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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

New campaign urges people to be kind to their mind as up to 74% report the ‘Sunday Scaries’

The public is urged to “be kind to your mind” as the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID)  launches the latest  Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day, which begins on Monday 10 October, the campaign calls on people to do small things which can make a big difference to their mental wellbeing and directs them to free tips and advice.

New research commissioned by OHID reveals almost 7 in 10 people report regularly experiencing the ‘Sunday Scaries’ (67%), increasing to three quarters (74%) for those aged 18-24. Work stresses, lack of sleep and looming to-do lists were reported as the top causes of feelings of stress or anxiety on a Sunday.

By answering five simple questions through the Every Mind Matters website people can get a personalised ‘Mind Plan’ giving them tips to help deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, sleep better and feel more in control.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Thérèse Coffey, said:

"My focus is on making sure people can get the care they need, when they need it - and that includes for their mental wellbeing. The Every Mind Matters tool is a great way to build your mental resilience and help ward off the anxiety many of us feel on a Sunday."

Famous faces - including BBC Radio 1 host Vick Hope, TV personality Scarlett Moffatt and pop star Tom Grennan, along with leading psychologist Kimberley Wilson - are backing the new campaign and calling on the nation to be kind to their mind and help deal with feelings of anxiety by doing small things that can make a big difference.

The ‘Sunday Scaries’ are shown to peak just after 5pm for many as thoughts and worries turn to the week ahead; with Google searches around sadness spiking on a Sunday as people turn to the internet for help. Searches for ‘trouble sleeping’ also peak on a Monday, reflecting the nation’s struggle to unwind as the weekend draws to a close.

In fact, searches for anxiety have increased 170% in the last 10 years.

To distract themselves from the ‘Sunday Scaries’ young people aged 18-24 are most likely to scroll on social media, whereas those aged 25-32 are most likely to binge watch TV and those aged 33-40 are most likely to comfort eat.

Every Mind Matters is an important tool for early intervention to build mental resilience. 

Preventing people’s mental health from deteriorating is a key part of the government’s Plan for Patients supporting people to stay well and stay within the community.

Over four million Mind Plans have been created since the campaign first launched in October 2019 and the Every Mind Matters website provides a range of other resources, as well as dedicated support to help parents and guardians look after the mental wellbeing of the children and young people they care for.

Psychologist, Kimberley Wilson, said:

"Many people experience a feeling of heightened anticipatory anxiety on a Sunday, otherwise known as the ‘Sunday Scaries’.

"Often when people feel sad or anxious, they spend time trying to distract themselves, by binge watching TV or spending hours scrolling on social media, for example. But these ‘distraction’ habits can actually exacerbate the problem.

"It’s so important to enjoy every last minute of your weekend and start the week in the best frame of mind. So, if you experience the Sunday Scaries like clockwork every week or feel sad or anxious, try getting active, which can help you to burn off nervous energy, writing down or keeping a diary of what you are doing and how you feel at different times to help identify what’s causing anxiety and what you need to do to help manage it. Small things can make a big difference to our mental wellbeing."

Pop star, Tom Grennan, said:

"I still experience this anticipatory anxiety; it can come out of nowhere, it doesn’t have to be on a Sunday! Sometimes it hits before a show but sometimes it’s just a general feeling I can’t immediately shake. I’ve found that keeping up my fitness and really prioritising exercise has helped me stay focused and my other tasks are easier to manage. Keeping my diet consistent has helped too, like staying away from too much caffeine and keeping everything balanced helps to ease anxiety. Do something for yourself this weekend and please be kind to your mind!"

TV personality, Scarlett Moffatt, said:

"We’ve all been there when you’re trying to relax and enjoy the last few moments of the weekend but can’t stop worrying about the week ahead!

"For me, getting outside and going for a walk with a friend really helps to lift my mood and puts me in the best frame of mind. No matter how much time you have, incorporating small actions into your routine can really help to your mental wellbeing either on a Sunday or whenever anxiety strikes."

Search Every Mind Matters for more free ways to be kind to your mind. Take the free, Mind Plan quiz  to get a personalised mental health action plan with practical tips to help you deal with stress, anxiety, low mood and trouble sleeping.


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