It’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 (8th – 14th May). This year the Mental Health Foundation wants us to consider the question, ‘are you thriving, or just surviving?’ The point being that too many of us are simply getting by rather than really flourishing in our lives.
The Surviving or Thriving report on the state of the U.K’s mental health came up with several key findings, some of which I have listed here:
- Only 13% of people surveyed report living with good mental health.
- More than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression.
- Over a quarter of people say they have experienced panic attacks.
- Household income makes a HUGE difference in mental health: nearly 3 in 4 people living in the lowest household income bracket report having experienced a mental health problem, compared to 6 in 10 of the highest household income bracket.
- Nearly two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem. This rises to 7 in every 10 women, young adults aged 18-34 and people living alone.
What does this tell us? Well, it tells us that the state of the U.K’s mental health is not good – many people are struggling to survive, let alone thrive. It warns us that socioeconomic disparities are worsening the nation’s mental health and that the incidences of poor mental health are not evenly distributed amongst the nation. The overarching conclusion of this report is that something really must change in order for us to truly thrive in our society.
These changes need to be made at a societal level and policy needs to be changed in order to truly tackle the U.K’s mental health crisis. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to improve own health. Below are a few tips for taking care of yourself this mental health awareness week, and any time for that matter!
- Eat well – eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for mental wellbeing, as well as physical wellbeing. You don’t need to be perfect, but try listening to your body and responding to its needs accordingly.
- Do something you really enjoy – maybe you enjoy painting, or gardening, or drama. Whatever it is, try to regularly do something you enjoy, which makes you happy. If you can, try to do it with other people too.
- Talk to someone when you’re feeling low – if you are struggling with poor mental health, you may find the prospect of speaking to someone about it daunting. However, it is well documented that a problem shared really is a problem halved, and even if you feel as though you are burdening someone with your worries, chances are they will be more than happy to be supportive.
- Don’t place yourself in triggering situations – if there are certain people, places or things which you know will trigger anxiety, depression, addiction, or have any other negative impact on you, try to avoid it. You don’t need an excuse to do what’s best for you.
There are many more ways you can support your mental health and we’d love to hear what you do when you’re looking to boost your mental health!