Mental Health Awareness Week 10th - 16th May
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.
How common are mental health problems?
- 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.
- 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week in England
In any given week in England:
- Mixed anxiety and depression: 8 in 100 people
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD): 6 in 100 people
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): 4 in 100 people
- Depression: 3 in 100 people
- Phobias: 2 in 100 people
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): 1 in 100 people
- Panic Disorder: fewer than 1 in 100 people.
Who’s most affected by mental health problems?
Anyone can get a mental health problem. But we know that some groups are more likely to get them than others.
- People who identify as LGBTIQ+. are between 2–3 times more likely than heterosexual people to report having a mental health problem in England.
- Black or Black British people. 23% of Black or Black British people will experience a common mental health problem in any given week. This compares to 17% of White British people.
- Young women aged 16-24. Over a quarter (26%) of young women aged between 16–24 years old report having a common mental health problem in any given week. This compares to 17% of adults. And this number has been going up.
- Around 40% of people in England who have overlapping problems including homelessness, substance misuse and contact with the criminal justice system in any given year also have a mental health problem. (This is sometimes called facing ‘multiple disadvantage’.)
The coronavirus pandemic has caused exceptionally challenging and worrying times for each and every one of us.
The effects of social distancing, lockdown, the loss of loved ones to the virus and the over-consumption of stress-inducing media reports is taking a huge toll on our mental health and wellbeing; and will continue to have lasting effects long after lockdown is over.
Wellbeing plays a huge part in our mental health, here are 5 tips to improve it:
Connection is about relating to one and other and feeling understood. Speak to the people in your life, be it friends, family, colleagues or neighbours.
Build new connections to expand your circles – this could be at work, school or in your local community.
Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them.
Developing these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Engaging in regular physical activity is known to go hand in hand with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.
Not everyone needs to be a fitness fanatic to boost your wellness through activity.
Simply step outside, exercise your green fingers or organise a games night.
You could go for a walk or run, cycle or dance.
Exercise releases hormones that make you feel good.
Most importantly, being active is about discovering a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
Take stock of your surroundings, be curious, catch sight of the beautiful.
Being in a state of ‘mindfulness’ has been shown to be associated with a positive mental state.
Greater awareness of the world around us helps us see the unusual and notice simple pleasures like the changing seasons.
Savour the moment, whether you’re walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends.
Be present to your feelings and environment. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
Learning something new is good for your brain and often exciting for the learner.
Trying something different, rediscovering an old interest or signing up for that course you’ve always wanted to do can also improve our confidence and widen our skillset.
Take on a new responsibility at work, do some arts and crafts or pick up an untried recipe.
The challenge and enjoyment of learning new things gives a sense of fulfilment that is second to none.
Giving encapsulates many things – from showing goodwill and generosity of spirit to giving presents and giving up our time.
Evidence suggests that ‘giving back’ or helping others promotes wellbeing for all ages. Why not do something nice for a friend, or a stranger.
You could even volunteer your time with a charity or join an online community to give and receive peer support in equal measure.
The key to giving is to look outwards, as well as inwards.
Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Contact details for support oganisations
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
Professional body for talking therapy and counselling. Provides information and a list of accredited therapists.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
Cruse Bereavement Care
Depression self-help organisation made up of individuals and local groups.
Lists UK volunteering opportunities.
The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)
Offers information and advice to people with mental health problems
Information about health problems and treatments, including details of local NHS services in England.
116 123 (freephone)
Chris, Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK
PO Box 90 90
Stirling FK8 2SA
Samaritans are open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk. You can visit some Samaritans branches in person. Samaritans also have a Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).