say is: H A V E - F A I T H”.


Coping With Mental Health Issues At University Laura Brown, an Interior Design student from Birmingham City University sat down with Imago magazine to give an insight into what life is like with Cyclothymia.

Hi Laura!were what is Cyclothymia and when you diagnosed? I was diagnosed with Cyclothymia in 2013. It’s a milder form of bipolar disorder. I experience highs and lows, but they aren’t as severe and don’t last as long as bipolar mood swings. University can be difficult to cope with when you are struggling through a low point in the cyclothymia, how does this affect you? I have good days and bad days. The depression is certainly rougher than the hypomania. I’m taking 40mg of fluoxetine but it currently only lessens the depression, I still go through cycles. At the worst I don’t really feel anything (apathy) and its very hard to be motivated to do things. In a hypomania I’m full of ideas and aspirations, it can be great if I can focus all the energy on working, and exhausting if I’m unable to focus. How do you find it affects you at University when you are going through all of this? It certainly affects the way that I work, and I’ve changed a lot over the last few years. I’m still learning how to listen to my body, and how much I can do when I am ill.

Was this helpful? If not, why not? The access to counselling and therapy has been helpful, I’m also registered with the doctors at the uni this year which means they can work closely with me and the other healthcare providers. The support summary is good to have in place, as you can use it as little or as often as you need it. I have been using it this year as I have been feeling overloaded, and it has helped to spread my deadlines out and give me more time to look after myself. What advice would you give to others who are coming to University with similar issues? Don’t be afraid to discuss your issues with either your personal tutor or your daily tutors. Having an open communication with them has been really helpful especially this year for me. I’ve been having as many extra tutorials as I can for my final project, and keeping them up to date with how I’m working and how I’m feeling emotionally. [By] explaining to them I’m not feeling so well and sorting out a weekly plan has helped me to stay on track. They want to help you [and] to see you do well. By having them aware that I get easily overwhelmed means that we can work together on what I need to prioritise, rather than me feel like I’m drowning every time we have a lesson and get shown another thing.

What support did you get from the team at Birmingham City University?

Any other advice you would give?

At BCU, I have used the counselling service, I have seen a therapist, and I have a support summary. [This] entitles me to an extension if needed without going through Extenuating Circumstances, [for extension deadlines].

Your wellbeing is important, and it’s a constant learning process. Some days will be good some days will be not so good, and that’s okay, sometimes you just have to accept that. Make a list of what makes you feel better, no matter how small. Find support groups online. Know that you are never ever alone. The mental health community looks out for each other, we are all in this together.


Five Things Mental Health Nurses Want You To Know Being a mental health nurse is a ‘very challenging but rewarding job’. It entails understanding, empathy and support dedicating a lot of time to patients who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. I sat and spoke to health care and support workers, Helen Gumushan, Cathy Seare, staff nurse Maria Thomas and Carolann Love, at a treatment and assessment centre in Leicestershire where they told me what we should all know. Words by Tanyel Gumushan 1. ‘We treat mental illnesses as if they’re physical illnesses, because they are. Mental health problems are a disorder with the brain, and are as important to be treated.’ The brain is a part of the body. A mental illness is a chemical imbalance of the brain. Therefore, part of your body has a disorder. Consequently, mental illness is an illness. Understood? When an arm is broken or a leg is cut, it gets treated. Brains are no different!

2. ‘Mental illness isn’t always forever; it isn’t always a life sentence.’If they’re caught early, and treated properly then mental illnesses can be treated. Methods include therapy and medication, and usually a mixture of the two does a world of good. Mental health doesn’t have to trap a person or control a life. If you’re worried about your mental health then talk to somebody in confidence or book an appointment with a GP. Early diagnosis is key.

3. ‘People should never be defined by their illness, it isn’t a label.’Mental illnesses are not adjectives. If you have diabetes, you’re not known as ‘diabetes’. A mental illness shouldn’t act as a label, and the faster this is understood then the faster the stigma will be removed.

