Over the past few years, mental health across the UK has been in rapid decline thanks to adverse life events including the Covid pandemic and the rising cost of living.
In fact, a recent report published by the NHS revealed that between 2021-2022, a worrying one in twenty (5.8%) has been in contact with secondary mental health services during this time, which was up from just 5% the previous year.
However, it’s not all bad news, over the last three years some locations across the UK have thrived when it came to looking after their mental health, that’s according to a new study carried out by the Private Rehab Clinic Delamere.
Data points that were considered include; employment rates, anxiety levels, life satisfaction, addiction rates, light pollution, the number of people with mental health conditions and more to reveal where in the UK has the best approach to mental health.
Taking the top spot on the list was Swindon, with a score of 77.3/100. The city received 8.7/10 when it came to overall life satisfaction, as well as a nearly full score when it came to low levels of light pollution, with 9.1/10, which both contributed to its positive mental health approach.
In second place was Southend-on-Sea, with a score of 75.6/100. Another very impressive rating was achieved due to scoring full points when it came to light pollution levels and a life satisfaction score of 7.8/10. Extremely low addiction rates were also recorded, which contributed to the overall score in this area.
In third place was Luton, which received a score of 74.0/100. Despite scoring only 3/10 when it came to crime rates, Luton achieved the best possible score when it came to low suicide rates, as well as obtaining a score of 9.6/10 for overall life satisfaction.
Here are some tips to improve your mental health
- Try to get out of the house. Fresh air and exercise have been proven to contribute to improvements in mental health. In 2023 it would therefore be beneficial to try to get out of the house for a while each day – even just for ten minutes at a time. If your mobility or time to do this is restricted, even opening your window would allow you to experience a gentle breeze – which is especially important if you are working from home.
- Reconnect with your hobbies. Working full-time can make it difficult to keep up with hobbies and interests, so it could be useful to set an hour aside every evening to dedicate to a new or old craft. If you used to love reading but find you no longer have the time, you could challenge yourself to read a certain amount of books in the new year, as setting a goal would give you something to work towards. You could also throw yourself into a new craft, such as knitting or painting, in order to relax in the evenings.
- Meditate. Even a few minutes of guided meditation in the evenings would allow you to totally switch off from the day, ready for a restful night of sleep. If you are unsure of how to begin your meditation journey, you could listen to a dedicated podcast or YouTube video. This method would be especially useful for people who struggle to drift off to sleep, as it would minimise the temptation to watch TV or scroll through your phone for hours.
- Speak to friends and family. Never underestimate the power of a phone call or catch-up with a loved one. With many responsibilities, it can be easy to forget to phone or even text friends and family. However, setting a reminder in your calendar for a weekly catch-up would allow you to share and discuss any issues you may have encountered throughout the day, giving you fewer excuses to bottle things up.
- Get involved with charity work. Giving to others is a very important aspect of undertaking a wellness journey. As well as being a new activity you could sink your teeth into, it would offer a sense of achievement and fulfilment. For example, you could organise a charity bake sale or even fundraise with a friend, as many charities offer ideas for sponsored activities that can be completed from the comfort of your home.
Delamere’s findings offer hope that there are places in the UK where mental health is prioritised and well taken care of. To improve your own mental health, the article suggests getting outside, reconnecting with hobbies, meditating, speaking to friends and family, and getting involved with charity work. By taking these steps, individuals can prioritize their own mental health and contribute to a positive mental health approach in their communities.