New questionnaire encourages the nation to think holistically when it comes to their mental health and wellbeing
In a bid to get more Brits thinking holistically (a whole person approach) about their mental health and maintain positive mental health, Nuffield Health - in partnership with Mental Health Foundation, has launched a new digital questionnaire, Mental Fitness.
The questionnaire, which takes around five minutes to complete, explores many factors that contribute towards emotional wellbeing, including: purpose and value, food and drink, physical activity, work and finance and sleep and digital exposure.
The questionnaire responds to a recent survey conducted by Nuffield Health that found four out of five (83%) people in Britain are concerned about the ongoing impact of the pandemic on their mental health, more than a third (31%) are experiencing low mood or depression more than normal, or reported increased stress and anxiety levels (38%).
“The most important thing is that we change the way we talk about mental health to help more people open up about the challenges they are experiencing.”
The survey reveals that almost half of respondents (42%) don’t understand how mental health can be impacted by poor physical health, and factors including diet (69%), exercise (54%), relationships (52%) and sleep (45%) can affect our mental health and help to build mental resilience.
Language and society
The questionnaire is supported by the latest report from Nuffield Health, More Than Words: The importance of language to normalise everyday mental health and enable access to support in uncertain times, which investigates how traditional language - especially illness-led - in relation to mental health can be a barrier.
It's said that the current language can hinder people’s ability to think about and understand the full picture of factors that contribute toward mental wellbeing, and ultimately stops them taking active steps to support their mental health.
The report details talks held by a panel of mental health experts, around how society thinks and talks about mental health and wellbeing. In light of a recent finding from the survey detailing that a fifth of respondents said they struggled to talk about mental health and over a third of people wouldn’t seek help for fear their problem wasn’t serious enough, the report investigates:
- The need to make language accessible to all in relation to our everyday emotional wellbeing.
- The need to de-medicalise language to help encourage open and honest conversations without the stigma.
- To ultimately connect people with the support they need.
A&E and TV doctor, presenter and podcaster, Dr Alex George sat on the panel, and spoke candidly about his own struggles with mental health, and support for the questionnaire.
“Everyone has mental health and we need to look after it in the same way we look after our physical health. I have struggled with loneliness and depression, and it wasn’t until I took a 360 degree look at improving my health by increasing my social interactions, physical activity and improving my diet that I was able to build my overall resilience.
“Now, more than ever, we need to be physically and mentally fit to help us cope with the challenges imposed on us by the pandemic, so I’d encourage everyone of every age to take the questionnaire and take active steps to protect their emotional wellbeing.”
The full report, which calls on employers, schools and media to help to drive and support the de-medicalisation of everyday mental health, can be accessed via Nuffield Health. The charity notes that more than 10 million people are predicted to need mental health support in the coming months and years due to the pandemic, so it’s essential we drive home the message of de-stigmatisation and access to early support.
Professional Head of Emotional Wellbeing for Nuffield Health, Brendan Street hopes both the report and questionnaire triggers the beginning of a much needed change in conversations around mental health. He says, “There is also help out there no matter how big or small the problem feels. The most important thing is that we change the way we talk about mental health to help more people open up about the challenges they are experiencing.”
If you are struggling with your mental health, support is available, and there is always someone to listen.
You can access Nuffield Health’s questionnaire to gain a clearer picture of where you might be struggling and get direction to relevant support.
For immediate support, reach out to the Samaritans 24/7, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 or email [email protected].
You can also contact a professional counsellor who can offer a safe, confidential space to listen and guide you through your worries. Search online with Counselling Directory.