Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Mindfulness: Mental Health Awareness Week 2015

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Mindfulness: Mental Health Awareness Week 2015

11th May 2015
Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 11 – 17 May, aims to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues and this year is focusing on mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a mind-body based training that helps people to change the way they think and feel about their experiences, using techniques such as yoga, meditation and breathing. For people who suffer from anxiety, depression or stress, mindfulness can offer a way out of those negative thought patterns and is recommended for those who want to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

A third of the residents at Caritas Anchor House have poor mental health, and, unsurprisingly, many of them experience bouts of depression and anxiety. However, by using techniques such as mindfulness, and working hard to overcome their difficulties with their Lifestyle Architect, they can start to take back control of their life.

One resident who has done so is Roberta. The recent years before joining Caritas Anchor House saw Roberta lose her mother, father and sister. Losing her vital support network one by one hit Roberta hard and due to this she experienced recurrent bouts of anxiety and depression.

When she first moved into Caritas Anchor House Roberta told her Lifestyle Architect that she was disinterested in activities she previously enjoyed doing, tended to isolate herself away and felt nervous about going outside at times.

But, by working closely with her Lifestyle Architect she turned a corner. Roberta learnt to recognise the patterns of behaviour which would trigger her anxiety and focused on fighting these feelings before they had a chance to fester.  She also practiced calming techniques such as meditation and slow breathing to help her regain control when she started to feel overwhelmed.

By learning how to manage her emotions Roberta feels happier in herself. She has found the confidence to engage with her fellow residents and staff members and involves herself in the activities that Caritas Anchor House provides.

“I was quite fragile when I first came here; I had a huge sense of apprehension which overshadowed my life. At first it prevented me from enjoying activities I used to love doing, and then I started to worry and get depressed about everything and just wanted to be alone in my room.

“It’s not been easy, but I’ve learnt how to overcome these feelings and control my emotions, rather than them controlling me. I wasn’t sure about things like meditation and breathing techniques but they’ve helped me to become calmer and manage my feelings.

“I’m now starting to get involved in Caritas Anchor House’s volunteering programme and I know this is the first step on my road to the life I lost.”

To find out more about what you can do to look after your mental health, visit mental health charity Mind’s website, here.

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