Fareham mental health trainer shares advice on stress

WE must not confuse stress with anxiety.

Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 9:31 am

That is the message from mental health trainer Ian Hurst from Fareham.

The dad-of-two, who runs We Are Hummingbird which does mental health training, is on a mission to educate people about whether they are feeling stress or anxiety as a new year begins.

The 38-year-old said: ‘People think they need to get rid of all their stress and that we shouldn’t have it but that is not the case.

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Ian Hurst runs mental health organisation We Are Hummingbird which does mental health training. Pictured: Ian Hurst at his home in Fareham on 18 December 2020 Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘We all have stress about different things but it is about we manage it and use it.

‘Everyone has a container, all different shapes and sizes, and I visualise stress as different-sized balls that go into the container. For example thousands of pounds worth of debt would be a beach ball and your mum coming over for a dinner that she may criticise would be a marble.

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‘All these balls go into the container because they are things that are happening, you can put them in the diary. Anxiety is worrying about the what ifs, the things that have not happened and there is no evidence they will definitely happen.

There for each other

‘When we run training sessions we get people to think about the differences so they can start to deal with their feelings in different ways.’

Ian started up the organisation in 2019 after leaving his corporate insurance job in London in 2018 when he broke down in tears but, after being sent on a mental health first aid course, realised he had found his passion.

He has since worked with Solent Mind, the Royal Navy and also teamed up with fellow mental health non-profit Panic Loves Company to create a six-part YouTube series, featuring music scene veterans DJ Fat Tony and O Beach co-owner, Tony Truman, who shared their first-hand experiences of the psychological toll the party lifestyle can take and model Demi Rose, who provided a heartfelt account of grief after losing both her parents.

Ian added: ‘Life at the moment is difficult for many but making those first steps to deal with that difference between stress and anxiety can really help.’

The past year and pressures of the new one has affected many people’s mental health.

Andrea Rollinson, counsellor at Solent NHS Trust, is encouraging people to reflect and has shared tips to help deal with feelings including getting active, volunteering in the community or reaching out for help from organisations.

She said: ‘Even if this year had a been a normal one, New Year is a time when our mental health can be vulnerable to anxiety and depression. We can feel lonely and imagine that everyone else is celebrating and making merry. It is a fact that enquiries about divorce peak in January and ‘Blue Monday’ occurs on the third Monday in January, where it is said that we struggle more with our mental health.

‘The new year is also a time to perhaps shed the old and welcome in the new. There are many ways in which we can balance out some stress, including avoiding unhealthy habits, challenging yourself and having some ‘me time’.

‘We can all remember periods of happiness and look at the examples of how we rallied together to support our community. Covid-19 has created plenty of these moments, with the work of the NHS, the vaccine rollout, and the inspirational charity work of Captain Tom Moore to name a few.

‘In Portsmouth, many contributed to groups to raise money for local charities, volunteered to undertake deliveries for the NHS, or joined groups to help protect our wildlife. These things illustrate that we are not alone and that support is available.

‘Volunteering can be really rewarding not only helping those in need locally, but knowing that you’ve played a direct role in that.

‘For our mental health, it is important to combine the physical (cycling, walking the dog, going to the gym) alongside our mental wellbeing. Getting active and taking regular exercise at home, or outdoors, can help reduce intense emotions.’

‘If you’re struggling with stress, please reach out to our Talking Change service. Talking Change is for everyone aged 16 or over, who lives in Portsmouth and is registered with a GP in the city.

'You can self-refer by calling us on 0300 123 3934 or by completing this secure form online.’

The News is running a mental health campaign called There For Each Other.

Over the next few weeks you will hear from a range of people about their mental health journeys, relating to a number of topics including Covid-19, veterans, suicide, financial stress, grief, domestic abuse and the impact of social media.

Health professionals, organisations and charities will be sharing the range of support that is available and how it can be accessed.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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