What exactly is Mental Health? — Henley Careers Blog

To mark Mental Health Awareness week, we asked blogger and Henley Business School student, James Sweeney, to cover what it is, and what we can all do to help work through any difficulties.

What exactly is Mental Health? — Henley Careers Blog

What Makes a Good Story? — kwilliamsbooks

I need your help. Whether it’s in print, a movie, a letter, a comic, or any one of our lives, a good story in each requires a few of the same things. I’ve got a small list, but I want you to add to it in the comments, on LinkedIn, Facebook, or wherever you’re seeing this: What, to you, makes a good story?

What Makes a Good Story? — kwilliamsbooks

Ideas for Lockdown – Blog 3: Learning a new Language

Learning a new Language is something that we all try and do at some point in our lives and is something we should all try and do more of in our day to day life. Learning a new language brings with it lots of different positives in our life which we will be looking at in today’s blog in the Ideas for Lockdown series!

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is the third blog in the Ideas for Lockdown series and is all about Learning a new Language! Learning new languages is something that I love to try and do and is something that we could all do more of in our lives! As a lot of people have more time on their hands due to the Lockdown that we are facing, why don’t we use the time to try and start to learn a new language?

There are around 6,500 spoken languages around the world. There are so many languages to choose from so the question that I have is what’s stopping you? Is there a language that you have always wanted to learn but have never had the time too? Then now is your chance! Make the most of the extra time that we have and try and learn that language, you never know it could change your life!

One of my favourite things about learning languages is that you can spend as little or as much time doing it as you choose. You can spend hours a day looking at different words, verbs and tenses or you could just spend the odd five minutes here and there learning some new phrases, it is completely up to you!

Learning a new language gives you the chance to communicate with people around the world. If you know French, for instance, then you can communicate with people from France, Belgium, Cameroon and even Canada! It opens the door to a potential global network of people that you can speak and interact with!

Learning more languages can also help you out greatly in advancing your career. Companies are now actively seeking out multilingual people and are adding things like, must speak to or more languages, to job descriptions. Learning a new language can not only open your door to a much larger network of people but can also provide a lot of different jobs all around the world!

In regards to what language you should learn, it is completely up to you! Quite a lot of people that I know look at the most employable languages or the most spoken languages around the world and then try and learn them but the choice is all yours!I find that when I have been to a country and seen people speak their native language, it makes me want to learn it!

Growing up I had the chance to speak English, Welsh, French and German. While I ultimately did not choose German as a GCSE option I still had the chance to learn the basics and really enjoyed it! By the end of my time in school, I could speak a lot of Welsh and carried on with learning French. By the end of College I had a great understanding of the French language and it led to me making some great friends in France!

As I mentioned previously the speed that you learn a language is completely up to you. You could try and learn it all as fast as you can or you could take it nice and slow. Even spending the odd five minutes here and there learning a few rods does make a little bit of a different when learning a new language.

There is tonnes of help out there if you are stuck learning a language too. Websites like Duolingo, https://www.duolingo.com/, and Language Helpers, https://www.languagehelpers.com/, are made to help you learn new languages and are there to support you along the way! If you make the most of them then they will be sure to help you out!

Learning a new language can also help us to start to understand the culture behind different countries and the traditions and beliefs that different countries have. It can be a great way to broaden your horizons of the world and to really see how different people live and what they do in their day to day lives!

That’s all I want to talk about in today’s blog! What do you all think? Is there a language that you have always wanted to learn? Are you going to try and learn it now? What are you doing in Lockdown? Is there any specific content that you would like to see me do for the page? Let me know in the comments below or through out Facebook page and I will see if I can make it happen!

Thanks for reading and i hope you have a great day!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here is greatly appreciated and will be directly reinvested back into the page!


James Sweeney

Ways to be a better creative writer — ficklesorts

How to be a better writer? It’s a question I get asked often, though I do not want to convey that I am a seasoned writer holding serious expertise in the field. I have done a reasonable amount of professional content writing for over four years now, but one can never be sure of being […]

Ways to be a better creative writer — ficklesorts

Fail. And Keep Failing — Cristian Mihai

“The secret of life…is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” – Paulo Coelho The bitter truth is that no one who’s good at something knows much about why they’re good. The secret got lost after thousands and thousands of failures. The thing is, they subconsciously know it’s simple: you fail and […]

via Fail. And Keep Failing — Cristian Mihai

The Therapeutic Power of Listening and Speaking — Pointless Overthinking

By Troy Headrick I’d like to do something a bit different in this blog. It’ll start with me posting a fascinating TED Talk by Leon Berg. The title of his presentation is “The Power of Listening: An Ancient Practice for Our Future.” By the way, before I tell you the true aim of this post, […]

via The Therapeutic Power of Listening and Speaking — Pointless Overthinking

Looking for a new Blog Writer

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

I am looking for a new writer for the page. What I am looking for from a writer is either a few individual blogs or for them to write a series of blogs that I can publish. There will be no salary for the blog however you will be given full credit on each post you do. The blogs can be about anything as long as we can find a link back to Stuttering, Stress or Mental Health.

