Protecting your mental health

Sometimes it is the simplest things that can help improve your mental health...

The 5 Ways to Well-being

The Foresight Report, 2008 is a review of the most up-to-date evidence suggests that building the following five actions into our day-to-day lives is important for well-being:

The 5 Ways to Well-being are:

Connect: With the people around you, with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them.
Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be Active: Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical
activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Take Notice: Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Keep Learning: Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

Give: Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile.
Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

Positive Steps

Positive Steps is a flexible and interactive mental health promotion programme developed by the South Eastern Trust Health Development Team that can be used with virtually any group. Positive Steps is essentially a mental health promotion programme that brings many other benefits in addition to improving our mental health & emotional well-being.

The programme provides many exciting opportunities for people aged 12 and over to experience, for example trying something new and learning new skills; taking risks; making new connections and relationships; socialising; being creative; learning relaxation techniques; figuring out how to value yourself and how to contribute in valuable ways; improving health; knowing when and how to get help; learning all this in a fun way.

The programme originated from a list of 10 positive steps published in a concertina leaflet by the Health Education Authority 1999. After distributing the leaflet widely it was decided that the steps provided a firm framework for the development of a programme based on these self-help ideas.

A multi-disciplinary group collaborated in the writing of this programme, as a 10-step programme that encourages people to look at life, to discover what influences their health and provides a practical opportunity to enhance mental health and emotional well-being.

The programme aims to:

  • To enhance confidence & self-esteem of participants
  • To improve the mental health and emotional well-being of participants
  • To offer participants the opportunity try something new, different & exciting
  • To help participants connect with family, friends & other supports around them
  • To encourage participants to acknowledge & talk about their feelings
  • To give practical solutions to learn how to manage emotions & learn how to relax
  • To be fun!

The programme has been structured around the 10 positive steps. These are:

  1. Get creative
  2. Accept who you are
  3. Get talking
  4. Get involved 
  5. Health & well-being
  6. Try something new 
  7. Asking for help 
  8. Keeping active
  9. Keeping in touch
  10. Making relaxation a way of life