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Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 kicks off
More than one in seven Scots have admitted experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings because of concerns about their body image, a new poll has revealed.
The research from the Mental Health Foundation Scotland has been released as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13-19) in a bid to highlight the inextricable link between body image and mental health.
A YouGov poll of 1012 Scottish adults aged 18 and over examined the impact of body image issues on mental health as part of the report Body Image: How we think and feel about our bodies. The report found that just over a third of adults have felt anxious about their body image (34%) and a quarter have felt ‘disgusted’ because of their body image in the last year.
Harrowing figures also show that image issues affected women more than men, with 11% admitting to having ‘deliberately hurt themselves’ because of their body image compared to just 4% of men.
However, it’s important to acknowledge that mental health extend well beyond the body image concerns, affecting people from all walks of life. More than 450 million people currently suffer from mental health conditions worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability around the globe.
Mental health problems can cause a wide variety of emotional symptoms, ranging from mood changes to erratic and chronic anxiety and lack of self-worth.
To mark the annual awareness week, Carrington Dean is shining a light on top tips to tackle not only negative thoughts about body image but all aspects of mental health.
Top mental health tips
Getting a good night’s sleep is imperative to both mental and physical health. Sleep helps to regulate the chemicals in the brain responsible for transmitting information and managing moods and emotion. Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on feelings, which can add to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Healthy sleeping habits can make a huge difference to your quality of life so it’s important to be aware of the simple steps you can take to make sure you have good sleep hygiene:
- Routine is key so try to go to bed and wake up at the same time throughout the week – even at the weekends.
- Unwinding after a long day can often be easier said than done, however, by avoiding bright lights, screen time and caffeine you can create a relaxing bedtime ritual.
- The environment in which you sleep should be cool and free of clutter that could cause distraction. It should also be as dark and as quiet as possible.
Living with stress is often a part of 21st century life but by being aware of what triggers your stress can help you learn to manage your mental health. Stress management might seem daunting but it’s actually fairly simple – it’s all about setting your expectations.
When life gets overwhelming it can be all too easy to stick your head in the stand but tackling problems head on is often the best way to handle any situation. Break down your worries and your stresses by writing them down and you’ll realise they’re more manageable than you first thought.
The link between diet and wellbeing is often spoken about but it’s important not to underestimate the importance what you eat can have on your mental health.
Adopting a balanced diet is one of the easiest ways to manage your mental health, ensuring you pack plenty of nutrients into every meal. Eating foods high in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants can boost mood and protects the brain from oxidative stress which can damage cells.
It’s also recommended to avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs – all of which we associate with withdrawal symptoms and can impact on mental health. Indulging in excessive drinking or drug use can leave you feeling more depressed and anxious which can only add to mental health conditions.
Ask for help
Living with mental health conditions might seem daunting, however, it’s important to be aware that you aren’t alone.
One of the most important ways to stay mentally healthy is to recognise when you’re not feeling good. As the pace of life continues to increase it can often feel like a never-ending juggling act, making it all the more important to check in with yourself and how your feeling.
There is no shame in admitting that you’re not in a good place and speaking to friends, family, or a professional is a great step to finding support.
Make money work
As thousands of people across the country struggle to make a pay cheque stretch throughout the month, it’s understandable why money worries and the need for debt help are some of the most popular reasons people fall into a mental health crisis.
When times are tough it can be all too easy to bury your head in the sand in a bid to hide from your financial problems, however, this can only add to stress levels. Debt doesn’t take a day off, no matter how much we all wish it would, so it’s important to deal with the issue head on.
As Scotland’s leading debt specialists Carrington Dean understands that sometimes living with debt is just a part of every day life. That’s why we’re delighted to offer support and guidance to those who find themselves in debt, breaking down the stigma surrounding financial distress.
If you are experiencing problems with debt, speak to one of our friendly advisors for free on 0808 2085 195.