Everyone is welcome to write a few blogs for the page, there is no restriction on who can write and who cannot. I will read through each post before it is published just to make sure it is okay and reads well but it is very unlikely that I will actually make changes to someone’s work. If I do see any changes that need to be made then I would discuss it with you beforehand.

To apply for the blog writing job/position simply fill out the form below or you can complete the form on our Facebook page if that is what you prefer. I will try to look through all of the forms ASAP. If you do not want to become a fully-fledged writer for the page that is also completely fine. If you just want to write one or two blogs or one every so often then that is great as well, as long as you let me know!

The form on this page is going to be really easy to fill out. The name and email address fields take a few seconds to fill out then we get to the comments part. In the comments section try and write about why you want to write a few blogs/ what sort of blogs you want to do and any experience you have in writing. Experience isn’t needed to be a blogger on my page but it is nice to see some work beforehand if there is any available.

Thanks for reading and I will see you all in the next blog! If you are interested in being a blogger for the page please fill out the form below!

Stuttering in Mainstream Media – Blog 9: The Do’s and Don’ts of Stuttering

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the 10th blog in the Stuttering in Mainstream Media and is going to be about the Do’s and Don’ts of Stuttering. Even though I have mentioned in a few previous blogs about how stuttering affects everyone differently, there are a few trends that have emerged. In this blog, I will be briefly talking about some of these trends and just bullet pointing others. If you can think of any that I haven’t included please let me know. I have seen a few other posts about the do’s and don’ts of stuttering but they only focus on stuttering in children, whereas stuttering affects people of all age.


  • Allow the person to finish their sentence, don’t interrupt them.
  • Be Patient – if a person is stuttering, please give them time to finish. Rushing someone who stutters will make them stutter more and will cause them to get stressed.
  • Encourage a person with a stutter to speak, don’t leave them alone in the quiet.
  •  If someone is stuck on a word and cannot get it out, try rewording the sentence/question? Rewording the question allows the stutterer to think of a different word that they may not get stuck on.
  • If you’re meeting someone new, mention that you have a stutter if you think it is important too
  • Live a normal life –  A stutter doesn’t stop you doing what you want to do in life
  • Maintain eye contact and concentration when talking to someone with a stutter
  • Reassure a stutterer if they are nervous
  • Speak to a speech therapist about your stutter


  • Allow a person with a stutter to isolate themselves.
  • Be embarrassed about stuttering
  • Criticise /Mock their stutter – There are some things that you just cannot joke/ have banter about. A stutter is one of them.
  • Don’t say phrases like “slow down” or relax”. Even though they sound like you’re helping, they just make it worse.
  • Finish a sentence for them – People think it helps but all it does is make a stutterer feel worse about themselves and think that their voice is less valuable than someone else.
  • Lose your patience if someone is stuttering a lot

That’s all for today’s blog! Even though this blog may seem a bit shorter than the others in the series it is still very important. Like I said at the start of this blog if you can think of any points that I have missed, please let me know and I will add them. There are lots of guides out there for stuttering but they are mostly aimed at children. I wanted to do a series that was targeting every age.

In regards to the future of this series, I think that I am going to keep it going for a little bit longer. The polls that I ran last week came back fairly in favour of keeping the series going so I will do around 2/3 more blogs for it and then I will put it on hold for a while. I am not 100% sure at the minute what the next series will be but when it comes closer to the time I will run a few polls on the Facebook page.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great day!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!



Stuttering in Mainstream Media – Blog 8: Musharaf Asghar’s Story

Musharaf’s Story is a really interesting story that was brought to life through the Bristish Documentary series, Educating Yorkshire. In this blog, we are going to be looking at what his story is and then we are going to look at the reactions that people had to his story on the TV show Gogglebox.

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the 9th blog in the Stuttering in Mainstream Media and is going to be about Musharaf Asghar’s story. Musharaf, like most teenagers with a stutter, got bullied a lot through school. This bullying dramatically lowered his self-confidence and worsened his stutter. The story that the show focuses on is how Musharaf is preparing to do his GCSE English Oral exam.

