What is World Mental Health Day?
Each year, World Mental Health Day is celebrated on the 10th October, organised by the World Health Organisation. The overall aim of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues worldwide.
As we all know, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on our mental health. We have experienced a lot of uncertainty, despair, sadness, losses, and many more emotions! A lot of people lost loved ones and were unable to say a proper farewell. Others struggled to process their feelings and perhaps still haven’t.
Although we are in a better position now, some concerns, uncertainties, and strong feelings are still very much present. However, it’s not just the pandemic that has impacted our mental health; many other inequalities also play their part. That is why the chosen theme for 2021 is to highlight that access to mental health services remains unequal, particularly for low-income and middle-income countries.
Even in high-income countries, those experiencing mental illness often do not receive the treatment they need and continue to experience stigma and discrimination. Language plays a vital role in this. We must avoid using stigmatising language and instead be as sympathetic and supportive as we can.
Mental illness does not affect your daily life, but it also impacts educational opportunities, current and future job prospects, and your family life.
What steps can I take to look after my mental health and well-being?
First of all, we must look after ourselves both physically and mentally as the two are linked. Research proves that physical activity can really help to improve our mood. Examples of physical activity could include going for a walk, dancing, or gardening. Being active also improves the quality of our sleep, which is a crucial tool for dealing with stress and looking after our mental health. Another tip is to try having a balanced, healthy diet as again, by looking after your physical health, your mental health will also benefit.
First of all, we must look after ourselves both physically and mentally as the two are linked. Research proves that physical activity can really help to improve our mood. Examples of physical activity could include going for a walk, dancing, or gardening.
Being active also improves the quality of our sleep, which is a crucial tool for dealing with stress and looking after our mental health. Another tip is to try having a balanced, healthy diet as again, by looking after your physical health, your mental health will also benefit.
Secondly, it is important to know that it is okay if you feel low, frustrated, or angry. Try to accept these feelings and get further support if you need it. This might be sharing these feelings with your friends or family or seeking help from a professional. Many mental health organisations can offer you support. You could even book an appointment with your GP who will be able to point you in the right direction.
a friend, smiling at a stranger, or helping out a family member. You could also volunteer for a mental health organisation to help support those in need. Helping other people can be really beneficial for your well-being, for all those involved.
Dr AB Sirin-Ayva, PhD, MSc, MBACP
Psychology Lead for OneLife Suffolk
A conversation about mental health:
To mark World Mental Health Day, Dr AB Sirin-Ayva, Psychology Lead for OneLife Suffolk, sat down with Birgitte Wendon-Blixrud, Senior Therapist from Wellbeing Suffolk, to have a conversation about mental health and well-being. Here they discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on our mental health, what we can do to look after our well-being, and how we can support others.
Listen/watch the podcast here:
For further mental health and well-being support, please go to: www.wellbeingnands.co.uk/suffolk/
For further support:
- Better Health – Every Mind Matters:
There are little things we can all do to help look after our mental health. Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. Go to: www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/ for more information.
- Get Your Mind Plan:
Answer 5 questions to get top tips and advice that work for you: www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/mental-wellbeing-tips/your-mind-plan-quiz/
In line with the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, go to the Mind website to learn about mental health inequality: www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day/
- Suffolk Mind:
For advice and information on the services that Suffolk Mind provide, please go to www.suffolkmind.org.uk
- Wellbeing Suffolk:
Wellbeing Suffolk provide a range of support for people with common mental health and emotional issues, such as low mood, depression or stress. The services they provide include one-to-one support, online workshops, online guided self help employment support, and more. Visit www.wellbeingnands.co.uk/suffolk/ or call 0300 123 1503 for more information.