This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and at the forefront of a new National Health Service (NHS) campaign entitled ‘Better Health – Every Mind Matters’ is the popular British Indian medic and television personality Dr Ranj Singh.
Dr Singh’s key wellness mantra is about getting active to beat anxiety as he fronts the campaign to encourage people to get going in the battle for better mental health.
He explains: “Anxiety is part of everyday life, and it can help us focus or take extra care when needed, but when it gets too much, it can have a really big impact on how we want to live our lives.
“Physical activity is one of the simplest, but most effective, things we can do to help alleviate anxious feelings, calm racing thoughts, and give us something to distract from negative thinking. Regular physical activity is best, but even a few minutes each day can help. I personally love dancing because some good music instantly lifts my mood.”
It comes as Dr Singh’s new book ‘How To Be A Boy’ is out as a guide to encourage boys to grow up happy with confidence, positivity and kindness.
His publishers Hachette UK note: “In his signature warm and conversational voice, Dr Ranj reflects on what it really means to be a boy in today’s world, looking at everything from stereotypes and peer pressure to mental health and respect for women.
“In a world where everyone seems to have an opinion about what it means to be a man, Dr Ranj is here to reassure readers that there isn’t one way to be a boy – just one way to be true to yourself.”
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Meanwhile, new NHS research reveals that three-quarters (75 per cent) of adults surveyed report feeling anxious, but less than half (45 per cent) are aware that physical activity reduces anxiety symptoms. In time for Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK government says it is increasing investment in mental health services by at least £2.3 billion a year by March 2024 so that an additional 2 million people can get the support they need.
New research among 2,000 adults in England has revealed around 40 per cent have trouble sleeping, 37 per cent feel less confident, and 35 per cent have less energy due to anxiety. Anxiety stopped them from attending social events, reports several people, and many admit it’s even impacted their relationship, as they spend less time with their partner.
Physical activity releases feel-good hormones and improves mental health. But research reveals that very few people know the benefit of regular physical activities. Instead, the study finds more and more people are using distraction techniques like watching TV or browsing the internet when feeling anxious and socially isolating themselves.
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With almost one in 5 not doing any form of physical activity, the research also revealed that not feeling motivated, not enjoying physical activity, and not having enough free time were the top barriers to getting active. The study also shows that most people lack awareness of the NHS-recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
To encourage and raise public awareness, in this Mental Health Awareness Week, BAFTA award-winning comedian and actor Tom Davis has opened up about his mental health in conversation with Dr Ranj Singh in a newly released video as part of the campaign. The pair discuss how they deal with anxious thoughts and call on the nation to make the first move for their mental health by getting active.
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The ‘Better Health – Every Mind Matters’ website also allows people to sign up to anxiety-easing emails, offering expert advice to help them stay on top of their mental wellbeing and show them how to make these new steps part of their routine.