Here is the video of Musharaf’s Story:

Close to the start of the video Musharaf tells us that when he stutters he feels like someone is keeping his mouth closed. I found this quite interesting at first because it is not similar to most of the other definitions that I have heard and made. I think that his form of stuttering is a mix of the effects of bullying on his confidence and the type of stuttering where you just cannot get your words out. I feel like this what Musharaf meant by someone is keeping his mouth shut.

The effects of bullying on someone who stutters do go a lot deeper than most people think. Coming from a background where I have experienced this I feel like I can give a fair view on the matter. If we take it at face value the bullying does obviously have an effect on your self-confidence. This damage to your self-confidence can make you stutter more which makes you feel more nervous about speaking. This creates a mental cycle of being scared to speak in case you stutter and get bullied for it.

The people who are around you when you are being bullied also carry a huge effect on the person stuttering. As more people find out that you have been/ are being bullied for your stuttering then it just makes the anxiety even worse. It gets to a point where even if you are with people you trust you just do not want to talk anymore in fear of being bullied for stuttering. It is a really bad cycle that can be really hard to break.

Close to the start of the video we can also see a coping technique that Musharaf uses to help manage his stutter. When he is answering the question in class he taps out each word that he speaks. I like to think of this as a simplified Rhythmical Thinking approach. Sounding out the words helps you to break down each sentence word by word it can help reduce the number of times you stutter. It is not a permanent fix but it can be very helpful for situations like answering a question in class.

The video also shows us how Mr.Burton tries to help Musharaf with his stutter. He uses a technique that he saw in the King’s Speech which involves speaking when listening to music. This style of stutter solution is a mix of distraction and Rhythmical Thinking. If you want to see more about Rhythmical Thinking you can view the blog here, https://sweeneysblog.com/2019/02/07/rhythmical-thinking-a-stuttering-solution/, but the basic of it is is you think of a beat in your head, speak to it then slowly increase the speed until you get back to speaking at a normal pace.

The Distraction solution is where you distract yourself from thinking about speaking. If we look at this case Musharaf is listening to music. While he is listening to music and reading the poem he hasn’t got time to think about/ worry about stuttering. Although this style of reducing the number of times you stutter may seem basic it does work very well if executed under the right circumstances.

Musharaf does go on to do his presentation very well and he does achieve the grade that he needs to get into college. The story itself is quite a positive one that does make you think of the effect a stutter does have on people. At the end of the video, when Musharaf is doing his speech to the other students, we can see how emotional all of his fellow students are getting. In my opinion, they can see the courage that he has and the determination he has to still speak even with his stutter. It just adds to a comment that I made on a blog a few weeks back, a stutter doesn’t stop you doing anything, the only thing that stops you is yourself.

We’ll now take a brief look at what the Gogglebox reactors thought of Musharaf’s story.

If you watched the video the whole way through you can see how their reactions change. At the start of the video, we can see a few of the reactors getting annoyed at Musharaf when he is struggling to get the words out. Phrases like “spit it out” are thrown about and they are not called for. People do need to start appreciating the effort that some people go to just to say a few words. It would be easy for Musharaf to just not say anything because of his stutter but he still tries, which shows a real judge of character.

Patience is one of the skills that most people do need to work on. I am not trying to have a go at the reactors in this video but I think that it goes to show the cultural “norms” that do need to change. As soon as they find out that Musharaf has a severe stutter they are more than happy to wait for him to speak but if they weren’t told they would continue to be angry at him stuttering. It does give us a look into how people do address people who stutter and how we do need to try and change it for the better.

Closer to the end of the video we do see them appreciate the confidence and determination that Musharaf has. We see them get emotional over him doing his speech and see them really appreciate what he has gone through. The main point of this part of the blog is to say, be patient. You never know of the struggles going on in someone’s mind when they are speaking so take some time to understand.

That’s all I want to talk about in today’s blog! Thank you all for reading! What do you all think? Have you heard Musharaf’s Story? What do you think of speaking while listening to music as a stuttering solution? What techniques do you use/ have you seen to help manage a stutter?

A quick few messages just before finishing today’s blog. Musharaf is now doing talks on his story and about his stutter. Although I haven’t been to one of his talks I have heard that they are very good and very insightful. I highly recommend seeing one if you are interested.

There is also a poll up now on the Facebook group regarding the future of this series. I am not sure whether to keep the series going or whether to put it on pause for a while. Vote in the Facebook poll on what you think should happen to the series!

Thanks again for reading!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!



Stuttering in Mainstream Media – Blog 6: James Earl Jones

Did you know that Darth Vader’s actor had a stutter? The man behind one of Hollywoods most recognisable voices was mute for nearly eight years! These two facts alone help paint a brief insight into the pain that a stutter can cause a person. A stutter affects more than just your ability to speak, it affects you as a person.

