Our Mental First Aid Champion, Simon answers your questions
World Mental Health Day 2020 is one of the most important ones yet – the months of lockdown and loss has had a huge impact on all of us. Which is why prioritising mental health has never been more important than now. We have put together a Q&A session with our Mental First Aid Champion Simon who answers the relevant questions that may be on your mind.
Do you think the current crisis has highlighted a global need to focus on mental health?
I think pre-pandemic that the world had started making the right move in highlighting the importance of mental health and understood that more support was needed.
The pandemic has definitely highlighted a global need to focus on mental health but at the same time a lot more people will now be suffering due to a number of factors such as
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Your financial situation or job
- Loss of support services you rely on
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We recognise the impact this pandemic can have on people’s mental health and NHS mental health services have adapted to continue to provide support to those who need it throughout the pandemic.
“We are providing £9.2m in additional funding to national and local mental health charities to support adults and children affected by the pandemic, and we are committed to increasing the mental health workforce.
“Mental health services will expand further and faster thanks to a minimum £2.3bn of extra investment a year by 2023/24 as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.”
What do you do to maintain positive wellbeing?
I’m actually writing this whilst in self isolation so haven’t been able to leave the house. A lot of people will be in the same situation especially with the new track and tract system in place.
I think the best things that you can do are trying to keep active and fit, I know it’s hard when you can’t leave your house! I have been doing yoga from free YouTube videos, you could also try an online HIIT Class if you don’t have any gym equipment at home.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.
I’d also recommend trying to stick to your normal routine and going to bed as you normally would and waking up as normal.
Drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fruit & vegetables will also help you feel good.
Meditation has also been great as focusing on your breathing can help get you in to a calm state. I recommend using a meditation app or just searching for mediation channels on YouTube.
What advice would you give to someone struggling with their mental wellbeing?
Talking about your feelings and asking for help is the first step, find a family and friends member that you can trust and start by just saying how you are feeling.
A lot of places of work will also now have mental health first aiders who are trained to deal with these situations and will always be private and confidential so this would also be a good start.
There are a number of online communities or anonymous helplines which you can contactwhich I will leave details of below.
What ‘one thing’ will you be doing today in aid of World Mental Health Day?https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day-2020/
I would recommend downloading the Mind.org mental health calendar which is packed with actions you can take for better mental health.
Select the link below to get support from the A-Z of mental health charities
Making a positive change can be hard, especially in uncertain times. Most of the time, the hardest part is to know where to start. Take the opportunity this week to learn and find out more about how you can start with your one thing.