This website provides information on how you can take steps to improve your own or others' mental health and wellbeing.
What is good mental health?
The World Health Organisation (Factsheet No.220) has described good mental health as:
'Not just the absence of mental disorder. It is a state of wellbeing where the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community'.
Why is good mental health important?
Good mental health is a foundation of positive health and wellbeing. As recognised in the Cross Government Mental Health Outcomes Strategy (HMG Feb. 2011) - 'there's no health without mental health'. The level of good mental health/mental wellbeing, directly influences our quality of life as we experience it through thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
What is mental health improvement?
Mental health improvement includes any positive actions,which increases our level of health and wellbeing. As part of this, there may be the need to tackle problem areas which are having a negative effect and pull us down into poorer mental health. Mental health improvement works towards building positive factors (e.g. feeling more in control) and reducing negative ones (e.g. anxiety). Helpful organisations are listed later.
How can mental health be improved?
Mental and physical health can't be separated. Each affects the other. Mentally, if you're in a 'good mood' (positive thoughts and feelings), you'll probably feel more physically energised. Should you be feeling mentally 'down' (negative thoughts and feelings), then physical energy levels will likely register as low. Physically, if you feel ill, then mentally and emotionally, you'll probably be pretty miserable. In contrast, if you're physically rested after a good night's sleep, you're likely to feel mentally more positive.
Understanding this 'two-way' traffic system allows you to improve your mental health using a variety of practical mental/emotional and physical approaches.
Listed below are 12 areas where positive steps towards improved mental health and wellbeing can be taken. A little detective work may be needed (e.g. through websites, Council information centres, your GP or NHS Health Points) for further information or signposting.
Working on the areas you select should begin to improve your life-experience and outlook.
- Realistic and positive thinking
Promote a more accurate, positive outlook and acceptance of self. Challenge unrealistic and negative thinking.
- Let's get physical
Be physically active on a daily basis. You don't need a gym. Try to get outdoors and enjoy the 'green space'.
Build in regular relaxation practice, rest times and leisure activities in the week.
- We can work it out
Ask for advice or assistance. Talk over your problems and emotions.
- Ground control
Identify areas which you can control and positively move forward. Recognise there are areas which you can't influence and leave them on the 'back-burner'. Be realistic about how much you can handle and organise using time management and planning methods.
- U matter
Learn and apply assertiveness and confidence building techniques.
- Stay connected - get involved
Maintain or increase social contact with family, friends, groups and your community.
Use your sense of humour. Try to see the funny side which can often exist in situations.
Get an adequate amount of quality, restorative sleep.
- Touch the 'rainbow'
Opt for varied (multi-coloured), nutritious and healthy eating, and keep alcohol use within recommended levels (units).
- Balance and flexibility
Practice a good work/life balance whenever possible and adopt a flexible approach to demands and circumstances. Allow yourself to let go of situations and move on.
- Expand your universe
Be creative. Learn new skills to increase your knowledge, capabilities and possibilities!
More information and contacts
Contact the free NHS Grampian healthline on: 0500 20 20 30
Euan McCormack, Mental Health Improvement Advisor
More useful resources...