WMHD 2022 – Mental Wellbeing Tips from Across Together

World Mental Health Day takes place on 10 October and the theme for 2022, as set by the World Health Organisation, is ‘Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority’. We see this theme as focussing on increasing access to knowledge and support relating to mental health wherever possible globally and thought about how we could contribute.

As we value lived experience as an organisation, with our core principle being service user leadership, we thought we could help by inviting our staff, volunteers and people who use our services to share their knowledge and insight through tips that have worked for them in supporting their mental wellbeing. We hope this is a way we can help others by sharing the understanding people have gained from their own experiences and our overall question was:

  • What are some of your tips for aiding your mental health and wellbeing you’d want to share with others experiencing mental distress?

As well as some contributors who shared longer form blogs we also wanted to have a space where staff, volunteers and people who use our services could share their own tips. That could be in any format they wanted and refers to their own lived experiences and submissions are below:

Criminal Justice Community Link- Worker, Paul Richardson on taking each day at a time and benefits of exercise

I didn’t really realise how much control I actually had over my thoughts good or bad until I started to see my mental health as a day to day experience. That meant not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, only the 24 hours that’s happening right now.

The one daily activity I could not recommend more is intense exercise.

Whether it’s gym, boxing, running, swimming, I do a different activity each day and I couldn’t recommend this more to anyone who maybe struggling right now. Find an exercise that’s right for you and try a few days just smashing it!! You’ll see what I mean.”

Together National Steering Group Member Naheen Ali on own mental health lived experience tips like taking time for rest and speaking to people you trust

Try and take little steps when you feel overwhelmed by a task or situation.

It is okay to rest, recharge, take time out, and to be kind to yourself.

Find people you can talk to, who you trust, that will listen to you and support you.

Life is not a race, so the time will come when you will feel ready to move forward.

Khloe Kritnoi, Senior Administrator at Norfolk Integrated Housing and Community Support Service on progression and why communication is key

Anonymous Peer Supporter at Together on using mindfulness and martial arts

Content warning: discussion of suicide

I have had Schizophrenia for 27 years and the first time I was put on medication I had a nasty reaction to it. I feel I have had a lot of trouble with the mental health system in the past and felt like I was pushed into that. I was put in shared accommodation and felt that people had gone behind my back so I had a negative experience. At one point I felt even my parents had gone against me as they said I was just going to talk with someone and they walked out and left me locked up in a mental health hospital for quite a time. I first experienced my illness at an early age at 16 but luckily I was mentally old for my age which helped me deal with that.

I survived a suicide attempt when I was about 32 and after that I decided that I had to do something about the situation. So, I started doing some mindfulness and started learning Kung fu. I have stuck at them and basically learned the more you practise them the better you get. I found with the mindfulness, well I say mindfulness but basically it’s Buddhism without the religious dogma, I found I could feel it really healing my inner wounds. I have been letting go of the past trauma and I have built a lot on my mental and physical pain tolerance and basically learned how to relax around it and within it. I am now off my medication for just over 4 months and am doing pretty good all things considered. I’m now 44 and looking forward to totally beating my illness. I have the confidence that I will. I know people will have heard this saying before but, if I can do it, anyone can.

Montana Cantagalli, Together National Steering Group Member on walking in nature and enjoying writing

Go for a walk somewhere with greenery, like a forest or big park. Being surrounded by the look, smell and sounds of nature really helps me ground myself and make space for stillness and comfort. Take a deep breath, look up at the sky through the trees, admire mother nature going through the seasons, and be in the present for a moment.

Write. Go out and pick a lovely notebook whose pages will be your safe space. Whether it is poetry, a letter to yourself, or just a stream of consciousness. Give your thoughts a space to just be. The words on those pages are yours and yours alone, and sometimes letting them just exist on the page can feel like a massive weight off your shoulders. You may feel a little lighter.

Thank you to everyone who contributed their mental wellbeing tips and we’ll continue to update this page for the week after World Mental Health Day with any further suggestions that come in.