- Helpful Links
- Learning Disabilities
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Facts and Tips
Coronavirus: It's OK to not
The Fircroft Trust does not necessarily endorse any of these websites, but has provided them as stepping stones to further information. We’ve organised them according to the appropriate headings. Please click on the subject links on the left-hand side of this screen to find useful websites. We hope they are helpful.
Home Farm Trust
Hft is a national charity, providing local support services for people with learning disabilities throughout England. Whatever support you need to help you live life the way you choose – whether it’s for just a couple of hours a week, or 24 hours a day – our teams will be happy to work with you.
Learning disability parliament
The website for people with learning disabilities in Kingston.
The voice of learning disability.
National Autistic Society
They are the leading UK charity for people with autism (including Asperger syndrome) and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for people with autism.
The British Institute of Learning Disabilities
BILD is the British Institute of Learning Disabilities which was founded in 1971.
They want people with learning disabilities to be valued equally, participate fully in their communities and be treated with dignity and respect.
The Down’s Syndrome Association
Providing information and support on all aspects of living with Down’s syndrome to all who need it.
This is when somebody suffers with an irrational fear of being in a situation where escape is difficult or impossible.
Bi-polar is a mental illness that causes people to have severe high and low moods. People with this illness switch from feeling overly happy to feeling very sad. Between mood swings, the person’s mood may be normal.
Books on Prescription
This new scheme has been developed by The Reading Agency and The Society of Chief Librarians, and aims to bring reading’s healing benefits to the 6 million people with anxiety, depression and other mild to moderate mental health illnesses.
Counselling Directory is a confidential service that encourages those in distress to seek help. The directory contains information on many different types of distress, as well as articles, news, and events.
A clinical mood disorder associated with low mood or loss of interest and other symptoms that prevents a person from leading a normal life. Types of depression include: major depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia and seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder).
These disorders occur when our sense of identity, memory and/or reality become unconnected causing distress and confusion. Some forms of dissociative disorders show themselves as amnesia, post-traumatic stress disorder or multiple personality disorders.
Eating disorders are illnesses that cause a person to adopt harmful eating habits. They are most common among teenage girls and women, and frequently occur along with other psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders. The poor nutrition associated with eating disorders can harm organs in the body and, in severe cases, lead to death. The two most common types of eating disorder are anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is an anxiety disorder characterised by intense, recurrent, unwanted thoughts and rituals that are beyond the person’s control.
An anxiety illness characterised by attacks of anxiety or terror, often occurring unexpectedly and without reason.
Phobia is not an illness but a learned condition. Phobics experience extreme forms of fear of something. People generally have healthy fears which keep them from things that might harm them, but a phobic will experience a panic attack and loose confidence in themselves and their environment. There are many kinds of phobias such as fear of open spaces (agoraphobia) or fear of being enclosed (claustrophobia).
This is a complex mix of physical, emotional and behavioral changes that occur in a mother after giving birth. It is a serious condition, affecting about 10% of new mothers. Symptoms range from mild to severe depression and may appear within days of delivery or gradually, perhaps up to a year later. Symptoms may last from a few weeks to a year.
An illness that prevents people from being able to distinguish between the real world and the imaginary world. Symptoms include hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there), delusions (false beliefs), irrational thoughts and fears.
A mental illness that causes a person to have distorted thinking, hallucinations and a reduced ability to feel normal emotions.
An illness that manifests itself in the person harming themself in order to express their severe anxieties. It is a way of coping with severe stress and very difficult situations. Often this is an attempt to take away the distress they are feeling. It is not an attention seeking behaviour, or necessarily a suicide attempt.
This information does not constitute as medical advice, but is for information only. It is important to consult your GP if you are concerned or have any questions regarding your mental health.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Facts and Tips
Did you know that one in four people experience some kind of mental health and wellbeing problem in any one year and depression is on its way to being the second largest health problem worldwide, just behind heart disease and ahead of cancer?
