Mental well-being

Positive mental health is a key factor to good health and well being and is vital to everyone.
The word 'mental' means 'of the mind'. It describes your thoughts, feelings and understanding of yourself and the world around you.
The word 'health' generally describes the working order of your body and mind. So when we talk about 'mental health' we are referring to the working order of your mind.


5 Ways to Well being

Evidence suggests there are five steps we can all take to improve our mental well being.

If you approach them with an open mind and try them, you can judge the results yourself.

  • Connect. Connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
  • Be active. You don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find the activity that you enjoy, and make it a part of your life.
  • Keep learning. Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?
  • Give to others. Even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
  • Take notice. Be more aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”, and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. 

Learn more


Winter Health 

It may be cold outside, but winter needn't be the unhealthiest time of year for you and your family.

From keeping warm, protecting yourself from winter illnesses, wiping out winter tiredness, avoiding weight gain to coping with flooding, there lots of support out there. More info 



Lady on a swing in WinterSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or "winter depression", is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern. 

The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They are most severe during December, January and February.

In most cases, the symptoms of SAD begin to improve in the spring before disappearing.

 As with other types of depression, two of the main symptoms of SAD are a low mood and a lack of interest in life.

Other symptoms of SAD include:

  • being less active than normal 
  • sleeping more

What causes SAD?
The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, but it is thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year. Sunlight can affect some of the brain's chemicals and hormones. However, it is not clear what this effect is. One theory is that light stimulates a part of the brain called the hypothalamus which controls mood, appetite and sleep. These things can affect how you feel.

Diagnosing SAD
If you have the symptoms of SAD, visit your GP. They may carry out an assessment to check your mental health. You may be asked about your mood, lifestyle, eating and sleeping patterns and any seasonal changes in your thoughts and behaviour.

Treating SAD
As with any type of depression, SAD can be difficult to live with. It can make you feel tired, stressed and unhappy. However, it can usually be successfully treated.  Light therapy is often used to treat SAD. It involves sitting in front of, or beneath, a light box. Before using a light box to treat SAD, speak to your GP and check the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on the nature and severity of your symptoms, talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or medication such as antidepressants may also be recommended by your GP.

They will recommend the most suitable treatment programme for you, which may involve using a combination of treatments.

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One in four people will have a problem with their mental health at some point in their life. Good mental health is not something you can take for granted -looking after your mind is just as important as looking after your body.