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‘Movement’: Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

This week marks  Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 – there are a number of ways you can get involved whether it is for your own wellbeing or to simply offer support.

Launched by the Mental Health Foundation, the event has been running since 2001 and this year it will be taking place between Monday 13th May and Sunday 19th May 2024.

flower, happy mothers day, heart

This year’s theme is ‘Movement: moving more for our mental health’ and, according to the foundation, this topic was chosen as ‘Regular physical activity is known to improve mental health, quality of life, and wellbeing. It also helps prevent and treat heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and breast and colon cancer.’

Despite the listed benefits, in a new report that was created by the Mental Health Foundation, experts have recently discovered that ‘over a third of UK adults do not meet the recommended amount of activity.’

How to get involved

Throughout the next week, there are various ways you can get involved with the event. The first example is that various schools across the country are hosting talks regarding mental health and people are being encouraged to wear a green ribbon or green clothes.

In addition, the Mental Health Foundation also want people to take part by finding moments for movement in their daily routine. The charity said it doesn’t even have to involve intense exercise – though some people are choosing to take part in a skydive – it can merely be ‘Going for a walk in your neighbourhood, putting on your favourite music and dancing around the living room, chair exercises when you’re watching television – it all counts!’

However, if this doesn’t appeal to you, but you still want to contribute to the cause, you can donate via the Mental Health Foundation’s website.

Does moving help your mood?

The leading mental health charity Mind have said that stress build-up can be one of the biggest contributors to mental health problems.

The organisation say there are several signs to look out for with stress which include:

  • Headaches
  • Panic attacks
  • Blurry eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heartburn

Arguably, ‘movement’ was a genius theme to select as various studies have found that when you exercise your body, feel good hormones called endorphins are released which combat feelings of stress. Exercising also helps people keep fit and healthy which can have positive impacts on quality of life.

Getting help

Paying a visit to your local GP is often the first point of contact for accessing mental health support. These experts can provide initial assessments, offer advice and refer individuals to specialist services such as counselling or therapy.

Along similar lines, the NHS provide mental health services that are always on hand. Several services are available through this method, including talking therapies (such as cognitive-behavioural therapy or counselling) medication, and community-based support. These can be issued from your GP, but you can also self-refer.

Moreover, if you find yourself in a severe mental health crisis, call 111. This emergency number can transfer you to immediate help if necessary.

Mental health charities and call lines

Image: NickyPe

More on mental health:

Insights into adolescent mental health using video game

Potential harm of universal, school-based mental health interventions

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