Posted: Wed 22nd Feb 2023

People in Wales who choose to help others boost their own mental health, survey shows

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 22nd, 2023

Nearly three-quarters of people in Wales choose to help others in order to protect and improve their own mental well-being, according to a new survey from Public Health Wales.

The latest survey asked 1,072 people in Wales in January about their efforts to protect and improve their mental well-being, with nearly 9 out of 10 people taking some form of action.

Along with helping others, other popular activities were connecting with other people, making time for hobbies, connecting with nature, and being physically active.

The survey found that 75% of people strongly agreed that it is important for people to take action to maintain and enhance their mental well-being.

However, the survey also found that almost one in five people in Wales feel lonely “always” or “often,” which can negatively impact their mental well-being.

Dr Emily van de Venter, Lead Consultant in Mental Well-being for Public Health Wales, said:

“The January results of the Time to Talk Public Health panel have shown that the majority of people in Wales really recognise the importance of people looking after their mental well-being, and are taking positive steps to protect and improve their own well-being.

“It’s heart-warming to see that helping others is the most popular way for people in Wales to improve their mental well-being, something which is backed-up by evidence as a really effective way to boost your mood, for example, by volunteering in your community or helping out a neighbour.”

“Also, giving a smile or a “good morning” to people you see in your neighbourhood can brighten their day and help reduce feelings of loneliness by giving a sense of connection.”

“It’s also good to see the range of other activities that people do to enhance their mental well-being, such as connecting with nature and other people, and doing physical activity. These are all excellent ways to look after and improve your mental well-being and bring wider health benefits too. ”

”The overall survey results are encouraging, however, with our role to reduce health inequalities we will be looking more closely at the data to understand which groups experience lower mental well-being and how we can best support them.”

Volunteering in your community is also backed-up by evidence as a really effective way to boost your mood.

Abby Hill, Volunteer Development Officer for Tenovus Cancer Care, says they welcome volunteers from all walks of life, including those with mental and physical health experiences.

Volunteering can help with confidence, social skills, and job opportunities, leading to a more fulfilling life.

Time to Talk Public Health is a new nationally representative panel of Welsh residents established by Public Health Wales to enable regular public engagement to inform public health policy and practice.

This month’s survey covered mental well-being, vaccines, risk-taking behaviour, and health inequalities.

Currently in its pilot phase, the panel aims to recruit a nationally representative sample of residents aged 16+ years to participate in monthly surveys and provide insight into key public health issues. More here: https://www.djsresearch.co.uk/talkphwales

For anyone struggling with their mental health or well-being, Public Health Wales has a dedicated website that links to a range of resources that can help. More here: https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/mental-health-support/

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