Mental Health Awareness Week
As we come to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week (click for link), which this year focused on anxiety, I began thinking about how we can maintain good mental and emotional wellbeing.

This is something that obviously touches my life on a personal and professional level every day. Statistics, reports and research consistently show that today people are struggling more and more with their mental and emotional wellbeing. An article (click for link) in the Independent this week reflected on figures showing that nearly 1 in 5 people feel anxious at least a lot of the time, which is a large increase in even the last five years.

Of course, it can be argued that there is greater awareness of mental ill health and more people are seeking help and support. There are campaigns like Time to Talk (click for link) working hard to raise awareness and encourage us to talk about our mental health issues in order to stamp out the stigma.

I came across this poster produced by the Mental Health Foundation, which offers 10 ways to look after your mental health.

As I looked at each of the colourful graphics and nodded along to each point, I was also struck by how hard each of these seemingly simple actions can be. Particularly when someone is already struggling with any kind of mental ill health or painful experience.

How do you keep active when it is so difficult to even get out of bed and face the day? How do you drink sensibly when your alcohol addiction feels all consuming? How do you do something you’re good at when an abusive relationship has left you feeling like there is nothing you’re good at?

And then I was drawn to the image that depicts asking for help. This is also potentially one of the most difficult tasks for a whole range of reasons that will be unique to you. However, this could be the first step to finding the right support. With this support you may then be able to find your own way of putting these ways of caring for your mental and emotional wellbeing into practice.

If it is counselling you were considering to look to for help, it could give you the opportunity to explore your mental and emotional health, and the barriers that you find in the way to wellbeing.

Counselling can support you to find what you are good at again; allow you space to get to know yourself, which can lead to accepting who you are; and look at ways you can have healthy relationships so that you are able to keep in touch with family and/or friends that you want to. Counselling offers you the chance to look at your feelings, thoughts, relationships, and behaviours related to things such as food and alcohol; how you can find ways for these to be healthier for you and therefore your emotional and mental wellbeing.

Wishing you good mental health and emotional wellbeing.