Sleep and our struggles with it chosen as the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

9th Dec 2019
Mental Health Awareness Week

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 will be Sleep, the Mental Health Foundation announced today.

The Week will focus on the connections between our sleep - or lack of it - and mental health.

The Mental Health Foundation has set the theme, organised and hosted the week for the last 20 years, during which the event has grown to engage millions of people across the UK and globally.

The week is traditionally also an opportunity for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, with a focus on taking action and providing advice.

Sleep was chosen as the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 because millions of people report problems with sleeping.

Evidence clearly shows it can have a major impact on our mental health. The week will focus on providing information and advice and campaigning for change to improve wellbeing and recovery. 

“Sleep is the unsung hero for our mental health,” said Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Foundation.

“By understanding what affects our sleep, we can help protect the mental health of millions of people and also support recovery.

“We want to start a national conversation about how we can all sleep better – and uncover the hidden mental health costs of the poor sleep that affects so many of us.

“We will investigate the changes we need to make, as individuals, communities and as a society, to get the rest and renewal we all need. We’ll also set out what our schools, universities, employers and policymakers can do to achieve that aim.”

During Mental Health Awareness Week, the Foundation will publish new data about sleep in the UK, as well as looking at the latest research on sleep and mental health, the complex relationship between them and the societal factors that influence this relationship.

It will also offer advice on how people can help themselves and those around them to sleep better. In addition, the Foundation will call for reforms to support sleep and its crucial contribution to everyone’s mental health.

There is evidence that digital technologies such as phones and computers, as well as night-time shift working, are part of the UK’s sleep problem. However, there are many other influences on sleep, including caring for young children and other dependents, stress, anxiety, noise and light pollution, obesity and experience of trauma.


Notes to editors:

The Mental Health Foundation’s vision is good mental health for all. Prevention is at the heart of what we do. Our knowledge, informed by rigorous research and practical study, has been pioneering change for more than 70 years. We are not afraid to challenge the status quo or tackle difficult or under-researched issues.

Research suggests that there is a two-way relationship between mental health and sleep, with poor sleep both a cause and a consequence of mental health problems. See, for instance, this study published by The Lancet psychiatry.

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