Diversity and Inclusion

The MPA celebrates Mental Health Awareness Week | 13-20 May

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Theme for 2024: ‘Movement: Moving for our Mental Health’

In 2001, the Mental Health Foundation started ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’. It is one of the most high-profile campaigns in the UK and even now they continue to set the themes and agenda for each year.

Mental Health Awareness Week increases the understanding of mental health, decreasing the stigma and prioritising mental health.

Each year the Mental Health Foundation sets a theme, this year is ‘Movement: Moving for our Mental Health’. This reflects how being active can have a positive impact on our mental health. This highlights the impact that movement and exercise have on the mind and body. However, many of us struggle to get enough exercise for a variety of reasons.

Being physically active is great for our minds and bodies. Movement and exercise have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression and can help prevent physical illnesses. Although there can be barriers to exercise and movement, such as accessibility, time and money.

How can I move more?

Whether you are a seasoned athlete, or just starting your wellness journey there is something for everybody. There are a variety of ways in which to start your movement journey.

  • Set realistic goals – the more achievable, the more likely you will succeed.
  • Motivation – going to classes or walking with a friend can help keep you on track.
  • Reshape your time – if you are driving somewhere, think about whether you could walk instead. If you have a spare 20 minutes you could go for a walk.
  • Variety – having different options such as home workouts, yoga on YouTube or going for a run can help keep you from getting tired of your new routine.

In a world where we prioritise productivity and hustle, we sometimes forget to take the time to get up and move our bodies. As we know, physical activity releases endorphins, which are the bodies natural mood lifters. Regular exercise helps boost self-esteem, improve sleep and contributes to a healthier mind. Movement and exercise can also support in fostering connections, providing a sense of belonging and creating communities. This can be from joining a dance class or just going for a walk with a friend.

Movement can look like lots of different things: a team sport, running a walk in the park. It can also be as simple as getting off the bus or tube one stop early and walking to your destination. The main thing is finding what feels good for you and your body.

As we observe Mental Health Awareness Week and embrace the theme, we prioritise movement as a form of self-care and incorporate it into our daily lives. Whether this is a few star jumps between meetings or dancing around your kitchen!

How can I raise awareness about mental health?

The easiest way to raise awareness is by talking, whether this is with a partner, friend or work colleague. The more we talk, the more we reduce stigma and promote understanding. There are a variety of ways to raise awareness, these can include:

  • Educating yourself, this could be language use or common misconceptions about mental health conditions.
  • Sharing your own experiences if you have them.
  • Sharing resources. There are numerous mental health charities and foundations with resources to share.
  • Organising events, such as workshops, talks and seminars to promote mental health.
  • Leading by example by practicing self-care and seeking support when needed. This can help encourage others in doing the same.

By taking one or some of these actions, you can play a vital role in raising awareness about mental health.

Mandy Feighery
D&I Officer

 Resources
Home – Mind
Mental Health Support Network provided by Chasing the Stigma | Hub of hope
Mental Health UK – Forward Together (mentalhealth-uk.org)
Mental Health Foundation | Good mental health for all

 For further information or to join our MPA BeWELL Employee Network group, please contact:
Helen Choudhury
Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
[email protected]

Mandy Feighery
D&I Officer
[email protected]

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