4. ‘Treatment is often given from home if caught early, having a mental illness doesn’t have to mean institution. ’There’s a misconception that a mental illness can make somebody scary or unpredictable, having to be locked away in an institution, but this isn’t the case. Hospitals do exist to treat mental illnesses, but it isn’t all being isolated. Home with familiarity is usually where the fastest recovery takes place. Community outreach teams, respite care and back up teams are available if you feel you need them.

5. 'Friends and family are important parts of treatments, and shouldn't be afraid and shy away.' Diagnosis of a mental illness can be challenging for loved ones too, as they try to adapt to the news. Though, being in the know and doing research and basically just listening are important. With support and understanding, mental illness stigma can be removed sooner than we think. Heads Together is a Mental Health Charity set up by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Have a look on their website for some inspiration.



The Health Benefits of Pet Therapy Good-natured pets are a great source of comfort. Pet therapy has quite a few scientifically proven health benefits that can help to make you feel calm. For mental health: *Lessens depression *Makes you feel more at ease

*Creates motivation for recovery

*Makes you feel less lonely *Decreases anxiety

*Encourages communication

*Assists children to overcome speech and emotional disorders

For physical health: *Reduces overall physical pain *Improves cardiovascular health *Petting an animal produces an automatic calming response *Lowers blood pressure *Releases endorphins (oxytocin) calming you down

If you do not have access to a friendly pet, there are many ways to receive pet therapy. Hatton Country World in Warwick has a guinea pig villiage and livestock to feed. There is also Umberslade Farm Park in Tamworth in Arden with regular opportunities to pet various animals such as baby chicks and ponies.


The Health Benefits of Hugging There is a lot of scientific evidence around the health benefits of hugging. Here are some of the facts on why you should give someone a hug today... Hugging is incredibly effective at healing loneliness, sickness, stress, anxiety, depression and disease. Hugging releases serotonin, this helps to regulate anxiety and reduce depression. Serotonin is also known as a natural mood stabilizer. From the moment we are born, our family’s touch shows that we are loved. This was embedded into our subconscious from the start of our lives and remains in adulthood. This means that hugging improves self-esteem and self- acceptance. It also connects us with our ability to self-love. Hugs release tension in the body and relaxes the muscles. Hugging helps to take the pain away by soothing aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissue areas. Another incredible benefit of hugging is that it boosts brain health and memory, we are more likely to remember something if we are not anxious or stressed. The Parasympathetic nervous system is engaged whilst hugging. It slows the heart rate, slows breathing, dilates blood vessels and calms thoughts. Hugging can also: Increase feelings of connection, empathy, safety, and trust. Alleviate existential fears for people with low self-esteem. Inspire positive thinking and social comfort.

Now that you know the health benefits, reach out and give somebody a hug!


10 Things Everybody Should Know About Mental Health, Before You Believe the Stigma Words by Tanyel Gumushan 1. 1 in 4 people are affected by mental health every year, so be nice to everybody. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

2. Mental illness is very real, just as people with diabetes have a disorder of their pancreas; mental illnesses are brain-based conditions.

3. Mental health can be physical too. Sometimes it can be hard to get out of bed in the morning, headaches can take hold and aches and pains are common - stop the ‘lazy’ stigma! 4. Mental illnesses shouldn’t be used as descriptive words. Saying that you’re “depressed” because there are no raspberry glazed Krispy Kremes left or that you have “insomnia” because you couldn’t sleep last night isn’t right. 5. Mental health can affect anybody at any age, and it isn’t just part of ‘growing up’ - one in ten children and young people are affected by mental health problems. Read more at www.mentalhealth.org.uk.

6. Mental health disorders can be caused by biological factors, genes, injury, physical illness, brain chemistry, life experiences or family history - not because somebody is ‘lazy’ or ‘bored’.

7. There are over 300 types of mental health problems, despite not being very common. It’s important to know the different types to get the right support. From anxiety disorders to mood disorders, psychotic and eating, as well as impulse and obsessive-compulsive there are disorders to do with personality and post traumatic stress. Read more here www.webmd.com. 8. Everybody with a mental health problem is different. Stop the stigma of popping pills and it all being okay. Funding means waiting lists for therapy is long, not every patient can have hospital care and sometimes medication has nasty side effects.

