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● New campaign launched after half of all adults and over half of Black adults say pandemic negatively impacted their mental health
● First campaign launched by the Office for Health Improvement and Development (OHID) will help adults improve their mental wellbeing
● Campaign backed by celebrities Arlo Parks, Kelle Bryan and Jay Blades
Black Africans and Caribbeans are urged to find “what works for me” to support their mental wellbeing as the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) launches the latest Better Health – Every Mind Matters (EMM) campaign.
The campaign empowers people to look after their mental health by directing them to free, practical tips and advice. By answering five simple questions through the Every Mind Matters platform, people can get a tailored “Mind Plan”, giving them personalised tips to help deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, sleep better and feel more in control.
New research commissioned by OHID reveals nearly half (49%) of adults and over half (52%) of Black adults in England said the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing. And more than a third of all adults in England (15.1 million) said they did not know what to do to help improve their mental wellbeing.
Black adults who said they were negatively affected by the pandemic were also more likely to say they felt lonely and isolated (51%) compared to the wider population (45%), and 1 in 3 Black adults (33%) said they didn’t feel motivated to work, compared to 1 in 5 of the general public (20%).
Encouragingly, 94% of Black adults said they exercise more to help with their mental health, compared to 52% of the public. And of those who took up exercise classes, 60% felt more relaxed and 50% felt happier.
This is the first campaign delivered by the new Office for Health Improvements and Disparities which was launched on 1 October with the aim of tackling health inequalities across the country.
Minister for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan, said:
“The public showed great resilience throughout the pandemic, but it has served as a stark reminder that we all need to look after ourselves not only physically, but mentally.
“There are simple steps we can all be taking to improve our mental wellbeing and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
“For anyone who is unsure what they can do, I urge you to visit Every Mind Matters and take advantage of the expert advice and practical tips available to you.”
Over 3.4 million individual Mind Plans have already been created since the campaign was first launched in October 2019.
Famous faces – including Mercury prize winner Arlo Parks, Singer and actor Kelle Bryan, and TV presenter Jay Blades - are supporting the new campaign sharing their personal mental wellbeing experiences during the last 18 months, and encouraging others to take steps to look after themselves.
The campaign is supported by a coalition of leading mental health charities, including CALM, The Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Innovations, and a range of commercial, third-sector, NHS and Local Authority partners, who will share mental health messages with their customers, members and colleagues, including Mental Health First Aid, Carers organisations and more.
Singer Arlo Parks, who supports the campaign, said: “I think the pandemic enforced that insidious feeling of being an island, of being unable to connect to the rest of the world outside our heads. I found real beauty in small things, in playing card games, in painting, in eating perfectly prepared rice – doing small, good things for myself often.”
Eternal singer and actor Kelle Bryan, said: “We all have things in our lives that can be stressful, especially during the pandemic, and we’ve learnt different ways of dealing with it. For me, making sure I regularly checked in with my family and friends was key. Just a quick text or call helped reduce my stress and anxiety. I want to remind anyone struggling that they aren’t alone and to reach out if you need help.”
Vanessa Boachie, Psychological Therapist & Director of Inside Out Well-being a community organisation committed to improving the mental health of the Black community says, “We know that many Black people have struggled with their mental health during the pandemic but it’s also great that there are tools and strategies we can implement to improve our mental well-being. It could be as simple as doing just one thing for your mind and one thing for your body everyday. Whether that’s using affirmations, staying in contact with friends and family, listening to relaxing music, stretching your body or going for a walk. Often time, it’s the simple things that can make the biggest difference”
“There are lots of organisations out there like ours that are here to listen and help, as well as a host of NHS services. Start by building your own Mind Plan via the Every Mind Matters site simply by answering five quick questions. You may discover a new hobby that makes you feel more relaxed.”
Better Health – Every Mind Matters offers information and videos to help young people look after their own mental wellbeing, and will be promoting them through social media channels and in schools. The Every Mind Matters website also provides dedicated support to help parents and guardians look after the mental wellbeing of the children and young people they care for.
Search Every Mind Matters to see what works for you.