Just like physical health, we all have mental health.
Ups and downs can affect anyone and, while World Mental Health Day (Sunday 10 October) is a great day to look out for friends and loved ones, mental health should be a priority everyday.
Below are five practical ways to look after your mental health. Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time. Anyone can follow this advice. Why not start today?
1. Talk about your feelings and connecting with others
Social contact is good for your mental health – even if you do not feel like engaging with other people when you are low or anxious. Opening up about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. If you have a friend or family member you can talk to, often a problem shared is a problem halved.
2. Keep active
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health. Try making use of any of Wirral’s beautiful parks and open spaces or, if the weather’s a little chilly, stay in and watch an exercise video – we love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube!
3. Eat well
Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
4. Lower your drinking
According to mentalhealth.org.uk, “we often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary. When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body.”
The Lower my Drinking app can help you change the way you see alcohol to help boost your health.
Available across Cheshire and Merseyside, the free app offers practical steps that you can add into your weekly routine to help lower your drinking such as:
- regularly reviewing your drinking habits
- comparing your drinking levels every week to see how you score
- using motivational techniques to help you on your journey to healthier drinking
- setting yourself alerts to help you on your way to staying on top of your drinking levels
5. Get good sleep
Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it's important to get enough. Going to bed when you feel tired and getting up at roughly the same time helps teach your body to sleep better. If you’re having trouble sleeping you can access a range of resources over at the Every Mind Matters website, particularly this section on sleep problems.
Looking for local support?
Our local services also have a range of mental health support and resources on offer.
Here are some of the things you can access:
Urgent mental health support
- Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust crisis helpline, which is free and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week - 0800 145 6485.
Local mental health support
- Talking Together Wirral is a free and confidential service available to anyone aged 16+ who is registered with a GP in Wirral. Operating Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm, 0151 649 1859.
Support for young people
- Self-help resources from Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, including resources for parents, carers, schools and other professionals.
- The ‘MyMind’ website contains support for children and young people across Cheshire and Wirral.
National helplines and campaigns
- A helpful list of national helplines, including Samaritans (116 123), Alzheimer's Society (0300 222 1122) and CALM (0800 58 58 58).
- The NHS Every Mind Matters website offers expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.
Wellbeing, self-help and apps
- A list of apps to help your wellbeing, including NHS and MIND approved links.
Support for NHS professionals
- Tailored health and wellbeing support for NHS workers, including telephone, text, apps and online short courses. General line: 0800 06 96 222. For bereavement support: 0300 303 4434.
Support for Social Care professionals
- Tailored health and wellbeing support for those working in social care, including telephone, text, package of support for Registered Managers, apps and an online platform. (Text ‘FRONTLINE’ to 85258 to start a conversation).
Other local support services
- Wirral InfoBank is an online resource to help you find services near you.
- Financial support and debt worries can impact your mental health – Citizen’s Advice Wirral can support you. Residents who meet certain criteria and are asked to self-isolate can also access financial help from the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme via www.wirral.gov.uk/covidpayment.