Mental health has historically been a low priority in our communities. Granted mamas have postnatal depression and have services to support them, but aside from the postnatal period, when else do we actually stop to think about our mental health?
The pandemic has affected everyone individually and whilst many people across the country have responded by finding solutions and activities that work for them, some are still struggling.
That’s why the new Every Mind Matters campaign, which encourages people to find bespoke solutions to support their individual mental health journey – is so very important.
It also signposts people to the free NHS-approved ‘Mind Plan’.
To date, the free NHS approved Mind Plan Quiz has been completed over 3.4 million times. The new Every Mind Matters campaign will increase these numbers further along with improving people’s knowledge, confidence and motivation to take action to look after their mental health.
There is a clear benefit to encouraging individuals to better understand what affects their mental wellbeing, and we fully endorse the promotion of self-care solutions and activities to support good mental wellbeing in our homes, communities and workplaces.
We encourage people to take the Mind Plan Quiz on the Every Mind Matters website, to find out what works for them when it comes to improving their mental wellbeing.
How has the pandemic impacted the nation’s mental health?
The impact and experience of the past 18 has been different for everyone as have our reactions but there’s no doubt it’s been a difficult time for us. That’s why it’s so important to look after our mental health and wellbeing; now more than ever. 55% of ethnic minorities have said COVID-19 had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing; 52% listed worries and anxiety as the top challenge they faced, followed by stress (43%), and low mood and depression (35% – survey results by Office for Health Improvement & Disparities, Opinium 2021).
Evidence suggests that the nation’s mental wellbeing has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. The main reasons people gave for COVID-19 having a negative impact on their mental wellbeing include loneliness and isolation, worrying about family’s health and safety and worrying about COVID-19. But there are lots of little things we can all do to look after our mental health, helping us to lead healthier lives and cope with life’s challenges. That’s why a new Every Mind Matters campaign is being launched, hero-ing the little things we can all do to look after our mental health and how they can add up to make a big difference.
Do we all need to take care of our mental health & wellbeing?
Just like our physical health, it is important to look after our mental health. There are things we can all do, however we are feeling, to take care of our mental wellbeing. Nearly half of adults in England said their mental wellbeing was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak – (49%) More than a third of adults in England (15.1 million) did not know what to do to improve their mental wellbeing over the past 18 months primarily due to feeling overwhelmed or not knowing where to start.
Unfortunately, certain communities have been affected more so than others. Statistics show that 3 out of 5 South Asians reported that their mental health has been negatively affected by the pandemic – 60% of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and 57% of Indians; a higher rate than in the general population (49%).
59% of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and 54% of Indians said that they experienced worry and anxiety compared to 45% of the general public. To help improve their mental health, they felt more relaxed after taking up walking or when they were cooking. Over half of South Asians surveyed also said that staying connected to friends and family, using their phone or the internet made them feel happier, compared to 40% of the public.
Finances are also cause for concern among younger people, with 38% saying money was the cause of their mental wellbeing strains, 21% worried about losing their job and 9% about returning to the office.
Now more than ever it is important to recognise that everyone can benefit from taking simple steps to look after their mental wellbeing. Every Mind Matters aims to encourage everyone to recognise the proactive actions we can take to improve and protect our mental wellbeing. This is especially relevant to groups that are more at risk of living with a mental wellbeing concern or whose mental wellbeing has been affected by the pandemic, such as lower-socio economic groups, BAME groups, parents, young adults, carers, minority groups and people with long-term health conditions.
What can you do to help support your mental health?
According to the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities 37% of people surveyed were unsure about how to improve their mental wellbeing. Every Mind Matters advises simple and effective tips on addressing this.
What is the Mind Plan?
Better Health – Every Mind Matters, is a digital resource to empower people to look after their mental health and support others. At its heart is the free NHS approved ‘Mind Plan.’ By answering five simple questions adults will get a personalised mental health action plan with practical tips to help them deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, sleep better and feel more in control. The Every Mind Matters website has been continually updated to support people during this period and has a COVID-19 hub that includes tips and support on how to deal with change and cope with money worries and job uncertainty.
Some tips for improving your mental wellbeing:
- Reframe your thoughts: The way we think, feel and behave are linked. Sometimes we develop patterns of thoughts or behaviours that are unhelpful so recognising them, and taking steps to think about things differently, can improve your mental health and wellbeing.
- Be in the present: If we take time to be aware of ourselves and be in the present moment, noticing our own thoughts and feelings, and the world around us, we can gain a better perspective. Sometimes this is known as being more mindful.
- Get good sleep: Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.
- Connect with others: Spending quality time with friends or family, talking to someone about how we are feeling or finding ways to help other people can all help stop you from feeling lonely and improve your mental wellbeing. This can be online, by phone or seeing someone in person.
- Live a healthy life: Being active, enjoying the outdoors and having a healthy, balanced diet all impact how we feel. Also, binning bad habits like smoking, and cutting down on alcohol and caffeine can have a positive effect on our mood.
- Do something for yourself: From enjoying your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax, it’s important to do things that make you happy.
- Search Every Mind Matters for a free, personalised Mind Plan to see what works for you.
Where can you find more information?
By Muslim Mamas
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