Social inequalities are all around us: poverty and financial strain, racism, sexism, bullying based on sexual orientation, homelessness, and social exclusion due to disability or age, to name just a handful.
Yet discussion on the causes of mental health problems often focuses on individual factors. Rarely does public discourse acknowledge that the circumstances in which we are born, raised and live profoundly affect our chances of having good mental health.
We all have mental health and we all can experience mental health problems, whatever our background or walk of life. But the risks of mental ill-health are not equally distributed. The likelihood of our developing a mental health problem is influenced by our biological makeup, and by the circumstances in which we are born, grow, live and age. Those who face the greatest disadvantages in life also face the greatest risks to their mental health. This unequal distribution of risk to our mental health is what we call mental health inequality.
A report published by the mental health foundation found that there is a social gradient in mental health in general, people living in financial hardship are at increased risk of mental health problems and lower mental wellbeing. This link between poverty and mental health has been recognised for many years and is well evidenced.
Fun facts of the day? Did you know that:
83% of us suffer from workplace stress, this equates to 1 million workers to miss work every single day.
Our mental wellbeing is just as important as our physical health, so we need to make sure we take good care of it. Good mental health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and the want to live your life. But sometimes in life we can go through periods of poor mental health where we find the ways we are thinking or feeling become difficult or even impossible to cope with.
There are a number of self-help techniques that could help which include:
Manage your stress levels
If you have a lot of stress in your life, find ways to reduce it such as regular exercise, 10 minutes to yourself or a chat with family/friends.
Doing things you enjoy is good for your wellbeing. Simple activities like watching sports with friends, having a bath or meeting a friend for coffee can improve your day.
Even moderate exercise releases chemicals in your brain that life your mood. It can also help you sleep better, have more energy and keep your heart healthy. Choose an exercise you enjoy and maybe do it with a friend. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week.
An adult needs around 7-8 hours of sleep a night for their mind and body to fully rest.
Talking about things that are troubling you with friends, family members or even a counsellor can help to get things off your chest.
We at The Generation are on a mission to support you to combat mental health in the same way as your physical health. Just because we can’t see it.. doesn’t mean its not just as (and if not more) important. Let’s combat this together!
Natalie is the Founder of The Wellbeing Generation, a social enterprise supporting businesses to make their staff happier and healthier.