The 10th of October 2017 marks World Mental Health Day. This day raises awareness about mental health issues and encourages anyone who thinks they might have a problem to come forward and speak to someone about it.
While mental health issues are becoming increasingly prevalent in modern-day society, exactly how much are they affecting our lives? Earlier this year, a survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation was carried out in order to better understand the state of the UK’s mental health. Below we have highlighted the key findings from the report.
- Nearly two-thirds (65%) of people living in the UK have experienced a mental health problem while just 13% of us report living with high levels of positive mental health. Of those who report suffering from mental health problems, more than four in 10 say they have experienced depression and over a quarter have had panic attacks.
- People over the age of 55 are more likely to experience better mental health compared to the average. This may be because they are able to take positive steps such as: spending time with friends and family, going for a walk, participating in a hobby, getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods and learning new things.
- Household income and economic activity has an impact on happiness levels. Nearly three in four people in the lowest household income bracket report having experienced a mental health problem compared to six in 10 of the highest income bracket. Furthermore, the majority (85%) of those out of work have experienced a mental health problem compared to two-thirds of people in work and just over half of those who have retired.
- Women are more likely to report having experienced depression compared to men (45% compared to 40%), a phobia (15% versus 12%) and PTSD (8% versus 5%). It’s thought a possible reason for this is because there is a higher proportion of women who are lone parents - this grouping reports the highest levels of mental health problems.
- More than one in four adults in large households with children report current negative mental health and women in such households are found to have double the rate of poor mental health compared to men.
How to improve your mental health
A number of aspects of modern-living are having a negative impact on our mental health but there are methods to help protect it. While nobody is immune from developing problems, just as you may work to maintain your physical health, we should all be taking the steps needed to look after our minds.
Talk to someone
Talking about your feelings is crucial to good mental health so whether it’s a friend, family member, colleague or a counsellor, try to open up to others when you’re feeling troubled.
Countless studies have proved there’s a link between regular exercise and good mental health. It reduces stress, physical activity can also boost self-esteem, improve concentration, promote better sleep and it also helps to keep the brain and other vital organs healthy.
Even if you’re not a fan of the gym or going for a run, walks in the park, gardening and even housework are all great ways of keeping active.
Mental health and nutrition experts are also beginning to establish a link between diet and mental health. As you’re probably already aware, what we eat and drink can have a huge impact on how we feel, think and behave. Try to eat a balanced diet which includes lots of different fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and bread, nuts, dairy products, oily fish and plenty of water. Try to limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, sugary drinks and processed foods.
Do something for yourself
We often get so caught up with work or looking after children we forget to do something for ourselves every once in a while. Enjoying yourself is a great way to beat stress and improve your mental health so find a hobby or an interest that allows you to forget about your worries for a while.
If you think that you or someone you know may have a mental health problem and would like to speak to somebody about it, please feel free to contact Life Works in the strictest of confidence and we will be more than happy to help.