The general public is urged to find “what works for me” to support their mental wellbeing as the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) launches the latest Better Health – Every Mind Matters (EMM) campaign.
- New campaign launched after half of adults in England say the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health
- First campaign launched by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) will help adults improve their mental wellbeing
- 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 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 wellbeing. 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 18-34-year olds saying their mental wellbeing was negatively impacted 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 Office for Health Improvements and Disparities which was launched on 1 October with the aim of tackling 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 not only physically, but mentally. There are simple steps we can all be taking to improve our mental wellbeing and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. For anyone who is 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 if you’re struggling with anxiety and depression our rapidly expanding talking therapy services are available, while 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 sharing their personal mental wellbeing 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 has 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 then 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 personally, 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 wellbeing, and really equip your wellbeing 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 own mental wellbeing 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 wellbeing of the children and young people they care for.
More quotes in support of this campaign
Dr David Crepaz-Keay, Head of Applied Learning at the Mental Health Foundation, said: “As someone who worked on developing the campaign, I am delighted that Every Mind Matters has already helped millions of people with their mental health. The Mental Health Foundation encourages everyone to make the most of these materials and we welcome everything that makes it as accessible and widely used as possible.”
Simon Gunning, CEO, CALM, said: "The last year has presented a huge number of challenges, many of which will have far reaching implications on our mental health and wellbeing for years to come. That's why now, more than ever it's vital we put the nation's mental health at the top of the public health agenda and empower people to take action. We welcome Every Mind Matters and the role it plays in complementing the vital services that CALM and others provide everyday in helping millions of people across the country manage their mental health. United we are stronger."
Victoria Hornby, CEO of charity Mental Health Innovations which powers Shout 85258, the UK’s only free, 24/7 text message support service, said: "While there may be times in all of our lives when we might feel overwhelmed or low, it is important to know that you are not alone, you deserve support and help is always available. Letting someone know how you are feeling is an important first step, but sometimes it can be easier to text than to say the words out loud. That has been the case for more than 156,000 children, young people and adults in the UK who have texted Shout 85258 this year for immediate, free, anonymous and 24-hour support with issues including anxiety, depression, loneliness, relationships, work stress, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Opening up enables you to start making sense of your situation and emotions and helps you to understand about the kind of support that can help. Everyone deserves to be able to access the information, advice and support they need, when they need it, so we are delighted to be part of the Every Mind Matters campaign to ensure that everyone knows that help is available around the clock by texting 'SHOUT' to 85258.”
Matt Belfield, Communications Manager for LGBT Foundation: “The LGBT Foundation is here for anyone who’s having a hard time themselves, or is a concerned friend, partner or family member. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for the mental health of the LGBTQ+ community and ensuring safe and trusted sources of advice are available is essential. The Every Mind Matters website offers NHS-endorsed tips and guidance to get people started on their mental health journey, and the LGBT Foundation is there for tailored support and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. We offer a range of services, including LGBT-affirmative and inclusive talking therapy sessions and Befriending schemes, to help improve and protect people’s mental wellbeing.”
Singer Arlo Parks, said: “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.”
Actress and Co-Founder - Bring Change to Mind, Glenn Close, said: “As someone coming from a family with generational mental health challenges, I know that there are millions of families like mine. We have learned how vital it is that everyone who is struggling knows they are not alone. There are lots of free resources and tools available, such as the Every Mind Matters website, to support you in making sure your mental wellbeing is the best it can be.”
Hollyoaks star, David Tag, said: "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, said: “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, said: “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, said: “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, said: “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!”
Notes to editors:
For further information about the campaign or to set up interviews with case studies or OHID spokespeople, please contact: [email protected] / 07734 785472 / 07874 398836
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, MHFA England, Samaritans, The Royal Foundation, Centre for Mental Health, Rethink, Time to Change, NSUN, What Works Centre for Wellbeing and Good Thinking.
About the talent
Jay Blades, David Tag, Laura Crane, Sophie Grace Holmes and Anna Maynard are supporting the campaign by posting about their own mental wellbeing and guiding their followers to the Every Mind Matters to discover the free tools available.
Case study information
Further case studies are available upon request.
Simon Riley, 20, from Oxford - Simon found that through doing lots of physical exercise, physical training and talking to friends, he was able to improve his mental health as with the pandemic as he felt there have definitely been a lot of long, dark, tough days from a social and mental perspective. “I think it is important to remember and understand that talking about your own mental state is not anything to be ashamed about, expressing your feelings to someone who listens and you can start a conversation with is a truly valuable and humbling experience. Use people who you trust and are confident around as it may help take a huge weight off your shoulders. It doesn’t matter who you are, mental health issues can affect anyone.”
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. “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."
Survey commissioned by The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), Opinium conducted an online survey with a nationally representative sample of 3,000 adults in England which ran from 10th to 15th September (2021).
- 34% of English adults did not know what to do to improve their mental wellbeing (17% No and 17% were Unsure – N/A did not need to 27%). No and Unsure responses equal to 15.1 million adults in England
- 41% said they didn’t know what to do as it was overwhelming, 36% did not know where to start and 16% were ashamed.
- 49% said the COVID-19 outbreak had a negative impact on their mental health – 9% said it had a positive impact, 40% said no impact, 3% did not know
- People struggle most with their mental wellbeing when the first measures to keep the public safe were announced (March – July 2020) 26%, when Tier 4 restrictions were announced around Christmas – 18%, when the third set of safety precautions were introduced (Jan – March 2021) 18%.
- The main reasons people gave for why their mental wellbeing was negatively impacted were missing friends and family (49%), loneliness and isolation (45%), worried about friends and family’s health and safety (45%), worried about getting COVID-19 (38%), worried about money (31%), increased fear of catching Covid after restrictions lift (30%).
- For 18-34s: finances are also cause for concern among younger people, with 38% saying money was the cause of their mental wellbeing strains, 21% worried about losing their job and 9% about returning to the office.
- Of the 22% of adults who reported taking action to improve their mental wellbeing, 60% who did gardening, 54% who did crafts (like sewing or knitting), 51% who did art (e.g. drawing or painting) and 49% 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