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Government unveils mental health campaign

teenage girl sitting on the floor with her head nested on her lap
teenage girl sitting on the floor with her head nested on her lap Image credit:

To coincide with World Mental Health Day, October 10, the government has announced a national campaign encouraging people to “be kind to your mind”.

The initiative points individuals to the Every Mind Matters website where they are asked to answer five short questions, find a personalised “mind plan” and advice on how to cope with stress and anxiety.

Celebrities including Scarlett Moffatt, Vick Hope and Tom Grennan are backing the campaign alongside psychologist Kimberley Wilson.

But Sean Duggan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s mental health network has slammed the government for not going far enough tackling the mental health crisis.

Duggan said: “The previous government had committed to publishing a 10-year plan for mental health. However, mental health is worryingly absent from the new secretary of state’s ‘ABCD’ priority list for the NHS.”

Addressing the NHS accusations, health secretaryThérèse Coffey said: “My focus is on making sure people can get the care they need, when they need it – and that includes for their mental wellbeing. The every mind matters tool is a great way to build your mental resilience.”

Research from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) shows anxiety is at its highest after 5pm on Sundays before the working week starts on Monday morning. The feeling is referred to as ‘Sunday Scaries’.

A total of 67% of Britons suffer anxiety towards the end of the weekend. Those aged between 18-24 relax by going on social media, people aged 25-32 watch TV and those who fall in the 33-40 age bracket are likely to turn to comfort eating.

Wilson said: “These ‘distraction’ habits can actually exacerbate the problem. It’s so important to enjoy every last minute of your weekend and start the week in the best frame of mind.

“If you experience the Sunday Scaries like clockwork every week or feel sad or anxious, try getting active, which can help you to burn off nervous energy, writing down or keeping a diary of what you are doing and how you feel at different times to help identify what’s causing anxiety and what you need to do to help manage it. Small things can make a big difference to our mental wellbeing.”

Grennan said: “I’ve found that keeping up my fitness and really prioritising exercise has helped me stay focused and my other tasks are easier to manage.”

Duggan added mental health services are under pressure with a backlog of over 1.6 million people reaching out for support.

“Without a clear roadmap for mental health services for the months and years ahead, a generation of people risk not being able to access the services they need,” he said.

Research found 74% of people aged 18-24 experience “heightened anticipatory anxiety” as the weekend comes to a close.