When we’re in pain or feel sick, most of us are all too happy to take the time to care for ourselves. We might see a doctor, take medicine or simply spend a day in bed to rest. So why do we not take the time to care for our mental health? Over the next few weeks we’re going to be taking a closer look at How To Look After Your Mental Health in this Blog Series.

The numbers show that 10% of 5-16 year olds have a diagnosable mental health problem, but almost three quarters of those who suffer do not get the help they need early on. Part of the problem is that there is a huge stigma around mental illness, with many people not taking it as seriously as physical illness. The two are actually closely linked; because of this there are things we can all do to look after our mental health.

Growing up in the age of social media isn’t easy, and it’s here that a lot of stigma around mental illness is found. Not only that, but the pressure to present only the best parts of our lives can put a real strain on our minds. Although it can be a source of anxiety in this way, social media is evolving and is starting to lead to movement for mental health awareness.

Many young bloggers, youtubers and instagrammers are beginning to talk about their own struggles with mental illness, and highlighting the importance of caring for yourself. In time, we can hope that these young people will break down the prevailing stigma about mental illness.

As well as social media stars, the past few years has seen a number of public figures, from princes to actors to athletes, talking about their mental health. Although the struggles of these people vary widely, an overarching theme emerges from their interviews, articles, and speeches – looking after your mental health at any level, is the key to keeping it healthy.

When many people hear ‘mental illness’, they think about severe disorders, but there are elements of mental illness that affect us all in some way through life. Recognising those times when we find ourselves mentally struggling with stress, loss or grief, are also an important part of mental wellbeing. Looking after ourselves when these things emerge, can help us to stop things spiraling out of control in the future.

Over this blog series, we’re going to explore some ways to look after your mental health. Not every idea you read will grab you, because everyone is different, but that’s okay! Part of self-care is finding out what works best for you. So be sure to keep reading and keep an eye out for things that interest you. If you’re up for it, try some of the other things out too, you might be surprised by how much it helps!