The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is a new organisation backed by Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis. Launching in Spring 2016, the Institute will conduct research and develop policy proposals to improve the lives of those with mental health conditions and financial problems.
Martin has worked closely with debt relief and mental health organisations for many years, and has produced a series of guides to help those with debt and mental health problems. The latest guide is available on the Money Saving Expert site.
After the sale of Money Saving Expert in 2012, Martin pledged to give £10m (now £20m) to charity and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is to be one of the major recipients of this charitable giving. http://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org
Now that summer is over and the long winter nights are drawing in, we think it’s a good time to talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD is a form of depression most common at this time of year, and is thought to affect one in ten of us. Although no causes for the condition have been confirmed, research suggests that the lower light levels during winter can alter the chemicals produced by the human brain, which changes how we feel.
Even for those of us who don’t suffer from SAD, winter can be a dismal time of year. So how can we help ourselves to stay bright and cheery during the darkest time of the year? Here are some handy tips for beating back those winter blues and staying bright and cheerful.
Expose yourself to as much natural light as possible
Research has shown that while being outside won’t cure SAD, it can definitely help fight it. Going outdoors, especially on bright days or around noon, can encourage the brain to release chemicals that are thought to combat SAD.
If you suffer from SAD, stress can make an already difficult time much worse. Try to avoid this by planning ahead as much as possible, and scheduling difficult, stressful jobs for the summer when you’ll be in a better frame of mind to take them on. Try to make more time in winter to make yourself feel better. Plan activities or just take more ‘me time’ to reduce your stress levels and recharge your batteries.
Exercise and proper diet
Keeping active is very effective at fighting many forms of depression, and SAD is no different. Keeping your body moving increases blood flow, making you feel happier and more motivated. People who suffer from SAD also tend to crave carbohydrates such as potatoes and pasta, but cutting down on these can prevent weight gain, it’s also suggested, but unproven, that vitamin B12 supplements can be beneficial.
Improve your support network
Being around people who know and understand your problems can be a big help, so consider joining a support group. This way you can share experiences with like minded people and maybe exchange tips and techniques for coping.
For further information about SAD, here are some helpful links:
At Something in Mind we have been working hard to offer a good variety of healthy dishes in our cafe. Whilst doing this we have used feedback from customers to create a fantastic selection! We have worked with the local Slimming World groups and the council as part of their healthy eating initiative.
Our consistency paid off and we were approached to work towards a Food4Health award. Food4Health awards recognise and reward food businesses that offer healthy food options and promote healthy eating. There are three awards; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each award considers the types of foods and ingredients used, how food is prepared and cooked and how the business promotes healthy eating. Businesses working towards achieving an award receive advice and support on nutrition and healthy catering practices.
Our cafe staff and volunteers spent many months creating new dishes and regularly being assessed by the council. From this we were recently awarded the Gold Food4Health award and were the only cafe in Redcar & Cleveland to do so! The award is a brilliant success for Something in Mind and we feel it sets us apart from the other cafes in the town. We strive to always offer wholesome competitively priced healthy meals which has attracted lots of regular customers to Something in Mind.
The Mobile Mindspace is an innovative vehicle which will tour towns and villages in Redcar & Cleveland offering advice and support about Redcar & Cleveland Mind’s services. Staff and volunteers will attend existing and established events and activities and meet with people who would not normally have access to our services. The Mobile Mindspace has been designed so that private one-to-one meetings can take place safely and confidentially within the vehicle. This project is particularly important as statutory services have been reduced, alongside access to public transport in rural areas. The vehicle will be out and about in October. So if you organise events or activities for people in Redcar & Cleveland and think that your group would benefit from a visit, then please call 01642 296052 and speak to Gary Brown our Projects Officer. The vehicle was purchased using a grant from national Mind in London and the artwork was funded by a Community Health Fund grant administered by the R&C Voluntary Development Agency.
Pictured above is the Mobile Mindspace with the prototype design by local company Humphrey + Potter of Saltburn-by-the-Sea