Category : Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Week – what is it and how can I get involved?

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.

It is designed to promote awareness of mental health issues, encourage people to get the help they need, and to raise funds for mental health awareness research.

The event is held every May, with the 2019 event taking place from Monday 13th May to Sunday 19th May.

Each year, the event has a central theme, with 2019’s theme being stress.

Although stress isn’t a mental health problem itself, it is a dangerous condition that can lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression.

In severe cases, stress can even trigger incidents of self harm or suicide.

The illnesses caused by stress can be avoided by being aware of stress symptoms and learning some stress reduction techniques.

Understanding stress can also make it easier to notice it in other people and provide them with help.

How can I get involved?

Mental Health Awareness Week is a popular event, with thousands of supporters taking part in events across the United Kingdom.

There are many ways you can get involved including:

Find an event to attend

There are hundreds of events being run by schools, businesses, community groups, and individuals during Mental Health Awareness week.

Most of these events are designed to raise money, raise awareness of stress and mental health, or to give people an opportunity to discuss mental health issues.

The simplest way to find events to attend is via the interactive map on the Mental Health Foundation’s website.

You can use the map to locate events in your city or town.

Some of the most interesting events include:

Poppy’s Picnic’s ‘Therapeutic Power of Pets’ Event

Poppy’s Picnic are holding a special lunch for residents of Dauntsey House Care Home in Devizes at their headquarters in Melksham to raise awareness of mental health issues and the importance of pets in helping people overcome stress.

The event will be attended by Therapy Dogs Nationwide as well as leading Chartered Psychologist Kyle Davies.

The Olive Tree cafe Charity Race night

We are holding a Race night to 1 raise funds for a new training kitchen and 2 raise awareness of Mental Health.

Two of our races will have horses named around the Mental health/wellness theme.

Reminiscence tea party

Come along and enjoy a chat about times past in a friendly, informal group.

This month’s topic: hobbies and pastimes.

Be a fundraiser

There are many opportunities available to be a fundraiser, including:

Attend an active challenge

Active events include wellbeing walks, fun runs, cycling, treks, and even skydiving.

You can learn more about these active challenges on the Mental Health Foundation website.

Hold your own fundraising campaign

If you have a great idea on how to raise money for mental health awareness week, you can contact the Mental Health Foundation at

Host a lecture or talk on mental health

The best way to raise mental health awareness is to talk about it.

You can hold a lecture or talk on mental health in your local area.

You can ask local mental health professionals and people who have dealt with mental health problems in the past to talk at it.

The audience can also be asked to participate with questions and comments relating to stress reduction techniques or mental health.

You could even hold a class that showcases some of the best stress reduction techniques, like mindfulness meditation or yoga.

Spread the word online

If you don’t have the time to organise or attend an event, you can still spread the word online.

Consider posting stories and information on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Some of the items you can post include:

  •   Facts and figures about stress and mental illness
  •   Your favourite ways to deal with stress
  •   Places to find help when feeling stressed or suffering from poor mental health
  •   Personal stories about the stress you have experienced in your life or how you have dealt with stress in the past
  •   Information about the Mental Health Awareness events

Print up a poster for your workplace or school

The Mental Health Foundation provides a range of free resources for the general public including pamphlets, social media graphics, and posters.

You can print some of these posters up and place them around your workplace or school.

This will help people suffering from stress realise that help is always available and it also helps to promote the Mental Health Foundation.

Download free posters from the Mental Health Foundation website.

Share your story with the Mental Health Foundation

The best way to address the stigma associated with mental health is to talk about it.

That means sharing stories and helping others understand that everyone suffers from poor mental health at some point in their life.

The Mental Health Foundation encourages this practice and publishes user-submitted stories on its website and in publications.

You can submit your story by sending 600 words through to

Introducing ‘The Depression Alliance’ Charity

As a lot of people hide it well, you may be surprised at just how many people around the world suffer with depression in one form or another.

People suffer with depression in a number of different ways and in a range of severities, with everyone’s experience being slightly different.

This can make depression an isolating and lonely mental health condition to deal with.

Luckily, there are charities such as The Depression Alliance that are doing everything they can to help.