9. A lot of what we see and hear are myths. Jumping to conclusions is a form of discrimination, it’s important not to assume that people with OCD wash their hands a lot and those with anxiety won’t talk to you. A mental illness doesn’t define a person.

10. Mental illness can be treated, but recovery shouldn’t be treated as a race. If you’re worried about yourself or a loved one, speak to somebody that you trust.

5 Brain Foods for Cognitive Function


Students with poor nutrition struggle to remember vital information and maintain concentration. These foods are easy to source, and quick to prepare, so even the busiest students can incorporate these healthy foods into their diet. Blueberries contain anthocyanin which helps to fight against neurodegenerative diseases. Blueberries also have the highest amount of antioxidants as well as containing vitamins C, K and fibre. Due to its high levels of gallic acid, this fruit is particularly good at protecting our brains from stress and degeneration. Walnuts are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which is scientifically proven to improve mental alertness. Walnuts are also a source of Omega 3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats. The vitamin E in nuts can also help to ward off Alzheimers. Dark chocolate is full of flavanols that help to improve blood flow to the heart. Flavanols also have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Choose 70% cocoa or higher so that you can get the full amount of flavanols. Milk and white chocolate do not have these health benefits. Broccoli is rich in vitamins C and K. It also contains choline (a water soluble vitamin) which can help to keep your brain sharp. The high levels of fibre also make you feel fuller for longer. Avocados are one of the healthiest fruits, it keeps blood sugar levels steady and leaves your skin glowing. This fruit has a bad reputation for being ‘fatty’ but do not let that put you off! as Avocados contain monounsaturated fats, which is the ‘good’ type of fat. Avocados have lots of vitamin K, E and folate, which is the component that helps to improve cognitive function.


No Gym? No Problem! If you groan when you hear the word workout, and immediately dive back under the duvet, think again! In the world of fitness, there are a myriad of options available. From the highly energetic gym workout to laid back relaxation and de-stressing routines. When you get stressed, the body produces the hormone Cortisol; this is known as the stress hormone. There are two main ways to get rid of this, a good cry or a good workout. A workout is the more positive option as going to the gym will help to burn off this stress hormone and lift your spirits.

If pumping iron is not for you, there are lots of alternatives that don’t require a gym membership or specialist equipment. Dancing is a great way of keeping fit, listening to music and having fun with friends; even dancing around your room! Trampoline parks are a popular phenomenon sweeping the nation and popping up on what feels like every retail park in the country. Zumba and Aerobics are also available in church halls and schools, along with Pilates, Tai Chi and Yoga for the less energetic amongst us. Hula hoops are fun and can either be practiced in the privacy of your own home, or at a class. Walking is something cheap and available to all able bodied people. Walking through the woods or by the water is restorative to mind, body and soul.

What ever you do, make sure you enjoy your journey to fitness whether you burn it, bounce it or bend it. Visit Sport Birmingham for active opportunities in your area: http://bit.ly/2n1DzLv.


Crossword Puzzle and Wordsearch



Coping with University can be difficult,

especially with lots of deadlines to meet! Imago Magazine chatted with Dawn Loizou, Karin Qureshi and Mohammed Mumit from the mental health team at Birmingham City University to get more of an insight on what BCU can do for you. Dawn works for Student Affairs within the University. She is a Disability Advisor and she is also in charge of wellbeing, mental health and chaplaincy. Dawn organises an annual summer school to help some of the new intake of disabled students to adjust to life at university. Dawn and her team help to teach the students how to cook and live in their student halls. The students are set a guided task to complete a weekly food shop with healthy ingredients and a budget. Travelling is also covered by navigating around Birmingham City Centre as well as riding the bus to and from the halls of residence to help the students get a sense of familiarity in their new surroundings. The Life Skills Summer School commences on the first week of September 2017.

Karin Qureshi is the manager of health and wellbeing for students. She offers cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and D.I.T., which is a form of psychodynamic counselling. LGBT specific counselling is also going to be implemented in the near future. This wellbeing service can be accessed by speaking to someone on the ASK desk on the first floor of the Curzon Building. You can also apply for counselling by submitting a referral on iCity in the iAsk section of the website.

