The general public is urged to find ‘what works for me’ to support their mental well-being as the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) launches the latest Better Health – Every Mind Matters (EMM) campaign.
- A new campaign was launched after half of the adults in England said the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health
- The first campaign launched by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) will help adults improve their mental wellbeing
- A campaign backed by celebrities Stephen Fry, Arlo Parks and Jay Blades
The campaign empowers people to look after their mental health by directing them to free, practical tips and advice. By answering five simple questions through the Every Mind Matters platform, people can get a tailored ‘Mind Plan’, giving them personalised tips to help deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, sleep better and feel more in control.
New research commissioned by OHID reveals nearly half (49%) of adults in England said the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on their mental well-being, and more than a third of all adults in England (34% or 15.1 million) said they did not know what to do to help improve their mental wellbeing.
Younger adults reported struggling the most, with 57% of those aged 18 to 34 stating their mental well-being was negatively affected by the pandemic and just under half (44%) reporting that they did not know what to do to help.
This is the first campaign delivered by the new OHID, which was launched on 1 October 2021 to tackle health inequalities across the country.
Minister for Care and Mental Health Gillian Keegan said: “The public showed great resilience throughout the pandemic, but it has served as a stark reminder that we all need to look after ourselves both physically and mentally. We can all take simple steps to improve our mental well-being and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. For anyone unsure what they can do, I urge you to visit Every Mind Matters and take advantage of the expert advice and practical tips available to you.”
Claire Murdoch, NHS National Director for Mental Health, said: “The last year has taken its toll on people’s mental health, but NHS staff have responded rapidly to treat more people with mental health issues than ever before – rolling out 24/7 crisis lines across the country and mental health support teams in schools during the pandemic. The NHS is here for you, so our rapidly expanding talking therapy services are available if you’re struggling with anxiety and depression. At the same time, anyone who needs urgent help can access our 24/7 NHS crisis lines - available to people of all ages. I would encourage everyone to look after their mental health, and by answering five simple questions, get a tailored ‘mind plan’ which will give you tips to help boost your mood, sleep better and deal with stress and anxiety.”
Over 3.4 million individual Mind Plans have already been created since the campaign was first launched in October 2019.
Famous faces – including actor and presenter Stephen Fry, Mercury prize winner Arlo Parks and TV presenter Jay Blades – are supporting the new campaign by sharing their personal mental well-being experiences during the last 18 months and encouraging others to take steps to look after themselves.
Stephen Fry will also voice a new TV advert highlighting ‘what works for me’, depicting the little things that people can do to look after their mental health, such as being active, talking about their worries or taking up a hobby.
Stephen Fry, actor, writer and mental health advocate, said: “It’s fair to say that the last 18 months have presented us all with uniquely different and challenging obstacles from a mental health perspective. However, just like keeping in physical shape, it is important to find activities you enjoy to keep your mind healthy. I’ve found food preparation and cooking have helped me relax over the past year. It’s all about finding what works best for you to help deal with the everyday stresses and strains of life - it could be exercise, baking a cake or getting stuck in with gardening – the list is endless. If you are struggling and need advice, check out the Every Mind Matters website for tips and guidance to get you started today.”
Rohan, 46, from London, is a mental health advocate who has run an impressive 50 marathons and credits running as a huge help for his mental wellbeing. Rohan said: Looking after our mental wellbeing is the most important thing we can do, and I want to encourage us all to think about the simple things we can do every day, which are life-giving and positively impact our mental health. For me, running is just one of my tools to manage my stress levels and stay physically healthy. If you want to get tips and advice on how to boost your mental well-being and really equip your well-being toolkit, search Every Mind Matters.”
The campaign is supported by a coalition of leading mental health charities, including CALM, The Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Innovations, and a range of commercial, third-sector, NHS and Local Authority partners, who will share mental health messages with their customers, members and colleagues, including, Mental Health First Aid, Carers organisations and more.
Better Health – Every Mind Matters offers information and videos to help young people look after their mental well-being and will be promoting them through social media channels and in schools. The Every Mind Matters website also provides dedicated support to help parents and guardians look after the mental well-being of the children and young people they care for.
More quotes in support of this campaign
‘Hollyoaks’ star David Tag:
“During lockdown a lot of people’s mental health suffered in so many different ways, my own included! Talking to people is key when looking after my mental health. I always make sure I speak to friends and family and make let them vent on me too. Having a support network is so important. There are so many things that we can all do to help ourselves when we’re feeling down, for me I find solace in making plans for the future or simple exercise, I always feel invincible after a workout. The Every Mind Matters website is a great place for people to go for simple tips and advice. I want to remind people that they are not alone and there is support available to them.”
