* PHE launches new campaign encouraging people to look after their mental health as they do physical health.

* Nearly three quarters of people in the West Midlands say they experience one or more feelings of anxiety, low mood, stress or problems sleeping frequently or occasionally.

* South Asian communities encouraged to talk about mental health.

* New online guide will help people take steps to improve and manage their mental health.

Public Health England (PHE) is encouraging adults to look after their mental health as they do their physical health through its new Every Mind Matters campaign – launching as a pilot exclusively in the West and East Midlands this World Mental Health Day (Wednesday 10 October).

The new campaign highlights that while we can all feel stressed, anxious, low or have trouble sleeping, there are simple actions we can take to manage them and prevent these issues from becoming more serious.

It encourages people to visit the Every Mind Matters guide, a free NHS-approved online resource, which provides expert advice, practical tips, and experiences from real people to help manage these issues and those of others.

Each year, around one in four people in England experience a mental health problem2 and the proportion of diagnosable common mental health conditions* has increased by 20% in 20 years.

A new survey1 of adults across the West and East Midlands conducted for PHE also shows nearly three quarters (70%) of people in the West Midlands (and 70% of people within Birmingham) report experiencing one or more of low mood, anxiety, stress and trouble sleeping frequently or occasionally.

Stress is the most common response, with over half (51% of people in the West Midlands and 53% in Birmingham) experiencing this frequently or occasionally, compared to 49% for sleeplessness (in both Birmingham and the West Midlands), 44% for low mood (45% in Birmingham) and 38% for anxiety (for Birmingham and the West Midlands).

The survey also found that two thirds (64%) of adults in the West Midlands (66% in Birmingham) say they look after their physical health on a weekly basis, but less than half (45% in the West Midlands and 48% in Birmingham) look after their mental health as regularly.

These figures highlight the importance of helping people to better understand and take action on their own mental health.

Having good mental health can help us feel and function better, have more positive relationships with those around us and deal with and manage difficult times now and into the future. Over time, having good mental health may also reduce our risk of physical health problems.

Dr Mamoona Tahir, Health Protection Consultant with PHE West Midlands, said: “We know that there is stigma and shame associated with mental health within South Asian communities so it’s important that we don’t shy away from talking about it but recognise that with the pressures of modern life, it’s normal to feel stressed, anxious, low or have trouble sleeping some of the time. But when these become overwhelming or frequent they can manifest into a more serious problem.

“We would like to encourage people to feel empowered to look after their own mental health by finding simple actions that can manage or prevent issues from becoming more serious. Our campaign helps you take your mental health into your own hands, so you can protect and improve your own mental health and that of others.”

Shuranjeet Singh Takhar, Director of Taraki, said: “It’s great to see that PHE are launching a new campaign encouraging people to look after their mental health as many people do with their physical health.

We work with Punjabi communities so we fully understand how language, cultural and religious beliefs can make it a real challenge to talk openly about mental health. However, the reality is we all experience stress, anxiety, low mood or have trouble sleeping at some point in our lives irrespective of our cultural background.

We are committed to helping Punjabi communities to better understand mental health, break down stigma associated with it, and be better placed to help one another so we fully support the new Every Mind Matters campaign.

As South Asians, it’s important for us to better understand and take the necessary action so we can have good mental health.”

The Every Mind Matters guide also offers support for social anxiety, trauma, obsessions and compulsions or panic attacks and provides information for people wishing to help friends, family and colleagues experiencing mental health problems.

Every Mind Matters has been developed in conjunction with leading charities, academics and clinicians and is endorsed by leading experts in mental health.

It is being promoted to adults across the Midlands with new TV, radio and online adverts; and is being supported by a range of public sector, charity and commercial partners.

To access the Every Mind Matters digital platform, including expert-led videos, and create your own action plan to help look after your mental health, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/


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