Brits believe sleep, exercise and quality time with friends and family are vital for strong mental health – but younger generations are likely to look to alcohol when times get tough, research shows.
A recent study quizzing 2,000 Brits on the state of their mental well-being revealed that when it comes to boosting mental health, it’s our friends and family that are most likely to help us out.
Seventy six per cent of Brits lean on their loved ones in difficult times, while almost half turn to exercise to boost their mood.
A third of young adults drink alcohol when they are feeling down, and 36 per cent of men are likely to reach for a bottle compared to 28 per cent of women.
Those aged 55 and over are more likely to stick to healthier methods of stress relief, with 74 per cent opting to go for a stroll and two thirds preparing a healthy meal.
Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, who commissioned the study, said: “Our research has demonstrated that now, more than ever, we need to make sure that we understand our mental health and know about the things that can protect or undermine it.
“It seems to be easier for people later in life to spend time doing the things that are good for mental health, and young people struggling under the life’s pressures could take a leaf out of the book the older generation appears to be reading!”
The study, launched to mark the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week, lays bare the scale of people’s experiences of mental health problems.
Just 13 per cent of those surveyed described their mental health as ‘highly positive’, and two in five believe they have experienced depression in their lives.
The survey also revealed that women are more likely to say they have experienced a mental health issue, with seven in ten of the women partaking in the study revealing their mental health concerns compared to six in ten men.
In response to these findings, the Mental Health Foundation is calling for the introduction of a “100 per cent health” screen – incorporating mental health screening into existing health screening programmes so that mental health conditions are spotted and treated before they become acute.
They are also calling for a Royal Commission to investigate the solutions to prevent mental ill health, with a focus on reducing risk, along with a report on the nation’s mental health every year.
Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive at the Mental Health Foundation continued: “With two in three of us experiencing a mental health problem in our lives, we need to respond to this public health emergency with a Thriving Nation programme. That’s why we’re calling for a Royal Commission to investigate the solutions to prevent mental ill health.
“We also want an annual report on the nation’s mental health to parliament. We need to track the state of the nation’s mental health, so that the government can take actions to tackle the main problems and report back on their success.
“The success of our society cannot and should not solely be measured in GDP, but the health of its citizens.”