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Mental Health Awareness Week

If you are not aware, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and it runs from 18th May to the 24th May. With everything currently going on around the world, it is very timely that it is here!

Mental health awareness has been growing in recent years, and we should all applaud that, as it is about time. No longer, is it seen as a stigma, when someone is struggling with something that affects their mental health and they ask for help or speak about what their struggles are. This is so important for a healthy life, when people need help with their mental health that they ask, it is no different to asking for help to become fitter, or stronger, as one would in a gym. Asking for support with becoming physically fitter is socially acceptable, lauded even, as is going to the doctor for any ailment that can be physically seen. Is it not the next logical step that we should be applauding and encouraging people that ask for support for their mental health?

However, in some areas, it is still not the case that this understanding is there for people dealing with different phases in their mental health. How often have you heard the phrases, 'pull your socks up', 'get over it' and my personal favourite that is not only unhelpful but also sexist, 'man up'. These phrases are very unhelpful when someone is opening up and admitting to struggling or needing support. It could be struggling with stress, depression, anxiety or any of the other mental health issues that are possible.

A mental health study in 2018 found that 74% of people reported they felt so stressed they were unable to cope. The study was done by YouGov and was a fairly large sample size. Just think that over for a minute. Even if you are in the 26% of people that were not that stressed, it is clear that you will know someone who would be in the 74%. Were you aware you knew at least one person that was stressed to that degree in 2018?

We can see that there is still a lot of work to do for people to speak about mental health issues, and we should do as much as we can to encourage this. I looked at the website of the organisation running Mental Health Awareness Week and there is a wealth of information on there. From how to improve your own mental health to where to get support if you or someone you know needs it. The theme this year for the week is kindness, and it struck a chord with me in that we are in a time in life, where people are more busy doing things, and more connected with technology, however they are less courteous and kind. Let us try and redress this balance a little.

One of the tips that they recommend is caring for people. This helps not only people that are struggling themselves, but also those that may be struggling. So if there is one thing to take away from this blog please be more kind and caring. It is something that we can all do more of, there can never be enough of this in the world.

Over this week, we will be asking different people to guest blog on mental health themes and to share their experiences with us. We hope that will bring more conversation on this topic and also allow people to become kinder and more caring.

Written by Staff Writer from the Wellness and Fitness Academy.

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