This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day 2021 is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’.  

The world is increasingly polarized, with the very wealthy becoming wealthier, and the number of people living in poverty still far too high. 2020 highlighted inequalities due to race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and the lack of respect for human rights in many countries, including for people living with mental health conditions. Such inequalities have an impact on people’s mental health. 

This year’s themehighlights the inequality in access to mental health services, and it will focus on and address these issues locally and globally. We all have a role to play to address these disparities and ensure that people with lived experience of mental health are fully integrated in all aspects of life. It brings us an opportunity to come together and ensure people are able to enjoy good mental health. Let’s Act Now. Help us advocate the importance of Good Mental Health. 

What to Look out for - signs that someone may not be ok

  • Feeling restless and agitated 
  • Feeling tearful 
  • Not wanting to talk to or be with people 
  • Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy 
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings 
  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things 
  • Not replying to messages or being distant 

You may not always be able to spot these signs, as everyone is so different and may or may not express or show them. 

Situations to look out for

Situations that could trigger negative thoughts or make it hard to cope. 

  • relationship and family problems 
  • loss, including loss of a friend or a family member through bereavement 
  • financial worries 
  • job-related stress 
  • college or study-related stress 
  • loneliness and isolation 
  • depression 
  • painful and/or disabling physical illness 
  • heavy use of or dependency on alcohol or other drugs 
  • thoughts of suicide 

Again, these may not apply to everyone who is struggling, but they can be useful to look out for. 

How to support someone who is feeling suicidal

It can be very distressing if someone you know is feeling suicidal. What you can do to help:  

  • Encourage them to talk about their feelings
  • Listen and offer emotional or practical support 
  • Urge them to seek treatment and support 
  • Help them think of ideas for self-help
  • Help them to make a support plan

Staying calm and talking through the situation is important. 

If someone is in crisis, stay with them and take one of these steps: 

  • Call 999 or NHS Direct on 111  
  • Go to the nearest Accident and Emergency department 

Self-Care

Remember: Take care of yourself. Supporting someone who is struggling can be distressing in itself.

5 Steps to improve mental wellbeing

Give them a try, you may feel more content and positive and able to get the most from life. 

  • Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
  • Be active – you don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.
  • Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. Why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?
  • Give to others – even the smallest act counts, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
  • Be mindful – be aware of the present moment, your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. This is known as "mindfulness". It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

In a crisis

Finding Balance During a Crisis: In the face of a crisis, it’s important to give yourself permission to have time for yourself. This type of in-the-moment self-care will support your health and wellbeing.  

Manage Your Time with Yourself in Mind: Make the time to do things that you enjoy, such as walking the dog, getting exercise and meeting friends. 

Acknowledgement and Acceptance: Acknowledge you may not be able to ‘fix’ the person you care for, but know that just by being with them you are very much supporting them.  

Further resources and tools

There are a number of resources available to support Londoners’ mental health and wellbeing, as well as London’s digital wellbeing service, Good Thinking

For more information about how The Stuart Low Trust can support you, please visit our Arts, Nature and Wellbeing pages. 

"Before the pandemic I had been to just one SLT class on mindful eating - I was bulimic in my youth and still struggle with food issues periodically so it was very helpful and gave me considerable insights.  I had no idea then how fortunate I would be to be part of SLT during the pandemic. I have been self isolating for more than 18 months. I am so grateful to SLT for helping me get through this dreadful time, offering Zoom activities throughout. I suffer from anxiety and have joined all the Saturday relaxation classes which help tremendously. I have also joined the Tuesday exercise classes, which really help to take my mind off my worries. I have even made an online friend through finding ourselves in the same classes and hope to meet her one day. SLT has really kept me in touch with the outside world and given me a sort of routine and something to look forward to in these bleak times. I have even listened to 2 Friday talks which has me hoping to visit these places one finer day. A big thank you to the staff and the charity for having such a positive impact on my life and helping me get through."