Here are 10 top tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing from the Mental Health Foundation:
- Eat a balanced diet and drink sensibly. Improving your diet can protect against feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Maintain friendships. Listening and talking to friends who are feeling down makes a huge difference.
- Maintain close relationships. Nurture them and if there is a problem try to resolve it.
- Take exercise. The effects of exercise on mood are immediate. Whether it is a workout in the gym or a simple walk or bike ride, it can be uplifting.
- Sleep. Sleep has both physical and mental benefits. Physically, it is the time when the body can renew its energy store but sleep also helps us to rebuild our mental energy.
- Laugh. A good laugh does wonders for the mind and soul.
- Cry. It is good to cry. Even though it may feel terrible at the time, a good cry can release pent up feelings, and people often feel better afterwards.
- Ask for help when you need it. The longer you leave a problem the worse it will get.
- Make time for you. Do you sometimes feel like you have no time for yourself? Make time for your hobbies and interests.
- Remember, work isn’t everything. Ninety one million working days a year are lost to mental ill health in the UK so take it easy.
- There are more than 6,000 suicides each year. It is the highest killer of men aged under 50. For more information or for help please go to: http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you
- 75% of adult mental health and wellbeing problems are present before the age of 18.
Coronavirus: It’s OK to not feel OK
After months of lockdown measures, we are now seeing the restrictions beginning to ease. From being able to meet with people outside of your household to non-essential shops reopening, for many, this will be a welcome move to a more normal functioning life. However, for others, the eased restrictions have led to increased levels of worry and anxiety. The Fircroft Trust is offering support to those who are struggling at this time, reassuring them that it’s OK not to feel ok.
Why the eased restrictions may lead to new worries for vulnerable people
On the 23rd March, when the lockdown was announced, the message was clear; stay at home. Now, as the restrictions are easing, it has become more confusing, and people are interpreting the guidelines in different ways. Some, perhaps who have become frustrated by the lockdown, are pushing the boundaries to get back to normality more quickly.
For vulnerable people already suffering from anxiety, these moves can be very stressful. There may be a feeling of loss of control, which can be acutely distressing if there are fears of the virus spreading. The idea of change and potential risk can also be frightening if they’ve got used to life under lockdown.
The ease in the lockdown measures may also add tension to household relationships, where vulnerable people are still shielding, yet partners or family members are desperate to go outside.
One of the goals of the eased restrictions is to support mental health, giving people who are isolated and lonely the chance to mix with others again. Although, on the one hand, the changes have helped, we’ve also seen many vulnerable people experiencing these new issues, and the need for our services increase during this time.
The impact on the clients of The Fircroft Trust
Our resource centre provided a lifeline to vulnerable adults living in the local community before lockdown. Individuals with mental health concerns or learning difficulties could visit our centre for support in their daily lives. When forced to close due to COVID-19, the only way we could continue the support was through a regular telephone service. Each day support workers check in with our service users, listen and arrange help when needed. Individuals accessing the service have described how they try to visualise this being like their face-to-face support, and how it has given them a reason to get up each day.
At Firs Court, our residential care and supported living service, support for our residents continues. During this very emotional time, socially distanced garden visits are being arranged for our residents to meet with their families and our dedicated key workers have kept the spirit upbeat with creative activities and events.
With many of our clients suffering from anxiety, the quick changes and ongoing debates on the guidance has created confusion and frustration. Dealing with new and unfamiliar situations, such as shopping alone and using contactless payments, can be stressful for these individuals. Furthermore, as many routine medical appointments have been cancelled, a lot of our service users are missing out on the vital reassurance from their medical professionals.
Online tools may have been a valuable resource to many of us during this time. However, not all our clients are digital savvy and learning at short notice can be challenging, leaving some feeling left out of the social contact that many of us have been able to access during lockdown.
With so much to take on board, it is no wonder that individuals with mental health concerns or learning difficulties are struggling.
If you are struggling now and need help, here are some other very useful resources:
Mind information hub: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus
For 24/7 support: call The Samaritans on 116 123
Please use all the resources available to you – and remember, friends and family can also offer valuable support and advice so please don’t be afraid to ask.