What is depression?

Though we all have days when we feel sad or low from time to time, those with depression have these feelings in a much more severe way.

It isn’t simply a case of being in a bad mood for a day or two and hoping it goes away, depression can cause someone to experience intense negative feelings for weeks or months at a time.

In fact, some people even experience depressive states for years at a time.

Depression isn’t the same as feeling down for no reason, it’s something that affects both physical and mental health.

Depression can affect anyone and at any age.

Sometimes it is caused by a stressful or traumatising event and sometimes there’s no cause for at all.

Everyone experiences depression differently, which is why it can be an isolating illness to live with.

What does ‘The Depression Alliance’ Do?

The Depression Alliance is a UK based charity that focuses on ending the loneliness and isolation that depression can cause.

It isn’t uncommon for those with depression to feel as though there’s nowhere to turn, that there’s no help available and that they’re going through everything alone.

The Depression Alliance works hard to change that and to improve the lives of anyone who’s dealing with depression.

As a charity, The Depression Alliance’s main aim is to bring people together to end the stigma often associated with depression.

Depression is a mental health condition and therefore there’s no quick fix, something which the charity firmly understands.

Rather than focusing on finding a cure for depression itself, The Depression Alliance campaigns to raise awareness of what it means to live with it.

By raising awareness, The Depression Alliance hopes to educate others on what it’s like to suffer with depression.

5 Steps To Improving Mental Wellbeing In The Workplace

With statistics revealing that 4 out of 10 British workers have suffered from mental health issues in the workplace, it’s more important than ever for working professionals to consider ways that they can manage their mental health at work.

If you have a high-pressure, busy job, read on for some suggestions about how to manage your time and keep your mental state in check to ensure that your working capability doesn’t slip.

Consider what your triggers are

Everybody is different and has certain things that can set them off and bring on feelings of anxiety and stress.

If you want to manage this effectively at work, it’s important to work out exactly what it is that elicits negative emotions for you.

The triggers could be problems with certain jobs at work or clients that you have to deal with on a regular basis, or they may be one-off events like presenting ideas to your managers at monthly meetings.

Once you work out what you’re up against, it will be easier to come up with resolutions.

Talk about your problems

While some find the idea of opening up about personal problems daunting, doing so can lift some of the weight off your shoulders and is likely to reduce your stress levels instantly.

Luckily, the discourse surrounding mental health and wellness is broadening, meaning people are becoming much more comfortable discussing what is bothering them.

Share your problems with a co-worker that you trust or wait until you get home to unload onto a loved one. You never know, someone else might have a solution to your problems that you’d never even considered.

Take care of yourself outside of work

We all know about the physical benefits of a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise, but these things can also boost your mental wellness.

Consider walking or running outside after work, especially if you spend most of your day inside an office.

Ensuring that you get your full eight hours sleep will also make you feel much more mentally prepared for work.

Switch off

With business owners under increased pressure thanks to an unstable economy, it’s not uncommon for people to take their work home with them and continue to get on with tasks in their spare time.

While it can be tempting to do this, especially if you are failing behind, remember to try and switch off for at least a couple of hours and do something that you enjoy each evening.

Give yourself a break

It’s easy to beat yourself up if you’ve had a bad work week but it’s important that you don’t give yourself too much of a hard time.

Try writing down a list of five things that are going well at the moment, which should give you the positive boost you need.

5 Tips For Improving Mental Health

Mental health has become an issue of growing concern in recent years, with more people than ever suffering from things like stress, anxiety and depression.

There are all kinds of things that can cause these problems such as overworking or emotional distress.

If you find yourself struggling with some form of mental health problem, these tips can help you stay positive and keep you feeling happy and relaxed.

Regular exercise

It may sound like a cliché but a happy body really does help create a happy mind.

In fact, many scientific studies have shown that regular exercise increases the release of endorphins, improve memory and help you sleep better.

You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to feel less depressed or relieve your anxiety but a bit of regular exercise is a great way to give your body and mind the boost you need to feel better.

Setting goals

The main causes of stress and anxiety are worrying about the future and regretting the past so it’s important not to let yourself get overwhelmed.

