Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week

16 May 2016

Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 takes place from 16th-22nd May. One in four people will be affected by a mental health problem at some stage in life, and 100,000 people in Northern Ireland alone suffer from depression at any point in time. Unfortunately, a lot of people who encounter problems with their mental health say that the social stigma and the discrimination they experience can make their difficulties worse. It can be harder to recover despite the fact that these health problems are actually very common. That’s why it’s so important to be self aware! Here are a few simple tips to help you maintain strong mental health.

One in four people will be affected by a mental health problem at some stage in life, and 100,000 people in Northern Ireland alone suffer from depression at any point in time.

Unfortunately, a lot of people who encounter problems with their mental health say that the social stigma and the discrimination they experience can make their difficulties worse. It can be harder to recover despite the fact that these health problems are actually very common.

That’s why it’s so important to be self aware! Here are a few simple tips to help you maintain strong mental health.

1. Eat well

What you put in your stomach affects your brain, so aim to eat a good balanced diet and don’t forget your fruit and veg! Try not to skip breakfast and drink plenty of water, the breakfast will get your brain and body working from when you wake up, and the water will keep you good and hydrated which will help eliminate tiredness. Avoid eating sugary foods, especially the artificially sugary ones. These foods will give you a sugar rush that feels like a bout of instant energy but you will crash after and it will leave you feeling even more drained than you did before. Sugary food can cause us to have mood swings and the more you eat it, the more you’ll crave it. Cut the vicious cycle short by avoiding these foods like the plague where you can.

2. Get the right amount of sleep

The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person and can differ with age. Try to get the right amount of sleep for you. If you’re not sleeping well at night, avoid napping during the day. Like sugar, it may feel necessary at the time but it can worsen your sleeping pattern. Avoid caffeine in the evening. Having a lie-in can have you waking up feeling like you’re king of the world but too much sleep can leave you feeling sluggish and as if you haven’t got any sleep at all.

3. Give Yourself Credit

You are your biggest critic. We like to focus on all the things that we aren’t capable of, rather than celebrating the things that we’re good at. A constant critical inner voice can damage our self-esteem. One way to counter this is making a conscious effort to focus on the good stuff. It may feel forced and unnatural at first but it only takes 21 days to form a habit and this is a healthy habit worth forming. Try making a list of the things you like about yourself or the things that you are good at. We don’t have to be good at everything! Acknowledging our unique strengths is an esteem booster.

4. Do something you enjoy

If you spend all of your time working, studying, or worse still, worrying then it could be no surprise if you found yourself suffering from a mental health problem. Taking time out to do the things you enjoy is a solid stress reliever.

5. Deal with your problems

Try not to put things off. Deal with your problems one-by-one and don’t let them mount up. When faced with physical danger our bodies go into fight, flight or freeze mode. It’s the same when faced with issues with our mental health. We can choose to face and deal with the problem, run away from the problem or be paralysed by it. By tackling your problems you’ll stop them getting worse and you’ll get a sense of achievement in the process.

6. Seek help

If you are having a problem seek help as soon as possible.

Further information on our Mental Health Awareness Tour for ages 14-16 can be found here. For more advice on how to better look after your own mental health click on any of the links below.

Lifeline – www.lifelinehelpline.info

Public Health Agency – www.mindingyourhead.info

Aware NI - www.aware-ni.org


Posted by: Beulah