World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day 2021 takes place today on 10th October. Its theme, perhaps fittingly, is hope, something many of us have come to rely on over the course of the last 18 months.

According to the Collins dictionary, hope is ‘a feeling of desire and expectation that things will go well in the future’. As we try to rebuild after all we’ve endured – and continue to endure – a little bit of hope seems an appropriate place to start.

The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected everyone but the hope that things will improve, that life can return to what we knew before, has always been key to our ability to face difficulties and keep going.

Hope can have real-world impacts, too. Research carried out by the University of East Anglia last year found that nurturing hope in unhappy people can mitigate behaviours that may do them harm. Hopeful individuals are more likely to experience positive emotions and they expect to be successful in achieving career and life ambitions. Hope can also protect against the development of chronic anxiety and works to motivate us.

American psychologist Charles R. Snyder once wrote that ‘A rainbow is a prism that sends shards of multi-colored light in various directions. It lifts our spirits and makes us think of what is possible. Hope is the same – a personal rainbow of the mind.’ This description is as poetic as it is accurate.

As individuals, and as a community, we possess an inherent understanding of how precious a commodity hope can be. It is very often resistant to adversity and powerful enough to sustain us, even in the darkest of times.

Here are a few easy tips to get you started:

  • Connect regularly with friends and loved ones. Talk to them about how you are feeling.
  • Learn to set limits, goals and priorities. Don’t overstretch yourself.
  • Whether you are working in the office or at home, manage your workload and take regular breaks. If you are struggling, speak to a colleague or your line manager.
  • Switch off by using your personal time to relax. Do things that you enjoy and keep you engaged.
  • Have things to look forward to. This is a core part of hopefulness and it can include big things, like a holiday, or something smaller, like a trip to the cinema.
  • Concentrate on getting good sleep, which enhances mood, controls stress and aids physical health.

If you want to do something hopeful right now, why not give these a go?

Tune into The Wellbeing Sessions 2

Following on from the resounding success of The Wellbeing Sessions, Inspire’s 2020 online programme for World Mental Health Day, this year brings its sequel. The Wellbeing Sessions 2 will, once again, broadcast a series of compelling events, all of them revolving around the theme of hope. Be sure to tune into Inspire’s Facebook Live broadcast on 10th October. Read all about what we have planned here.

Take the Hope Quiz

Throughout September and October, the Public Health Agency (PHA) will be promoting its Holding on to Hope in a Changing World campaign, which calls on everyone to nurture their mental and emotional health. As part of this campaign, the PHA is encouraging the public to complete the Hope Quiz. People can find out where they are on the 'hope scale' and take actions to help improve their wellbeing. You can check it out here.

Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing

Remember, you can use the 5 Steps to Wellbeing database on the Covid Wellbeing NI for ideas around how to support your own wellbeing. There are five themes: Take Notice, Give, Learn, Be Active, Connect. Each will help you feel hopeful in yourself and in the world. To learn more about the 5 Steps and a range of tailored online tools, information and resources, click on this link.