Belford Mothers’ Union, February meeting

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MENTAL HEALTH: AT February’s meeting of Belford Mothers’ Union, Rev Kate Baxter talked about living with mental health. With a background in nursing and ministry in the URC, Kate is both a mother and foster mother to five children.

Kate reflected on people’s reticence to talk about mental health issues. And perhaps that’s partly because mental ill health covers such a wide range of conditions from schizophrenia to bi-polar conditions and depression.

With an holistic approach as ideal (looking at all aspects of an individual’s life), both diagnosis and treatment can take a long time. And outcomes vary, often being unpredictable.

One of the most commonly reported conditions is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Kate reminded everyone that this is simply a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Among our troops, 30 per cent are affected as well as 45 per cent of battered women, 60 per cent of abused children and 13 per cent of urban police officers.

Kate went on to offer some preventative and remedial steps that can help us all to maintain mental health including relaxation techniques, physical activity, self-assertiveness and setting achievable life goals.

She recommended us to take responsibility for our own lives, not letting things fester. We clean our teeth – we should take a similar approach to our mental health.

Branch leader Sylvia Hickey thanked Kate for her very different and informative talk, saying: “We all left the meeting with much to think about.

“The impact of mental health issues on our lives and relationships should not be under-estimated.”

For information contact Jane Pannell on 01289 388321 or