Mental Health: Doing Well
We are all likely to experience difficulties with our physical or mental health at some point in our lives. There are things we can do when we are thriving and doing well to help improve our health and well-being and prepare us for times when we may become unwell.
The Mental Health Foundation
The Mental Health Foundation highlight the importance of prevention in mental health and share what supports people to stay well. They aim to help people understand, protect and sustain their mental health.
Every Mind Matters
Every Mind Matters have a range of videos for all sorts of tips on exercise, sleep and how to take care of yourself on social media. You will also find links to help for groups of people who may be finding things particularly tough, or have additional needs, and support with some of the issues you may be facing.
What’s On Your Mind? with Dr Alex
The DfE have worked with the Government’s Youth Mental Health Ambassador, Dr Alex George, on a series of wellbeing videos. These are based on his five core ‘ways to wellbeing’ and build on content already in the RSHE curriculum. The videos are freely available to all children and young people, education staff, parents, and carers, to support all children and young people to look after their own mental health and wellbeing.
5 ways to well-being
You may already be aware of the '5 ways to well-being'. We have collated a number of resources available to help you do this and to look after your well-being more generally.
ConnectThere is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.
It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages. There are many ways that we can connect with family, friends and colleagues using digital technology, such as WhatsApp, Skype and Social Media platforms. Doing any of the activities for any of the other ways to wellbeing with someone else can be a great way to connect in person.
Be ActiveRegular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is essential for promoting well-being. But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.
Visit our page on getting outdoors to find details of parks, open spaces and outdoor gyms in Swindon.
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust are a local health and wellbeing charity which provide nature-based activity as therapy, a range of provision available across Swindon.
Mental Health Foundation and WWF-UK have worked collaboratively to provide a booklet on making the most of the UK’s natural spaces for mental health and wellbeing called “Thriving with Nature – a guide for everyone”.
It is important to eat well and stay hydrated. The Mind website has information about the link between what you eat and how you feel.
Change 4 Life provide guidance on health food (and exercise choices) including food swap ideas to promote healthier eating.
The NHS gives helpful advice and guidance on how much and what type of physical exercise children should be getting every week.
The Anna Freud Centre have over 90 self-care activities that young people can do to look after their own mental health. Many of these will also be relevant for adults and support be able to offer parents/carers ideas of how they can support the children/young people they are looking after.
Take NoticeReminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness. Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.
Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations. Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. You can do this through relaxation and self-care activities.
The NHS website has information on mindfulness and to help with practising it. Mindfulness can be a helpful technique to help you take notice.
LearnContinued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to people out of depression.
Explore your local libraries online resources for access to more learning and activities.
For children, there are many ways that they can still learn whilst they are not in school. Please see some of the useful home schooling resources for parents, teachers and SENCos and the Family Support Pack from Swindon Educational Psychology Service.
GiveSeeing yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Volunteering is a way to learn new skills, make new connections, feel a sense of belonging and purpose and improve personal wellbeing. You can find local volunteering opportunities here.
The NHS App Library has a range of free and paid apps that you can use to look after your mental health and well-being.
Looking out for the signs and symptoms of poor mental health
Everyone is different and mental health problems show themselves in different ways however, the following signs and symptoms are common indicators that someone may be experiencing emotional or mental health problems.
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling low, sad or anxious
- Feeling hopeless, helpless and negative
- Loss of interest in things that you are usually interested in
- Feeling tired, lethargic or having no energy
- Difficulties in concentrating and making choices
- Morbid thoughts of death or suicide
- Restlessness and irritability
If you feel you may have some of these symptoms and need more support looking after your mental health visit the information and advice pages relating to the area you are wanting support with.