This week marks the eighteenth Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Starting in 2001 by the Mental Health Foundation, this year focuses on body image. Following the hashtag on social media #BeBodyKind and also those wearing green ribbons, there are multiple ways of raising awareness to this throughout the week and beyond.
Wearing a green ribbon or spotting somebody wearing this, is the international symbol of support for mental health awareness. The Mental Health Foundation has been around for 70 years. In studies they have found:
- 1 in 6 adults have experienced a common mental health problem in the past week (such as anxiety or depression)
- 30% of adults have felt so stressed with body image they have been unable to cope (2018)
Mental health charity, MIND, found 30% of self-reported work-related illnesses within transport and logistics stemmed as a result of stress, depression and/or anxiety. As this sector is predominantly men, it is important to break the stigma and be open about mental health. This is because studies have found that men are less likely to be open. In 2017, it was found that 75% of suicides in the UK were carried out by men.
Mental health can affect anybody. If symptoms or feelings of poor mental health arise, it is best to seek professional help. However, to help reduce and take care of your mental health, here are a few steps that can help you control and look after your wellbeing:
- Eating healthily: Feeding the brain with a nutritious and balanced diet can support healthy neurotransmitter activity, protecting the brain from oxidants which have been shown to impact mood and mental health negatively. Pre-making lunches and snacking on fruit or nuts whilst you’re on the go can make this easier!
- Fresh air: taking a walk outdoors regularly, whether on your break at work or in the evening. This can help to make you feel refreshed and energized. Research by British Military Fitness showed 53.3% of 1000 people polled, said spending time outdoors in the fresh air, makes them feel better when they are suffering from anxiety and depression.
- Talk: opening-up and having a conversation with people about mental health may help yourself and those around you. Breaking the stigma of mental health is important. If talking face-to-face is intimidating, perhaps start with a text message.
- Lower your screen-time: the rise in social media can lead to Feelings of Missing Out (FOMO). This desired ‘hit’ of dopamine of interest can lead users to continuously refresh their feed, causing addictive-type behaviour. On smartphones add ‘app limit’ times. If you have an office-based job, take regular eye breaks from the screen and instead of emailing, talk in-person where possible.
At Kinaxia we have a 24-hour Employee Assistance Programme helpline in-line with our benefits system to help give an immediate source of information on a range of issues.
Helpline: http://www.employeecare.com 0800 030 5182