What makes good mental health?
Surviving or thriving – what’s the difference?
This is the question to be addressed in Mental Awareness Week (#MHAW17), starting on 8 May 2017 and hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.
Yet a fundamental understanding of this difference has been at the heart of the human givens approach ever since its inception 20 years ago.
We thrive when our essential emotional needs are met in balance – needs such as those for autonomy, security, emotional and community connection, achievement and meaning and purpose. And our needs are most likely to be met when we are using our innate resources – abilities such as memory, empathy, imagination, problem solving, thinking skills and managing emotions – to help us.
It is when people feel overwhelmed, out of their depth or isolated, or when they don’t know how to use their innate resources effectively, that they start to experience psychological symptoms such as stress, anxiety and depression or resort to unhealthy escape valves such as blowing their tops, harming others, or falling into addictions. Severe depression can lead to psychosis. And traumatic experiences can lead to any of these symptoms.
None of this happens when our lives are on track, and when we feel respected and valued as human beings.
The human givens approach has helped countless individuals turn their lives around, by showing them how to meet their needs and use their resources effectively.
But the problem is much bigger than that. Economic pressures on society, inequalities and often unimaginative leadership at national and local levels leave too many people literally struggling to survive or feeling cast aside. Priorities need to change.
The human given approach is all about recognising and meeting our own and others’ emotional needs wherever there are people – including schools, universities and workplaces of every kind.
For ideas on how to make the world a better place by taking account of human nature, see the Human Givens Charter.
More than ever before – these ideas are needed now.
Explore our articles and interviews
Joe Griffin goes back to basics to arrive at a some powerful new insights into the givens of human nature.
Iain Caldwell uses many case studies in his description of how the human givens approach to helping people in distress has had a huge impact on mental health services in Hartlepool.
Read about how a Faulklands war veteran overcame the severe flashbacks and panic attacks he suffered for 20 years after a horrifically traumatising experience during his service in the navy.
Social work should be about helping people yet, bogged down in bureaucracy, it has lost its way. Jan Little shows how the human givens approach can put it back on track.
We all take sleep for granted until we have problems with it and then we quickly remember how desirable a good night's sleep is.
It took millions of years for the human mind to evolve into the self-forming creature we can now become.
Community psychiatric nurse Liz Potts describes her experience as one of the few primary care professionals in Coventry using the human givens approach.
Self-harm is still a taboo subject. Angela shares her experience of self-harm and the impact it had on her life before taking the first steps to recovery.
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Adapting to university life can be a daunting and highly stressful time for young people and their families as everyone adjusts to the many challenges and changes it brings – this 90 minute webinar with Gareth Hughes gives you some of the best advice available for anxious students and their loved ones...
Volume 24, No 1, 2017, the latest edition of the Human Givens Journal – celebrating 20 years of the HG approach – is now available.