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the sixth blog in the Stuttering in Mainstream Media series! In today’s blog, we are going to be taking a look at how James Earl Jones, one of Hollywoods greats, story. We are going to take a look into how his stutter has affected him growing up and how he manages his stutter when filming for films and when he is on Broadway. The man is a stutterspiration in all essence of the word, what he has done whilst having a stutter is truly amazing!

Most people often forget that James Earl Jones, the man behind the voices of Darth Vader and Mufasa, had a terrible stutter in his childhood. An article that I found in the Health section of The Daily Mail, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1255955/James-Earl-Jones-My-stutter-bad-I-barely-spoke-years.html, takes a closer look into his story. As we look into James’s story it is crucial to remember that despite having a stutter, he is still very successful in life.

The article and indeed the video above show us that growing up James felt that it was easier to remain quiet and some could say hidden to avoid being judged due to his stutter. The article points out a very interesting point. James Earl Jones, a man with one of the most recognisable voices in Hollywood was “almost mute as a child for eight years” due to his stutter. That just goes to show the inherent fear that a stutter can cause on an individual.

When talking about growing up with a stutter James talks about how he used to feel like he was “cursed”. The fear of not being able to talk tat a stutter creates truly is phenomenal. It is something that you cannot fully understand unless you actually go through it but it is something that you can begin to appreciate. Having the courage to push forward even when you cannot get the word out at times is shows a real mark of character. It is often the confidence we have in ourselves that dictates the effect that a stutter will have on our lives.

Further on in the article James talks about how “stuttering is painful”. He recalls when he had to read in Sunday school as a child and how the other children were ” falling on the floor with laughter” simply because he struggled to get the words out. This hits home quite hard for me as I was often in the same position growing up with a stutter, I remember going through Secondary school Engish classes, every time the teacher would pick someone to read I would pray to be invisible. The fear that a stutter can muster in a child is truly worrying. However, if we focus on the negatives then no change will be made. We need to look at the positives in life and in this case James’s story to see how we can help manage a stutter and live a “normal life” (whatever that means!).

Now as James mentioned above he got over a stutter using Poetry. Now poetry and other creative writing processes are very good techniques to use to help manage a stutter. I often use poetry when I am stuttering a lot as a way for me to centre myself. It gives me time to relax, think about what I want to say and then the time to actually say it.

Dictating your own work can be very very useful. If you haven’t tried the technique before I highly recommend it. If you don’t have anything to read then starting off is simple. Simply write 5-10 lines about yourself and then practise saying them out loud. Start off saying them by yourself and then as you practise more and more get other people in to listen to you. Eventually, you will be able to speak the lines without reading the paper. From this point, you start to practise reading the lines whilst also looking at people. It is a gradual process but patience is key for the endgame.

Another method that James said he uses to help manage his stutter is shouting at the empty seats before a play. Now there are quite a lot of people that use aggression as a form of managing their stutter. Personally, I haven’t used this method much in the past, I have tried it, but not for a long while. I will do a blog on it further down the line as I know Samuel L. Jackson uses it to help manage his stutter.

The last thing that I want to talk about in regards to James’s story is some final words he said at the end of the Daily Mail article. He says “When you are mute, you become a good listener – it’s all one-way.” Now even though I have not been mute I do really empathise with this statement. Now as a stutterer myself I have learned how to be a good listener. I’m not going to go into it in too much detail in this blog as I do want to do a whole blog on it in a few weeks but there is a link between someone who stutters and their listening ability. I find it quite an interesting link to learn about which is why I want to leave it for a future blog.

That’s all I want to talk about in today’s blog! What do you all think? Did you know James Earl Jones had a stutter? What do you think about the poetry method of managing a stutter? Let me know what you think!

One of the most important points that I want to leave this blog on is that a stutter shouldn’t hold you back. James Earl Jones is the prime example of this point. Granted his stutter nearly made him mute for eight years but he got past it. He didn’t let it control his life. He became the voices of Darth Vader and Mufasa with a stutter, so the question stands, what’s stopping you? Remember failure isn’t a bad thing, it’s a learning curve!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next one!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!



Stuttering in Mainstream Media – Blog 5: The Printer Theory

How can you compare Stuttering to a printer? How can people understand a stutter if they haven’t got one themselves? How can learning about a stutter help treat it? I hope to answer these questions in today’s blog all about a Stuttering Theory I created myself.

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the fifth blog in the Stuttering in Mainstream Media series and is going to be about The Printer Theory, a theory that I myself created to help visualise what living with a stutter is actually like. The theory itself can be interpreted in a number of different ways so if you interpret it a different way to how I am saying it that is more than fine.

