Making World Mental Health Day sweet, not sickly

Toby Williamson, Head of Development and Later Life:

"Yesterday’s World Mental Health Day presented an opportunity to raise awareness and promote understanding about mental health. When people hear the phrase “mental health” they often just think “mental illness”, or more offensive phrases describing mental ill health. But mental health is not the same as mental illness, and having a mental illness should never result in abuse, ridicule, stigma or discrimination. We all have “mental health” just like we all have physical health – and at any point in time one in six of us will be experiencing some form of mental distress. We need to provide good support to those who experience mental health problems but also know how to do things to look after and protect our mental health so we can deal with the ups and downs of life.

This week is also National Chocolate Week. No obvious connection to World Mental Health Day. Or is there?  Everyone knows that eating too much chocolate is not good for you – a few years ago the Mental Health Foundation published a report on the relationship between what one eats and one’s mental health. But subjective mental health – how one consciously feels – is important too. And pleasures in life such as chocolate (and a few other things which I won’t mention!) can give us that feel good factor which it would be silly to feel guilty or bad about. What's more, there’s even evidence to indicate that eating a little bit of dark chocolate or drinking a small amount of red wine may improve the brain’s performance and help stave off Alzheimers disease.

So let’s celebrate World Mental Health Day and not forget to occasionally do the things that bring us pleasure. Cheers!"

Published 11 October 2012 |
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