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Mental Health Awareness Week - #MoveYourWay

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 will take place from 13th to 19th May, with the theme this year of “Movement: Moving more for our mental health”. The week aims to tackle stigma and help people understand and prioritise their and others' mental health.

Every year, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem. Over 2 million people are waiting for NHS mental health services, and since 2017 the number of young people struggling with their mental health has nearly doubled.

Movement and being physically active is important for not only our bodies, but for our minds too. Exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression, and it can help us to prevent physical illnesses. When we exercise our bodies release a natural hormone called ‘endorphins’, which make can improve your mood. However, so many people struggle to move enough and there are many different reasons for this. This year Mental Health Awareness Week aims to help people to find moments for movement in their daily routines. Going for a walk in your neighbourhood, putting on your favourite music and dancing around the living room, chair exercises when you’re watching television – it all counts!

Studies show that movement and physical activity helps our mental health by:

  • Managing stress

  • Improving our mood by triggering chemical changes in the brain

  • Improving sleep

  • Improving self-esteem

  • Reducing anxiety

  • Encourages us to set and achieve goals

  • Meeting new people and spending time with others

  • Slowing cognitive decline

If you are needing to talk to anyone about your mental health, or concerns you may have for a relative or friend, there are a number of services you can reach out to. Make an appointment with your GP to speak with a doctor about how you feel, connect with mental health charities such as MIND or the Samaritans to get the support you need, or refer yourself to NHS talking therapies to get help with counselling and guided self-help.

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