by Susan Gilchrist, Linked Minds Coordinator
Mental health and wellbeing is something that effects all of us. Even if we have never met anyone with a diagnosis of a mental health problem, our own experience tells us we all exist on a spectrum of mental wellbeing, having good days and bad days, good times and bad times.
Reflecting an understanding that Mental Health and Wellbeing is something that effects all of us in 2008 the UK government commissioned the New Economic Foundation (NEF a public policy think tank) to look at all of the current research that had been done into how people can look after their own mental wellbeing. The NEF came up with a report that proposed 5 positive things people could do to look after their mental wellbeing, they are:- being active, taking notice, learning, giving and connecting.
The 5 ways to wellbeing don’t always work in isolation to each other, often 1 thing leads to another.
A couple of years ago as I was rushing through a graveyard in Hammersmith walking from one office to a meeting in another I heard a woodpecker. I stopped to have a look to see if could see it. A man walking toward me, saw me and asked what I was doing, “I’m looking for that woodpecker” I said “can you hear it?”. He started to look about as well, then another person stopped and said to him “what are you doing?” “we’re looking for that woodpecker” he said “can you hear it?”, and so that person stopped, then another, then another, eventually there were 6 of us. “Look!!! There it is!” the 2nd man spotted it on the side of a tree. We all smiled at each other and marvelled at seeing a woodpecker in central London. Someone looked it up on his phone and told us what kind of woodpecker it was. It was a fantastic, joyful experience, I think about it often.
It would not have been so special without the other people there to share it with me, it would never have happened if id taken the bus or if I hadn’t stopped for just a minute to look, I appreciated the man telling me about the woodpecker and I think the others did too & i went home and looked it up myself.
Connections, being active, taking notice, giving and learning. The 5 ways to wellbeing.
How could you incorporate the 5 ways to wellbeing into meetings with a befriendee? Email us if you are interested in volunteering with us at firstname.lastname@example.org