May 8th to 14th 2017 is Mental Health Awareness Week, and initiative set up by the Mental Health Foundation to put mental health on the agenda.
This year, the theme is 'Surviving or Thriving', which focusses on why too many of us accept that high levels of anxiety or stress are the price we pay fo modern living. Britons are working increasingly long hours, with technology allowing work to eat into our leisure time and changing the nature of social interaction. We are becoming ever more connected yet increasingly isolated from our communities, and psychologists believe that this is starting to affect the overall mental health of the nation. Diagnosed mental health conditions are on the increase and NHS funding is struggling to meet the demand.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. During this week, as well as raising awareness and increasing understanding for those who are suffering, we are all encouraged to focus on celebrating good mental health. Mental health is a sliding scale - we all have good and bad days, and good and bad moments in each day.
Optimal mental health is not just about a lack of suffering, but having the ability to appreciate every moment, to think and feel with intensity and positivity, and to embrace all the challenges of life with gusto and relish in life's sweeter moments.
Mental health is intrinsically linked to phsyical health and much research has been carried out into how people can improve their wellbeing. A good diet, regular exercise and avoiding artificial stimulants are of course on the list, but this campaign also highlights the need for relaxation, talking about feelings, a sense of community and recreation as important in maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Perhaps the use of a work/life balance wheel could help each of us to identify which areas of our own lives could benefit from more time and focus to help us get the best out of our own circumstances.