I created The Printer Theory when I was asked to describe what living with a stutter is like to a few of my University friends this year. I had rarely been asked what living with a stutter was like before going to university so I didn’t have an answer ready at the time. This is when I decided to improvise and came up with The Printer Theory. Even though the theory doesn’t cover all aspects of life with a stutter I still think that it is a good place to start.

The first part of The Printer Theory is about the type of stutter where you just cannot get the words out, no matter how hard you try. So let’s say you have a document on the computer that you want to print out. You do all the normal things such as going to options, selecting print and then waiting for the printer to print the document out. Your document starts printing and then you get a paper jam in the printer.

If you have a paper jam then sending another twenty documents to the printer will not do anything, it will just put more pressure on the CPU of the computer and will affect the interrupts happening to the computer which will slow it down. Sending more documents to the computer will do nothing to help the actual problem which is the paper jam. This can easily be related to having a conversation with a person who has a stutter. If they are stuck on a particular word then asking them 20 more questions will do nothing to help them, it will just stress them out and might even lead to them stuttering more.

To fix a paper jam in the printer you would slowly find out the problem and then try a few ways to resolve it. Forcing the paper out when you have a paper jam will not help the issue, this is the exact same as dealing with a stutter. If someone who you are having a conversation with gets stuck on a word then you definitely should not try to force them to speak, they are trying they just cannot get the words out. What you need to do is simple.

The first step to helping someone who cannot get the words out is to actually realise that they are stuck on a word. If you recognise that someone is struggling then it makes it easier for you to understand and easier for them to get over it. The next step is to try a few different solutions. The first solution I recommend is maybe rewording the question that you asked them. Usually, if a person is simply stuck on one word then if you reword the question they will not even have to try and say it. There are lots of other techniques you can try if this doesn’t work but the key is to be patient, do not rush someone with a stutter as that will help no one.

One of the next links that a stutter has to a printer is when it comes to the order of entities. When you print something out, it is printed in a set order, this is the exact same as the way we speak. If the pages were printed in a random order then we would have to spend a lot of time simply working out the order of the pages and then what they are actually trying to tell us, this works the same with how we speak. We form sentences in a way that they are easy to understand and our words are in a logical order.

Just because a printer may take a long time to print out a particular page, it doesn’t mean that you write it out to try to beat the printer. If a printer was taking a while to print something out then you would wait patiently until it was finished, this links perfectly with a stutter. If a person is taking a while to say a particular word, sentence it does not give you the right to try and speak for them or just rush them into finishing. Rushing someone to speak when they have a stutter severely lowers their self-confidence and leads them to feel more embarrassed when they do eventually stutter.

This links in well to one of the main problems I have when speaking to people when they know that I have a stutter. Most people who do not have a stutter or who haven’t been close to someone who has a stutter think that finishing sentences for people who are struggling helps them out, it actually makes us feel useless. What people don’t actually think about, and this is not a criticism to people, it is just a fact, is that when we are stuttering we are trying really hard to get the words out. If you just jump in and finish the sentence for them, even if you do it with good intentions, then it makes us feel worthless. This paragraph is not meant to be having a go at anyone it is simply explaining something that most people don’t usually think of.

As you can see from the blog above there are lots of different links you can make between a printer and a person who stutters. There are indeed a lot more links that you can find but I have explained the main ones that I wanted to talk about in this blog. If you do find anymore and want to talk them through feel free to send me a message, I’ll more than happily respond!

Thanks for reading today’s blog! What do you all think? Next time you speak to someone with a stutter try and use a few of the points that I made today. Don’t rush them, be patient and please don’t finish sentences for them. I hope you all have a great week and remember to keep Highlighting the I in Difference!

Thanks again for reading and for all of the support,

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!



Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 11: Getting back up again

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is the 11th blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series and is going to be about getting back up again. This is going to be the last blog in the series for a short while as I am putting the series on hold for a while to work on a series about Stuttering in Mainstream Media. I think that if I put the series on hold for a few weeks then when I bring it back it will seem fresher and I will have more time to plan the ideas out and give the blogs the attention and focus that they deserve.

Getting back up again is a short phrase that seems really easy to do, however, it is not always easy. I find that the two hardest parts about getting over a mental health problem are firstly accepting you have it and then discovering how you can pick yourself back up again. It can be easier than it seems, we can make an impossible task seem easy to solve simply by thinking about it in a different way.

