Why Mental Health Awareness Week is so important this year

This week, from the 16th to the 22nd, is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme for 2016 is relationships.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, good relationships help us live longer and happier lives with fewer physical and mental health problems.

The foundation believes that we urgently need a much greater focus on the quality of our relationships and to understand how fundamental they are to our health and wellbeing. They are urging everyone to go the extra mile in prioritising their relationships and to make a relationship resolution – that is, to assess how much time we actively commit to building and maintaining good relationships, and to ask whether we can invest more in being present with and listening to friends, family and colleagues.

The focus on relationships for 2016 stems from a survey of 2,000 adults in the UK which revealed that 46 per cent admitted they regret not investing more time in their relationships – a figure which hits 50 per cent among men. And despite the fact that most people claim to value their social lives above their physical health, only 11 per cent of people surveyed made it the focus of their New Year’s resolutions.

The foundation is asking people to get involved this year in a number of different ways. These include:

  • Hosting an event – you can help start conversations around mental health by holding an event. Ideas include a wellbeing walk, a sports tournament, pub quiz and a cake sale. You can even add your event to the Mental Health Foundation’s activity map, where you can see what other people are planning during the week.
  • Spreading the word – these days social media makes it easier than ever to get involved and spread the word, and you can do so via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #MHAW16
  • Share your story – the Mental Health Foundation is asking people to share their stories about how relationships have been a source of strength. If you would like to do this, they ask for 400 words to be sent to stories@mentalhealth.org.uk

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