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Mental health awareness

Showing supportWhat is mental health?

Mental health describes a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder. Mental health refers to our cognitive, and/or emotional well-being – it is all about how we think, feel and behave. There are different types of mental health problems, some of which are common, such as depression and anxiety disorders, and some not so common, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Why is it important to have good mental health?

People who have good mental health are more resilient and more able to cope with external pressures put on them. They also tend to be less prone to illness. Finding a balance is therefore important and also identifying any problems and seeking help where necessary.

How do I improve mental health?

Top tips:

  1. Ensure you have a good work/life balance. Make sure you go home from work on time and do not spend all your time working.
  2. Take control and be clear with yourself and others about your responsibilities and expectations at home and at work.
  3. Exercise to help release hormones such as endorphins which make you feel good. For example, you could to go for a walk at lunchtime.
  4. Eat and drink healthy. Find a balance that works for you and stick to it.
  5. Communicate and connect with others. A problem shared is a problem halved.
  6. Work smarter but not harder. Work on time management and strategies to help you to be more efficient. Try setting targets and sticking to them.
  7. Be positive. At the end of each day think of three things that have been good and worked for you or for which you have been grateful.
  8. Accept things you cannot change and work on those you can. This will help you to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
  9. Challenge yourself. Take up a new hobby or past time or do some studying. Set yourself a small but achievable goal.
  10. Have some quality ’me’ time. Find some time for yourself every day, this could be reading a book or going for a walk.

UNISON and the Open University organise one day CPD Mental Health Awareness sessions across the country. Contact your regional education team for more information. 

Learn more about mental health awareness

Take a new and different look at mental health in the OpenLearn unit, Challenging ideas in mental health.

Find out how factors affect our own mental health in the interactive module,  journey through wellbeing


Further information on mental health awareness

For general information relating to mental health issues including raising awareness see SANE.

Mind also offers training and events.

There are a series of videos and other information about stigma and discrimination at Time to change. This is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

NHS Direct also has lots of information on Mental Health.