Creating a realistic set of goals or tasks will help you stay on track and feel like you are moving towards something without feeling like you need to do everything in one day.

Talking to others

It’s important to share your worries and not keep things bottled up and it can really help ease your stress by talking to others who are suffering from similar issues.

This could be as simple as organising regularly catch-up sessions with a friend or loved one.

Group therapy sessions can also be a good way to unload your worries while helping others deal with their problems.

Avoiding drugs

Not everyone’s mind and body work in the same way and although your friends may be able to drink or take drugs regularly without any problems, you may find that these things worsen your mental state.

It’s important that you avoid substances that have a negative effect on you and try to maintain a healthy mindset.


People have been using meditation to quiet their minds and relieve anxiety for thousands of years.

Several studies and experiments have shown that meditation has positive effects on the brain and can help naturally improve your mental state in a similar way to antidepressant drugs.

Regular meditation can help you stay focused and clear your mind of clutter.

Why We Need To Be More Open About Our Mental Health

Up until recently, mental health was something that people kept extremely quiet about; individuals hid their problems and many people didn’t seek help out of embarrassment.

However, in recent years there has been a huge step forward in the way society views mental health and this is largely due to the way in which we approach the subject.

By opening up about our personal mental health plights and the problems we face, the awareness of mental health has been improved.

However, this needs to continue.

In order to fully embrace and understand mental health, we need to be more open.

The benefits of talking about mental health

It encourages honest conversations

Opening up about our mental health encourages honest conversations, amongst those with a mental health problem and those without.

These honest conversations can lead to a greater understanding of what an individual is going through and a gained confidence in talking about it.

It can be difficult to talk about mental health but with honest conversations more people are likely to open up.

It raises awareness

As mental health is difficult to understand and define, it suffers with a lack of awareness.

Many people assume that a mental health problem fits into a specific box and others are only aware of the very few well known mental health conditions.

However, opening up can raise awareness for many different conditions; this leads to a greater understanding.

It helps people to understand

Suffering with mental health is not always obvious and some may struggle to comprehend what’s going on, but opening up can help people to understand.

As well as understanding the problem itself, opening up about mental health can help others to recognise signs and triggers.

It reduces social stigmas

Oftentimes, mental health is perceived as being a negative problem or something to hide, but this isn’t the case.

The more mental health is spoken about the more normal it becomes, and this reduces social stigmas.

After all, a large percentage of people suffer with mental health in one form or another and it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

When it comes to mental health, it’s important that we are more open about the problems we face and the help that’s available.

Not only does this show that mental health affects a lot of people, but it also highlights that mental health can come in many different shapes and forms.

The Link Between Diet And Mental Health

Though you may initially assume that there’s no link between diet and mental health, that isn’t the case.

What you put into your body has a huge impact on your mental health, both positively and negatively.

For example, if you choose to eat a good diet the impact on your mental health is likely to be a good one.

However, if you choose to eat a bad diet, you’ll find yourself seeing the opposite.

A number of studies have shown that what you eat can affect your mood and there’s a similar link between what you eat and mental health.

In fact, a number of experts suggest that diet is just as important to mental health as it is to physical health.

Though we all watch what we eat and consider the effect our food choices have on the way we look and our weight, many people overlook the link between diet and mental health.

Can what you eat affect your mental health?

A healthy diet often results in an improved mood, a boost in happiness and an increased sense of wellbeing.

However, an unhealthy diet can result in feeling down, distracted, depression and a lack of motivation.

This is why it’s important to eat a good diet.

By eating a good diet, the mind has what it needs to function as well as it can.

Instead of battling mood swings and feelings of negativity, the mind has everything it needs to tackle the day head on.

Conversely, a poor diet can have the opposite effect.

A diet that’s high in processed food, junk food and sugary snacks is full of ingredients that the body doesn’t necessarily need; not only is this detrimental to physical health, but it also negatively impacts mental health.

Those who eat a poor diet tend to suffer with mood swings, fatigue and erratic behaviour.

With so many foods to choose from, it can be difficult to know what will really help with mental health and the problems it causes.

