Use next month’s Mental Health Awareness Week to start a national conversation, says Mark Rowland.
We often forget that, just as with physical health, there are things we can all do to understand, protect and sustain our mental health. This is an issue that affects all of us. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Surviving or thriving?’ We hope to take the conversation on mental health a step further – rather than solely focusing on the prevalence of mental health problems – and will ask why so few of us are thriving in life with good mental health.
Good mental health is about much more than just the absence of mental health problems. It is the capacity of each of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is living life to the fullest and feeling able to cope with the stresses and challenges everyday life brings. Working hours blur into leisure time and the rise of social media changes the way we interact with friends, families and our communities. We will publish data on 8 May revealing how many of us are struggling to cope – stuck on getting through the day, battling through the things that life throws at us that make us feel stressed or anxious.
Too many of us accept that experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety are the price we pay to keep our lives on track. We will also ask what government can do to ensure that its policies do not undermine good mental health.
Now, more than ever, we need to find ways of building our collective resilience, supporting each other to thrive.
Join the national conversation by signing up to the Mental Health Foundation’s Thunderclap here.
Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 8 to 14 May.
- Mark Rowland is director of communications, Mental Health Foundation
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