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Poppy Jaman Non-Executive Board Member at Public Health England tells us about Every Mind Matters

Poppy Jaman Non-Executive Board Member at Public Health England.
Poppy Jaman Non-Executive Board Member at Public Health England.

IT is increasingly recognised that taking care of our mental health is as important as maintaining good physical health. Indeed, a recent survey by Public Health England (PHE), revealed that more than eight in ten (82%) people from an Asian background have experienced early signs of poor mental health such as stress, anxiety, low mood and trouble sleeping in the last 12 months.

Through my work and through my own personal experience of depression as a British Bangladeshi woman, I know that while social and societal stigma attached to poor mental health has become less prevalent over the years, there is still a reticence to seek help when faced with mental illness. All too often things can escalate simply because people don’t know the signs to look out for, where to turn to for information or support or who to talk to.

Indeed, the survey from PHE found that over a quarter (28%) of people who had lived with these early signs of poor mental health, waited at least six months before taking action. With over half of people (69%) who waited this long wishing they had done so sooner. Critically, of those who took action, over a third (36%) only did so when it was having an impact on their daily life.

Good mental health helps us to live a fulfilled life and helps us to flourish. Positive mental wellbeing is the foundation for healthy relationships, for our ability to think clearly and make good decisions and for job and business prosperity as it helps us to relax more, be more productive, enjoy our lives more, and be better prepared for life’s ups and downs. Looking after our mental health is not only good for us now, it can also help us deal with and manage difficult times in the future. Over time, having good mental health may also reduce our risk of physical health problems.

So, I’m encouraging everyone, including those from the South Asian community to look after your own mental health, and notice and guide friends, family and work colleagues who might be struggling to the Every Mind Matters platform.

By answering five simple questions, you will be given a tailored set of self-care actions  – a ‘Mind Plan’ – to help deal with stress, boost mood, improve sleep, feel more in control and ultimately prevent these common mental health concerns escalating into more serious, clinical conditions. This takes 3 minutes and it is free.

Developed with clinical and academic experts, national mental health charities and input from people with experience of poor mental health, it shows people how to build simple changes into their daily lives – such as reframing unhelpful thoughts, breathing exercises and increasing their physical activity.

Over 1.2 million plans have been created since October 2019, and so, my message is, if you’re concerned about stress, low mood, trouble sleeping or anxiety, check out Every Mind Matters today.