World Mental Health Day

Saturday 10th October 2020 is World Mental Health Day.

Anyone, anywhere, at anytime can experience mental health problems. World Mental Health Day is a dedicated time to raise awareness and show support for better mental health for ourselves and for others.

Good mental health doesn’t just mean that we don’t have a mental health problem. Being mentally healthy means that we can1:

  • Make the most of our potential.
  • Cope with life and its challenges.
  • Have a meaningful role in family, in the workplace, and in the community.

It also means we can fulfil key functions and activities, including the ability to learn, feel, cope with change, and form and maintain good relationships2.

It is normal to have times when we feel down, stressed, anxious or frightened. Most of the time these feelings pass and we are able to recover well from setbacks. But we are all different and sometimes these feelings can develop into a more serious problem; mental health problems affect around one in four people3. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Remember, that our mental health changes all the time too, especially if our circumstances change as we move through life.

This year’s World Mental Health Day seems more vital than ever. The whole world has been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a result, our daily lives have changed considerably from where we were this time last year and where we expected to be in this moment. Months of lockdown and loss, families separated, individuals isolated, business have struggled, and health & social workers have witnessed unprecedented challenges.

Consequently, it is expected, given past experience of global emergencies, the need for mental health support will substantially increase in the coming months and years4.

Let us all stand up and do our part in advocating for change, reducing stigma, better support, and fair access to services.

MIND, an organisation who provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, have asked us all to do just “one thing” for better mental health this World Mental Health Day5.

  • Go for a walk
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take the first step in seeking support for yourself
  • Reach out to someone else
  • Share how you look after your own mental health with family, friends or colleagues

My top tip for improving my wellbeing is to bake a cake: not only is the process therapeutic, but you get to enjoy a delicious treat afterwards!

With local lockdowns coming into force throughout the UK, now could also be a good time to arrange a virtual catch up with family and friends this Saturday to get the conversation going on mental health. The Mental Health Foundation, a mental health research charity who champion good mental health for all, are offering a free downloadable Tea & Talk pack6. The pack includes a planning guide, resources, and the all important tasty treat recipes.

I’m going to sign off with my own request: One of the simplest things you could do right now that could help someone, maybe even save a life, is to share this message7:

Whatever you are going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 at anytime, day or night, from any phone, for free.

Mental health is just as important has physical health: we all have it and we must take care of it.

References:

  1. Mental Health Foundation (2020) What is mental health? Available from: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/about-mental-health/what-mental-health
  2. Mental Health Foundation (2020) What is good mental health? Available from: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/about-mental-health/what-good-mental-health
  3. MIND (2020) World Mental Health Day Available from: https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day/
  4. World Health Organization (2020) World Mental Health Day Available from: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020
  5. MIND (2020) World Mental Health Day 2020 Available from: https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day-2020/
  6. Mental Health Foundation (2020) Tea & Talk Available from: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/get-involved/tea-and-talk
  7. Samaritans (2020) Contact a Samaritan Available from: https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/