Karin says that “all the staff have had previous jobs and expertise in mental health issues and counselling”. The university takes the wellbeing of its students seriously and provides support throughout the whole year and summer as well as during term time. Make sure to access the service as soon as possible if you do need help and support as Karin commented that “there are now unprecedented demands for the service and whether we can manage the demand with the resources we have” so it would be important to access the service soon as there is a waiting list.


T he university student union employed Mohammed Mumit, a mental health co-ordinator

in January 2017. Mohammed works tirelessly to implement strategies on how the students can feel supported and listened to when life becomes more challenging during their studies. He organises events to raise awareness for mental health. Previous events have consistedof free massages, leaflets on various mental health conditions, Yoga sessions and Tai Chi. Mohammed is currently planning to create a training programme for students to become mental health representative. This would work as a buddy system for informal chats with fellow students who might feel too anxious to speak to a member of staff. If required, they will also signpost the students to a more suitable service based on their own personal needs.

A mental health society has also very recently been set up to provide support and raise awareness for various difficulties surrounding mental health and wellbeing. Students can attend events and campaign as part of the society. To get involved, search on Facebook for the ‘BCU Mental Health Awareness Society’. Resilience and stress seminars are currently being organised as well as arranging a workshop on suicide prevention and staff training on general mental health support for the students who choose to confide in them. Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust also hold events and workshops for free if you would like to participate: www.bsmhft.nhs.uk/. If you have any queries, feel free to e-mail Mohammed.Mumit@bcu.ac.uk.


21 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6BJ.




Useful Websites, Helplines and Services Heads Together Mental Health Charity: Web: http://www.royalfoundation.com Samaritans: Tel: 116 123 (UK) Web: www.samaritans.org Mind Info Line:

Muslim Youth Helpline: Tel: 0808 808 2008 Email: help@myh.org.uk Birmingham LGBTQ+: Tel: 0121 643 0821 Web: http://blgbt.org/

Tel: 0300 123 3393 or Text: 86463

Bipolar UK:

Forward Thinking Birmingham Access Centre:

Tel: 0333 323 3880 Email: info@bipolaruk.org

Tel: 0300 300 0099 (for referrals,support and advice on mental health issues)


ChildLine: Tel: 0800 1111 Email: http://www.childline.org.uk/ Talk/Pages/Email.aspx Website: www.childline.org.uk Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre: Tel: 0808 802 9999 National Self Harm Network:

Tel: 0845 120 3778 Web: www.ocduk.org Papyrus: Tel:0800 068 4141 Web: www.papyrus-uk.org (Young Suicide Prevention Society) Cruse Bereavement Care: Tel: 0808 808 1677

Tel: 0800 622 6000 B-eat Eating Disorder Association: Tel: 08456 341 414 Email: help@b-eat.co.uk

BCU Student Affairs: Tel: 0121 331 5588


Credits and Contributions Interviews:

Special thanks to:

Maria Cridge Dee Ajayi Laura Brown Dawn Loizou Karin Quareshi Mohammed Mumit Michelle Tippett-Hughes

Lush UK Santai Spa Digbeth Street Artists Stratford Butterfly Farm Birmingham City University


Lush UK Editorial (ingredients) Pixabay Stock Photo Website (silhouette, food and pet therapy images) Brain (Clip Art Fest.com) Gold Tiles (Zastavki.com) BCU Ask image (www.BCU.ac.uk) BCU MHA Logo:(@bcumha on Facebook) LGBT Image: (http://www.vuelio.com) LGBT Equality Clip Art: (www.drkarileavell.com)

Tanyel Gumushan

Website: Yasmine Gumushan

Special Acknowledgements:

Photographs/Clip Art:

Madeleine Slater-Vaughan

Colouring Pages: Paul Slater-Vaughan

All other content was written and photographed by the editor.

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Profile for S Hanson Media

Imago Magazine  

A free mental health and wellbeing magazine for the young people of Birmingham, UK. This was created by Steff Hanson, a third year Birmingh...

Imago Magazine  

A free mental health and wellbeing magazine for the young people of Birmingham, UK. This was created by Steff Hanson, a third year Birmingh...