Mental Health Awareness Week 2015

From the 11-17th May we’re celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week (#MHAW15). You can find out more by visiting the Mental Health Foundation (MHF). The MHF have been hosting MHAW since 2000 and every year they focus on a different theme which can help ease symptoms of Mental Health issues. This year they’re promoting Mindfulness. But what is mindfulness? In short; mindfulness is a form of meditation that can be practised anywhere, it helps to draw your attention and senses to what is happening in the present moment and eliminate worry of the past or future which can so often disturb our thoughts. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and help with a number of issues concerning Mental Health. If you’re hoping to learn mindfulness there are online courses available and if you type ‘mindfulness’ into Amazon there are plenty of books which take you through the practice. My favourite is Mindfulness in Eight Weeks by Michael Chaskalson.

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So why is MHAW15 important? We are becoming more aware as a nation about the implications of Mental Health issues and we are beginning to work towards ending stigma surrounding them. The stigma is that these issues are invented by the victims and aren’t as important as physical health issues. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The term ‘mind/body’ is used more often now because we know that what happens in our minds has a profound effect on our bodies. It’s no surprise that Mental Health issues can lead on to have serious implications for our physical health. Encouraging people to talk more openly about their problems and actively seek help will ensure that we develop a better understanding of Mental Health plus what we can do to actively help each other (and ourselves).

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The world is fast changing. Our pace of life is so different now compared with in the past and naturally it can be difficult to cope with the pressures and stress of modern day life. With all the forms of social media and instant messaging available, the ways in which people can reach us are copious and probably unnecessary. This puts further pressure on us to maintain an online presence.

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During MHAW15 I hope you try to help make positive changes about the way you view Mental Health, doing what you can to either learn more or help others. Remember, there are more things than just mindfulness that can help with Mental Health problems!

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The Motivation Project is about the step BEFORE Mental Health problems arise; early intervention. We are using dance in task led workshops to help teenage girls learn to improve their own emotional wellbeing. This includes boosting confidence and self esteem! I believe that if we put the right programmes in place, we can help to stop Mental Health issues arising in the future. After all, prevention is better than cure.

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Leyla