Take steps to improve your mental health

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Taking regular exercise can not only help improve physical health, but also have a huge impact on mental health according to research which suggests exercising three times a week can reduce the risk of depression by a third.

This Wednesday (October 10) is World Mental Health Day and marks the start of a new promotion from Public Health England called Every Mind Matters, getting everyone to recognise they have mental health, just as they have physical health.

Mental health charity Mind estimates that approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Hayley Jarvis, Head of Physical Activity for the charity, said: “Our physical health and mental health are closely linked and we know from our own Get Set to Go programme that being physically active can also be very beneficial for our mental health too.

“If you’re more active there’s good evidence to suggest that at most ages, there’s a trend towards lower rates of depression. In fact, one study has found that by increasing your activity levels from doing nothing, to exercising at least three times a week, you can reduce your risk of depression by up to 30 per cent.”

A YouGov poll commissioned by Swim England has this week revealed that 1.4 million adults believe that swimming has significantly reduced symptoms of their anxiety and depression.

A 24-year-old woman with symptoms of major depressive disorder and anxiety previously trialled weekly open water swimming and found it led to an immediate improvement in mood, according to a BMJ case report published earlier this year. (http://casereports.bmj.com/content/2018/bcr-2018-225007.abstract )

Over time, she experienced a gradual reduction in symptoms of depression and was able to come off medication (citalopram) completely. One year after the trial, she was still medication-free.

Dr Nick Harding, Chair at NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I’m delighted this new campaign from Public Health England is piloting in the West Midlands, getting us all to think about our mental health. Having good mental health can help us feel better, sleep better and support us in doing the things we want to do. It can also help us have more positive relationships with those around us.

“Every Mind Matters takes great steps in helping people control and understand their own mental health, how to manage their symptoms and offers tips on how to help improve their wellbeing.

“However, if you feel the problems with your mental health aren’t going away and are affecting your daily life or causing you distress, call NHS 111 or talk to your GP.”

See details on the Every Mind Matters campaign here https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Local support and information is also available at the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council Mental Health and Wellbeing where you can find advice and support via the Wellbeing Services Hub. Visit http://www.sandwell.gov.uk/info/200222/healthy_sandwell_healthy_you/762/mental_health_and_wellbeing