Mental Health Awareness Week 2019
This week, the 13th-19th May, marks this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week – a truly important campaign that supports a mission to help people to thrive through understanding, protecting and sustaining their mental health.
Created by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week is a yearly event that aims to get people talking about mental health in order to open up a discussion, break the stigma and encourage people to seek help if they need it. This is a fantastic initiative which urges individuals to consider their own mental health and take stock of how they’re feeling, while also demonstrating how important it is to check in on other people who may be struggling. It’s also a good time for businesses to see if they can be doing more to support their employees.
The theme for this year is Body Image – a term that can be used to describe how we think and feel about our bodies. With social media such a huge part of daily life for many of us, it’s never been easier for us to constantly compare ourselves to the ‘ideal’ bodies we see on our screens. The Mental Health Foundation found that just over one in five adults (20%) and 40% of teenagers said images on social media had caused them to worry about their body image. This can be truly damaging for our mental health and, significantly, can affect people of any age – even children.
While this is just a week-long event, the Mental Health Foundation has been operating for over 70 years and has been part of an ever-growing worldwide campaign to raise awareness of mental health. It’s amazing how far we’ve come over the years, but there’s still a lot more to be done to ensure people get the support they need, and the stigma attached to mental health is eradicated for good.
Why is mental health so important?
We talk about mental health a lot in the context of the workplace and employee wellbeing, but when looking at statistics, it really is striking just how many of us are affected by mental health. For example, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem (2), and 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year (3).
That’s why talking about mental health is so powerful. By opening up the conversation and making it a prominent topic, people will be more likely to reach out for help and talk to someone if they are struggling.
There are some helpful resources on the Mental Health Foundation’s website, including evidence-based mental health booklets, publications, podcasts and videos. Other great websites to visit include Mind UK and Heads Together, and for urgent 24/7 support people can call Samaritans on 116 123.
To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week and to see how you can get involved, click here.
2 – The Mental Health Foundation – www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
3 – Mind UK – www.mind.org.uk/