HeadStart Hull partners, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Hull City Council and Humber Foundation Trust are backing this year’s Mental Health Awareness week from 11 – 17 May 2015.
The theme of the nationally recognised week is ‘mindfulness’; the act of paying attention to the present moment, without getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future.
Through HeadStart a number of teachers working at schools in Hull have been fortunate enough to take part in mindfulness training. Donna Boyce from Griffin Primary School undertook the training earlier this year, she said:
“I can honestly say the 8 week mindfulness course was the best thing I have ever done. It has given me a vital technique which I can use to cope with the daily battles I encounter. Mindfulness allows you to explore the reasons for the feelings we have; this insight has helped me to come to terms with my own struggles and have a true sense of acceptance of myself and my feelings”.
Mindfulness is a positive response to the pressures of modern lifestyles; in particular stress, anxiety and depression. By being mindful individuals can begin taking the positive steps required to increase their mental resilience.
There are a number of ways people can be mindful, including:
- Go walking – walk mindfully, taking notice of the sights and sounds around you. Give your brain a break by thinking only about that moment and not any upcoming pressures or current issues in your life.
- Eat a mindful meal – slow down the process of eating, really enjoy and saviour your meal! Slow down your actions and your mind will slow too.
- Turn off technology – focus on something other than texts, emails and social media. Stepping away from your phone for even just an hour can help mental wellbeing.
Jenny Edwards, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation says:
“We are very excited about the potential mindfulness has to improve our nation’s mental health. Alongside ensuring adequate support for those who develop mental health problems, as a society we have to put more focus on prevention.
Everyone has mental health, and everyone can take positive steps to help maintain emotional wellbeing. Over recent years, and in large part due to previous Mental Health Awareness Weeks, there is a greater acknowledgment of the impact of exercising, eating and sleeping well, not just for physical health, but mental health.
There is now also a growing body of evidence that practising mindfulness, taking time to focus on the present rather than analysing the past or worrying about the future, can help maintain good mental health.”
Notes to Editors:
- If you want to practice mindfulness, visit www.headspace.com to find out more and ‘treat your head right’
What is Mindfulness?
- Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body based training that helps people to change the way they think and feel about their experiences - especially stressful experiences – and is recommended as a treatment for people with mental health problems. Mindfulness exercises are ways of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing, and yoga. Training helps people to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, they’re better able to manage them. Practising mindfulness can give more insight into emotions, boost attention and concentration, and improve relationships.
- Mindfulness can be practiced by children, young people and adults. There are different ways to practice mindfulness. Group courses run to practise mindfulness in person and there are online courses too where you can learn through self-directed practice at home. You don’t need to be religious or spiritual to practise mindfulness – it can help people with or without religious beliefs.
- There are a number of ways you can learn mindfulness. Where you live, whether you suffer from recurrent depression, stress and anxiety, or if you just want to improve your general wellbeing will impact how you choose the best course for you.
The Mental Health Foundation
The Mental Health Foundation is the charity for everybody’s mental health. We are committed to reducing the suffering caused by mental ill health and to help everyone lead mentally healthier lives. We help people to survive, recover from and prevent mental health problems. We do this by carrying out research, developing practical solutions for better mental health services, campaigning to reduce stigma & discrimination and promoting better mental health for us all. You can find out more about our current and upcoming work at www.mentalhealth.org.uk.