Public Health England (PHE), in partnership with the NHS, today launches Every Mind Matters to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health and wellbeing.
It’s after the initiative was piloted for the first time in the West Midlands last year.
It is increasingly recognised that taking care of our mental health is as important as maintaining good physical health. A new PHE survey reveals 83% people in West Midlands region have experienced early signs of poor mental health including feeling anxious, stressed, having low mood or trouble sleeping in the last 12 months.* While these can be a natural response to life’s challenges, they can become more serious if people don’t take action – and many people wait too long.
In the West Midlands, 24% of people in the region who experienced signs of poor mental health waited at least 6 months before taking steps to manage their mental health, with 74% of those in West Midlands region who waited this long wishing they had acted sooner.
Insights from last year’s pilot in the West and East Midlands showed attitudes to mental health have shifted significantly, with people increasingly agreeing it’s important to look after your mental health. Testing showed people don’t feel confident to take action on their own mental health; needing accessible, practical advice on what steps they can take to look after their mental wellbeing. As a result of the Midlands pilot, a new interactive tool, ‘Your Mind Plan’ will enable people to generate a free online plan to improve their mental health. By answering five key questions, they get a tailored set of self-care actions based on their situation, to help them deal with stress, boost their mood, improve their sleep and feel more in control.
All of these actions have well-evidenced impact on improving and maintaining good mental health, which can help people to feel and function better, have more positive relationships, manage difficult times and get more out of life – now and in the future.
The launch follows 18 months of planning and local and regional piloting, developed with clinical and academic experts, national mental health charities and input from people with experience of poor mental health. Clinically-assured by the NHS, Every Mind Matters is evidence-based and it shows people how to build simple changes into their daily lives – such as reframing unhelpful thoughts, breathing exercises and increasing physical activity.
Paul Sanderson, PHE West Midlands mental health lead said: “Eight out of 10 people in the West Midlands have experienced the early signs of poor mental health in the last 12 months – so someone within your family, friends or workplace will likely be experiencing poor mental health right now. Feeling anxious, stressed, having low moods or trouble sleeping can be a natural response to life’s challenges, but if people don’t take action, things can escalate and become much more serious.
“The Every Mind Matters online resource encourages people to take simple early steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing, and support others who may be experiencing difficulties. There’s a quick questionnaire and the results will give people hints and tips so they can put together a personal action plan to improve their daily lives – such as increasing physical activity, learning new skills, doing something creative. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and there are always things we can do to look after our minds, in the same way we look after our bodies.”
Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, Coventry City Council, Liz Gaulton said: “In Coventry, as part of the West Midlands, empowering people to take control of their everyday mental health is really important to us and we are proud to have been part of the Every Mind Matters pilot, which has now lead to the refined resource being launched nationally.
“Along with our partners, we recognise that mental health is everyone’s business and knowing how to take care of your mental wellbeing is just as important as physical health.
“Since Coventry became a Marmot City in 2013, we’ve been focussing on reducing inequalities in health, mental wellbeing and life chances for residents in our city. Our current public and partnership led campaign, Year of Wellbeing 2019, has focused on promoting our people, workplaces and schools as assets within our population. As City of Culture 2021 we have even greater plans and aspirations for promoting Coventry as a city of wellbeing."
Emily van de Venter, Associate Director of Public Health for South Warwickshire CCG and Warwickshire County Council, said: “It's great to have a national campaign promoting tools for looking after our mental health and wellbeing. Our brains are incredibly complex organs, but we can take simple measures to look after them. Our wellbeing is affected by what we eat, drink, how we sleep and what goes on in our social environments. Every Mind Matters offers simple ways to look after our mental health and reminds us that it is important that we all look after our mental health, just as we would our physical health.”
A special film to promote Every Mind Matters has been written by Richard Curtis and directed by Rankin, narrated by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It shows how we can all look after our mental health and will be aired simultaneously at around 8:45pm tonight simultaneously across ITV, Channel 4 and Sky channels.
The powerful film features a range of people whose lives have been affected by poor mental health, including a cast of well-known faces: Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close, ‘Freddie Flintoff’, Professor Green, Davina McCall, Jordan Stephens, Will Young, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Nadiya Hussain, Rob Beckett, Katie Piper, Joe Sugg and Alastair Campbell.
Every Mind Matters is backed by a coalition of mental health charities and champions, including Mind, Mental Health First Aid England, Time to Change, Heads Together and the Samaritans.
This new resource is available for the public and for GPs to advise their patients to use. The NHS will also promote Every Mind Matters to its one-million plus workforce.