Mental Health Awareness

Home | Uncategorized | Mental Health Awareness

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Good mental health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life. But if you go through a period of poor mental health, you might find the ways you’re frequently thinking, feeling or reacting become difficult, or even impossible, to cope with. This can feel just as bad as a physical illness, or even worse.

There are numerous factors that can contribute to affecting our mental health.

  • Biological factors e.g. physical health, genetics, diet, sleep, age
  • Psychological factors e.g. beliefs, mental health diagnoses, perception, addictions
  • Social factors e.g. relationships, family, culture, work, money, housing

Experiencing a mental health problem is often upsetting, confusing and frightening – particularly at first. If you become unwell, you may feel that it’s a sign of weakness, or that you are ‘losing your mind’.

Paying attention to workplace mental health has never been more important as according to

  • 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (14.7%).
  • Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed men (19.8% vs 10.9%).
  • Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.

We all live with worries and fears, uncertainties, losses that leave us sad and pressures that make us feel stressed.

1. Get closer to nature

Nature can have a really calming effect on us. We have been living around other animals and plants for thousands of years. Some people say nature helps them feel calmer, more hopeful and less alone. Our research found that going for a walk was the UK adults’ favourite way of coping with stress during the pandemic in 2020.

2. Get more from your sleep

Anyone who has struggled with sleep will know what a difference it makes to our bodies, minds and ability to cope with life.

We all have times when we sleep badly, and some of us live in situations that make a good night’s sleep impossible.

For many people, sleep is often the first thing that suffers when we’re struggling with our mental health.

Adults need between 7 and 9 hours’ sleep a night, including enough dreaming sleep and enough deeper sleep.

3. Keep moving

Our bodies and minds are connected, so looking after ourselves physically also helps us prevent problems with our mental health (it works the other way around, too).

Moving our bodies – with sport, gardening, dancing, cycling, walking the dog, cleaning or going to the gym, for example – are great ways to improve our mental and physical health.

4. Eat healthy food

Food and drink affect our bodies, brains and mood – for good or bad.

Sugary snacks and drinks can give us a temporary “high” or sense of comfort that can feel irresistible. But they soon leave us feeling exhausted or jittery. Caffeine in coffee, tea, or so-called energy drinks can also have this effect.

5. Be kind and help create a better world

If you have ever felt lonely, you will know how much it helps to have even a small connection with someone else.

Exchanging a smile or friendly words can be comforting and lift our mood.

Research shows that being kind is good for both sides. Being kind can boost our mood, help us feel more capable, strengthen our connections with others and even make us cope better with stress.

6. Be curious and open-minded to new experiences

We can all get stuck in familiar ways, like how we spend our time and what we think about ourselves and the world.

It could be as simple as what we have for breakfast or the route we walk with the dog. It could also need some planning, like an adventure holiday. We might find a new place that it turns out we love, discover a talent we didn’t know we had or meet someone new and important.

7. Plan things to look forward to

Life throws all sorts at us, and during hard times, we may feel hopeless and not have the energy to plan for the future.

Things to look forward to, including fun activities, can help us cope with difficult situations.

Making plans for things we enjoy can increase our sense of hope, which is important for our mental health. Our plan could be for anything from small pleasures, like a cup of tea or your favourite TV programme or dance class, to a trip with family or friends, or seeing your favourite film, sports team or singer.

8. Learn to understand and manage your feelings

Feeling very upset can interfere with our lives, making it hard to think clearly or work, relax, study, sleep or deal with other people.

Many of us will know when we’re upset but not be sure what we’re feeling. Is it sadness, fear, shame, loneliness, anger or something else? We don’t always know why we’re feeling that way.

It often helps to give our feelings our attention without judging them, without telling ourselves we’re stupid or weak to feel the way we do. It may seem strange and uncomfortable to do this. But practice and patience with ourselves will help.

9. Talk to someone you trust for support

Many of us have learned to bottle things up inside us and try to ignore painful feelings. It can take a lot of courage to tell someone else how we’re feeling or what we’re finding hard, especially if we don’t usually do that kind of thing.

Just talking things through with a person we trust can help and feel like a relief.

10. Be aware of using drugs and/or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings

Many of us sometimes use drugs to block out “difficult” feelings such as sadness, fear or shame.

No one wants to feel bad; for some people, drugs and/or alcohol offer temporary relief.

Unfortunately, they don’t stop the feelings from returning and may make things worse or create other problems, including damage to mental and physical health, relationships, work, or study.

If you want to talk or discuss any mental health issues you can always contact.

Mental Health Awareness Day Thursday 16th May 2024