World Mental Health Day – what can you do?

Time flies…this year’s World Mental Health Day falls on a Saturday. The theme for this year is ‘mental health for all’, with a goal to increase the investment in mental health, widening accessibility. However, providing mental health services is even more challenging right now, as the World Health Organization‘s research reveals that 93% of countries report that the impact of COVID-19 has disrupted or halted vital services.

Time to Change is on a mission to end mental health discrimination. Find out more about how you can support family, friends and colleagues in these worrying times. They also have a terrific ‘Activity Pack for Workplaces’ with 10 activities,

This year, WHO is serving up a first: their Big Event for Mental Health, a broadcast which will be freely available to the public via channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

So what can we do right now? Quite a bit actually. Let’s not see this as just one day’s worth of awareness; there are heaps of ideas, resources and ways to learn more about mental health – starting now.

We can all benefit from creating – and using – a Wellness Action Plan (WAP). Here’s Emma from Mind to give us a clear brief in this video on how to use WAPs, for yourself and for supporting people in your team.

When we experience unwanted feelings, such as anxiety, they’re part of the loop that also includes our thoughts and behaviours. For example, if you’re preparing for an important presentation, you may be thinking ‘I’m not sure about how the audience will respond – they may give me a hard time’ (notice the assumption there). Our thoughts then lead to feelings, such as anxiety, fear and worry (if you need a primer on thoughts and feelings, this post might help). Then the feelings show up in our behaviour – let’s say speaking hesitantly, not making eye contact, etc. This then feeds back into the thoughts and on we go in the thoughts / feelings / behaviours loop. Mind Allies offers practical tips and techniques for handling anxiety.

We can also build our mental strength, as part of taking care of our mental health. Verywell Mind explains the differences and shares three kinds of exercise to build mental strength.

It’s vital that we stay aware of and committed to our mental health – now. Why wait? BPS Research Digest reports on new research that suggests our psychological recovery from a stressful event begins in the early stages of it. The threat to our autonomy seems to activate our ‘psychological immune system’, motivating us to tackle the situation in some way.

Here’s wishing you a very happy, healthy World Mental Health Day.

You may find this post useful: ‘5 ways to build your resilience’



Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’ and ‘How to be Zoomly at work’ 


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