Category ArchiveHealth

Motor Neurone Disease Awareness

As June is Motor Neurone Disease month, or MND for short, we are taking the opportunity to explain more about this horrendous disease and what we can all do to help.

Living with MND

For those who don’t know, MND is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This means that messages gradually stop reaching the muscles, which can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. MND is typically fatal in just 2-5 years and there is currently no cure. There is also no known cause for the disease, with it attacking both old and young, as well as generally healthy people.

Apparently, this deadly and life changing disease affects 1 in 400 people!

Read more about living with MND here.

A Well Known Case

The most popular case of MND is Professor Stephen Hawking, who was diagnosed at 21 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a type of motor neurone disease. He was given two years to live, but lived until the age of 55, 32 years longer than expected.

‘I have lived most of my life in the expectation of an early death, so time has always been precious to me,’ Hawking said in 2006, but did not pass away until 2018.

Surviving with this deadly disease for so much longer than expected is is testament to how he defied the odds, and helped define our understanding of the universe.

Read more about the life of Stephen Hawking here.

How can we help?

This MND Awareness Month, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) wants to reach as many people as possible. Get the message out there by sharing a selfie of your eyes, using the hashtag #MyEyesSay. The MNDA are sharing stories of real people whose lives have been shattered by motor neurone disease. See the world through their eyes by taking the MND quiz – but, you can only answer using your eyes.

Learn more and donate at the MNDA website.

Mental Health Awareness

This Mental Health Week, the theme was ‘Stress: are we coping?

Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems. A moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations, but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems.

Three steps to take when feeling stressed are:

1. Realise when it is causing you a problem

  • Try to make the connection between feeling tired or ill and the pressures you are faced with
  • Look out for physical warnings such as tense muscles, over-tiredness, headaches or migraines

2. Identify the causes

  • Try to identify the underlying causes
  • Sort the possible reasons for your stress into three categories:
    • Those with a practical solution
    • Those that will get better given time; and
    • Those you can’t do anything about
  • Try to release the worry of those in the second and third groups and let them go

3. Review your lifestyle

  • Could you be taking on too much?
  • Are there things you are doing which could be handed over to someone else?
  • Can you do things in a more leisurely way?

Learn more about what stress is, what the signs of stress are and steps to prevent stress on the website.

People are speaking out more and more about Mental Health, but there is still a stigma attached to it, that we need to remove! Over the past few years, celebrities have started coming forward about mental health issues of all varieties, from Adele and Beyoncé to Dwayne Johnson and even Prince Harry. It just goes to show that no matter how perfect your life may look from the outside, there is often a lot going on inside, which is far from perfect.

Read more about celebrities that have opened up about mental health issues here.

The NHS is investing more money into mental health year on year, with overall mental health funding up £1.4 billion in real terms compared to 3 years ago and 120,000 more people getting specialist mental health treatment this year than 3 years ago.

These figures show just how much support there is out there for mental health, so we really must utilise this. Let’s be aware of mental health issues, support each other and speak out!

For more information and support with mental health issues, visit the NHS website.