Mental Health Awareness Week

Wiltshire people are being encouraged to boost their mental health by keeping fit as part of a national campaign for Mental Health Awareness Week next week (May 13-19)

Wiltshire Council is distributing information and posters to its leisure centres and GP surgeries showing how adopting a healthy lifestyle can be good for the mind.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week campaign theme is physical activity and exercise, highlighting the impact they have on mental health and wellbeing.

The campaign aims to change the way physical activity is viewed in the UK so it can be seen not as something people ‘have to do’, ‘should do’ or ‘ought to do’ for health but as something which is done because of the positive benefits it has on people’s wellbeing.

Research shows that exercise influences the release and uptake of chemicals in the brain that make people feel good. From simple daily changes like walking for twenty minutes or tending the garden to running a marathon, physical activity can significantly improve people’s quality of life.

As well as encouraging exercise there are other good ways to look after mental health. These include keeping active, talking about feelings, eating well, drinking sensibly, keeping in touch with friends and family, asking for help, someone doing something they’re good at, taking a break, caring for others and a person accepting who they are.

Frances Chinemana, consultant in public health at Wiltshire Council, said “This campaign provides a great opportunity for people to get active and make step by step changes in the way they incorporate activity and exercise in their daily lives. The benefits to mental health and wellbeing include reducing levels of stress, increasing self-esteem and improving a person’s mood and outlook on life.”