University of Birmingham expert features in new mental health campaign

The new campaign, called Every Mind Matters, highlights that while we can all feel stressed, anxious, low or have trouble sleeping, there are simple actions we can take to manage these issues and prevent them from becoming more serious.

A behavioural expert at the University of Birmingham features in a campaign launched today by Public Health England aimed at encouraging adults in the Midlands to look after their mental health as they do their physical health.

The new campaign, called Every Mind Matters, highlights that while we can all feel stressed, anxious, low or have trouble sleeping, there are simple actions we can take to manage these issues and prevent them from becoming more serious.

It encourages people to visit the Every Mind Matters guide (https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/), a free NHS-approved online resource which provides expert advice, practical tips, and experiences from real people to help manage these issues and those of others.

The guide includes a video of Anna Whittaker, Professor of Behavioural Medicine at the University of Birmingham's School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, discussing how to spot the signs of stress.

Professor Whittaker said: “I am delighted to be working with Public Health England on Every Mind Matters.

“We all have mental health and it’s so important that we better understand what mental health is and what the signs and symptoms of any mental health issues are, and that we help people to look after their own mental health and the mental health of others.”

Each year, around one in four people in England experience a mental health problem, and the proportion of diagnosable common mental health conditions has increased by 20% in 20 years.

A new survey of adults in the Midlands conducted for PHE also shows nearly three quarters (71%) of people in the Midlands report experiencing one or more of low mood, anxiety, stress and trouble sleeping, frequently or occasionally.
Stress is the most common response, with over half (53%) experiencing this frequently or occasionally, compared to 51% for sleeplessness, 46% for low mood and 40% for anxiety.

The survey also found that two thirds (66%) of adults in the Midlands say they look after their physical health on a weekly basis, but less than half (46%) look after their mental health as regularly.

These figures highlight the importance of helping people to better understand and take action on their own mental health.
Having good mental health can help us feel and function better, have more positive relationships with those around us, and deal with and manage difficult times now and into the future. Over time, having good mental health may also reduce our risk of physical health problems.

Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England, said: “With the pressures of modern life, it’s normal to feel stressed, anxious, low or have trouble sleeping some of the time. But when these become overwhelming or frequent they can be signs of a more serious problem.

“It’s just as important to take action to look after your mental health, as your physical health. Our campaign helps you to protect and improve your own mental health, and help others do the same.”

The Every Mind Matters guide also offers support for social anxiety, trauma, obsessions and compulsions or panic attacks and provides information for people wishing to help friends, family and colleagues experiencing mental health problems.

Every Mind Matters has been developed in conjunction with leading charities, academics and clinicians and is endorsed by leading experts in mental health.

The campaign is being promoted to adults across the Midlands with new TV, radio and online adverts; and is being supported by a range of public sector, charity and commercial partners.

To access expert-led videos and create your own action plan to help look after your mental health, visit the Every Mind Matters guide.

Ends

For more information please contact:

  1. Emma McKinney, Communications Manager (Health Sciences), University of Birmingham, Email: e.j.mckinney@bham.ac.uk or tel: +44 (0) 121 414 6681, or contact the press office on +44 (0) 7789 921 165 or pressoffice@contacts.bham.ac.uk
  2. Public Health England press office, Email: phe-pressoffice@phe.gov.uk Telephone: 020 7654 8400, Out of hours telephone: 020 8200 4400.


Notes to Editors:

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Watch Professor Anna Whittaker discussing the symptoms of stress.