Mental Health Awareness Week is close to our hearts here at Missing People, as mental health and missing are so closely intertwined.
In the UK almost 100,000 adults go missing every year. Up to 80% struggle with mental health problems. Moreover, over 70,000 children go missing, and 1 in 5 have disclosed struggling with their mental health. Mental health problems also worsen the longer someone is missing, and many people find it difficult to adjust back after returning. Up to a third will go missing again.
For Mental Health Awareness Week this year, we asked our expert Services team members what their most treasured mental health tips are. We wanted to share them with you..
“The past two years have been very traumatic and disruptive because of the pandemic. This has had an effect on everyone and lots of elements of life. As things seem to get back to normal don’t feel pressure for things to be ‘just like before’ – take things day by day and don’t give yourself expectations that are too hard to meet.
Also don’t forget to Maslow yourself up! Maslow described the fundamental need to take care of our physical well-being before we can do anything else. So much of our mental well-being is connected to our physical well-being. Have you had enough sleep/food/water? Are you sitting comfortably? Do you feel pain? Are you too warm/too cold? We can’t feel well in our minds if we have bodily needs we haven’t addressed.
My advice is also to let it go! Whatever it is. It’s in the past, leave it there. It doesn’t mean that you are okay with anything, and you needn’t ever be, but let go of the strain of caring about or thinking about something from the past. This means you can forgive. Forgiving also doesn’t mean ‘I exonerate you from the hurt you caused me’. It just means you no longer need the energy to be used on that situation. More importantly, forgive yourself. You are human. You make mistakes. We all do.
For when you are feeling anxious, take deep slow breaths. This sends calming signals to the part of your brain that deals with your fight/flight/freeze instincts, that there is no threat. Try to count 4 on the inhale, pause for 4, then exhale for 8. Keep repeating, focusing only on breathing and counting.
If you struggle with depression, it will try to convince you everything is overwhelming, and taking action is pointless. Break down a task that will improve your situation into tiny, bite sized, chunks, to overcome this. One plate washed is a lot more manageable than doing all the dishes. Sometime just a small achievement like that can help to stop a spiral getting worse.
Finally, feel your feelings! It is all okay. You are entitled to feel as you do. Feelings will not kill you. Feel. Acknowledge. Sit with the feelings. They will pass.”
We also created two Mental Health guides last winter, on how to take care of your own mental health, and your loved ones’. These helpful resources are still available.Download our mental health guides