This week, 8th – 14th May is Mental Health Awareness week, and campaign leaders, The Mental Health Foundation are asking everyone to think about the differences between thriving and surviving and what we can all do to cultivate better mental health for ourselves and our loved ones.

A recent report from the Office for National Statistics revealed that one in five young people aged 16-24 reported symptoms of anxiety and depression.

If you’re a young person or know a young person who may be struggling with their mental health, take a look at the ten tips below and take the first steps towards thriving rather than surviving.  

  1. Be activegoing for a walk, spending time in a park or playing football can all make you feel better. If the weather is gloomy why not try an indoor activity instead? Visit the Leisure pages on our website to see what activities are on offer.
  2. Take time outthe day moves quickly and sometimes you can feel like you don’t have time to stop. But even taking a small break can mean you have more energy. Check out the charity Young Minds advice for ways to relax.
  3. Change your focus if you have a lot on your mind or find that you are going back over the same thoughts then it can help to focus on something different. Why not try something new? There are a lot of different activities in Derby including events at QUAD, classes at Déda and youth groups in your area
  4. Take five minutes to breathebreathing slowly for a few minutes can help reduce stress levels. Why not try this breathing exercise and see if you can feel the difference.
  5. Talk it outwe all have moments when we think things might never feel better. If you feel that way, it’s important that you speak to a friend or someone that you trust. Space@Connections offer 16 – 18 year olds a drop in service on Wednesday afternoon, from 1.00pm to 4.00pm. There is no need to make an appointment. For more sources of advice please visit the Derby City Council website.
  6. Exams and Schoolexams are just one way of marking your achievements. If you are studying remember to keep a balance between revision and your social life. Try to plan times where you can switch everything off. For example, arrange a study group with friends instead of working online. If your results are not what you wanted, give yourself a break to think about what you would like to do next. Remember it’s your decision. You can get free careers advice by email.
  7. Remember the bigger pictureexams, money and relationships can all feel like the end of the world when they are not going well. Talk to someone you trust if you are worried. You can also find advice online. The Princes Trust can offer advice if you’re leaving school, Brook can offer advice on relationships and sex and the Money Advice Service have helpful tips including budget tools.
  8. Eat welltry to avoid reaching for sugary snacks when you are feeling low. Sugar can cause an initial ‘high’ or surge of energy that soon wears off, leaving you feeling tired and low. Try downloading the Change4Life smart recipes app to your smartphone for some healthy recipe inspiration.
  9. Sleep wellif you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep then you might find it helpful to keep a sleep journal. Try writing down your worries before you go to bed and then discuss them with a parent, teacher, friend or your GP if your sleep is not improving.
  10. Act – if you are worried about how you feel then it’s time to make a change. Childline is a free, confidential service available to young people 24 hours a day. You can call 0800 1111 or speak to someone online. For more information please visit Childline’s website.

Remember if you are worried that someone is at immediate risk of harm or you have found a friend in an emergency then always call 999.