Health Promotion


Hi everyone, 



My name is Lydia and I am currently studying a Health and Social Care BTEC course in the UK. As part of my coursework I have to create and deliver a health education campaign and I decided to base around mental in the form of a guest blog, which is why Simon has very kindly let me do a post on The Edge Search. In this post I will be discussing a very simple strategy that anyone can use to help improve/maintain their mental health which is known as CLANG. If possible I would love it if you could fill in the survey below or leave a comment on any of Simon's social media! 

(Please be aware that any feedback via social media comments or via the survey will be used as part of my coursework.) 



Thank you. 

WARNING- This post contains themes that may be upsetting or distressing for some readers.

Every day in the news and across social media there are constantly articles about the mental health crisis and the fact that more and more people are suffering with conditions such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders etc. Statistics state that 'suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States'2 which is why we need to care for our mental health as much as possible. The stresses of 21st century living can sometimes feel overwhelming and we are constantly being pulled in different directions: friends, family, work, relationships, social media and sometimes it can feel hard to keep up with it all. We all know we should eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly, but many of us don’t know how to look after our mental health. 'With an estimated 50% of all Americans diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime'1 what can we do, as individuals, to help ourselves?

Well, in the UK, health professionals promote an acronym known as CLANG which can be applied anywhere, at any time, to protect and improve our mental health. It is very simple, does not require any equipment, can take as little as half an hour a day and doesn't have to cost you a thing. By regularly following this strategy it is possible to decrease your stress levels, feel happier and cope better with day to day life. 

CLANG stands for Connect, Learn, Active, Notice and Give. Connect involves anything where you interact with other people, this could be as simple as sending a text message to a friend, smiling at a stranger or asking a work colleague what they did at the weekend. The component learn is pretty self explanatory, it is all about widening your mind and gaining knowledge, try to take up a new hobby, do an online course such as learning a language or read a book. Again, active is very simple each day you should try and do some form of physical activity it could be playing a sport but if you are like me you may be a bit adverse to exercise! But that's ok, dance around the living room to your favourite song, go for a walk or even hoover the house. Anything is better than nothing. You may wonder what physical activity has to do with mental health? Well, it is scientifically proven that moving our bodies and increasing our heart rate releases hormones known as endorphins which helps to improve our mood. 

Notice basically involves being more aware of your surroundings, think about what you can hear, feel, see and smell around you in that very moment. Take some time for yourself and really be in the moment, hear the birds sing and appreciate the warmth of the sun. Finally, give involves doing your bit for society and there is such a wide range of things you could do, for example make a cake for a family member you haven’t seen in a while, volunteer at your local food bank or sign an online petition and make a difference. The possibilities are endless. 

Try to apply CLANG to your everyday life as we all have a mental health and by nourishing and attending to it, it will grow, adapt and become more resilient to stand the challenges we all will face at some point in our lives.



Thank you for reading. 

If you feel that you or someone you know is at serious risk of harm due to their mental health or suffering a mental health crisis please phone '9-1-1'3 or attend your nearest 'emergency department'4. There is also the 'National suicide Prevention Lifeline'6 ('http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/'6) that you can contact. 

If you require non-urgent additional support or advice please make an appointment with your GP or other health professional for more information. Also, below are links to various mental health charities and helplines:

'SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline'6 - '(1-877-726-4727)' 6

'http://www.jedfoundation.org/'5 ('teens, young adults, and college students'5)
http://www.activeminds.org/5 (for ‘college students’5)
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/5 (for ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth’5) 

Please note that I am not a medical professional, I am simply giving my own views, opinions and advice about CLANG and CLANG is not a treatment plan for someone with a diagnosed mental health condition. CLANG is simply a complimentary strategy that can be used alongside a treatment plan for people with low level mental health needs or anyone who is interested in looking after their mental health.

Link to survey: 

(Please be aware I will use the data from this survey as part of my coursework.)

References
  1. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/data_publications/index.htm
  2. https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/national-strategy-for-suicide-prevention-factsheet.pdf
  3. https://emergency.lacity.org/emergency-contacts
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/emergency-department.htm
  5. https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/community-conversation/services
  6. https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help