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Mental Health Awareness Week

May 5th 2021| Michael Mountford

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event when there is an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. The Mental Health Foundation started the event 21 years ago. Each year the Foundation continues to set the theme, organise and host the week. The event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally.

It is all about starting conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it. This year the theme is nature; to think about connecting with nature and how nature can improve our mental health.

Stop to listen to the birdsong, smell the freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby. Take a moment to appreciate these connections.

5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing

Being able to take care of your mind as well as your body should be of upmost importance.

Connect With others

Reaching out to friends, family members and co-workers is one of the first steps in helping improve your mental health. Having those people who you feel close and connected to can help provide a sense of belonging, gives you the opportunity to share positive experiences and provides you with emotional support as well as allowing you to support others.

Stay physically active

Making sure that no matter the situation, you are staying physically active. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours in the gym but rather, find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your life. It has been found that the chemical which releases during exercise can help with raising self esteem and helps to positively boost mood.

Staying mindful

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that is why it is called the present“. In todays world we find ourselves always looking to the next day and the next and the next. This constant feeling of always having to worry about tomorrow is something that plagues everyone.

Being mindful is simply the act of staying in the present, appreciating what today has given you-and how to make the most of it, being aware of your thoughts and feelings. This awareness allows you to enjoy life so much more and will ultimately help you better understand yourself.

A great exercise to help combat this is: when you notice your mind beginning to wander from the here and now, take a step back from your environment and begin to focus on your breathing. Count your breaths. Do this for a minute and you will find that you are more focused and calm.

Learn a new skill

Learning a new skill has also been found to be a great way to improve your mental health. :Maybe try to cook a new meal by following a YouTube tutorial, take on a new responsibility at your place of work, start a DIY project at home. If you have some free time maybe set yourself a new hobby such as writing a blog, taking part in a new sport or learning a musical instrument. Anything that you feel would help boost your self confidence and raise your self-esteem, it will all benefit your mental state.

Give to others

Acts of kindness have been found to improve your mental wellbeing through creating a positive feeling and a sense of reward, providing you with a sense of purpose as well as providing you with the opportunity to connect with other people. Any act, small or large, is going to go a long way in helping those around you. Simply saying “Thank You” to someone, spending time with your friends and family who might be needing some support, offering your time by truly listening to someone.

Any selfless act that you perform will ultimately begin to have a positive effect on your mental health.

For more on this topic please see the NHS as well as the Mind website

Teaching Mental Health in School

The mental health of children is a rising area of concern.

A quickly growing factor in the rise of mental health cases in young people is the usage of social media in their day-to-day lives. A survey completed in 2019 showed that:

“Greater use of smartphones, social media and networking applications means online bullying can follow a child anywhere they go. Using new data from the crime survey we can see that around 1 in 5 children between the ages of 10 to 15 had experienced some form of online bullying in the previous 12 months. This equates to approximately 764,000 children.

Sophie Sanders from the Office for National Statistics Centre for Crime and Justice.

Being able to effectively teach about cyberbullying in the classroom is paramount to helping alleviate this problem. To give a helping hand we have a very large array of resources on our site in relation to bullying – both in person as well as online.

Let’s ZAP out cyber bullying together and learn how to stay safe online.

Check Out Deeta & The Cyber Bots

Lesson Ideas

Below is a range of examples of ways in which to effectively teach your class about mental health.

Click here to read a BBC article which demonstrates how a teacher from a school in South London is teaching her class about mental health through the use of a new scheme which involves teaching through fun games and workbooks.

Talking Mental Health is an animation designed to help begin conversations about mental health in the classroom and beyond and is a great way to start off this topic in the classroom.

Mental Health.org have a very extensive article about the best ways of how to create a classroom and school environment where children can thrive with good mental health– it can be found right here.

Bell Lane Primary School has an exhaustive page on their site all to do with how they apply best key practices with regards to both teaching as well as maintaining the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils and students.

Key Events

United for Global Mental Health: The 24 hour March for Mental Health

On October 9th, people from around the world will be encouraged to participate in a virtual march. A 24-hour livestream which will feature people with lived experience, mental health leaders and influencers from the civil society groups already active in 19 countries through the Speak Your Mind campaign. In addition, global partner organisations that are leading and coordinating work on mental health are organising hour-long sessions on specific themes, including mental health and young people, mental health and older people, and mental health and the LGBTQ+ community.

WHO: The Big Event for Mental Health

On October 10th, the World Health Organisation will host a global online advocacy Event on mental health. At this event WHO will showcase the work that its staff are doing around the world to reduce mental illness and the harmful use of alcohol and drugs. World leaders and mental health experts will join the WHO Director-General to talk about their commitment to mental health and what more must be done. World-renowned musicians who have spoken out about the importance of mental health will talk about their motivation and perform. Sportsmen and women whose lives have been affected by mental ill health will share their experiences and how they have dealt with conditions such as depression and anxiety.

During the Event, a Special Prize for a mental health film, a newly-created category of WHO’s inaugural Health for All Film Festival, will be awarded.

World Federation for Mental Health: Education and Awareness raising

The Federation’s campaign kicks off on 1 September, with the Federation’s President launching the 2020 World Mental Health Day Campaign Educational Material “Mental Health for All: Greater Investment – Greater Access” under the Royal Patronage of HRH Princess Iman Afzan Al-Sultan Abdullah of Malaysia. This includes a Call to Action 2020 from Pamela Y. Collins and Deep-a Rao, and will be followed by 45 days of awareness-raising activities led by the Federation’s youth section, including a global online discussion forum and art exhibition.  

Teacher’s Pet

On our site, we already have two other blogs all about wellbeing; Teacher’s Mental Health and Wellbeing: It’s Not Just A Buzz Word which can be found below.

Helpful Websites

If you or anyone that you know is suffering from Mental Health, then we urge you to seek help from a professional organisation as soon as possible. The NHS website has a wealth of resources and links to other professional organisations and charities within Mental Health.

Resources

Self Expression is a very important part of helping to improve mental health – many young people believe that in order to fit in they have to be the same as their peers.

Download Now!

Wellbeing Wednesday has been given a fresh coat of paint. Not one, not two but three individual schemes of resources are available to download.

Meet 12 colourful avian characters from around the world – our Wellbeing Flock! Follow the mysterious egg on its journey home, what words of wisdom will it gather from our amazing characters each week? Watch the weekly animations, read the ebooks and download the incredible resources!

View Wellbeing Flock

Come and join ‘Eggmo’ as he meets all his new neighbours on Monster Lane and learns all about mental health.

Our FULL 11-week scheme for our Wellbeing Monsters is available to download now!

Bigger and BETTER than ever with weekly animations, ebooks, tasks, journals and much, much more! Teaching children lifelong skills for good mental health and wellbeing!

Go To “monstro-city”

Let the Mental Health Heroes teach your class about their Wellbeing Superpowers and how children can use them as lifelong skills for promoting good mental health!

Each week introduce your class to a brand new “Mental Health Hero” and discover their wellbeing SUPERPOWER!

Watch a brand new, incredible animation every week, continue the adventure in each week’s digital comic books and then use the differentiated activities to teach children how to use their own SUPERPOWERS!

Together, over the 12 week scheme and with the help of our amazing heroes we can defeat THE NEGATRON!

go to the ‘wellbeing academy’
View all posts by: Michael Mountford
Categories: Topic Calendar
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