In honour of World Mental Health Day on the 10th October we sat down with Jodie Cariss, founder of Self Space, to answer our most pressing questions around mental wellbeing and hear her all-year-round top tips. Self Space is a contemporary mental health service, offering therapy to individuals, couples and also companies.

Are mental health issues hereditary?
Mental health issues can be genetically hereditary, but most often learnt behavior, repeated patterns modelled by our caregivers, that we experience in childhood, these might be patterns of communicating or relating, attachment and withdrawal, stress management styles, relationship dynamics, and responses to difficult emotions. It can be difficult to distinguish between what has been learnt from our past and what isn't because it can be so deeply ingrained.
Intergenerational trauma refers to trauma that is passed through generations. The impact of parental undiagnosed mental health conditions and the subsequent ways of living will often affect children who then grow into adults and repeat this behavior. We might have experienced permanent low mood or manic bouts from our caregivers, or any variety of coping mechanisms and we might find that we now have similar responses or behaviours to stressful or familiar/triggering situations.
How does mental health affect daily life?
Our mental health, just like our physical health, can affect our daily life considerably. We are holistic beings so if we are not aligned with how we are feeling, compassionate and supportive of ourselves and actively working on our mental health, we will most likely struggle more. If we are struggling with our mental health we might feel overwhelmed, lonely and disconnected, as if no one really knows how or who we are, we might experience bouts of manic or depressed feelings, everyday tasks might feel difficult, we might find our relationships suffer, and we feel anxious, our appetite changes, our sense of self can vanish, we might lack confidence, we might struggle at home, at work, with friends and family, we might feel high levels of stress or fatigue. Our feelings are powerful things and they inform and dictate our mental health and a general sense of well-being. Pay attention to how you are really feeling and try to include mental maintenance rituals in your daily routine to help support your better mental health. This might include:
1. Connecting with someone who you can be open and honest with
2. Self-care rituals - pamper/nice food/journaling/moving
3. Keep a dream book and make notes of your dreams. We have powerful messages from our unconscious that appear here
4. Notice and call yourself out if you are resorting to patterns that make you feel worse and try to make changes to this
How does mental health affect relationships?
Mental health affects relationships in many ways. Primarily our first relationship is with ourselves. So if we feel disconnected from ourselves it is likely we will feel disconnected in our relationships. If we feel low, hopeless, angry, or jealous all of these things can show up or be projected into our relationships. We might find we feel isolated even when we are with others, we adopt a mask of having it all other’ when in fact this is the opposite of how we are feeling and this can further compound our feelings of isolation. We might find we feel outside of groups we once felt connected to, we might feel we don't have anything to offer, and that we are being left behind or less than others. When we are struggling with our mental health this can have a direct correlation to our confidence and sense of self which impacts the way we relate to others and the world. You might also notice that you are not holding important boundaries within relationships because you don't feel strong enough to do so, and want to avoid conflict and this can build resentment in relationships. We are pack/tribe creatures really and we need each other, we need to feel some deep connection in order to thrive, and connection comes from how we reveal ourselves to the world, how authentic we are in relationships. So try to share your mental health journey with people you love and trust, because it can promote a sense of connectedness.


Are mental health problems increasing?
Our awareness of mental health issues and the conversation around them is increasing. It’s impossible to say if they actually are or not because historically we’ve had an incredibly close approach to speaking about how we are really doing. It feels important that we are embracing what appears to be an increase in issues because this promotes positive cultural change in the mental health space. The more freely we can speak about how we feel the lighter the load often becomes. The world has recently felt unpredictable, we are in the aftermath of covid, politically things feel challenging and finances feel complex and unpredictable- all things which impact our mental health for the worse. How we nurture and take care of ourselves has become even more significant.
How does the impact of lack of sleep affect mental health?
Sleep and lack of sleep affect our mental health considerably. If you imagine that everything in our system has a way of balancing, e.g. when we are hot we sweat to cool down, our sleep is the balancing partner of our consciousness. It's the place we re-calibrate and our unconscious, everything we are feeling but not thinking lives, it soothes, it speaks to us in our dreams and it's a balancing place for our bodies and souls to repair. When we aren't sleeping properly we are more sensitive, and less able to cope with everyday events and challenges, we might have a more disturbed state of consciousness- eg more anxiety, depression, and more stress. The phrase and attention given to ‘sleeping like a baby and getting babies to sleep is not without its due merit. We can see that when children do not sleep they are less predictable, manageable, less buoyant and it's the same for us adults. Apply more care to this aspect of your life, your sleep routines, how you wind down, tend to yourself with small rituals, sleep spray, hot milk, a nice album, whatever it is make the passage to sleep a lovely invitation. When you aren't sleeping well try to work out and unpick what's on your mind and how you might take an active stance around this. When we don't value our rest and sleep, this will show up in our waking lives.