Mental Health Awareness Week
Since 2001 when Mental Health Awareness Week was launched, the Mental Health Foundation has been raising awareness of mental health and the impact that it can have on everyone. Their chosen theme for this year’s campaign is Body Image and getting us to think about how we feel about our bodies.
As we already understand, mental health can affect anyone, anytime, anywhere and our appearance and how we perceive ourselves continues to make the headlines every day. During this week, the Mental Health Foundation will be using new research to help us understand the way that we feel about our bodies and giving practical tools to help manage negative feelings.
Why Body Issues?
Mark Rowland, CEO at the Mental Health Foundation, explains why they have chosen this year’s theme:
We are all intimately aware of the particular idiosyncrasies of our own body; its strengths and wonders and its limitations. No piece of technology that you will ever buy will match the complexity, sophistication and regenerative powers of your body.
And yet… For too many of us, our bodies are sources of shame and distress. From an early age, we are bombarded with images that define what an ‘ideal body’ looks like. Sometimes we have faced stigma or cruelty as friends and family have used how we look as a way to put us down for a cheap laugh. I know I have been guilty of that within my own family.
And although we know girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to poor body image, this year we will explore body image as an issue that cuts across gender, age, sexuality and ethnicity.
All this might not be so serious if it didn’t have profound implications for our mental and physical health. The opposite also seems true: the more comfortable you are with your body, the greater your overall well-being, and the less likely you are to engage in destructive behaviours.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, we will release findings that will bring together the latest research on body image with one of the largest surveys ever completed to give a picture of how people of all ages and across the UK feel about their bodies. It will also set out the increased risk of mental health problems that accompany poor body image.
We want to ignite a national conversation about how we can be kinder to our bodies as a guard against the individual, family and cultural influences that can lead to a gnawing and sometimes debilitating sense of dissatisfaction with our bodies.
For Mark Rowlands full update, please click here.
How can I help a friend or family member?
Watching a loved one, be it a friend or family member, suffer from any form of mental health can be traumatic for those on the side-lines. However, there are ways you can help and, sometimes it is the smallest thing that can trigger a conversation and start the road to being supportive.
The mental health charity MIND has a great resource for those that want to reach out to someone who they think could need support. It covers lots of different aspects of mental health including body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – click here to access their resources.
MyLiferaft Supporting Mental Health
MyLiferaft is a free resource which gives an individual and those who support them, one central online place where they can add, manage and share information about health, care and well-being. Using MyLiferaft reduces the need for repetition and explanation every time someone new comes on board, helps improve consistency and is truly centered around the person and their needs.
Try our Free Account now to discover the many ways in which MyLiferaft can help support your mental health.
- Add in details that will help others understand you and your world
- Tell others the best way to interact to reduce your levels of stress
- Let others know how to help you if you are feeling stressed
- Try keeping track of your mood
- Keep a record of what works well for you and what doesn’t
- Set yourself some goals and monitor progress
- Share your goals with others who can help you achieve them.
- Taking medication? Keep a track and include if you need support to manage your medication
- In education and need extra support? Document this in the education section and monitor progress
- Keep a record of all meetings with professionals and track what was discussed
- Share information with others e.g. your doctor, family friends, school
We have also teamed up with Moodbeam, which was inspired by a mum’s desire to know how her daughter was feeling when she wasn’t with her. Moodbeam was created with the ambition to transform the way the world sees mood, by making it easier to understand and talk about how we feel.
At MyLiferaft, we aim to give you everything you need in once place and this includes where to go for advice, information and support. Our extensive list of resources has a specific section for those with mental health with links through to organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation, MIND and Rethink. There is also a full list of resources on a wide range of topics including Bullying, Going Back to School, Bereavement, Dementia, Autism, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Benefit information and various NHS information websites.
Click here to see our full list of Resources.