This week has been Mental Health Awareness Week and so this morning, in assembly, I explored with the school some measures that we can take to protect and strengthen our own mental health. I think we are all now fairly well used to mental health being a topic for discussion and, whereas in the past it may have been a taboo subject, it is now very much an acceptable subject for conversation.
For me, it is vital that young people understand that mental health is something that we all have (just as much as physical health) and each of us will experience times in life when our mental health is robust and, sadly, times when it is more fragile. For this reason, it is vital that our young people are aware of steps that we can take to develop and improve our own mental health. So this morning I shared the five steps to good mental health:
Connect - Talk and listen to others. Be there for others and feel the positive benefits of being connected.
Be active - It is true that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Activity can take many forms; all are beneficial.
Take notice - Some call this mindfulness, but a deep awareness of the world around us helps to lift our mood. It is often the simple things that give us joy.
Keep learning - Embracing new experiences, seeing opportunities to learn and being creative all bring happiness.
Give - Give your time, your words, your presence and your thoughts to others.
I am confident that these steps are equally important for us adults and I know that I plan to more consciously apply them.
John F Gilmour