I have touched on the prospect of putting yourself back together in a few blogs in this series, especially in my Rebuilding the Jigsaw blog. In this blog, https://sweeneysblog.com/2019/05/21/looking-into-male-mental-health-blog-6-rebuilding-the-jigsaw/, I go into depth about how there is always a way to put yourself back together but I feel like I can expand on it a little better in this blog.

Picking yourself back up is a task that I struggled a lot with when I went through a poor Mental Health phase. When I was in the mindset everything seemed so pointless and I couldn’t really see a way out. This mindset is a very dangerous one to be in as I was constantly thinking negatively, hence everything else that happened in my life was perceived in a more negative light to how it would usually be.

I can remember the days when I thought that I would never break through my problems and I used to think that they would consume me. What makes the matter worse is that in my head I was ashamed at myself for not having the strength or willpower to fix the mess that I had put myself in. This all ties back to what I was talking about when I mentioned your mindset earlier on.

My mindset at this time was very negative. The way that I approached life was all doom and gloom and in doing that I simply created more problems for myself. I eventually learnt to understand the fact that if I did not change my mindset then I would eventually break. After finally learning that I needed to change how I thought about things a new thought came to me, how does someone change their mindset?

This question had me stumped for a good number of weeks until I finally worked out what I was going to do. I first started to reduce my hours in work so that I had more time to do university work and time to relax. After this, I created a basic timetable, nothing too specific but a basic guide to what I should be doing every day.

From this point then I began to prioritise the work that I had to do off the volume and the due date. As I started to do this I could see that I had enough time to complete all of my work as long as I keep a cool head and relax. Even simply getting my university work back on track started to make me feel so much better about myself. After I had finished all the work then I used to schedule in extra time to fix any other problems that I was facing. This gave me the opportunity to simply think about university work when I was doing work and then think of how to solve my other problems when I had spare time.

Cutting down on unnecessary work hours and scheduling my time better made the world of difference when it came to changing my mindset. they allowed me to relax and to get myself out of the cycle of panic that I was constantly living in. This was one way that I found to get back up again, to keep on going.

There are a million different ways to get back up again, usually, it comes down to the person. As I say in the majority of these blogs and especially in the Jigsaw one mentioned above, all of these blogs come down to interpretation. If you use a different way to get yourself through a rough time and get back up again then that is just as valid as my way. Out of curiosity if you do use a different way to pick yourself back up then let me know in the comments below. The phrases getting back up and picking up the pieces/picking yourself up all mean the same thing. They are simply the words for when you rebuild yourself/ when you find a way to piece yourself back together again.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog, thank you all so much for reading! What do you all think of today’s blog? How do you pick yourself up? Do you always use the same way or does it depend on the situation? Leave your answers in the comments!

As mentioned at the start of this blog, the series will be going on hold for a little while. Even though I do still really enjoy writing the blogs for the series I feel like I need some more time to properly plan out where the series is going and how I am going to write the blogs for it. A new series called Stuttering in Mainstream Media will be replacing the usual spot where this series is until i can bring the series back again. I hope you all enjoy the series and keep reading the blogs!

Thanks again for reading. Let me know what you think – I appreciate all feedbcak be it positive or negative!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!



Valleys, Mountains and the Land in between

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be about an old phrase that I read in a Welsh book when I was younger. The phrase translates into English as The Valleys, The Mountains and The Land in between. I cannot remember the name of the book that the phrase was used in but I want to take a deeper look into how the phrase can relate to life in general.

I believe that this phrase has a lot of connections to life in general and think that if we can truly understand it then it can help us find peace in our daily lives. My take on the phrase is simple, I think that the phrase relates to how we live our lives. When we are having a good day then it can feel like we’re on top of the world (or a mountain?) and then when we have bad days it can feel like our mood has slumped, like we’ve gone down a valley.

river near mountains

The phrase helps portray life in a very positive way, which is crucial in modern day society. The way that I understand the phrase is that as the world has it’s mountains and valleys, we can have good and bad days. It makes the whole prospect of having different moods seem like it is part of nature, not a thing for us to worry about, a thing for us to accept.

I really like this phrase as when you are having a bad day, or at the bottom of a valley in this phrase, you know that your mood can become lighter and increase until you feel good about yourself and about life in general.

Now the one part of this phrase that I haven’t talked about yet is the land in between part. I interpret this as when you are feeling calm and relaxed, you’re not exactly super positive or happy but you are content. I think it is when you are feeling neutral and ok with life like you are the land in between a mountain and a valley.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! I do have some smaller things to say before the post is finished however but these act more like announcements rather than part of the blog. Firstly I would like to apologise for the blog being later today than it usually is. This week has been my last week of exams at university and I had two really big exams to prepare for. Due to the time needed to prepare for my exams, I have not had the time to write a post as long as I usually do.

