How common is poor mental health in the UK and what can be done to contribute to positive mental well-being?  

It has been reported that one in nine adults have suffered from mental health issues that have worsened due to the pandemic. While the pandemic has made contributions to the deterioration of the nation’s mental state, there are many other aspects that can contribute to poor mental health that dates back far further than the first lockdown in April 2020.  

Income, Area, Weather, Childhood trauma, Media consumption and Working environment are just a few things that can trigger or worsen someone’s mental wellbeing. A study has reported that the way in which mental health issues and episodes are overcome can also vary and surroundings, seasons and financial security can also impact how and quickly someone recovers. When the respondents of this study were tested between the months of April and October 2020, mothers who have children managed to recover the best compared to other respondents.  

Kathryn Abel, a Professor from The University of Manchester stated “We are increasingly aware that social and economic advantages have an important influence on how well people are able to cope with challenges that appear to have affected everyone equally” 

How to detect if you are suffering mentally.  

Consulting your GP is always the best way to safely identify if you are suffering from a mental health condition. You can also lookout for some symptoms such as:  

  • Lack of interest in a lot of things  
  • Constantly feeling worried or fearful  
  • Mood swings  
  • Dramatic changes in your daily routine such as sleeping or eating patterns.  

Small ways to tackle some mental health conditions.

Anxiety 

Anxiety has been described as the “feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.” 

The University of Rochester has found a way that they believe provides some relief to individuals who are suffering from anxiety. They call it the 5-4-3-2-1 method. This method requires you to first catch your breath and then use your five senses to identify your surroundings in attempts to calm your mind. The exercise consists of: 

  • Identifying 5 things you can see around you. 
  • Identifying 4 things you can touch around you.  
  • Identifying 3 things you can hear around you.
  • Identifying 2 things you can smell around you. 
  • Identifying 1 thing you can taste. 

Depression 

Depression is the“constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which stops you doing your normal activities. Different types of  depression  exist, with symptoms ranging from relatively minor to severe. “ 

Exercise has been referenced as a way to help improve mental health and tackle mild forms of depression by the NHS. This might seem like a catch 22 as one of the symptoms of depression is finding it hard to gain the motivation to want to get up and get active. However, some of the positive effects of working out when feeling depressed include:  

  • Releasing feel-good endorphins: These are natural hormones that are released by the brain to positively enhance your wellbeing. 
  • Taking your mind off worries: when you are keeping active you are presented with a distraction from something that is causing your mental condition to deteriorate. 

Both of these present short-term solutions that are designed to eventually help form a pattern and positive habit in order to tackle some areas of depression.  

OCD 

Obsessive Compulsive disorder Is a condition defined as when “obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours become so consuming they interfere with your daily life”. 

One of the most effective ways to tackle OCD is to challenge compulsive thoughts. This is a solution that is easier said than done but can be incredibly effective. Compulsive thoughts can range from very strong to very mild. Starting with the milder compulsive thoughts and then slowly challenging the tougher thoughts is the safest way to try this method.  

This article has only touched on three mental health conditions and we are aware that these are only a few of the multiple conditions that exist. If you find yourself feeling down or unable to cope, please contact some of the charities listed below for advice, services and assistance.  

Alternatively, you could get in contact with your local GP For further assistance. While these might offer small solutions for some, these might be trigger points for others. Always consult your GP before making any changes to your daily routine.  

You can also click here to find your local urgent mental health helpline.