Many of us accept that experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety are the price we pay to keep our lives on track. Working hours blur into leisure time and the rise of social media changes the way we interact with friends, families and our communities.

Mental health and behavioural problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and drug use) are reported to be the primary drivers of disability worldwide, causing over 40 million years of disability in 20 to 29-year-olds. Since 2005, globally, mental health problems have been on the rise and, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 300 million people are living with depression all around the world.

Amongst a selection of anti-stigma events taking place across the country during the week, more locally we will be raising awareness of the importance of good mental health and celebrating how being emotionally well can help us to thrive – providing the ability to think, feel and act in a way that allows us to enjoy life and deal with its challenges.

To learn more about Mental Health Awareness Week, please visit the Mental Health foundation website

Five Steps To Wellbeing

Five steps to an improved mental wellbeing

It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem, so it’s likely that either yourself, a fellow student, relative or friend has fallen victim. However, evidence suggests there are five steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing – helping us to thrive.

Give them a try and you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life. The five steps to wellbeing are:

  • Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
  • Be active – you don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.
  • Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?
  • Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
  • Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness ‘mindfulness’. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Keeping well: beating the blues

If you’re experiencing a persistent low mood or you feel that you can longer manage, please seek support from your GP in the first instance. Alternatively you can self-refer into a talking therapies service such as Talking Mental Health Derbyshire.

Additionally, the Samaritans provide a free, 24/7 confidential listening service. Whatever you’re going through, you can call the helpline on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. Visit www.samaritans.org.uk for details about the Samaritans.

Information and advice can also be sought on the NHS Choices website.