Next week, (13-19 May) the Government of Jersey is promoting mental health awareness through a diverse programme of activity which has been planned as part of the Island’s involvement in a wider Mental Health Awareness Week organised by the UK Mental Health Foundation.
Numerous Government departments and services are collaborating with charitable organisations to help islanders think about, talk about and take action to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
The theme for the week is Body Image and explores why our body image can impact upon the way that we feel. Through the week there will be opportunities to engage and encourage Islanders to participate in a number of activities that make this connection. This could be anything from joining in a sporting activity, participating in a dance/exercise class, reading, or listening to some interesting talks on the mind / body connection.
To encourage conversations about mental health, islanders are being asked to share on social media what they do to help maintain good mental health using the hashtag #healthyjerseyminds.
They can also undertake a very short, anonymous survey which has been created to help gather a snapshot of how people in Jersey are feeling, with simple "yes" or "no" answers to five questions. The survey can be accessed on government social media channels and on gov.je.
The ‘Friday 15’ Initiative is also being promoted across government departments which encourages teams to take 15 minutes out of their busy schedule on a Friday to reflect on their own mental health and that of colleagues. All islanders can join in with the initiative on Friday 17 May and can upload photos on social media using the hashtags #healthyjerseyminds and #Friday15. The short break could take the form of a mini tea party, breakfast or lunch.
The programme of activities and events includes activities ranging from yoga at the Library to a guided forest therapy walk, talks from key speakers on subjects reflecting the themes e.g. pain and mental health, disability and mental health, art, literature and music and the connection with mental health. Full details of all the activities, including booking details, can be found on gov.je, on government social media channels throughout the week and in a JEP advert on Friday.
Minister for Health and Community Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "I am pleased and proud to support Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental Health is as important as physical health, and it is a government priority for the Council of Ministers and for my department. I think it is really important that now, the subject of mental health is gaining traction and people are more comfortable talking about it.
"There’s an understanding that prevention of mental health issues, and attention to all-round health and wellbeing, is vital.
"I am really impressed to see such a wide range of activities on offer to islanders throughout mental health awareness week focussed on wellbeing and taking time out. I’d urge everyone to get involved in the week, even if it is just taking a short break from work for 15 minutes and making time to switch off.
"I’d like to thank all the staff who work in our mental health services and wherever mental health services are provided by charities and organisations, for all the excellent work they do, and anyone who has helped bring the activities planned in Mental Health Awareness Week together."