The Importance of Mental Health Awareness (Video + Transcript)

Premier Global NASM
Premier Global NASM

This post will feature a video from tutor Nikos - and within he will explain just how important mental health awareness is as a practice. 

Nikos is the leader of the Mental Health Awareness course - as well as a webinar educator, a tutor for students passing their level 2 and 3 personal training course exams.

 Within the video, here a few of the things he talks about:

  • How 1 in 4 people are dealing with mental health issues.
  • A breakdown of the Mental Health Awareness course curriculum.
  • How to perform mental health first aid.
  • Tips for managing your mental health during COVID-19
  • The importance of nutrition, exercise, and time spent doing constructive things during isolation.


Nikos (00:01):

Hello everybody. I hope you're doing well as you watch this video. My name is Nikos and I'm one of the tutors here at Premier Global NASM. So my main role as a tutor is to grade the assignments of my students, whether it's video assessments, whether it's a worksheet that's been handed in, a case study, whatever, to give valuable feedback on that as well as delivering live webinars and also just helping students on their journey through their level 2s, their level 3s, whatever the courses are, that they're in it and I'm involved in, that is what I'm here to do.

One of the other things I'm here to do is to lead the mental health awareness course, okay? So that's the topic that we're going to be talking about today. 

Nikos (01:06):

So again, the list is endless with the whole COVID-19 situation, the lockdown, the fact that we are away from our family, away from our friends potentially, our colleagues, and we're having to adapt to this strange new world. Now this is going to put extra pressure on us mentally. So it's always important to think about mental health.

I'm sure a lot of you are more aware of it, perhaps than you used to be, the media has taken a much more understandable stance if you like than perhaps it did 20, 30 years ago. So I think people are more aware of the issues that we see around us and it is everywhere. So say any one time, one in four people are being affected by mental health problems. So the chances are that someone within your immediate circle is having a mental health issue right now, okay?

Nikos (01:57):

Could be you, I don't know. But the idea of understanding mental health is one to be able to help ourselves, but also to be able to help others around us as well. And that's what I want to talk about today. What can we do to safeguard our own mental health and to help others around us as well. All right, I think that'd be valuable stuff for us to all be aware of.

So just to talk a little bit more about the way we approach mental health as an organization, so we have a scheme that runs called the Mental Health Champions Scheme. And that involves a team of individuals. I'm one of those people who are available to talk to about any mental health issues that you have or just anything in general. One of the most important things to do when you have an issue is to talk to someone.

Nikos (02:45):

I'm sure a lot of you are aware of that, but sometimes we don't always feel comfortable having those conversations. We should, but we don't always. So we put in place a scheme where people are aware that they can talk confidentially to certain members of staff about anything they want to talk about.

And it runs really well, something I'm really pleased to be a part of and I'm hoping that a lot more organizations will follow as time moves forward because this is the way to tackle mental health. Is to try and work with it at the earliest stages before it starts to become more serious and the Mental Health Champion Scheme is a really good way of identifying that. The course that I mentioned that we run as well. So a really good way to educate yourself around how to help yourself as well as others is to do the level two award in mental health awareness course.

Nikos (03:37):

Fantastic course, it's going to take you in at an entry level to learn about the common mental health issues that you've probably heard of. Some of them you might not have heard of, but things like depression, anxiety, it could be addiction problems, schizophrenia, all sorts of different things. And we learn about the signs and symptoms of these different issues that people have.

So we might start to get a better understanding of when someone shows certain signs of a condition. We're not going to diagnose anyone, but actually just identifying some of the issues will help us with the next step, which is being able to perhaps give that person some help directly or tell them who can help them better than we can. So to be able to Signpost them to others. So the second part of the course is what we call mental health first-aid.

Nikos (04:29):

So if you think about first aid, I don't know if anyone's done this before, you should all do first aid. It's really important because you need to be able to help people, not just the person on the street, which I hope you'd want to help, but the person who you live with, the close family member. You need to know what to do in these situations to help that person.

So extreme scenario, if someone had a... They were unconscious, they weren't breathing, someone who's good at.... Sorry, mental health, is good at first-aid will be able to identify that very quickly, phone an ambulance and start CPR. And that could potentially save that person's life. If they didn't know that routine, then obviously it could be catastrophic. The other example, I don't know, someone's got... They've had an accident, there's a bit of glass in their leg, okay?

Nikos (05:16):

You don't pull it out, you leave it in. That's one of the things you learn in first aid, all right? So you've just learned that now if you didn't know that already, because that's going to stem the bleeding potentially. If we take the wrong action first of all, it could cause harm to someone. And if we take the right action, is going to give them a much better chance of recovering.

So this is the same concept with mental health. If we can identify someone who has a mental health issue or at least have some inkling, some clue, we are then able to understand how to approach their situation to give them the best help possible. Now that could just be a meaningful conversation we have with them or conversations, or it could be that we are able to Signpost them towards something that's going to help them.

Nikos (05:58):

We also learn about things like what to do in an emergency. So first aid emergency where someone perhaps is considering taking their own life. So all of these things we cover in the course. Anyone can do it, I highly recommend it. So that's definitely something for you guys to check out and look into. Now as an organization, we are here to support you. So if you are involved in one of our courses, not just myself as a tutor, but we have a whole team of people to support you. If you're feeling overwhelmed, you're feeling a bit stressed.

We have the student success coach team so they're a fantastic team who are there to help guide you through the course and pick up the phone to you if you're struggling with something, you need to talk about something, you need to have a better understanding of where to go next in the course, you have the tutors available for that.

