Every year, in May, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) help to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues.
Since the first Mental Health Awareness Week back in 2000 the MHF have helped inspire public debates around how anxiety, sleep deprivation and exercise can impact our mental health. Their focus for 2016 is on relationships.
There are key groups within society that may be more susceptible to mental health issues through isolation. Research consistently shows that there is a higher prevalence of mental ill-health amongst single parents compared to couple parents. Single mothers have also been shown to have approximately three times the prevalence of depressive episodes compared with other groups. Our consultations have shown that many single parents experience social isolation, poverty, lack of confidence, stigma and lack of opportunities for training and education.
Peer support groups are particularly effective in increasing confidence and enjoyment of life among isolated older people. Members have demonstrated their ability to learn new skills, form friendships and explore difficult issues in a caring and supportive way with others facing similar challenges.
It’s been proven that healthy and supportive relationships reduce the risk of mental ill-health. More than healthy diet or exercise, strong social networks improve our mental wellbeing. This Mental Health Awareness Week MHF want to raise awareness on celebrating the connections, the relationships, and the people in our lives that add to our wellbeing and protect and sustain our mental health. From family and friends, to colleagues and neighbours; taking notice of those connections that make you feel safe and supported.
To improve your relationships you could:
- Focus on quality time
- Set aside time to talk when you will not be interrupted
- Don’t be surprised if there isn’t an improvement straight away
- Listen as well as talk
- Think of a leisure pursuit you enjoy and invite someone to join you
If you would like to know more about the events near you, visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/