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The new Every Mind Matters campaign encourages the public to be physically active

On the eve of Mental Health Awareness Week (May 15 to 22, 2023), Better health – every mind is important from the Office for Health Promotion and Differences (OHID) is launching a new campaign backed by comedian Tom Davis, TV and NHS doctor Dr Ranj Singh and leading psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos to encourage the nation to take the first step for their mental health and get active.

New research published today found that three-quarters (75%) of adults surveyed experience anxiety, but less than half (45%) are aware that physical activity is proven to reduce anxiety symptoms.

The campaign is the latest measure taken by the government to improve people’s mental health. The Government is already increasing investment in mental health services by at least £2.3 billion a year until March 2024 so that an extra 2 million people can get the support they need.

Last year, Draft law on mental health it was published with the intention of modernizing the Mental Health Act to make it fit for the 21st century and better support people with serious mental illnesses. The Government has committed to publish a major conditions strategy to tackle the conditions that contribute most to morbidity and mortality in the population in England, including mental health conditions.

For Mental Health Awareness Week, BAFTA-winning comedian and actor Tom Davis opened up about his own mental health alongside NHS and TV doctor Dr Ranja Singh in support of the Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign. In a new film released today, the pair discuss how they deal with anxious thoughts and urge the nation to take the first step for their mental health by getting active.

Physical activity for managing anxiety

Comedian and actor, Tom Davis, commented:

Anxiety is no laughing matter. I’ve had a colorful career, from working on construction sites, to factories, to being a comedian in front of thousands, and I’ve struggled with anxiety in every role. There is a big difference, however, in being outside your comfort zone versus feeling overwhelmed by it and letting anxious thoughts hold you back. And being active for just a few minutes each day can make a big difference.

It’s important to find something you enjoy and do it regularly. I love boxing and try to go often, but even taking my daughter to the park can really clear my head and help keep those anxious jitters at bay.

NHS and TV doctor Dr Ranj Singh also shared his advice on how to ease anxiety and how the public can start to take action for their mental health:

Anxiety is a part of everyday life and can help us focus or take extra care when needed, but when it becomes too much, it can have a huge impact on how we want to live our lives.

Physical activity is one of the simplest yet most effective things we can do to ease feelings of anxiety, calm busy thoughts, and give us something to distract from negative thoughts. Regular physical activity is best, but even a few minutes each day can help. Personally, I like to dance because good music instantly lifts my mood!

A new survey of 2,000 adults in England found that around 4 in 10 have trouble sleeping (38%), feel less confident (37%) and have less energy due to anxiety (35%). Just under a quarter (24%) of anxiety prevented them from attending social events, and almost one in ten admitted that it even affected their relationship as they spend less time with their partner (8%).

Physical activity releases feel-good hormones and improves mental health, but according to a new survey, less than half of adults are aware that it is proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety (45%), reduce stress (45%) and distract from negative thoughts (42%) . Four out of 10 adults do not get the 150 minutes of physical activity per week recommended by the NHS.

The survey found that more than a third (35%) of adults tend to use distraction techniques to relieve feelings of anxiety, including watching TV (47%), browsing the internet (36%) or even isolating themselves from others (33%). However, those who regularly engage in physical activity report that it helps them improve their mood (68%), self-confidence (61%) and relieve feelings of anxiety (61%).

With almost one in 5 not engaging in any form of physical activity (19%), the survey also revealed that they do not feel motivated (41%), do not enjoy physical activity (25%) and do not have enough free time (19%) . the main obstacles to getting active. Only 13% of us are aware of the 150 minutes of physical activity per week recommended by the NHS.

Leading psychologist, Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, commented:

People are often surprised to learn about the benefits that just a few minutes of movement can have on our mind; you don’t have to exercise your entire body to reap the rewards. Activity increases feel-good hormones, such as endorphins, and can boost self-confidence.

I always recommend going outside for a brisk walk or light jogging because being in nature can help us feel happier and more relaxed. And the best thing is that it’s free!

Mental Health Minister Maria Caulfield said:

We know that poor mental health can have a significant impact on our quality of life, so I’m pleased to see this campaign highlighting the simple steps we can all take to reduce its impact – such as spotting and addressing the signs of anxiety early.

But we know that sometimes more support is needed and that’s why we’re currently investing £2.3 billion every year to expand and transform mental health services in England so that 2 million more people can get the mental health support they need.

Delivered OHIDthe Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign offers NHS-approved tips and advice to help people manage their anxiety, including links to free NHS apps, such as Couch to 5K and Active 10, to help them take the first step.

The Better Health – Every Mind Matters website also gives people the chance to sign up for anxiety relief emailsoffering expert advice to help them stay on top of their mental wellbeing and showing them how to make these new steps part of their routine.

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