This week marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week – an annual campaign to raise mental health awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness. This year’s theme is “Thriving or Surviving” as it seems too few of us are thriving with good mental health.
Over recent years the awareness and understanding of mental health issues has grown. Talking about our difficulties really helps, especially if those sharing are in the public domain, as in the case of Prince Harry, who recently who talked about not coping with the loss of his mother. However, we must keep talking, sharing and seeking support if we are to achieve more, and help more people thrive, as opposed to simply fighting to survive.

So, are you thriving or surviving?  How you do feel about mental health, and what do you know about mental health issues? For example, did you know 4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime and 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions? Managing our emotions is a key part of good mental  health, so that we feel in control of overwhelming emotions, and confident we will not feel consumed and disabled by them.  Do you know fear is one of the most powerful emotions we experience. It has a very strong effect on your mind and body and can create anxiety, depression and many more mental health issues.

Stigma and discrimination are the most common obstacles that stop people from seeking help with mental health problems. Despite the existence of effective treatments for mental health problems, the misunderstanding is they are un-treatable. Resistance to asking for help with mental illness can create additional problems; the risk of having a physical illness increases, 800,000 people globally commit suicide each year, and the risk of a physical disability increases too.

Surviving is a universal experience, and part of our lives.  So we will all face difficult times and situations which hopefully with resilience, we will overcome those times, bounce back and have the ability, skills and support to move forward again to enjoying life and set goals for the future; to thrive!

There is lots of information available on the internet to help you get started. You’ll fine some interesting articles on this website about how exercise, sleep and diet all have an impact on our mental health. Alternatively, visit the Mental Health Foundation website for everything you want to know about mental health issues. From mental health statistics, personal stories, podcasts to tips and ideas on how to start thriving, the website is full of information.

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