1. Guard your, and family’s mental health
2. Apps & tools to improve mental health
3. Decide actions, put in own health plan.
1. Protect your mental health, and your family’s
As the UK NHS says, “Pay as much attention to mental health as to physical health”. Here are some ways.
4 out of every 5 people in the UK feel working from home has harmed their mental health [Nuffield Health, June 2020]. If mental health is a worry for you or one you love, you can refer yourself to a local NHS talking cures service.
Exercise, massage, home animal help, more social interactions, and talking treatments are generally found to be more effective than drugs. [Toronto University BMJ 2021; 372:n532].
Reliable mind tests can detect problems early in 90% of those that have one, in a 5-minute test, e.g. UK NHS Mind Plan quiz. Then, if needed, you can take up one of several talking treatments and/or pills, much sooner.
Videos of mental health stories: – Have a look at real life stories from people who have protected mental health by dealing with depression and survived suicide, put together by WebMD.
Keep track of how you’re feeling, and get recommendations for things you can do to help yourself cope, feel better and stay safe in a crisis. Try Samaritans Self-Help.
Most recently, in 2021 researchers from Canadian, Greek and UK Universities reviewed 256 studies involving 28,483 older people with dementia, with and without depression [Toronto University BMJ 2021; 372:n532] . They found drugs alone were no more effective than usual care, but they found 3 treatments led to reduced depression:
- Massage and touch therapy
- Mind stimulation (CST) with a cholinesterase inhibitor (a drug used to treat dementia). CST is about joining ‘protect mental health exercises’; and group activities and discussions to improve brain and social working.
- Mind stimulation combined with exercise and social interaction.
Try to choose a mental health specialist who also offers you counselling and psychotherapy.To manage anxiety, or worries about dementia, look at your lifestyle. Make sure you have a healthy, balanced diet and lose weight, good quality sleep, regular exercise – stay active, less alcohol, do not smoke, regular checks on your blood pressure. Seek support for depression. These all help to almost cut in half your risks of dementias [The Lancet, 2020].
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, organisations providing support include Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393, Samaritans at: www.samaritans.org, T: 116 123.
2. Apps and online tools for mental health
There are lots of apps and online tools you can use to help improve your mental health. You can see and choose protect mental health support tools in NHS apps library. Research shows that, for some people, these tools can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy with a therapist for depression, anxiety and other mental health problems [USA National Institute of Mental Health 2017].
Some allow you to work through a self-help course online with support from a therapist. Others offer live therapy with a therapist via instant messaging. You don’t need much experience with computers or technology to use them.
You can also join an anonymous online community where you can meet and talk with other people who have similar mental health problems to you. e.g. registered charity Mind’s Side by Side is a UK supportive online community where you can feel at home talking about your mental health and connect with others who understand what you are going through.
Try the UK NHS, 5 steps to mental wellbeing.
3. When you decide on your actions, put them into your own personal healthcare plan.
Refer yourself to a local NHS talking cures service
Join an online group to talk with others like you: Mind’s Side by Side UK.
page updated 06 January 2022. © 2022 social enterprise Diabetes-cutmyrisks.co.uk.™ Ltd.