By Michelle Butterley – 9 October 2019

Wellbeing Manager at Depaul UK, Michelle Butterley, blogs about how to stay mentally healthy. Please note that this blog contains mention of suicide, which some readers may find distressing.

At Depaul UK, we believe that mental health and wellbeing is every bit as important as physical health. Poor mental health can be both a cause and a consequence of homelessness, which is why we invest in projects and services which improve mental health outcomes.

In 2018, 84% of those we worked with who had a known mental health need engaged with support for their need and/or saw improvement in this area. Good mental health allows the young people we work with to develop a stake in their communities and to fulfil their potential.

Each year on October 10th, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises World Mental Health Day. This year the theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is suicide prevention.

Looking after mental health

The WHO suggests that people feeling less mentally healthy can take steps to improve how they feel. Their ten suggestions for looking after mental health include:

  1. Talking about your feelings
  2. Staying active
  3. Eating well
  4. Drinking only in moderation
  5. Staying in touch with friends and family
  6. Asking for help when you need it
  7. Taking a break when you need it
  8. Doing something you’re good at to beat stress
  9. Accepting who you are to boost self-esteem
  10. Caring for others to build relationships

Suicide prevention

Those struggling with serious mental health problems may also experience suicidal thoughts, and this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign centres around suicide prevention.

Young people struggling with suicidal thoughts and anyone worried about a young person can contact Papyrus UK, a UK charity working to prevent youth suicides. The Papyrus hotline – Hopeline UK – can be contacted on 0800 068 41 41.

Another movement hoping to reduce suicides is Thrive LDN, which is supported by the Mayor of London and which aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners.  Thrive offers free online training taking just 20 minutes, teaching students how to respond to someone in crisis.

Because of the sensitive content of the course it’s recommended to complete it with a friend or colleague, but the training should help to identify warning signs and develop confidence in having conversations around suicide.

Depaul UK’s mental health and wellbeing work is only possible with the generous support of key funders, including; the CareTech Foundation, The Co-op Foundation, The Westminster Foundation and Healthwatch North Tyneside.

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