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Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

Sej Pancholi  |   16th May 2023 |   5 mins

Mental health is a crucial aspect of our overall well-being and quality of life. It encompasses our emotional, psychological and social well-being. As a result, it plays a highly influential role in how we think, feel and behave in our daily lives. Given its importance, it is crucial to recognise the significance of actively taking steps to maintain good health. Good mental health is essential in helping us cope with stress, form meaningful relationships, work productively, and help us maintain a positive outlook on life.

Alternatively, poor mental health can have devasting consequences on an individual’s overall well-being. This can often lead to a multitude of challenges including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, relationship problems and suicidal tendencies. These heart-wrenching outcomes underscore the importance of mental health and the effect it can have.

Therefore, taking care of our mental health is crucial for our overall health and well-being. Although it is never as straightforward as it may seem, it is important to recognise signs of mental health problems and even though it may seem hard, take those first steps and seek help when you feel you are ready. Remember, it is a demonstration of resilience and a sign of strength to seek help and there is no shame in reaching out when you need it. As the conversation around mental health becomes more open and accepting, it fosters an environment where individuals can feel supported and empowered to prioritise their mental health without fear of judgement and discrimination.

There are several ways to seek help:

  1. Talk to someone – Talking and opening up to a trusted friend, family member or a work colleague can help to provide you a safe and supportive space for you to express both yourself & your feelings.
  2. Contact a helpline – Helplines provide you with access to immediate, non-judgemental and confidential support, by trained professionals.
  3. Consult your GP. Your GP is there to help you with your overall wellbeing, which includes BOTH your physical and mental health. Your GP will listen to you, and offer professional support and advice without judgement, whilst also directing you to other avenues of further support.

Looking after our mental health is a lifelong process, which necessitates consistent effort and attention, similar to how physical health necessitates regular exercise and a healthy diet. Developing mental resilience over time, cultivating healthy coping mechanisms and fostering a supportive environment that promotes positive mental health, is part of the life-long process. Life can be unpredictable, offering up challenges and setbacks along the way, which can further impact and setback our mental health. Thus, the importance of prioritising self-care and seeking help when needed is critical.

Taking care of our mental health and prioritising self-care can involve a variety of strategies. However, it is so important to realise that there is no one-size-fits- all approach when it comes to caring for your mental health. Therefore, it is crucial to explore and find what works best for you.

With the understanding that mental health needs differ from person to person, there are numerous strategies and methods you can try such as:

  • Exercise regularly Our physical and mental health are closely linked, and physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health by reducing stress and improving mood.
  • Good sleep Getting enough sleep is essential for good mental health. Ideally, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and establish a good sleep routine. By prioritising healthy sleep habits, you can enhance your overall quality of life.
  • Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment in a no-judgemental way. This can help us to become more aware of our thoughts and feelings and develop a greater sense of calm and self-awareness.
  • Connect with others – Social connection is important for mental health. Make time to connect with family and friends and seek opportunities to meet new people through social clubs, volunteering for a cause you care about.
  • Take time for yourself – It’s important to have some time each day to relax and recharge. This could involve reading, taking a bath, listening to music or doing something you enjoy.
  • Manage stress Stress is a natural part of life but chronic stress can be harmful to our mental health and can have a negative impact. It’s important to find ways to manage it. This could involve deep breathing exercises, practicing yoga or meditation or even engaging in a hobby that you find relaxing.
  • Maintain a healthy diet A balanced diet can help promote good mental health. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit your intake of processed foods and sugar.
  • Seek support – If you are struggling with your mental health, it’s important to reach out for help. This could involve talking to a trusted friend or family member or joining a support group. Seeking professional help can provide support and guidance and help you develop coping strategies.

Final Words:

Mental Health is an ongoing, ever-present aspect of our lives. Whether its practicing self-care, seeking support when needed or developing healthy coping mechanisms, there are many ways to prioritise our mental health. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Please don’t suffer in silence, reach out and speak to someone. No matter what, you are never alone.

Who to contact:

Mind: 0300 123 3393
CALM: 0800 58 58 58
Shout (Text SHOUT to 85258)

Papyrus – Contact HOPELINEUK: Call – 0800 068 4141 Text – 07860039967

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