As well as ensuring there’s a lot of fruit and vegetables on offer, the following items have all been associated with a good diet and helping with mental health:

● Fish
● Foods rich in omega 3
● Whole grains such as oats, wild rice and beans
● Lean proteins including eggs, turkey and chicken
● Leafy greens

As you can see, the link between diet and mental health is a strong one.

By eating a diet that’s packed with fresh foods and proteins, the problems caused by an unhealthy diet will be kept at bay.

Though a specific diet cannot cure mental health, it can help to manage it.

Why We Need To Talk About Mental Health In The Workplace

The discourse surrounding mental health is becoming more open and diverse with each passing year.

People are now stepping forward to discuss how mental health can affect them in a number of different places including school, university and at home.

Despite these great strides in the right direction, there is still little being done to support people who are struggling with their mental health in the workplace.

So, why is it that people are so afraid to talk about mental health at work?

Is it because they are fearful of being ridiculed or as being seen as weak by their colleagues?

Do they think that an admission of a mental health concern may stand in their way of getting that promotion?

Whatever it is, it’s time us to make a change and have a real discussion about mental health in the workplace, and here’s why.

It will boost people’s confidence and productivity

There is no worse feeling than bottling something up and feeling as though you can’t talk to anyone about what it is that’s bothering you.

By discussing mental health, we are aiding people in living more happy and fulfilled lives because they have finally been given a platform to discuss what it is that’s worrying them.

Furthermore, keeping negative feelings inside leads to a lot of inner-turmoil, and this can impact negatively on people’s performance in the workplace.

If we don’t allow for open discussions, we are standing in the way of people’s career progression and future aspirations.

It helps to break the stigma

Every time mental health in the workplace is ignored, it contributes to the negative stigma that has been built up over the years.

By allowing for free and honest conversations, the situation is normalised and we create a culture of acceptance where people know that they can be honest about their thoughts and feelings.

By doing so we improve people’s mental health

When we refuse to discuss mental health and its impact on people’s lives, we create a wall between us and them, and this can leave people feeling isolated.

Feelings of isolation can lead to depression and social anxiety, so by talking to people about their mental health in an open and friendly way, we are promoting inclusion and in turn alleviating some of the struggles that people have.

The Mental Health Crisis: A Silent Epidemic

Open any magazine or newspaper and you’ll be led to believe that as a nation, our physical health is floundering.

More and more people are overweight and contracting life-threatening illnesses while we continue to obsess over improving our well-being and fitness in order to combat these things.

But what about the other aspect of our health that people aren’t so confident with talking about?

We are open about almost all aspects of our physical health.

If we have a headache or a tummy ache, we have no issue sharing that information with our friends and family, so why are we so apprehensive to discuss what’s going on in our heads?

In short, why has mental health problems become a silent epidemic?

The statistics

So, you’re probably reading this and thinking, epidemic?

Seems like a bit of an exaggeration.

Are we really facing an epidemic when it comes to mental health?

The statistics seem to think so.

Sure, we still need to be concerned about heart and liver diseases, but mental health is still one of the main disease burdens worldwide.

Mental health now affects 1 in 4 people and it is the second leading cause of disability worldwide.

It is also one of the main factors contributing to increasing suicide rates.

Why are people reluctant to talk about it?

Poor mental health is unavoidable, but sadly a lot of people don’t see it that way.

While you’d never tell someone with a heart condition or cancer to get over it, this kind of attitude seems fine when directed at someone who is struggling with their mental health.

This kind of treatment towards the issue is resulting in people feeling afraid to speak out about what it is that’s bothering them.

There is also an attitude that struggling with your mental health denotes weakness, which can be a problem, especially for men.

Statistics have revealed that almost 40% of men don’t want to discuss their mental health with anyone, which goes some way to explaining why it has become a silent epidemic.

What can be done?

The most important thing that needs to be done is to destroy the negative stigma that is attached to mental health.

Open discussions go some way to doing this, as it makes people who are struggling feel as though those around them care.

It’s also necessary to recognise that a lot of the problems people struggle with are experienced by everyone, for example stress and anxiety.

Normalising these issues will make people feel much more confident when it comes to talking about their problems.