Support World Mental Health Day On 10th October 2019!

World Mental Health day is back for 2019 on the 10th of October. This awareness day was launched by the Mental Health Foundation and has been running since 2001, raising awareness for a range of issues  including alcohol abuse, stress and loneliness. Mental health issues can affect anyone at any time, and this day is a great opportunity to improve your knowledge on it and help your own personal wellbeing, as well as the health of those around you. The focus for this year is on suicide prevention.

Mental health is an issue which can start small and can potentially lead to serious problems if it progresses undetected. Thankfully with campaigns such as this, we can get a better understanding and support the aim of reversing any complications that occur.

What is the answer to helping mental health issues?

Unfortunately, there is no single answer as each individual is different but there are a variety of things you can do to reduce symptoms of stress and improve mental health, exercise being one of the most highly recommended. Keeping within the daily recommendations for physical activity is a key way to improve your wellbeing, as part of  a healthy lifestyle.

Studies have shown that exercising in green space is the perfect aid, as five minutes alone boosts your mental health significantly. Being exposed to natural sunlight and combining that with exercise is believed to increase serotonin levels in our bodies, which can improve feelings of well-being and happiness. The impact of being close to nature is significant and not only does exercising in green space help your mental health, it is also well known to improve your self-esteem. Dr William Bird MBE is a champion of supporting these theories, and has created projects directly for combining exercise and exposure to nature, in recent years these apprppches have helped transform millions of people’s lives.

What can we do day to day?

It’s all about body, mind, spirit, people, place and planet; research is showing us how our health and happiness can be boosted by doing certain things on a day-to-day basis. The Wheel of Well-being is your guide to some of them.  This short video explains the wheel of wellbeing

In Kent we have some fantastic county parks and nature reserves, both inland and on the coast, which provide great opportunities to get out and exercise close to nature. Even a gentle walk in these places will provide mental health benefits, but both KCC Country Parks and Countyside Management Partnerships run volunteer projects were you can get more hands on and improve your health though activities such as coppicing and pond creation.

Kent also has a number of projects in a natural setting specifically aimed at improving mental health, such as Park Time in Tunbridge Wells and Ecology Island in Dartford.

Exercises And Activities Tackling Mental Health

Suicide Prevention

Every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide across the world. This is a tragic statistic to hear and one that needs to be addressed as soon as possible to make sure we dramatically reduce these numbers. Not only are suicides a horrific event they also have a ripple effect that leaves impacts on families, friends, colleagues, communities and societies. They leave close ones wondering if they could have done more to help, and what was their reasoning was along with a host of other questions which ultimately are left unanswered.

Suicide should never be an option and there’s multiple ways it can be prevented. The World Health Organization recommends four key interventions that have helped:

  • restricting access to means
  • helping young people develop skills to cope with life’s pressures
  • early identification and management of people who are thinking about suicide or who have made a suicide attempt, keeping follow-up contact in the short and longer-term
  • working with the media to ensure responsible reporting of suicide.

Following these guidelines will help others around you.

Regular self-care, as well as regular physical activity can be excellent ways of stopping any further problems as they can alleviate your worries, focus your mind elsewhere and give you a chance to reflect on what the situation really is before taking drastic measures.

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