Mental Health & Wellbeing
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Mental Health & Wellbeing

​The World Health Organisation defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This definition highlights the equal importance of mental health in the maintenance of overall health.
Indeed, mental health is the foundation for overall wellbeing and effective functioning of individuals. It is fundamental to our abilities to think, emote, learn, understand and communicate with others, and apply knowledge to different environments and situations. Indeed, maintaining mental health and wellbeing is a state of balance both within and with the environment.
Several physical, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual factors are interrelated in producing such a balance. For instance, violence (especially sexual violence) and socio-economic pressures are recognised risks to mental health. Poorer mental health has also been related with stressful work conditions, rapid social change, social exclusion, physical ill-health, personality factors, and genetic factors.
Therefore, looking after our mental health is not something we should just do if we are struggling, or feeling low, anxious or stressed. Rather, it is actually something we need to truly invest in, just like with our physical health. Staying on top of our mental wellbeing helps us both in the present as well as in our abilities to manage difficult times in the future. Over time, it can also reduce our risk of physical health problems.

There are lots of things we can do to look after our mental health and wellbeing every day – make a start with these 6 tips:
   1. Being in the present – Taking time our of our day to practice self-awareness and being in the present moment – i.e. being more mindful – allows us to acknowledge our thoughts and emotions, and therefore could allow us to take healthier perspectives. 
   2. Reframing unhelpful thoughts – Our thinking and our behaviour are intertwined. Sometimes, it becomes easier for us to develop unhealthy patterns of thinking about thing. Recognising these thought patterns and taking the steps necessary to look at them from different perspectives can improve mental health and wellbeing. 
   3. Getting good sleep – The quantity and quality of our sleep makes a difference to how we feel both mentally and physically. Maintaining good sleep hygiene is recommended. 
   4. Connecting with others – Seeking, building, and maintaining close relationships with trusted others adds to our web of social support. It helps to build a sense of self-worth, and belonging as well as an opportunity to share positive experiences. Seeking quality time, talking to people about our feelings, and asking others for help can all help battle loneliness and improve mental health and wellbeing. 
   5. Living a healthy life – Engaging in healthy physical behaviours such as being active, maintaining a healthy diet, and reducing unhealthy  habits such as smoking, alcohol and caffeine can have positive effects on our mood. 
   6. Doing things for yourself – Time is becoming more and more of a luxury. Making sure that you make time to enjoy your favourite hobbies, learn new skills, or engage in things that make you happy is just important as making time for all other responsibilities. 

To get you started, the Directorate has developed a number of activities for download and use at your leisure. Click on the links you find most relevant to you: