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When is Mental Health Awareness Week? Signs of stress and how to get help

When is Mental Health Awareness Week? Signs of stress and how to get help

Mental Health Awareness Week is a prime opportunity to learn more about mental health issues and advocate change.

Every year, communities and decision-makers discuss how to make society more aware and supportive of mental well-being.

The theme for the week changes annually, with previous years’ themes including anxiety, nature and mental health, kindness, and body image.

Here is a look at this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, including its date, theme, and how to participate.

When is Mental Health Awareness Week 2024?

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week is between Monday, May 13, and Sunday, May 19.

The Mental Health Foundation launched the initiative in 2001 to “bring together the UK to focus on getting good mental health”.

It says on its website that the week aims to tackle stigma and help people understand and prioritise their and others' mental health.

The website says: “Each May, millions of people from every part of society take part across the whole of the UK. They include people in schools and further education; private, public and charity sectors; families and individuals.

“The UK and national governments, celebrities and many others continue to actively support the week.”

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 theme

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is ‘Movement: moving more for our mental health’.

The Mental Health Foundation said: “Regular physical activity is known to improve mental health, quality of life, and wellbeing. It also helps prevent and treat heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and breast and colon cancer, and more.

“Despite these benefits being well established, over a third of UK adults do not meet the recommended amount of activity.”

In a new report, the foundation “explores what’s stopping the UK population from being more active, and what could help get people moving more for their mental health”.

How to get involved with Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

There are several ways in which you can get involved.

The Mental Health Foundation wants people to participate by finding moments for movement in their daily routines.

That does not mean signing up for a marathon or hiking. It can be a short walk, a dance class, or swimming with friends or family.

Some people are even skydiving to raise money for the foundation.

You can also donate and support the charity’s quest to achieve good mental health for all.

Alternatively, you can hold a Wear It Green Day at your school or workplace to raise money for the cause.

What is the Mental Health Foundation?

The Mental Health Foundation is a UK-based charity that focuses on improving mental health and well-being for everyone. Established in 1949, it works to prevent mental health problems, promote good mental health, and provide support for those affected by mental health issues.

The foundation conducts research, advocates for policy changes, and delivers various programmes and initiatives to raise awareness and understanding of mental health.

Some of the key areas of focus for the Mental Health Foundation include:

  • Research: Conducting studies to understand mental health issues and their impact better and identify effective prevention and treatment strategies.

  • Campaigns: Running campaigns to raise awareness about mental health, challenge stigma and discrimination, and promote positive attitudes and behaviours.

  • Services and support: Providing resources, information, and support services for individuals and communities affected by mental health issues.

  • Policy and advocacy: Advocating for policies and practices that promote mental well-being, improve access to mental health services, and address the social determinants of mental health.

What are the signs of stress?

The mental health charity Mind says there are several clear signs of stress including sleep problems, headaches, panic attacks, blurred eyesight, high blood pressure, and heartburn.

Stress can make you do unusual things, such as biting your nails, eating too much or too little, being restless, and withdrawing from people around you.

Various factors can cause stress. One significant circumstance or incident in your life may be the source of it. Or it could be a culmination of numerous smaller issues.

How you can get help

  • General Practitioner (GP): Your GP is usually the first point of contact for accessing mental health support. They can provide an initial assessment, offer advice, and refer you to specialist services, such as counselling or therapy.

  • NHS mental health services: The NHS offers several mental health services, including talking therapies (such as cognitive-behavioural therapy or counselling), medication, and community-based support. You can sometimes access these services through your GP or self-referral.

  • NHS 111: If you need urgent help with stress or any other mental health crisis, you can call NHS 111 (England) or the equivalent service elsewhere in the UK. They can provide advice and direct you to the appropriate support services, including emergency help if necessary.

  • Mental health charities:

  • Samaritans:

  • Phone: 116 123 (24/7 helpline, free to call)

  • Email: jo@samaritans.org

  • Website: Samaritans

  • SHOUT:

  • Text: SHOUT to 85258 (24/7 crisis text support, free on all major mobile networks)

  • Website: SHOUT Crisis Text Line

  • Mind

  • Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

  • Email: info@mind.org.uk

  • Text: 86463 (24/7, free to text)

  • Website: Mind

  • Online resources: Numerous online resources and self-help tools are available for managing stress and improving mental well-being. Websites such as NHS Every Mind Matters and Mind provide practical tips, information, and guidance on stress management techniques.