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  • Writer's pictureDr Willard Wigan MBE

Mental Illness Awareness in the UK

Mental Illness Awareness in the UK is not a specific day but rather part of a broader effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. As you may know, there are many different types of mental illnesses. Mental illness can be caused by one small thing that triggers a certain emotion and feelings that can grow bigger and bigger until it leaves you emotionally compromised, mentally rundown and overwhelmed by negative thoughts and outcomes.

Mental Illness Awareness in the UK
Mental Illness Awareness Matters

How Art Can Help with Mental Illness: Art therapy and creative expression can be beneficial in managing mental health issues: Mental Illness Awareness in the UK

1. Art as an Outlet: Creating art allows individuals to express their thoughts and emotions in a non-verbal way, which can be especially helpful for those who find it difficult to talk about their feelings.

2. Stress Reduction: Engaging in creative activities can be relaxing and help reduce stress and anxiety.

3. Self-Exploration: Through art, people can explore their inner thoughts, gain insight into their emotions, and work through complex feelings.

Child with coloured chalk on hands
All age groups Self-Exploration Through art

4. Sense of Achievement: Completing a piece of art can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem.

5. Group Art Therapy: Participating in group art therapy sessions can foster social connections and a sense of belonging, which is particularly helpful for individuals with mental health challenges.

Paints and brushes
How Art Can Help with Mental Illness

While art can be a valuable tool for promoting mental well-being, it's important to remember that it's not a replacement for professional mental health treatment when needed. If someone is struggling with a mental health issue, it's important to encourage them to seek help from qualified professionals.

Small Things to Improve Mental Well-being: Mental Illness Awareness in the UK

1. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you stay in the present moment, reduce stress, and improve your overall mental well-being.

Boy sat meditating
Mindfulness and Meditation Mental Health Awareness

2. Regular Exercise: Physical activity can release endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety.

A squirrel in a tree
Practice Mindfulness Mental Illness Exercise

3. Healthy Eating: A balanced diet can have a significant impact on your mental health. Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can support brain health.

4. Adequate Sleep: Prioritize getting enough quality sleep. Sleep is essential for cognitive function and emotional well-being.

Tiger Sleeping
Practice Mindfulness Mental Illness Get Enough Sleep

5. Social Connections: Maintaining and nurturing social relationships is crucial for mental health. Talk to friends and family, or consider joining support groups.

6. Stress Management: Learn to manage stress through relaxation techniques, time management, or seeking professional support when necessary.

Lion Sleeping
Practice Mindfulness Mental Illness

7. Set Realistic Goals: Setting achievable goals can boost self-esteem and motivation.

8. Limit Screen Time: Excessive screen time, especially on social media, can contribute to feelings of isolation and anxiety.

Noticing and Helping Someone with Mental Illness: Mental Illness Awareness in the UK

Sad looking girl
Noticing and Helping Someone with Mental Illness

1. Observe Changes in Behavior: Pay attention to significant changes in a person's behaviour, mood, or habits. This might include increased withdrawal, irritability, or disinterest in activities.

Sad looking man
Noticing and Helping Someone with Mental Illness

2. Open Communication: Express concern and let the person know you're there to listen without judgment. Be patient and empathetic.

3. Encourage Professional Help: If you believe someone is struggling with a mental health issue, encourage them to seek professional support. Offer to help find resources or accompany them to appointments.

4. Offer Support: Be there for the person, whether it's by offering to run errands, preparing a meal, or just being a shoulder to lean on.

Man holding his head
Help others with mental Illness

5. Educate Yourself: Learn about the specific mental health condition the person is dealing with to better understand their experiences and needs.

Who to Contact: In the UK, several organisations and helplines assist individuals and their loved ones dealing with mental health issues: Mental Illness Awareness in the UK

1. NHS (National Health Service): Contact your local NHS mental health services or speak to your GP for advice on accessing mental health support.

2. Samaritans: A helpline available 24/7 for anyone in distress. Call 116 123.

3. Mind: A mental health charity that provides information, support, and advice. Visit their website or call 0300 123 3393.

Mental Health Contact Numbers
Who to contact in the UK to talk to about mental illness

Depending on the severity or longer-lasting effect of the mental illness, your doctor can put you in touch with specialist mental health services. These might include community mental health teams (CMHTs), social care services, residential care services, and crisis resolution and home treatment teams (CRHTs or 'crisis teams').


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