Kind deeds improve your mental healthBy Laura McCardle
May 18, 2012
Mental health will be in the spotlight when Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT) marks Mental Health Awareness Week with a series of events and activities at Broad Street Mall.
The theme of this year’s campaign, which runs from Monday until next Sunday, is Doing Good Does You Good and recognises research showing that carrying out an act of kindness improves your mental health.
The first event will be held on Tuesday when BHFT’s Older People’s Mental Health Service will team up with the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK for a range of activities, including Singing for the Brain which will take place between 11am and noon.
This will be followed by a Tai Chi session in the afternoon.
On Thursday the trust will host a stand in the shopping centre from 10am until 3pm.
It will feature information from Talking Therapies, diabetes and mental health, stress control and BHFT services.
Representatives from the South Reading Patient Participation Group will also be on hand to give out material on dementia.
BHFT will join forces with the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK again on Friday for a lively Zumba class which will take place at 11am.
Staff from Royal Berkshire Hospital will host two dementia information stands where there will be details available about early diagnosis, treatment and management of the condition.
Julian Emms, chief executive officer of BHFT, said: “Mental Health Awareness Week is an ideal opportunity to meet the public and explain how taking care of your mental health really pays off for the individual and society.”
For more events organised by BHFT visit www.berkshirehealthcare.nhs.uk
TV star Lynda tells of the curse of dementia
A short film starring Loose Women star Lynda Bellingham will be launched next week by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT) as part of Dementia Awareness Week, which coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week.
It is one in a series of films that will be promoted from Sunday until next Saturday by the trust in a bid to challenge stereotypes and reduce the stigma and exclusion of those who are affected by the condition.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and the NHS Berkshire West Strategic Plan 2009-14 estimates that 4,357 people over 65 live in the Berkshire West area.
In the film, Ms Bellingham talks movingly about her mother, Ruth Bellingham, who lived with the condition for several years and how she, with her father and sisters, dealt with the issues arising from her mental state.
She said: “This terrible game-playing goes on, I think, with loved ones and the patient where the patient begins to sense that there’s something wrong but doesn’t know what it is.”
Another clip, entitled The Café, shows the world imagined from the point of view of a dementia patient.
The only sound used is background conversation, applause and the chink of tea cups, conveying the feelings the patient might be experiencing.
Sara Johnson, occupational therapist at BHFT, said: “We wanted to highlight and challenge some of the aspects of dementia that people might need to think about.
“For example, people working with dementia clients for several years may be so busy that they don’t think about the ethical issues.”