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Social Media and Mental health

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Medication and mental health

How the World Celebrates Valentine's Day

Roses are red 
Violets are blue
How does the world celebrate Valentine's Day?
Let us tell you...

Ever wondered how the rest of the world celebrates Valentine's Day? Well wonder no more! From the UK to South Korea, we've got 8️⃣ #valentinesday traditions from around the globe to inspire you to get a bit more multicultural this Feb 14th! 🌍❤️

1️⃣ Send a bunch of British red roses 🌹🇬🇧

In the UK, Valentine’s Day is traditionally about showing appreciation for the people you love or adore. Many people will take their loved ones out for a romantic dinner at a restaurant, as well as giving Valentine's Day cards, chocolates, jewellery or roses.

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2️⃣ Pray with your loved one like the Chinese 🙏🇨🇳

China has it's own day for celebrations of love, however February 14th is also recognised as Valentines Day. The Qixi festival tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers - a cow-herder and a King’s daughter, who were forced apart and only allowed to reunite on one day a year. During the festival, couples go to temples and pray for wealth and security, and at night they look up at the sky as the stars, Vega and Altair (symbolising the cowherder and the King's daughter), pass close by each other once every year.

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3️⃣ Create a white pressed flower card from Denmark 🌸🇩🇰

Denmark celebrate Valentine's Day with a little bit of a twist. On the day, people don't only give and receive roses and chocolates, but friends and lovers exchange handmade cards with pressed white flowers on them, also known as snowdrops.

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4️⃣ Give some chocolate with Italian love notes inside them 🍫🇮🇹

The well-known Italian chocolate maker, Perugia, celebrates Valentine's Day by making a special edition of their Baci chocolates with a red wrapper and a cherry centre (rather than the usual hazelnut one). Each chocolate also contains a 'love note' with a romantic phrase.

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5️⃣ Show your friends some love instead with the Mexicans 👩‍❤️‍👩 🇲🇽

In Mexico, Valentine’s Day is also celebrated on February 14th but is known as 'El Día del Amor y la Amistad' (The Day of Love and Friendship). On this day, Mexican's don't only celebrate love for their significant other, but for their friends and family too!

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6️⃣ Celebrate being single with the South Korean's 👍🇰🇷

Traditionally, women in South Korea give chocolate on Valentine’s Day, and receive presents in return on 'White Day' (which is a month later on March 14th). The Koreans also have a third day on April 14th called ‘Black Day’. This is an informal celebration for single people, who dress in full black and gather with their friends to enjoy 'jajangmyeon' (Korean noodles with a black bean sauce).

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7️⃣ Send a Norwegian 'joke letter' 😂🇳🇴

'Gaekkebrev', which is a Norwegian tradition dating back to the 18th century, roughly translates as 'joke letters'. Secret admirers write poems to their Valentine, and sign off with a dot for each letter of their name. If their Valentine correctly guesses who their admirer is, they win an Easter egg at Easter. If not, the joke is on them and they have to give one instead!

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8️⃣ Have a Ghanaian dinner party 🍴🇬🇭

As well as going out for dinner, Ghanians like to cook local delicacies on Valentine’s Day. Why not surprise your significant other with his or her favourite Ghanaian dishes? You could also organise a dinner party and invite family and some friends round to celebrate with!

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When Mental Health Meets the Outdoors

The blog below was written by Marc. Marc is the founder and owner of Dingy Life, a small active clothing brand based in the UK.

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I am a veteran mountain biker and outdoor activity enthusiast and mentor. I have competed in endurance events and races at national level and around the world. In the past years my health has suffered through various traumas in my life and I suffer from depression, anxiety and self-harm.

Along with SelfharmUK, who have some amazing resources and provide some invaluable help, being active and connecting with the outdoors has been a great medicine and helped enhanced my health and mental wellbeing. With the combined help from SelfharmUK, CBT and outdoor activities all have helped me get through some dark and testing times.

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So through my journey came a positive outcome - to inspire others who are suffering with mental illnesses, to connect with the outdoors, to enhance health and wellbeing, and to provide information and support. This year I will be competing in a 24hr mountain bike race raising awareness for mental health in the process. 

We ride, we climb, we paddle, we swim, we run, we wild camp, we visit some great places all to inspire others. We also design our own branded clothing and sell second hand clothing to raise money for some great causes... and with that in mind, Dingy was born. 

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Dingy is an outdoor inspired clothing brand based in the UK, who design their own clothing and sell recycled clothing to support people with mental illness. 20% of our profits are donated to SelfharmUK and Mind. 