Also, I think it’s a good time to update everyone on how the blogs doing. If you are following the Facebook page for the blogs then you will be familiar with the fact that we are smashing through the milestones I set for the age initially. I am very pleased to announce that we are nearly at 2,000 total views. This is a massive milestone for the page as we have only been going for around 4/5 months! After we pass this milestone I’m aiming to hit as close to 5,000 total views by the end of the year as I can!

thanks! paper and black pen on wood surface

The last point that I want to bring up in this post is about promoting the page. I am aiming to launch another set of Facebook ads soon to try and get more people to the page. I am wondering if everyone who is reading this can possibly share the page on Facebook?

Sharing the page helps the page find new viewers who might really relate to the content. There are a few ways you can share the page. You can either do it via the page on Facebook or you can hit the share button at the end of this or any other of my blogs posts.

Thanks for reading today’s blog and I hope you all enjoyed! If you have a minute or two spare please leave a rating and a recommendation on the page! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!


James Sweeney

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 8: The Stigma in Male Mental Health

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the eighth blog in my Looking into Male Mental Health series and is going to look into stigma in relation to mental health. Today’s blog is going to talk about what stigma is in relation to mental health, what causes it and how it affects people suffering from Mental Health problems.

First of all, we are going to talk about what stigma is in relation to Mental Health. The website Health Direct, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/stigma, describes stigma as ” a mark, a stain or a blemish”. Stigma occurs when “negative opinions, judgments or stereotypes” are targeted at people who are experiencing or have experienced Mental health problems.

It is clear to see that stigmas do not have any positive effects on people who suffer from Mental Health problems, they only add to their problems. It is this point that raises the question why does this stigma actually exist? It is possible to link the existence of this stigma to many different sources but after doing research there are two main causes of the stigma, the media and lack of understanding.

People who suffer from Mental Health problems are often labeled as being violent and dangerous in the media and are commonly associated with crime. In reality, people who do suffer from Mental Health problems are more likely to be victims of crime rather than a perpetrator. This is just one of the reasons why this stigma surrounding people and Mental Health needs to change, people are usually just working off assumptions, not actually looking at the facts surrounding the matter.

An article published by the Time to Change organization, https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/media-centre/responsible-reporting/violence-mental-health-problems, talks about the facts surrounding Violence and Mental Health. In this article, they talk about the British Crime Survey and how the responses from this survey further back up the point that the stigma surrounding Mental health needs to be changed quickly.

The British Crime Survey results show us that around 47% of crime is done by people who are believed to be under the influence of alcohol. This figure alone should act as an eye opener, nearly half of all the crimes committed are often done by someone under the influence of alcohol. The survey also tells us that around 17% of crimes are committed by someone who is believed to be under the influence of drugs.

Surprisingly the survey shows us that only 1% of crimes are committed by someone who is believed to be suffering from a Mental Health condition. These statistics clearly prove that the majority of people who are suffering from Mental Health conditions are not usually dangerous or violent, they are more likely to be the victim fo a crime.

If we add the two statistics for people being under the influence of alcohol and then the people who were under the influence of drugs, it equals 64%. 64% of crimes are believed to be committed by someone who is either under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When we compare this to people who commit a crime with a Mental Health condition we see that there is a 63% difference. It is 63% more likely that a crime has been committed by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol rather than someone suffering from a mental illness.

Lack of understanding is the other major cause of the stigma surrounding Mental Healths existence. A lack of understanding can often be the main cause of a lot of problems in modern day society. It is often brought up that if you haven’t actually experienced or researched a mental health condition then you cannot actually understand it.

Mental health is such a large topic to look at that, unfortunately, people do end up just assuming that they understand it when in reality they have no idea. The fact that the majority of Mental Health issues can usually be talked through is often overlooked in society. Personally, I have had people tell me that I am too young to have any problems or that I have no valid reason to say that I have a Mental Health condition. It is these people who only fuel the fire that is Mental Health when really they should be helping us extinguish it.

When I was originally planning this blog I was going to do a large section on the effects that the stigma actually has on people suffering from a Mental Health condition but now looking back I feel like it is better to cover in its own blog.  I will briefly touch on some of the effects in this blog but will leave the in-depth explanations for a later blog.

The stigma surrounding Mental Health mainly affects peoples self-esteem. The stigma leads to people feeling like they are being judged constantly simply for having a Mental health problem. This feeling of being judged is only going to lower the person’s self-esteem which could lead to them experiencing more problems. This can develop a very dangerous cycle involving mental health which could end with someone getting hurt.

