Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

14 May 2024

Purple text saying Mental Health Foundation: Mental Health Awareness Week 13-19 May 2024

Mental Health. A tough topic. My grandparents never spoke about it, friends only spoke about it as I started getting better. How can people talk about a broken knee, or the flu, but not their mental, rather than physical, health? Sometimes we get the flu when we’re run down, when we’re stressed, and it doesn’t get questioned. Equally, we can face mental health challenges when we’re stressed, when we’re run down. 

Mental health is not a topic that people are comfortable talking about.

This week we are focused on raising awareness of mental health. We are wanting it to become more comfortable to talk about. To talk about it in the tough times, and in our recovery. To recognise it doesn’t just go away.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 is focused on movement. Movement can be a marathon, or it could be getting out of bed. Movement keeps us going when we want to stop. Movement gets us thinking about things other than our mental health challenge. For me, a short walk, even just around the block or the garden, can open my eyes up to what is around me in nature. It can distract me. It can focus my mind on something else.

You may be like me, in the 28% of people involved in the Mental Health Foundation’s Movement Report, who say they feel too tired or fatigued to engage in physical activity, however I also believe this is linked with our choice of priorities. If the weather isn’t great, or I have a lot on my to do list, I choose to keep working rather than getting outside. Over 82% of the adults surveyed said they believed that regular physical activity is important for mental health and wellbeing.

It can be hard to get out of the house, to making time to move, but we must do it to help ourselves. How about using movement as an excuse to go for a walk with a friend, and share side by side, the struggles you’re going through – mentally, physically, emotionally?

The Couch to 5k is a great programme to follow (my current excuse is that my drive is all uphill on rough terrain for half a mile before I reach a road. But that’s just it – an excuse). I’m looking forward to heading on a walk later this week, where I’ll be talking with a close friend about how we are both doing in every sense. Give it a go; you never know how they might be feeling too.

Do you feel comfortable opening up to friends or family when you’re struggling with your mental health? Do you move more when you’re feeling worse? I hope you can confide in someone close, or call Samaritans or your local Nightline (if you’re a University student) when you’re struggling. You will be heard in a safe space.

Nightline Association

The Nightline Association was established in 2006 as an umbrella charity to support, promote and develop university Nightline Services. There are now 34 active Nightlines in the UK offering listening services to around 1,500,000 university students.

Our mission is to raise the quality, profile, availability, and accessibility of Nightline services so that every student is aware of, and has access to, confidential emotional peer support, as well as the opportunity to volunteer for a Nightline.