Nikos (06:46):

We also have careers advice support. We have a customer services team as well, and there are various outreach programs that we have to help you in these situations and obviously in the course. So to go through the process with the minimal stress possible is the goal that we have and the most success of course, as well. So it's a team effort and we are very passionate about delivering that for you as well.

So I want to talk a little bit about managing your mental health in the current situation. So I'm one of those people who is pretty isolated. I've got a couple of housemates I live with, but I'm away from my family, I don't live with any family, I am away from my colleagues, I'm working from home and I think I've had the virus as well.

Nikos (07:34):

So I've been in a situation where I've had two weeks of being stuck in a room, not able to see anyone at all. So I've been through most of the things that you expect to happen in this situation. And before we went into this lockdown period, obviously being someone who is educated in the whole mental health arena, I was armed and ready for what was about to come.

So I didn't approach it in a sense of, "Oh, this will be fine." I actually started to think, "Okay, right. What am I going to do practically to give me the best chance of maintaining good levels of mental health and even thriving with my mental health in this situation?" And I can tell you that the things I've done have worked brilliantly. I'm feeling good, my head is in a good place and I'm very productive at the moment.

Nikos (08:22):

So for me, the idea was to level up in a sense. So to train when I say level up. What can I do to make myself a stronger, more capable person in as many different areas as possible? So for me, I was like, "Right, where do I want to improve in first of all? What goals can I set myself?" Because I've got a load more time that I probably wouldn't have had as much of before. I might've been choosing to spend it socializing, right? So, there were certain things to me.

I wanted to educate myself in certain areas within my profession, but also outside of it as well. So I've been reading a lot, been reading a load of books, I've been trying to level up a bit with my music. So playing the guitar for example, trying to produce a bit more in that sense and just being a bit more creative and spending more time doing those things as well.

Nikos (09:20):

And also just trying to really work hard on my fitness routine as I always would do as well. Now, if you speak to anyone, say a doctor about mental health issue you're having, any good doctor is going to start off with these main pillars first of all to make sure that you are doing the basic things you need to. And those are physical things really. So one of them is nutrition.

So making sure that you have a balanced diet and your diet is on point. One is exercise, so making sure you have a regular exercise routine. And another one is to do with sleep as well. So making sure that you have a good sleep routine. So for me, that was the most important thing. Get an exercise routine and focus on the things that have the best effect on mental well-being. Things like cardiovascular exercise, muscular endurance, make sure my nutrition is on point.

Nikos (10:18):

So I'm using food tracking apps, I'm being very creative in the kitchen doing lots of cooking, having a very wide variety of fruits and vegetables every day and I'm also maintaining my calories and stuff like that as well. So making sure that I'm not going to put loads of weight on and put stress on myself in that sense as well. So taking care of those things made a big difference. And then apart from that, alcohol as well. So I'm not someone who drinks regularly, but I'm drinking less regularly than I normally would.

So I've drunk on a few occasions with my housemates over three months. So it's something that's not really happening much here at all. And it's so easy to do the opposite, it's so easy to think I'm bored, I'm going to get wine again. And the problem is over time, that has a bad physical effect on your body, but mentally as well, it does have an impact.

Nikos (11:15):

I'm not going to get into the ins and outs of why that is, but there is a lot of sound science behind that. It does affect your mental health negatively. So if you're doing all those things, it affects your sleep negatively as well. If you're drinking particularly before bed. So if you're having a glass of wine in the evening and all that kind of stuff, it's not a good thing to do. All right, so in terms of putting that into action for me, it's about having a schedule. So having a schedule that has a variety of different things that allow me to work towards different goals. So I did actually a live Instagram a couple of months ago and I talked about focusing on those key pillars and making sure that you've got various things throughout the day, which work towards each one of those, okay?

Nikos (12:02):

So setting yourself a timetable, making a schedule. If that works, that's great. Or even just having a mental schedule that you're going to go through is going to make a big difference. And like I said, I need to have stuff in there that's the fun, I need to have stuff in there that is work related, I need to have stuff in there that's going to be related to my self development. And as I'm developing in these different areas, I'm feeling good. I feel like I'm using the time constructively.

And every now and again, if you want to just sit and watch Netflix, then by all means do it. But try not to make that the bulk of what you're doing. The other thing is to have meaningful conversations with as many people as you can. Get yourself on Skype, get yourself on Zoom, whatever it is, and reach out to those people and try and have those eye contact conversations.

Nikos (12:47):

Because even though it's a screen you're talking to, it's still the person, isn't it? So I know they're physically not there, but it's different to talking to someone on the phone. So try and do that as much as you can. And I want you to have a thing right now. Is there anyone I know who might be in a particularly tricky situation? Maybe you thought about them the other day. I wonder how that person's getting on, maybe they're struggling a little bit.

Give them a call, reach out to them, send them a message. And don't just do it once, do it more than once. Do it twice, do it three times. One of the things we talk about on our mental health course is to ask the question not once, not twice, three times, multiple times, make sure you show that person that you care and you want to know how they're getting on. And you give them the outlet to connect. So everyone take that away with you. So I want you to think about it now, go away and give someone a call, make sure that they're doing well.

Nikos (13:40):

And if we all do that collectively, we're going to be in a much stronger position as we move through this period, all right? So hope that was helpful, I hope you found that interesting and if you have any questions on anything related to that, please give us a little DM. But please stay safe everybody. It's been great talking to you. Take care, thank you very much.

The Author

Premier Global NASM

Premier Global NASM