‘Conversations about difficult emotions are increasingly inclusive, optimistic…’
Public Health England’s major new Mental Health campaign, ‘Every Mind Matters’, launches today. Celebrity and big brand partners, the public sector and health care system will all be coming together to support people in feeling more confident in taking action to take care of their mental health and wellbeing.
Every Mind Matters offers free, NHS-approved mental health resources, via the One You website, which helps build understanding of mental health and what individuals can do to improve and manage how they are feeling. Users are asked a few questions to identify the type of issues they are facing, to generate a tailored ‘self-care action plan’. There are more in-depth modules on topics such as stress, sleeplessness, anxiety and low mood. Each contains information on what can cause changes in people’s mental health, possible signs to look out for, advice on things you can do, what’s OK and when people should seek further support.
Public Health England emphasise that this is not a treatment service: it has been designed to complement wider services including IAPT, with appropriate signposting for those who would benefit from additional support.
Professor Peter Kinderman (University of Liverpool) was part of the expert advisory group. He told us: ‘Every Mind Matters has been designed to raise public awareness of the importance of our mental health, and offer practical help, while avoiding labelling and the imposition of professional perspectives. I’ve always championed an approach to mental health which avoids pathologising our human and understandable responses to life’s challenges, and promoted inclusive and accessible social and psychological approaches to protecting and promoting our mental health. This resource will help people address specific problems that are affecting their wellbeing, and encourages positive steps to mental health. This is therefore a massive opportunity to link with our colleagues (in the NHS and in the wider community) to promote mental health in a positive, inclusive, effective, way.’
Kinderman noted that mental health has been prominent in the media in recent years, but that much of the focus has been the weaknesses of traditional approaches (such as the adverse effects of medication: see ‘News’, November). ‘On the face of it, these are disappointing messages. But our response, including the investment in this new resource, is genuinely invigorating – we’re learning how to build new and more positive ways of supporting people in distress. Our conversations about difficult emotions are becoming increasingly inclusive, optimistic and positive. The public, and especially young people, seem to be more willing to discuss their mental health, and in ways that recognise the reality of the difficulties, but reject the pessimism and negativity of the past. There has been investment in psychological therapies (although more is needed), and we’ve started to invest in ‘social prescribing’ and prevention (but again, we need to do more). “Every Mind Matters” is an important part of that vision, and I’m delighted to have played a part in its development.’
Dee Anand, Chartered Psychologist and COO of national mental health charity Together, for Mental Wellbeing, is looking to get behind the project as an ambassador. He said: ‘I think there is tremendous value in this opening up a conversation about mental wellbeing, social inclusion and support as opposed to “mental illness”. It has real potential to engage the wider public in a conversation about mental wellbeing beyond diagnosis and they are considering strategies to reach out to marginalised groups where mental wellbeing is not often discussed.’
- Find out more on the Public Health England website.
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