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Mental Health

Measuring happiness to give patients a voice

Happiness means different things to each of us. How we feel, and what makes us happy is individual. But everyone can agree that happiness is vitally important, that it helps us gauge how well we are doing in our lives – and decide what we can do to make our lives better. What works for us as individuals can also work for us as a society. In recent years, there’s been a notable push to use happiness, in addition to economic indicators, to measure social progress and compare countries by how satisfied people are with their lives. Well-being has proven to be an effective method of finding inequalities between groups of people – and one which the public has quickly embraced. The UN’s popular World Happiness Report is now a powerful tool to help create policies to improve quality of life around the globe. Could happiness also be used…

Marie Burdis: Not a different person

In the UK, men and women with psoriasis have reported worryingly low levels of self-esteem and confidence. According to the World Psoriasis Happiness Report 2017, only 10% of women and 20% of men feel good about themselves – that’s less than half the global averages. In addition, 41% of women and 39% of men living with psoriasis in the UK reported feeling isolated. 26 year-old Marie Burdis, from Yorkshire in the UK, has lived with psoriasis for most of her life – here, she shares with us the story of her battle with a chronic condition that’s much more than skin deep. Growing up with psoriasis I’ve been battling psoriasis since I was quite young. My psoriasis used to be mild most of the time, but there have been times in my life when it was so severe that I wasn’t able to walk or work properly. I was…

Alex: To deal with psoriasis, stay positive!

Alex is a fighter. The 29-year-old from Denmark has been living with psoriasis for the past nine years, and he’s battled depression since his teenage years. Now, for PsoHappy, Alex shares his story and tips for coping with the emotional issues that can accompany psoriasis. Psoriasis and depression I was really young – 14 or 15 years old – when my depression started, and I’ve carried it with me since. Psoriasis came on top of that when I was 20. Until then, I’d had no symptoms, but suddenly psoriasis was just there. My symptoms became worse and I was so stressed out that it wore me down – it was just one long downward spiral. When I started researching, I realised how much psoriasis is connected to your emotions and your thoughts about it. My psoriasis is much better now than it was. I’m slowly learning to live with…

NPF Ambassador Vickie Wilkerson: My psoriasis has a purpose

Vickie Wilkerson, of Shreveport, Louisiana, has been living with psoriasis for more than 15 years. Five years ago, she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Hoping to create more awareness about psoriasis, Vickie became involved with the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) in 2012, and since then she has been an active volunteer psoriasis advocate and one-to-one mentor. Vickie reached out to us to share her extraordinary story of battling her condition and breaking the stigma associated with psoriasis. First diagnosis My psoriasis started with a patch on my left leg. When it didn’t get any better after two weeks, I went to see the doctor, a general practitioner who knew immediately that it was psoriasis. I then went to see a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis. Since psoriasis can be inherited, he asked if there was anyone in my family with the condition – at the time, I didn’t…

Psoriasis advocate Kathleen Gallant: it shocks me that people can be so insensitive

Kathleen Gallant is a Board Member of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA), working on global psoriasis advocacy with the World Health Organization and United Nations agencies. Kathleen has had psoriasis since the age of 12, and in her mid-20s she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Now for PsoHappy, Kathleen shares her inspiring story on how she got involved in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis advocacy and the main takeaways from the World Psoriasis Happiness Report 2017. How I got involved in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis advocacy I think that the loneliness factor comes from the fact people don’t understand what it’s like to live with this disease unless you have it. My loneliness went away when I started being involved with other people living with psoriasis. Finally, I felt I was understood. My circle of friends that don’t have the disease didn’t understand me and…

Fellowship of the Flaym

“It is nice to know that you really aren’t alone, and it is so great to find a place to share both the good and the bad with no judgement.” Jill, Flaym community member We all need a place where we can connect with others – and know that we’re not alone. We’re stronger when we belong to a community, and it’s easier to face challenges with the support of our peers. Today, a lot of that social interaction happens online – in dedicated communities where people can log in and share their interests, instantly. Psoriasis communities can also be found online, making it easy to connect with others who know what living with psoriasis is all about. Psoriasis support group Flaym is one of the newest communities, but growing fast, with over 10,000 “psoriasis warriors” already on board. Feeling alone “I feel that sharing our thoughts and emotions…

A survivor’s story: My body was killing itself

Phyllis is a 55-year old, happily married mother from North Carolina, USA. Living with psoriasis since she was seven years old, Phyllis developed coronary artery disease in her late 40s and suffered several heart attacks. Fortunately, Phyllis got another chance at life and reached out to us to share her emotional story and help raise awareness about the serious health risks associated with psoriasis. Growing up with psoriasis When I was seven years old, I had chickenpox. A week later, I noticed some spots on my ankle. My mother didn’t know what it was, so we went to the doctor and I was given some shots. The symptoms didn’t go away; in fact, they got worse. Finally, we were referred to a dermatologist in Raleigh who diagnosed psoriasis right away. That’s when it became quite severe –I had it in my scalp, all the way down to my…

Skincare survival guide in winter

Most chronic skin conditions typically cause stress to the body, and in winter season, that added stress can lead to increased flare-ups— a never ending cycle which unfortunately makes the condition harder to deal with.  According to the first World Psoriasis Happiness Report, people living with severe psoriasis in some countries report up to 30% lower levels of happiness than their fellow citizens. As the days become darker and the weather becomes colder, now is the best time to take control of your skin before it takes control over you. But how? Below is a list of skincare tips and tricks to follow this winter season to help overcome everyday challenges and situations bound to arise: 1. Find an emollient that is suited to your skin, and use it regularly For mild skin flare-ups, emollient and moisturiser therapy will be a general practitioner’s first choice of treatment…

Mobilising for the global fight against disease

Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases are among the world’s deadliest killers. These and other chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill nearly 40 million people every year, making NCDs the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. And beyond the obvious human toll, NCDs are also putting an enormous strain on healthcare systems around the world. So it’s not surprising that leading health organisations, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the NCD Alliance, are making the prevention and control of NCDs a priority. What about psoriasis? The WHO officially declared psoriasis an NCD in 2014 – and while not life-threatening itself, psoriasis has been linked to an increased risk of several NCDs, including some of the deadly diseases mentioned above. While these links are still not widely understood, they make psoriasis a particularly complex NCD, and one that deserves more attention from the global health community. Raising…

The deep impact of psoriasis

“They only treat my skin. They don’t ask about how badly it’s affected my confidence or anything like that.” Aisling, 22, Ireland Psoriasis is much more than a skin disease. Beyond the redness, the itching, the stinging pain and silvery scales, psoriasis also takes a toll on the mind, affecting well-being, happiness and self-esteem – especially in women. As recent research from PsoHappy has revealed, women with psoriasis are reporting alarmingly low levels of self-confidence across the globe. Aisling from Ireland is not the only woman to feel that she is not being heard or treated holistically. According to data from PsoHappy surveys, 51% of women with psoriasis feel useless, while 61% report that they do not feel confident. As a result of this low self-esteem, 42% of women with the condition feel that they don’t have much to be proud of. Women in the USA and United…