I’m going to start this particular post off by telling you that I am promoting an app and a campaign. I’m also going to tell you that I’m not getting paid or in any other way remunerated for doing this.
The organisation reached out in a bloggers group I’m part of and asked if anyone would like to support their campaign. I looked into it and OF COURSE!!! I’m 100% behind this!
Mental health is a subject that’s close to my heart, and building resilience and a more robust mental health is at the heart of this wee blog, so while I may not have children, that doesn’t matter. Please read on even if you don’t either, because I’m sure you know people who do, it might be something that you have to give thought to later on in your life, and actually, the subject of mental health affects us all.
When you are carrying the weight of depression, stress or anxiety, it colours your whole world. There isn’t a single part of life that isn’t impacted by it. There are plenty of blogs and accounts that deal with that, and talk through all of the different experiences and symptoms associated with it, I’m not going to get into all of that here.
You can be on your way down for a while, and it’s only when it reaches a breaking point that we recognise there’s something wrong and seek help.
Getting early intervention is a key component in treating any illness…I’m no doctor or medical professional, but, I’m fairly sure that’s a note on point. But, when it’s mental illness, the damage can be done so far and wide, as I said, through every single aspect of your life, even into those personal relationships and support systems which are actually a crucial part of helping manage and resolve the issues. There’s the catch 22. The mental illness damages your personal relationships, often the people closest to you, and those are the very people you need to help support you and help you get better.
I’ve been tracking my moods now, and indeed a raft of other things, for years now. I’ve been doing it using an app designed for tracking menstrual cycles, but, the benefit of that wee piece of programming is not to be underestimated. It has helped me to see correlations between things that I’d never have noticed otherwise; it supports conversations with my medical practitioners – In fact, at a recent appointment I just handed it over to the doctor and let him crack through it and take all the notes he needed…got way more than he would have had he just been talking to me and asking me questions…and that’s the thing when it comes to our mental health, even when we’re getting the help we need, we forget details, we don’t realise how up and down it’s been, or how low the lows were, how long it lasted, how frequently it occurred, what else was happening at the time, it can get in the way of getting the right treatment at the right time… believe me when I tell you the value in using tools like this cannot be overstated.
The folks over at momenthealth.io have, in conjunction with…Ulster University , NCT, Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Imperial College London, The Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Surgeons, and Royal College of General Practitioners, developed and app to track and provide early help for maternal mental health, and just last Friday, 15th March, have launched their #TakeABreak campaign.
“…new dad and mums from across Northern Ireland have joined forces to launch a mental health campaign aimed at breaking down barriers of guilt, shame, loneliness, embarrassment, fear, confusion and other stigmas associated with perinatal depression and anxieties. The campaign #TakeAMoment will encourage new parents, and indeed everyone, to prioritise their mental health. The parents backing the campaign feature in a no holds barred short film which can be viewed at www.momenthealth.io where they share their own varied experiences of parenthood in an open, honest, often emotional, frank and very personal way…
With 20% of women and 10% of men experiencing symptoms of post-natal depression and associated anxieties, the campaign aims to encourage parents to download the free Moment Health app on iOS and Android and #TakeAMoment to seek the help they deserve from tracking their moods and emotions to locating services in their area and accessing a secure online community of like-minded parents.”
I’ve been in the place where everyone around you is celebrating and so full of joy, but your head is so full of the heavy things that you can barely force a smile, when being around all the happy people makes it worse, and the fact that you can’t enjoy it makes it worse, and that makes an awful downward spiral.
I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to experience that when you’re waiting for or have just had a child. My heart truly goes out to those people. This app, this service, this campaign needs to be spread far and wide!
Something that I loved about the website was that it offers help and support to employers! Again, been there and worn that t-shirt! Having an employer who is understanding and supportive makes ALL the world of difference. I’m privileged enough to currently have a truly amazing employer, and I’ve worked in places which were anything but! I love that this campaign is really looking to tackle the issues in such a broad way, including helping employers to understand and support their staff.
There’s a great wee blog there on the website too, with all sorts of articles from pregnancy related depression in dads to what to pack in your hospital bag to the immeasurably difficult subject of baby loss.
I’ve had a wee play around with the app myself and I have to say it’s fantastic!
It’s super easy to use, it will send you reminders during the day to just input where your heads at in that moment, it plots it all out on a graph for you, and the resources section will pull up a google map based on your current location and show you all the resources and services near you, as well as allowing you to connect to a private Facebook group for community support.
What if you don’t live in Northern Ireland, or if you don’t have kids? It’s still a great wee app to use to track what’s going on with your head. It’s something to be aware of when you’re talking with friends or family who might be going through it – those numbers, 20% of women and 10% of men – that’s 1 of every 5 women and 1 of every 10 men – I bet you know more than 5 mothers and more than 10 fathers. Just let that sink in for a wee moment before you read on.
Tracking the things that are going on in your life and checking in on your head space is definitely something worth doing if you want to build your mental resilience and develop better mental health. You can’t break a pattern if you don’t know what it is – or even that it exists; you can’t stop yourself from driving over a cliff edge if you don’t have a road map to show you it’s coming
Why don’t you #TakeAMoment and head on over to their website and watch some of those videos, read some of the blogposts, and if you’re an employer take a look at some of the resources – or point your employer to them!
You can download the app through the website https://momenthealth.io
Do you use any apps for tracking your moods? How have you found it? Are there similar services near you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, let’s chat about this!