The feeling of being judged can also lead people to begin to isolate themselves. People tend to stop seeking treatment and support when they are scared of being judged. This approach leads to more and more problems. This can create another dangerous cycle where people just add more problems on top of the problems they already have. If they stop getting help to work through these problems then eventually they will break.

That’s all I want to talk about in today’s blog. What do you all think? Did you know about the stigma surrounding Mental Health before reading this blog? If so where did you find out about it? If not was it a useful thing to learn? how could we go about getting rid of this stigma? Is it a personal problem or a problem for society as a whole? let me know what you think in the comments or by getting in touch with me!

Thank you all for reading! Please let me know what you all think. I appreciate all feedback be it positive or negative! If you have a minute or two spare then please leave a rating on the blogs Facebook page, it lets me see if I’m doing a good job or not! Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll visit the page again,

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!


James Sweeney

Respect – Is it always earned?

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be about respect. I have been interested in doing a blog on respect for quite a while now, I just wasn’t sure whether to do it as a series or as a single blog. What I am thinking now is to do it as a solo blog for now and then if there is interest in it I will launch it as a series in the future, looking at the topic in more depth.

Respect can be shown in a number of different ways. People can earn respect through their age, their status, their job position and their life achievements to name but a few. We are taught when we grow up to always respect our elders, an important lesson I’m sure everyone can agree on but it does raise the question, is respect always earned?

This question is not meant to make it look like I have a lack of respect as this is not the case. I was brought up to always respect people and to treat people the way I would want them to treat me. I am the sort of person who values everyone’s needs before my own, which is an attribute that brings both positive and negative results. It took me a long time to notice that not all people are brought up the same.

Growing up I always use to go for a walk around the country roads near my house. Whilst on these walks we always use to stop and have a chat with the other walkers. This was something that I thought was a very common thing to do. I grew up in quite a close community where everyone knew each other and everyone would more than happily stop for a chat or even just say hello as you walked past.

It was only when I got to Year 11 in school where I decided to do my own little experiment that I noticed that not everyone had the time to stop and talk. The experiment that I did was based off how I got my food during lunchtime each day. During lunchtimes in Year 11 at my secondary school, we were allowed to go into the local town to get our food. This is how I first thought of the idea for my experiment.

I used to go to the same cafe every day for my lunch at school. The cafe was about a five-minute walk away from the school. Whilst walking to the cafe/sandwich shop I would always say hello to the people that I passed. The experiment here was to see how many people responded when I said hello to them. My goal of the experiment was to see how many people/ if any would actually respond to me saying hello and whether there was a difference in the responses between generations. The results that I did get were very surprising.

When conducting the experiment I said hello to 39 different people that I walked past, not counting other students in my year as they all responded. Out of the 39 people, only 2 people responded to me. One was a lady that use to help out in the local brass band that I was in and the other person was an older lady walking to the shops. If we break it down to the stats it does not look good.

Statistically speaking only 5.12% of the people that I actually said hello to responded. That means a major 94.88% of people simply did not respond to me. We can use these stats as an estimate to enlarge our sample size. Imagine now I said hello to 100 different people. Using these stats we can estimate that 5 of them will actually respond and the other 95 will simply ignore/not acknowledge it. These statistics further ask the question, is respect always given or should it be earned?

I understand that this is only one small experiment that I did but it still does paint quite an interesting picture. The experiment certainly makes me think of how I speak to people who I pass on the street. I always say hello to the people I pass however this experiment shows that the respect may not always be mutual. It’s quite an unfortunate insight into how respect can be perceived but it also makes you think a little bit more into how you treat others.

I am not saying that if you do not say hello to every person you pass on the street makes you a bad person as that is not the case. The main premise is that if someone takes the time to say hello to you then isn’t it a common decency to respond? We can also look at this from a mental health perspective. As I mention in quite a few of my blogs, especially my male mental health ones, simply saying hello to someone who is having a really bad day can make the world of difference to them.

Simply taking the time to have a quick conversation with someone, it doesn’t even have to be long, can really brighten up their day. Let’s try and do another challenge on this page. The next time you go to town and walk down a street say hello to a few people and see how many respond. Let me know how it goes! Did people respond? Were they people that you already knew or people that you have not spoken to before? Did it make you feel better about yourself? Leave a comment with how it went or get in touch with me through the contact page or on our Facebook page!

Thank you for reading today’s blog! What do you all think? Is respect always just given or should it be earned? Is it one or the other or even both? Do you think I should do a whole series on respect covering all areas or leave it as a ew smaller single blogs? Let me know what you think! I appreciate all feedback, be it positive or negative!

Thanks again,

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!