Carl Walmsley

The purpose of Mental Health Awareness week is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illness.

It reminds people about illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, and the realities of living with these conditions. It refreshes strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses.

Additionally, Mental Health Awareness Week strives to reduce the stigma (negative attitudes and misconceptions) that surrounds mental illnesses.

Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of mental disorder. It is the “psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment“.

Here are the five things that, according to research, can really help boost our mental wellbeing:

handshake icon1. Connect

Connect with the people around you. These could be family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time on these relationships.

2. Be activeexercise icon

You don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, or cycle ride, or play a game.

Make an activity that you enjoy part of your life.

3. Be mindful

eye iconTake notice of the present moment. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings, and the world around you. Think about your experiences and appreciate what matters to you.

hobbies icon4. Keep learning

Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement. Maybe learn to play a musical instrument, or how to cook, or work out how to fix your bike.

connect icon5. Give to others

Do something nice for someone else. Even the smallest act can count – a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering  or joining a community group, can improve your mental wellbeing.

These five things can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult.

But it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when the times are tougher than usual.

When you try these five things, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life.

If you need to talk to someone about your mental health, contact one of VGC’s mental health first aiders, or see our web page for a list of ways you can get help.

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