Public Health England and the NHS have teamed up to launch “Every Mind Matters”, a new initiative helping people tale simple steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others.
It is increasingly recognised that taking care of our mental health is as important as maintaining good physical health. A new PHE survey reveals more than 8 in ten (83%) people have experienced early signs of poor mental health – including feeling anxious, stressed, having low mood or trouble sleeping – in the past 12 months1.
While these can be a natural response to life’s challenges, they can become more serious if people don’t take action, and many wait too long. That’s especially true of older people – the “stiff upper lip” generation who have been schooled to ‘soldier on’ when experiencing tough times. Yet older people are very vulnerable to serious mental health conditions including depression brought on by medical conditions, social isolation and especially bereavement.
Figures from the PHE survey reveal that more than a quarter (27%) of people who experienced signs of poor mental health waited at least six months before taking action to manage their mental health, with three quarters (74%) of those who waited this long wishing they had done so sooner. Older people are often the most likely to ‘bottle up’ their mental health problems and the least likely to seek help.
“Every Mind Matters” shows people the simple steps they can take to be better prepared for life’s ups and downs. The new platform, which has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RGCP), will enable people to create a personalised action plan recommending a set of self-care actions to deal with stress, boost mood, improve sleep and feel in control.
A special film to promote Every Mind Matters, narrated by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was aired on TV on Monday evening this week and you can see a shorter commercial by clicking here.
It shows how we can all look after our mental health and features a range of people whose lives have been affected by poor mental health, including a cast of well-known faces: Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close, Freddie Flintoff, Professor Green, Davina McCall, Jordan Stephens, Will Young, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Nadiya Hussain, Sarah Taylor, Rob Beckett, Katie Piper, Joe Sugg and Alastair Campbell.
The new Every Mind Matters website shows people how to build simple changes into their daily lives – such as reframing unhelpful thoughts, breathing exercises and increasing physical activity. All of these have well evidenced impact on improving and maintaining good mental health, which can help people to get more out of life, feel and function better, have more positive relationships and manage difficult times – now and in the future.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our health – both mental and physical – is an asset that needs to be nurtured. We’re all aware of the benefits of looking after our physical health and the steps we can take to keep ourselves healthy, but many of us are not as knowledgeable or proactive as we could be when it comes to our mental health.
“Every Mind Matters will benefit us all with an accessible tool to help manage our wellbeing at the click of a button. It will offer vital support to those living with a mental health condition and give each of us valuable and personalised tips on how to better cope with life’s daily struggles, while contributing to tackling the stigma that can still surround mental health.”
Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, added: “We all have mental health just as we all have physical health, and it can vary from good to poor. Most people know how important it is to look after their physical health and more and more people are understanding the need to look after their mental health as well, but lots of us don’t know where to start.
“That’s why Mind has been helping develop Every Mind Matters, to empower people with the tools they need to deal with everyday causes of stress, anxiety, low mood and trouble sleeping. Taking proactive steps like increasing physical activity and connecting with others can help prevent these issues developing into more serious mental health problems further down the line.”
• Click here to visit the “Every Mind Matters” website and see how you can start to understand and improve your mental health.