World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2020

This year’s World Mental Health Day (WMHD), on October 10th, is an opportunity for us all to check in with ourselves and our communities and ask some important questions. How has the global pandemic impacted our wellbeing? And how can we make sure we are prioritising mental health as we move forward?

To mark this important day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) are calling for an increased investment in mental health worldwide. Research by Rethink shows that for nearly 80% of people living with mental illness, the national impact of Covid-19 has worsened their symptoms. And there will also be many who have recently experienced mental health problems for the first time.

The pandemic has had a direct impact on mental health for those experiencing health anxiety, worry for at-risk loved ones as well as loss and grief. Concern about job security, income and the future have also been a big stress for families worldwide, and social isolation has left many feeling disconnected from their usual support networks. 

When we’re feeling overwhelmed with difficult thoughts or emotions, we might know that help is out there but it can be hard to know where to start. So for WMHD 2020, let’s focus on 3 simple but powerful things we can do to support our own mental health. 

1. Talk to somebody

  • With our physical health, we have no problem going to the doctor and asking for help, but when it comes to mental health we often think we should be able to deal with it on our own. 

  • Don’t suffer in silence! Take the first step and talk to a trusted friend or family member about how you’re feeling.

  • Enquire at your GP (or self-refer to LWSW) about starting some talking therapy. Whether you would like practical advice, or just somebody to listen, your therapist is a trained, experienced professional who is there to create a safe, judgement-free space for you.

2. Unplug

  • Both mainstream and social media are constantly inundating us with often confusing and distressing information. Although it’s important to stay informed, it’s also crucial to have boundaries with the amount of time we spend watching the news or scrolling through our devices.

  • Try blocking out specific hours of the day as “no-phone” time, where you unplug and do an activity that doesn’t require a device. E.g. Go for a walk outside, read a book, journal how you’re feeling or do something creative!

  • This not only gives us the opportunity to check in with ourselves but it can be great to do as a challenge for the whole family to promote quality time and connection!

3. Mindfulness

  • Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing in the moment. This is a valuable tool to practice as, when we feel stressed or low, we often find ourselves in a cycle of worrying about the future or ruminating on the past.

  • Meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness, and the best part is it requires no skill & anyone can do it by simply taking a few minutes out of your day to focus on your breathing, notice any bodily sensations & tune into your surroundings. Download the Headspace app to try a free 10 minute guided meditation.

  • There are also many ways to practice mindfulness in your daily life. For example, by eating your meals without the distraction of the TV and paying attention to the flavours, noticing the sound of your footsteps on the pavement as you walk down the street or observing the feeling & smell of warm, soapy water on your hands as you do the dishes!

Helpful Links:

Time to Change

Mind

World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2020