A big mouthful with Simon Pearson

I decided at the end of 2019 that the Cumbria Northumberland Tyne & Wear LGBT+ Network had a responsibility to reach out to people, to address so many of the mental health issues we all face.

As a Stonewall Diversity Champion, we need to be undertaking so much more community engagements to get this done. As all of us contribute to the Network on top of our day jobs, I thought that maybe publishing a Podcast would be one way of getting the information and discussions out to everyone.

So, in January 2020, the first Podcast was launched.

As with all new Podcasts, it takes time for people to become followers and subscribers or to regularly engage with newly landed podcasts. Slowly but surely, the number of people listening is growing. I am delighted to say that we are being heard as far away as America, Nigeria and the Emirates!

“I am so pleased that A Big Mouthful started in January because it has allowed us to get information out to people on how to manage our anxieties and the isolation caused during this pandemic”

Simon PEarson

I think one of the big messages we are trying to get across is that you are not the only person feeling the way that you do. There are so many people feeling exactly the same and it is absolutely understandable that you feel like this. We can’t change what is happening out there but we can change how we react and respond to it by taking control over how it makes us feel.

Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract.

Creating change for ourselves is never easy and often, not straight forward. We can use distraction techniques to help us in the short term, but to be more successful in overcoming our anxieties, we need to practice the techniques we discuss in these podcasts on a daily basis.  These techniques are not like taking paracetamol. We have to use them routinely so they become effective and for us to become proficient at controlling your levels of anxiety. If we don’t, anxieties can occupy our thoughts all the time or cause us to develop avoidant behaviours that can stop us achieving things in our lives. In some cases, that anxiety can literally stop us from getting out of bed.

Listen to Episode 4

Episode 4 discusses some useful tips that we can use to help manage our anxieties and focusses on 2 great psychological tools that will benefit us if they are practiced daily.

“In episode 5, I was joined by two guests to discuss what we can do to manage our mental health during this isolation.”

Simon Pearson

The conversation with Dr. Deb Milligan was so informative as well as being easy to follow and provides some incredibly useful advice on how we can help ourselves.  Just a few of the suggestions we make are focusing on what we can control instead of what we cannot, trying to be kind to ourselves with self-compassion, cutting back on our media exposure to prevent feeling overwhelmed by constant updates on the pandemic and trying to be “present” with ourselves.   I really recommend listening to episodes 4 & 5 (in that order).

The other guest is from an independent radio station talking about what they are doing to help people join together for online parties and being part of their radio shows to help maintain that sense of sharing and being part of something outside of our four walls.

Listen to Episode 5

In episode 6, the theme of isolation is continued, but this time, focussing on domestic violence and abuse.

Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is a very serious concern that everyone as well as all healthcare professionals and practitioners might encounter in our practices and daily lives.  Anyone of us could meet someone who is a victim-survivor seeking support to deal with the impact of DVA.  All Healthcare professional/practitioners can play a very important role in identifying, referring, and responding to the people we meet. Friends and families (as well as heath care professionals) need to understand the phenomenon of DVA and how it presents.

This episode provides an overview of prevalence, presentation, and impact on the psychological health of the victim-survivor.

Professor Catherine Donovan

My guest for this podcast to discuss this subject is a professor is sociology at Durham University. She has been involved in research into the lives of LGBT+ people for 25 years, she is Professor Catherine Donovan.

Listen to Episode 6

You can also subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts (search for A big Mouthful).  We also want to hear from you with any comments, suggestions or questions at abigmouthful1@gmail.com  or on our Twitter account @MouthfulBig

Useful contacts and self-help tools and guides

Simon Pearson (he/him) has been a mental health practitioner within the NHS for many years. It was just over two years ago that he was given the privilege in becoming the Chair of the LGBT+ Network at Cumbria Northumberland Tyne and Wear (CNTW) NHS Trust. The network of qualified and unqualified staff are committed to ensuring that support and input is given to all LGBT+ people in and around the region. Engaging with people at the events they hold is a great opportunity to find out what issues are affecting people and helps CNTW in identifying what they should be doing to help our community. Part of what they do, especially in the work place, is to be visible role models for staff and patients and to educate people in an attempt to change hearts and minds and to hopefully help people to become more accepting of the LGBT+ community.