John Ardern’s Story

John was very keen to be a part of the Open Shutters Project and, as well as recording his video contribution, wanted to share what he calls his Mental Health First Aid Kit.


Mental Health First Aid Kit

Feel depressed? – 7 immediate ways to cope with mental health issues

1. Accept that something is/feels wrong/different/accept that you are/
maybe ill and you need help. Nothing to be ashamed of – many of us
are or have been the same.

2. Tell someone else that you know/love and trust – and that you know love and
trust you. Talk about it/don’t hide it from them at first. First your Partner,
then family, or friend(s) or mentor(s).

3. Go to see your GP – or nurse practitioner if GP appointment is too far away.
You’ll be given a short questionnaire to assess your condition. It may be
something really serious, like autism, ADHD, etc. If necessary, they will
refer you to a specialist, e.g. psychoanalyst, therapist, counsellor.

4. Medication. Take it as prescribed by a medic. Continue taking the dosage
even when you start feeling better. Put it in an obvious place, so you don’t
lose it/forget it. Avoid too much alcohol and caffeine. Drink more water.

5. Exercise. Even light, moderate bodily exercise helps. Brisk walking,
jogging, swimming are suggestions. No need to hit the gym too hard.
Sleep well

6. Sunshine and fresh air. Get outside and enjoy nature – don’t hide away
indoors. Try walking on grass with your shoes/socks off (Pretty Woman).
Hug a tree. This will ‘earth’ you to a real connection with the natural

7. Time and space. Give yourself quiet time to think. Meditate. Set simple
‘happy’ goals. Keep a diary/use ‘smiley faces’ to record how you feel each
day – and watch your progress.

Compiled by John Ardern, Really Useful Research & Development