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Mental Health Awareness Week:

The week of 18th-24th May 2020 is Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. This year’s theme is kindness, which is something that we can never have enough of in today’s society.

What is your mental health?

Mental health problems are a leading cause of lost working days, with mixed anxiety and depression being the most common complaint amongst working adults. ‘Mental Health’, as a concept, usually has negative connotations, however, mental health can be negative or positive – just like your physical health can be good or bad.

The way to identify if you are in a positive or negative mental health state is to be in tune with the emotions and patterns in your everyday life.

It’s important to remember that everyone is unique, what is normal for me, might not be for you and that is ok.

You need to make sure you have effective tools and techniques, that work for you, which enable you to bounce back if you feel yourself feeling overwhelmed or spiralling into a negative headspace.  

Why is talking about mental health and raising awareness important?

Mental health issues are a growing problem in the modern world, both in the UK and globally. According to the Mental Health Foundation website, ‘it is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem.’ – the statistics are astounding. Yet, we still see talking about our mental health as a taboo subject. Whether it’s not wanting to show vulnerability, fear of being misunderstood or not understanding the issues that you are facing, the stigma is very much real.

How can you keep track of your mental health?

Talking, getting active and eating well are stereotypical ideas for maintaining good health and wellbeing – but they are your best bet for long-term positive mental health. There are other ways that you can help yourself stay well, and there are so many resources out there for you to take advantage of. From my own personal experience, I would try any of the recommendations out there to see what works for you. I have tried many different techniques, and in varying different combinations, over the past few years to find what works for me. Personally, meditation before bed, honestly talking about my experiences, small steps towards increasing my fitness and keeping a food diary are all things that help me to maintain control and keep my head in a positive place.

A note on kindness.

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness, and I’d like to take a moment to reflect on kindness and what that means in 2020.

I don’t need to tell you that this year has dealt us all challenges that we didn’t anticipate. It is during times like these that our true nature is shown and by weaving in small acts of kindness into your day, you can ensure that you are keeping us all going, even when dealt with difficult, at times seemingly impossible, situations. Plus, it is thought that being kind, not only has positive effects on those on the receiving end, but also on those who are being kind – so it’s a win-win situation.

Kindness is a standard that we should all live by, this year we have seen an outpouring of love, and calls to be kinder to each other, following the untimely death of Caroline Flack, we have been pushed to face lockdown, where we have seen the kindness and selflessness of key workers and have celebrated their efforts with banners and applause. Yet we have also seen panic buying and an ‘every man for themselves’ attitude which left many vulnerable people without essential products whilst facing the pandemic. There are two very different sides to human nature, and I hope that, if we can learn anything from this year, we can learn to acknowledge our role within our communities – both local and global – and also understand the importance of standing together for what is good, what is right and in the defence of those who need it.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

Where can I find out more?

The Mental Health Foundation website has loads of great information and resources, including where to get help if you are struggling, so I recommend checking it out.

They also have a great guide to why kindness matters, which you can find here.

Here are some useful numbers & links to use if you are struggling and need to talk to someone.
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/
https://www.samaritans.org
https://www.7cups.com
https://www.silvercloudhealth.com/uk
You got this… keep being awesome.

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

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