As we enter a post-pandemic world, combatting the stigma those with mental health issues face daily has never been more important. In 2017 it was estimated that more than 792 million people worldwide were affected by mental health struggles – that’s 10.7% of the global population. Compound this with the isolation, stress and uncertainty felt during the global pandemic, and we can reasonably expect that number to have increased.
Our collective understanding of mental health therefore needs to improve, beginning with this; mental health problems don’t discriminate. Regardless of age, gender and race etc., anyone can experience poor mental health at some point in their life and the statistics can be eye-opening.
In the UK alone it is estimated that one in six people last week experienced a common mental health problem and in the workplace one in seven reported suffering from mental health struggles. We cannot ignore this fact and as we return to the office and to what many might consider the ‘new normal’, it is vital that we continue to safeguard our colleagues, family and friends, and build upon and nurture the support systems built during lockdown.
And what can we do to care for our own mental health? The Mental Health Foundation recommends the following steps, which are simple changes that can have a big impact:
- Talk about your feelings
- Keep active
- Eat well
- Drink sensibly
- Keep in touch
- Ask for help
- Take a break
- Do something you’re good at
- Accept who you are
- Care for others
Mental Health Awareness Week provides us with the opportunity to have this important discussion and to raise awareness of the support systems available. Together, we can learn about mental health, the challenges faced by many, as well as the steps needed to make sure no one feels left behind.
If you are experiencing symptoms of mental illness and/or having suicidal thoughts, help is available. Use the following support groups and lifelines to get the care you need.
- Seek advice from your GP
- Call NHS choices on 111
- Mind info line: 0300 123 3393
- Crisis Text Line – text shout to 85258
- Side by Side Mind’s supportive online community – join here: https://sidebyside.mind.org.uk/