‘Mental health matters as much as physical health. The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health, and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness.’

Callow End WI, Worcestershire Federation

Common mental disorders (or CMDs) refer to different types of depression and anxiety (such as generalised anxiety
disorder, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder).

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, CMDs are estimated to affect up to 15% of people at any one time. However, the results of the 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey showed that in England young women aged 16 to 24 are more likely to be affected than men of the same age (26% compared to 9.1%).

65% of people say they have experienced a mental health problem
Women (70%) are more likely than men (60%) to report having experienced a mental health problem
People aged 18-34 (70%) are more likely to report experiencing a mental health problem in their lifetime than people aged 55 and over (58%)

Take Action!

Find out how you can look after your Mental Health. As a starting point, we’re encouraging members to think about how they can look after their own mental health, regardless of whether they are experiencing mental health problems. Specialist charities such as Rethink Mental Illness advise finding something that’s right for you. Why not take a look at the Mental Health Foundation’s top tips for looking after your mental health on page 7 for some ideas?

Learn how to start a conversation about mental health. We want to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health as it is about physical health and are asking members to help break down the stigma associated with mental health. Just starting a conversation with someone by asking them how they are can help by letting that person know that you care.  It can sometimes make a big difference and make it easier for people to say how they are feeling. There are lots of resources available to get you started.

These include step by step guides and a short video produced by Time to Change (see the ‘resources’ box below) as well as a conversation starter included on the next page of this pack.

Help change attitudes towards mental health. You could get in touch with your local Mind to explore
volunteering opportunities. Some local Minds, for example, offer training to become a volunteer speaker on mental health. Why not see what’s available in your area by contacting your local Mind using the instructions on page 8? Alternatively, if you have experience of mental health problems and want to share your story with others to challenge the stigma associated with mental health, why not register to become a Time to Change Champion? If you become a Champion, you’ll receive free training and lots of resources to help you pick an activity that you’re comfortable with and fits in with your commitments. Visit the Time to Change England (or Wales) website to find out more.

Tell us your ideas!

In light of the reported benefits of gardening, we’d love to hear from members with ideas about how to engage WIs in the mental health mandate specifically through this activity. Send in ideas to ku.gr1544479715o.iwf1544479715n@sri1544479715affac1544479715ilbup1544479715 and you could see your suggestion promoted nationally in the spring! Please also share with us any other ideas around craft, sport and music, for example.

Download the Make Time for Mental Health PDF or contact the Public Affairs Department at ku.oc1544479715.iwfw1544479715@nimd1544479715a1544479715 to request a paper copy.