World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day is every year on 10 October, it aims to raise awareness about mental health issues faced by people around the world. This year’s theme is: ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World. We are being urged to look at the inequalities experienced by individuals. From the lack of access to adequate support, to mental health issues caused by social inequality. Today, on World Mental Health Day 2021 we’ll learn about some ways to access mental health support and how to boost our mood through food.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.1 We know that good mental health is an essential aspect of our overall wellbeing; therefore, it is important to ask for help if you are struggling. You could speak to a trusted friend or family member or seek support from professional services like your local GP, Mind infoline, Shout Crisis Text line and The Samaritans. See further information here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hugely impacted the mental health of not only individuals infected by the virus but also society in general. In a recent survey conducted by Public Health England among adults, almost half of the respondents reported that the pandemic had negatively impacted their mental health. With stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and low mood being commonly reported symptoms.2 In response to this survey and the general increase in COVID-19 associated mental health issues, the NHS has launched the ‘Every Mind Matters’ campaign. This campaign aims to guide and support anyone experiencing mental health issues during the pandemic. Find out more here.
The pandemic and societal pressures are not the only factors influencing our mental health. Did you know that 1 in 3 IBS patients experience symptoms of depression?3 Although not yet fully understood, these observations do suggest a link between the gut and the brain, which we now refer to as the ‘gut-brain axis’. Interestingly, studies have reported that certain foods have mood-boosting effects.4 You can learn about these mood-boosting foods and discover top tips to maintain a healthy gut and mind, in our Food, Mood and Symptoms Diary.
You can also source our other Love Your Gut resources on our website.
- WHO (2018) Mental health: strengthening our response. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response. [Accessed 20 September 2021]
- NHS (2021) New Every Mind Matters campaign. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-every-mind-matters-campaign [Accessed 17 September 2021]
- Surdea-Blaga T et al. (2012) Psychosocial determinants of irritable bowel syndrome. World journal of gastroenterology, 18(7): 616–626.
- Huang Q et al. (2019) Linking What We Eat to Our Mood: A Review of Diet, Dietary Antioxidants, and Depression. Antioxidants, 8(9): 376.