Your mental health and wellbeing is influenced by many factors. Your living conditions, economic and financial status have a big bearing. So too do cultural and social elements. It’s a complex area. The good news is that there are a great number of services and resources available to help with coping, to make you feel good about yourself, and to help you develop the skills to improve your overall mental wellbeing.
More than 1 in 4 of us will experience some mental health issue at least once at some point in our lives. At any given time, 1 in 6 of us is undergoing some mental health problem.
Almost half of us will suffer at least one bout of depression during our lifetimes.
1 in 10 new mums suffer from postnatal depression.
Up to 1 in 10 children between the ages of 5 and 16 have a mental health issue. These continue into adulthood in many cases.
Half of people with lifelong mental health problems experience the first symptoms by age 14, and three-quarters before reaching their mid-20s.
What does mental wellbeing mean?
According to the World Health Organisation, Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
Some features that improve our mental wellbeing (positive mental health) are:
- Achieving our own capabilities
- Coping with life’s normal stresses and challenges
- Being productive in our work
- Contributing to our community in a positive way
- Being able to look after ourselves
- Having a good life expectancy
- Enjoying a good quality of life
- Achieving education objectives
- Better financial circumstances
- Less anti-social behaviour and crime
Here are 5 ways that you can improve your wellbeing (backed by research)
- Interact more with people
- Keep active
- Take notice of the world around you and be aware of it
- Keep on learning and developing yourself
- Give of yourself to others
Visit the NHS website for more information about the five ways to wellbeing.
The NHS provides more information about these 5 ways of wellbeing.
Practical things you can do to improve your mental wellbeing
Find local services and resources that provide positive activities such as:
- Exercise groups including gyms
- Volunteering opportunities
- Self-help and peer support groups for advice and information
- Courses on motivation and confidence
- Supported employment schemes
- Complementary therapies
- Social and leisure activities to help you engage with others
As always, your local GP medical practice is a great place to start to find out what’s available and get contact details. Doing something, even looking around at what’s available is a big first step to feeling better about yourself.