Mental Health Week

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This week has been mental health week. I love an awareness week, I work in charity so know it’s a chance to get some attention for a cause and raise awareness.  Mental health is certainly a subject a lot of people have an experience of so it’s obvious it would have a week dedicated to it!

Nowadays mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD and more are no longer the taboos they once were. This is fantastic, it means those that are struggling with issues don’t feel the need to hide or cover those feelings up. People are happier to talk about their issues and ultimately seek the help and support they need. With celebrities like Fearne Cotton, Frankie  Bridge, Stacey Solomon, Stephen Fry even Prince Harry all speaking about their personal struggles…I think it’s empowering for many people. It helps them know there are others who struggle; have issues; are feeling down and have low mood. I applaud those people and think it is fantastic that we are living in a culture where people are not made to feel like they are weird, or wrong or like they should just pull themselves together.

However despite all that I have to admit when I saw the stats attached to this years awareness week I felt saddened and concerned for  the state of society. This year The Mental Health Foundation found 1 in 8 adults admit to having suicidal thoughts because of how they look. That’s so very sad, suicide is a very serious thing that has such far reaching consequences and something I think no one should ever take lightly. To even think about ending your life because of how you look to me does seem extreme. I feel almost ashamed that we live in a society where so much is hung on what you look like. I certainly have my own body image struggles, I often hate how I look, moan about my fine hair, my fat legs, the wrinkles on my face. I certainly feel down and annoyed but I would never want to take my own life. I guess that is just how you grab the media’s attention though and when you look at more stats it does become clear the majority of people are like me and not so extreme. Around body image:

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Anti-Bullying Week

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For the last few weeks my Instagram and Facebook page have been filled with messages about a subject I know well, bullying! That is because this week is the Anti-Bullying Alliances(ABA) Anti-Bullying Week.

Bullying is an awful and potentially life threatening action that affects not only young people but adults too. There are no official statistics for bullying, however in 2017-18 Childline claims 19,000 counselling sessions took place with children about bullying and stories about young people taking their own lives are sadly too frequent. Lately I have also seen more headlines about workplace bullying, MP John Bercow, retail tycoon Phillip Green have both been accused, a recent BMA report found 4 in 10 doctors experienced bullying at work…even Strictly Come Dancing has been plagued with the issue as Danny John Jules is said to have bullied his dance partner.

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One De-chox Complete

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So it’s been seven days since I finished my De-chox for British Heart Foundation and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I did not struggle nearly as much as I thought I would and I also stuck to my own self imposed ban on sweets and biscuits, (see other blog) well for most of it, I did have a few slips right at the end but I can truthfully swear not one teeny tiny bit of cocoa passed my lips during the whole month of March.

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Meeting some Fairtraders

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As part of Fairtrade Fortnight I recently attended a talk about the subject in Brighton.  Hosted by education charity Think Global UK, it was a very enlightening evening and certainly fortified my opinion that Fairtrade is achieving some great things.

One of the speakers was Atif Choudhry, the director of Zaytoun and I had a quick chat  with him after the proceedings. Zaytoun is British Import Company that brings Palestinian products to the UK. They sell Olive Oil, dates, various local grains and almonds. Originally two local producers were due to speak about how Zaytoun and Fairtrade directly benefits them. Unfortunately the visas were denied last minute and so Atif had do his best to represent the in their absence (which he did very well).  I started by asking him to tell me about the situation in Palestine.

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Ready for a Dechox!!

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A few weeks ago I was having a look around my local British Heart Foundation (BHF) charity shop when I saw a sign that caught my attention. The charity has a challenge – one I have never heard of, but was started in 2015 – and after not doing brilliantly at Dry January (I completely failed) I decided this one was for me.

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Fairtrade Fortnight

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Today is the first day of Fairtrade Fortnight, the special awareness event aims to highlight Fairtrade and all its benefits.

I try to buy their products as much as possible, for example I only buy Fairtrade bananas, I like to use Fairtrade teabags and I have recently made more of an effort to buy Fairtrade sugar and even look out for Fairtrade alcohol.

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I’m No Dryathlete

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January…the month when people regret the extravagance of Christmas and go on a diet/ start a fitness regime/ stay in and save money and generally hibernate.

Some people also decide to take part in the Dryathlon for Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

I will admit from the start of this blog, I did not do that, but I did decide to try and give up the booze for most of January. Why not the whole thing you may ask? Well I still had a lot of chocolate and alcohol left in the house on January 1st and as Jon had an extra week off work, I said that we should enjoy our time together. So we did, we had a nice relaxing time watching films, going for lunch and meandering around, we ate and enjoyed a drink. However I did say from Monday 9th January I would try and abstain from the booze, I also pledged to cut out chocolate (which had been a staple part of my diet since December 19th)

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Get silly for a serious cause

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It’s Christmas Jumper Day!!! An official reason to wear a silly Christmas jumper (not that I really need an excuse). However, today wearing something festive and donating (which I have done) can actually do some good.

Christmas Jumper Day is a charity event set up by Save the Children. I was quite surprised to learn the first one was just four years ago in 2012, I guess that just goes to show how successful it is as it feels like it’s been going much longer.

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Blood Cancer Research in Sussex

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It’s the last day of September and so it means it’s the last day of blood cancer awareness month, but just because the month is finished does not mean that blood cancer should be forgotten about (obviously). I don’t think that’s going to happen, not only because someone sadly receives a blood cancer diagnosis every 20 minutes, but also because every day there are hundreds of scientists studying this disease and they are making headway. In fact I found out that right here in Sussex there is a team of very clever people doing just that. Professor Michelle West works at The University of Sussex, she leads a team of biochemists and cell biologists, who are studying a particular type of blood cancer, as she explains:

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Blood Cancer Awareness Month

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Everyone knows the word Cancer, it’s a big scary word that you never want to hear, yet according to Cancer Research UK in 2013, 352,197 people were given a cancer diagnosis and in 2014, 163,444 people passed away in the UK with cancer. Those are big numbers!

What’s also scary is that cancer can affect almost any part of the body, the brain, lungs, bowel, skin and even your blood. Some of these types are really known about, breast and prostate cancer for example, yet I think there are others that are less understood. For me blood cancer fell firmly into this category, the idea of my blood being infected is really quite hard to get my head round, you can’t exactly have it removed! So when I found out September was blood cancer awareness month I decided to learn a little bit about it.

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