You can support Dingy Life, SelfharmUK and Mind by purchasing products here.

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My Mind is My Canvas

The blog post below was written by Ellen.

When I was 11, I began to suffer from intense panic attacks and I turned to self harm to alleviate some of that pain. Seven years later, I’ve got a long list of diagnosis, including anorexia nervosa, depression and anxiety.

Throughout my GCSEs I barely went to school. I taught myself the courses at home and pushed through my exams. I managed to get A*s, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t really living. 

The school I was in at the time was very focused on getting the top grades and getting girls into the ‘best' universities. But even at 11 I knew I didn’t want to be a lawyer or a doctor or an accountant or an engineer… but I couldn’t work out what I did want. And I’ve realised that that’s okay. 

One of the biggest steps I’ve taken was starting therapy again. I stopped going for a long time because my body and mind were too weak to benefit from it because of my anorexia, but once I was at a stable weight I went back. My therapist has allowed me to open my eyes to the beauty in the world and always encourages me to chase my dreams, even if I’m not sure exactly what I want. She’s helped me to look for coincidences in life; the world starts to connect up and forms a safety net around you. 

She was crucial in helping me transfer to an art college for sixth form, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Things are still really hard sometimes but I am learning to get in touch with myself more and I feel like the universe is there to support me. 

I have found myself in art; I joined weekend classes in a London photography studio when I was 15 and I realised I could explore a format people want to see and that makes sense to me. I love to create narratives through both words and images; I am interested in psychology and colour theory and I use art to try and understand myself and others.

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I created a scanography series in which I expressed my mental health journey through distorted self-portraits and eerie colour palettes. I was inspired by Amy Hughes, a painter I found reading Aesthetica magazine. Encased (2017) is psychologically and physically charged; I was struck by the strong highlights arching over a figure's back with an agonised, scrunched up face, distorted by the reflected light and texture of a plastic prison. I reached out to Amy and interviewed her for my project - she even invited me to the opening of her show! She encouraged me to express my true-self, which helped me develop my interest in the nature of mankind. 

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According to a survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation 2018, 74% of adults in the UK alone report feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope. 51% of these adults felt depressed, and 61% felt anxious. 16% had self harmed and 32% said they had experienced suicidal thoughts. It is hard to tell whether we are just noticing and appreciating the effects of mental health more nowadays, or if there is a crisis as dramatic as reported. Either way, to experience mental health issues or to support someone with them is incredibly, painstakingly hard. I know from my own experience how isolated, hopeless and empty these problems can make you feel. Some of my images are my attempt at describing how you can feel like you're living multiple lives; we lie to people and tell them we're okay, we are misunderstood by others, and we don't know how we even really feel. 

As the scanner moved, I lifted my head and lowered it at regular intervals to create the more frozen style of image. I’ve also tried to depict the feelings of isolation, disorientation and sadness. I pressed my face against the scanner to create visible pressure on my nose and forehead; the world is so vast and scary, yet we can feel caught-up and claustrophobic living in it. The qualities of the images create a kind of wavering mood-line - a bit like a line graph - as well as confusion and feeling out of control. I moved my face along with the scanner, not worrying about the slight shake of my body as I did so as this is what created the wavering effect. 

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I didn't want to make them specific to any one mental health issue; they are universal and can be understood by many. For instance, some images may as a representation of schizophrenia. I wanted to create a sense of understanding for those suffering due to mental health issues, be it the one  who is ill or the one caring for them, and also to educate those who think the mentally ill are simply 'over dramatic' or 'not worth helping'. 

Reasons to try being creative 🎨...

1️⃣ Creatives activities can help to reduce stress levels, aid mental calmness and serve as a relaxing distraction. You can get absorbed in your mental flow when creating.

2️⃣ Art also helps creative thinking; it can better your problem-solving skills. There are no wrong answers in art and we are allowed to imagine our own solutions. Flexible thought can stimulate in the way that learning a new language can.  

3️⃣ Art can improve cognitive abilities and memory for people with serious brain disorders, such as dementia, by stimulating cell growth in the brain. 

4️⃣ Chronic health conditions can be left behind while you create; a positive experience,  and a chance to achieve allows you to express your feelings and help you find your identity.

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Latest Blog

How the World Celebrates Valentine's Day

Ever wondered how the rest of the world celebrates Valentine's Day? Well wonder no more! From the UK to South Korea, we've got 8️⃣ #valentinesday traditions from around the globe to inspire you to get a bit more multicultural this Feb 14th! 🌍❤️

Read More