Actress Kelle Bryan:
“I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2000 and have spent the last two decades or so fighting to not let it control my life. Lupus is aggravated by stress, so living with the disease has really shown me the importance of looking after your mental health. We all have things in our lives that can be stressful, especially during the pandemic, and we’ve learnt different ways of dealing with it. For me, making sure I regularly checked in with my family and friends was key. Just a quick text or call helped reduce my stress and anxiety. I want to remind anyone struggling that they aren’t alone and to reach out if you need help. If you still aren’t sure on the actions you can take to support your mental wellbeing, then search Every Mind Matters today.”
Fitness coach and public speaker Sophie Grace Holmes:
“It’s taken me several years to identify what actions to take for my mental health, but I feel so much happier now that I’ve found activities and a routine that work for me. From walking my dog Nala with a coffee at sunrise, to chasing thrills like open water cold swims and cliff jumping, I know I have a bank of hobbies I can lean on to help me when I’m feeling low. I can’t encourage others enough to take the time to find what works for them!”
YouTuber and children’s TV presenter Anna Maynard:
“I try and surround myself with friends when I’m having a bad day and struggling with my mental health. It’s tempting to close yourself off from your loved ones, however reaching out is the best thing you can do. If you know a friend is having a tough time, then don’t be afraid to ask how they are. I’ve always thought that a problem shared is a problem halved, and the same applies to something you might be struggling with mentally.”
Former British surfing champion and model Laura Crane:
“I’ve loved sport since I was really young and it’s a huge source of comfort knowing I can turn to it when I’m feeling low or anxious. While surfing is my area of passion, there are so many different types of activities people can try to help figure out what makes them feel happy. I know it can be overwhelming, but start small and be patient with yourself – you’ve got nothing to lose by trying!”
Singer Arlo Parks:
“I think the pandemic enforced that insidious feeling of being an island, of being unable to connect to the rest of the world outside our heads. I personally had to very actively check in with myself constantly, treat myself with the gentleness that I would a friend and unlearn the idea of rest being a reward. I think I found real beauty in small things, in playing card games, in painting, in eating perfectly prepared rice – doing small, good things for myself often.”
Louise Gagan, 36, from Warrington:
Louise found that through listening to music, she was able to improve her feelings of anxiety, and found it to be a very useful distraction.
Louise said: “When we are struggling with our mental wellbeing, sometimes it's the smallest actions that can have the biggest impact. This can include going for a walk, reaching out to a friend/family member or even having a long hot soak in the bath. We all struggle sometimes, find what works for you, and always be kind to yourself.”
A survey commissioned by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), Opinium, conducted an online survey with a nationally representative sample of 3000 adults in England from 10 to 15 September 2021.
said COVID-19 had a negative effect on their mental health
English adults don't know what to do to improve their mental wellbeing
of those aged 18 to 34 named money as the biggest strain on their mental wellbeing
Of the 22% of adults who reported taking action to improve their mental wellbeing, 60% of those who did gardening, 54% of those who did crafts (i.e. sewing or knitting), 51% of those who did art (i.e. drawing or painting) and 49% of those who went for brisk walks reported that it helped them feel more relaxed
Additional reported benefits of taking action to improve mental wellbeing included: the ability to enjoy life more (56%), feel generally better (54%), the ability to relax more (52%), improved energy levels (38%), improved physical health (37%), better sleep (34%), more resilience for difficult times (33%), improved self-confidence (32%) and fewer highs and lows (26%)
Ethnic minority group figures
55% said COVID-19 had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing
52% listed worries and anxiety as the top challenge they faced, followed by stress (43%), and low mood and depression (35%)
The main reasons people gave for COVID-19 having a negative impact on their mental wellbeing include loneliness and isolation (46%), worrying about family’s health and safety (45%) and worrying about COVID-19 (45%)
37% were unsure about how to improve their mental wellbeing and 55% said they did know what to do
Notes to editors:
About the talent
Jay Blades, David Tag, Laura Crane, Sophie Grace Holmes and Anna Maynard support the campaign by posting about their mental well-being and guiding their followers to the Every Mind Matters website to discover the free tools available.
Better Health – Every Mind Matters charity partners
OHID is working with a coalition of charities to encourage the use of Better Health-Every Mind Matters resources, including the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health First Aid England, Samaritans, the Royal Foundation, Centre for Mental Health, Rethink, Time to Change, National Survivor User Network (NSUN), What Works Centre for Wellbeing and Good Thinking.
NHS mental health services
For those who need more support, NHS mental health services have remained open throughout the pandemic – more information can be found here.
If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety or depression, NHS talking therapies can help. They are effective, free and confidential. Your GP can refer you, or you can refer yourself via nhs.uk/talk.
If you need help for a mental health crisis, find your local 24/7 helpline at nhs.uk/urgentmentalhealth. You can call for:
- an assessment to help decide on the best course of treatment
- help to speak to a mental health professional
- 24-hour advice and support – for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for