World Mental Health Day 2018 – Young people and mental health in a changing world

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Did you know that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year? It has been reported that in England alone 1 in 6 experience a common mental health problem, for example depression or anxiety, in any given week. Even more worryingly, around 1 in 10 children and young people are affected by mental health with figures depicting that 10% of children aged 5-16 have been diagnosed with a mental health problem. Also, 43% of students rated the stress of their university degree as 8/10 or higher.

Our mental health, just like our physical health is something that needs to be monitored and taken care of – it’s fine to look after your physical appearance, but if you’re not looking after your mental health and overall wellbeing you’re not looking after yourself properly. This is why it is extremely important to give young people an understanding of mental health, as prevention begins with better understanding. In our ever-changing world it can be hard to get a grip on things, particularly for adolescences and young adults. With new technologies come new opportunities but also new responsibilities. It is safe to say that many young people, probably more so than other age group, are affected by the new stresses that come with new media; for example the unattainable expectations from social media.

When dealing with mental health issues, whether it is anxiety or depression or something more severe, there are certain things we can do to try and keep a positive state of mind. Here are 6 tips to take on board when starting to tackle Mental Health issues:

  1. Exercise and eat well

As much as this is an obvious one, but it is true, you are what you eat. Filling your body with the right nutrients and vitamins will not only strengthen you physically but will also contribute to a better state of mind. Exercising is also a fantastic way to release stress and tension, so find an exercise that suits you and start reaping the benefits.

  1. Continue to take part in your favourite hobbies

Do you have a favourite hobby or pastime that you’re letting slip due to feeling low? Reconnecting with that activity could benefit you greatly, taking part in something you enjoy will not only lift your mood, but it will give your mind a break and allow you to concentrate on other things. If it’s a group activity, even better – socialising will give you a great sense of involvement, something people naturally crave and feel better after receiving.

  1. Minimise alcohol and drug use

Alcohol is a depressant, so why when we’ve had a bad day do we reach for the bottle of wine? As much as it might seem like a good idea to cheer us up, it is a temporary solution that could inflame a much deeper rooted problem. Not to be a party pooper, but if you are struggling with your mental state – avoiding or even cutting down on alcohol and substance use will be highly beneficial.

  1. Find new ways to relax that work for you

Everybody needs a happy place. Whether that means lying in bed watching a rom-com, or sitting in the corner of the library with your nose in your favourite book, it is important for you to find ways to relax that work for you. It could be something as simple as having a bubble bath, but whatever relaxes your body and mind make sure you’re doing it.

  1. Share your feelings

Keeping feelings and emotions bottled up is very unhealthy for the mind and body. If you don’t speak up, how can people help you? The fear of actually admitting feelings is probably a main reason many still suffer so harshly from mental health issues. So find the confidence to share, not only will you be able to gain some help and perspective – it’ll feel better to just have released those feelings.

  1. Know where you can seek help

If you start feeling like you could use some extra help it’ll be extremely helpful to know what’s available in your surrounding area. Whether the difficult feelings you are experiencing are your own, or those of someone you are helping to support; if they are getting to a level that is hard to handle then it is advisable to seek extra help. This could range from your GP, mental health services or even family, friends or colleagues.

For more information on how to tackle mental health problems please see the links below:

http://www.stress.org.uk/eliminating-negative-thinking/

http://www.stress.org.uk/develop-positive-attitude/

http://www.stress.org.uk/instinctively-reach-bottle-stressfull-day/

http://www.stress.org.uk/exercise-for-mental-wellbeing/