Over 60% of calls to our Counselling Helpline services are from individuals experiencing mental health issues.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics in 2015, nearly 10 million adults in the UK are diagnosed with a mental illness each year.
That equates to nearly 1 in 4 people, with anxiety and depression making up the majority of cases.
The impact of poor mental health
Mental illness can be debilitating and have a very significant impact on the lives of not only sufferers but their loved ones and family.
The ability to function properly at home, in work or in education can be compromised creating a difficult cycle of further issues from financial worries, low self-esteem and other physical illnesses related to anxiety, depression and more serious psychoses.
Aiming for good mental health is therefore as important as trying to achieve good physical health.
Here are 5 ways to help move towards good mental health.
5 ways to help achieve good mental health
Reach out and connect
By our very nature, human beings are social animals.
Interacting with and connecting to other people provides companionship, opportunities to share and learn, and opportunities to share positive experiences.
We can be supported and support others if we maintain our connections and relationships with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues.
Spend time developing these types of relationships. Further information on personal connections for good mental health.
Mindfulness, in simple terms, is about being more aware of the present moment. Taking time to consider thoughts, feelings, your body and the world around you instead of getting caught up in the mental chatter of modern life.
Too often we are caught up in the rush and grind of daily life – going from appointment to appointment, meeting to meeting.
Mindfulness encourages us to stop and step back from this to observe the thoughts that often carry us away and the physical feelings (like the simple act of breathing in and out) we take for granted. Further information on mindfulness for good mental health.
Keep (or try to be more) active
Being physically active in a sport or leisure pursuit you enjoy helps maintain good mental health. Exercise releases endorphins – the body’s natural mood lifter – and provides opportunities to connect with existing or new friends.
It is not about running a marathon or becoming a super-fit gym star. It is about doing an activity that you enjoy – walking, jogging, swimming, tennis, anything really – and being active.
Further information on exercise for good mental health.
Learn something new
There are few things more satisfying than the sense of personal achievement that comes from learning a new skill or hobby.
Once again it is not about the type of activity or the size of the achievement, it is about what interests you. If you enjoy drawing, sign up for a beginners art class, or learn some new recipes on a cookery course.
Such activities also offer further opportunity to reach out and connect with people and provide a sense of purpose and pride in yourself.
Further information on learning for good mental health.
Boost your self-esteem
Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves – our self-image.
A healthy sense of self-esteem contributes to good mental health because we will feel good about ourselves, our prospects and the world in general.
Positive self-esteem comes from a combination of factors like recognising our own talents/strengths, being positive towards ourselves instead of being overly critical and accepting the positive feedback of friends and family.
Further information on boosting self-esteem.
Mental health is an ongoing process and challenge for all of us. Throughout life’s ups and downs our mental health will be challenged and as the statistics indicate, many of us will face it at some stage in our lives.
But the statistics also prove you are not alone and organisations like The Spark Counselling are available to support you at every step from prevention to recovery.
Counselling and support is available
If mental illness or concerns about mental health are impacting on your relationships, talk to us about counselling options by making an enquiry online.
The Spark Counselling offers face-to-face appointments, telephone and online appointment services. Search for your nearest counselling location.