Mental Health Awareness Week May 13th-19th- How can You help raise awareness?

Posted by Samantha Rentz on April 13th 2013
  • Did you know?

In 2011, just over three-quarters of people aged 16 and over in the UK rated their overall life satisfaction at a medium or high level, and 80% felt that the things they do in their life are worthwhile.

When asked to reflect on their feelings during the preceding day, 71% of people in the UK rated their happiness as medium or high, while 40% of people rated their anxiety as high.

1 in 10 of us in the UK struggle with mental health issues at any one time, and each year 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. What’s more, 1 in 100 of us will have a severe mental health problem and mental illness rates are almost certainly going up as a result of economic stresses which are a major cause of anxiety and depression.

At least 30% of GP consultations are for a mental health problem, but this is the tip of the iceberg as only 25% of common mental illnesses are treated at all.

Around 750,000 people in the UK over 65 have some form of dementia, which accounts for 25% of all NHS beds. Dementia is also associated with other mental illnesses.

The economic cost of mental illness to the UK is about £100bn – greater than the total cost of crime (£60bn) and equivalent to the entire NHS budget. Despite this, we worryingly only spend £10bn on mental health services and support.

This Mental Health Awareness Week…

  • May 13-19,2013: Physical activity and wellbeing

The benefits of physical activity for reducing obesity and preventing chronic illness have been very well publicised, and yet only one-third of the population meet UK physical activity guidelines. The aim of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is to change the way we view physical activity in the UK: to shift physical activity from a behaviour which we do because we ‘have to’, ‘should do’ or ‘ought to do’ for our health, to something which we do because we personally value its positive benefits to our wellbeing.

With your support we feel we could boost last year’s success and raise awareness of the importance of physical activity for positive mental health among an even wider audience.


  • What can you do to help?


  • 1 Plan an event or activity

Physical activity can be built into our everyday lives and become part of our regular routine. There are a huge number of different ways to be active, for example dance, gardening, following keep fit videos at home, badminton, martial arts and forest walks to name a few. Finding an activity which feels right for you and which you enjoy is likely to increase motivation to continue. Brisk walking is one way to incorporate physical activity into your day which many people find practical and enjoyable.

Help us raise awareness in your community by hosting an event or activity in MHAW. This could include:

  • organise a walking tour around your area, with planned stop offs at historic or notable sites
  • have a picnic in your local park with fun equipment like Frisbees or a croquet set
  • encourage your community centres, i.e. church, hall, gym to host free yoga or meditation sessions during the week
  • nominate to speak at the local school. Encourage children to be physically active as part of their daily routine, not just in PE classes.
  • Get creative! See the next few pages for ways to raise awareness and look after your mental health!

Attending an event in your area is also a great way to show your support for the cause, so be sure to get involved if there are MHAW activities already going on around you.

  • Tell us about your event!

To see just how many communities have been reached by Mental Health


We would love to feature your activities! If you would like to show the world what you are doing for Mental Health Awareness Week, email the:

  • Event title
  • Date and time
  • A short description of the event
  • An image (can be a logo)
  • And a weblink


Posting your event details on the website is optional, and the events can be private (at educational institutions), or public events (at

the local park) on your request. We would also love to hear how your event went, as well as see any photos or videos. Send them through after your event!

  • Get your workplace involved

Your organisation can make a big difference by engaging its employees and customers/stakeholders and motivating them to become physically active. Whether it be putting up posters in the shop front, or encouraging employees to think about their wellbeing and own level of physical activity via an internal newsletter, or setting up a lunch time walking group. MHAW is all about taking care of one’s mental health, including while you work!

If your organisation does not have the capacity to host an event, it can still get involved by providing a quote and/or a logo on why physical activity is so important for positive mental health. The quote and logo will be used as part of our promotional materials we will be using to reach the public throughout 13-19 May 2013. We would be grateful of your organisation’s endorsement to help raise further awareness of our campaign.

  • Share your story

The key to reducing stigma around mental health is talking about it. We are always looking for people to share their story with us and our social media followers. Has physical activity helped you overcome mental health issues and improve your wellbeing? We would love to hear about it! Contact the press office on and tell them your story.

  • Raise some money

Mental Health Awareness Week is, true to its title, about raising awareness. However, our work, including our awareness raising campaigning such as MHAW, relies on fundraising from voluntary sources. If you would like to raise money to support the work of the Mental Health Foundation (i.e. through raffles or collections) then please see our tips on hosting a fundraising event over the next few pages. Please contact for further information.

  • Spread the word

Your networks are a powerful tool to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing. During the week we will be posting stories and information on our Facebook and Twitter. Please add and follow us, share our messages and engage in the discussion. Copy and paste the following as an update:

  • Facebook

This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 13-19 May 2013 is physical activity and mental health. We’ve/I’ve partnered with the Mental Health Foundation to raise awareness of physical activity and mental health. To find out more about the campaign, visit

Get involved by following @MHF_tweets on twitter and by ‘liking’ their Facebook page and sharing their posts: 345

  • Twitter

Before the week

  • This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 13-19/05 is physical activity and mental health: #letsgetphysical
  • We’ve partnered with @MHF_tweets to raise awareness of physical activity and mental health: #letsgetphysical
  • Get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week & help us raise awareness of physical activity’s gains: #letsgetphysical
  • Does physical activity make you feel good? Would you like to share your story and help us raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity for people’s wellbeing? Email a paragraph and your details to

During the week

  • Did you know that being physically active is good for your wellbeing and mental health? #letsgetphysical
  • Help @MHF_tweets change the way we view physical activity in the UK: #letsgetphysical
  • Physical activity should be something that enhances our lives and not a ‘chore’ : #letsgetphysical
  • Physical activity can help protect our mental health: #letsgetphysical
  • It’s all about getting started. Even small increases in levels of activity can improve wellbeing: #letsgetphysical
  • Physical activity should be a natural part of people’s lives not something to find the time to do: #letsgetphysical
  • Physical activity can include taking the stairs, walking or cycling to work and to the shops: #letsgetphysical
  • Physical activity can act as both prevention and treatment for various mental illnesses: #letsgetphysical
  • Did you take part in some physical activity today? It’s good for your mental health! #letsgetphysical
  • Does physical activity make you feel good? #letsgetphysical
  • Does physical activity make you feel good? It can help protect your mental health and wellbeing: #letsgetphysical2

Thank you for choosing to fundraise for the Mental Health Foundation.

With your support, we can continue to change lives.


One Response to “Mental Health Awareness Week May 13th-19th- How can You help raise awareness?”

  1. June 02, 2013 at 2:15 am, Olive said:

    Wonderful website. Plenty of useful information here. I’m sending a link to my friends to read. Great effort and concise information!


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