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Council supports Mental Health Awareness Week as figures show 4 in 10 in England are having trouble sleeping

Published Friday, 22 May 2020

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we are reminding residents of the importance of looking after their mental health and by sharing tips on how to look after it, including how to sleep better,

The theme for this year’s awareness week is kindness and the positive impact it can have on mental health.  Acts of kindness benefit the individual helped and those offering or giving the help, as well as reducing loneliness and isolation, which can support better sleep.

The city has seen huge amounts of kindness with thousands of volunteers and communities coming together to support one another during the Coronavirus outbreak. So far, our volunteers have helped respond to 2,750 requests for assistance, giving over 22,800 volunteer hours of practical support as well as checking on residents’ wellbeing to  alleviate loneliness and anxiety.

When people are anxious or stressed, their sleep can suffer. To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Public Health England have today (Friday 22 May) released data on the mental health of the nation and the impact Coronavirus is having on people’s mental health and has offered tips and an online resource to help people sleep better.

New data released by Public Health England shows more than four in 10 (41) [1] Britons are experiencing more sleep problems than usual, with over half of 16-29-year olds (52%) [2] the most likely to be affected.

In addition, those already experiencing mental health problems more than usual are also more likely to be impacted. Among those experiencing low mood more than usual, 77% [3] report more sleep problems during the outbreak, as do 67% [4] of those experiencing stress more than usual and 66% [5] of those with anxiety.

Sleep isn’t the only issue affecting adults’ mental wellbeing in England at present; the survey revealed that, among those experiencing sleep problems, anxiety, low mood or stress more than usual, missing friends and family (64%) was cited as the main reason their mental wellbeing has been impacted by COVID-19; followed by worrying about their family’s health and safety (51%), contracting coronavirus themselves (38%) and feeling overwhelmed by the volume of news (37%) were also issues. [6]

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Social Care said: “In these unprecedented times, it is so important that we look after our mental health and look out for one another.

“The theme of this year’s mental health awareness week is kindness and we are seeing a great deal of that in York. Health services, communities and charities across York are doing some incredible work to help those who need it. We need to say to each other ‘it is ok to not be ok’, if you or someone you know is struggling, people are there to help you. The Every Mind Matters website is also there, sharing tips and advice to help you improve your wellbeing.”

Corinne Harvey, Deputy Director – Health, Wellbeing & Workforce Development at Public Health England said:

“It’s natural to experience trouble sleeping from time to time and it’s understandable that the current climate is making sleep harder for lots of us. We want people to know that if you are having trouble sleeping, there is help available.

“Every Mind Matters provides simple, achievable steps which you can take to make a difference to your sleep, and you can even create your own personalised ‘Mind Plan’ which will be tailored to your needs. Making simple changes can have a real benefit to your sleep and how you feel, so we’re encouraging people to make adjustments where they can.”

For more information, search ‘Every Mind Matters’ or visit https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ to create your personalised Mind Plan.

www.sleepfoundation.org  offers practical resources to help you improve your own sleep hygiene provides a checklist of things that you put in place to help you sleep better

www.sleepstation.org.uk also provides a range of practical tips a tool to help you look at your own sleep and to make small changes that could have a big impact.

Tips to look after your mental health

In what is an anxious and difficult time for many of us, it is more important than ever to maintain your wellbeing.

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important while staying at home because of coronavirus. You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you.

Where possible try to incorporate the following into your day:

  • Connect with people – stay in touch with friends and family via the phone or social media
  • Try to keep active – do light exercise at home or outside once a day
  • Get as much sunlight and fresh air as possible
  • Structure your day with a routine - you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
  • Find ways to relax with meditation or breathing exercises
  • Keep your mind stimulated with quizzes or puzzles
  • Limit the amount of time you watch the news. For practical advice on how best to cope with health and wellbeing issues during this time please visit: www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

Alternatively, additional information is available for taking care of your mental wellbeing is available at https://www.tewv.nhs.uk/staying-safe-taking-care-of-your-mental-wellbeing/.

Getting support

People in need of help can call 01904 551550 or email COVID19help@york.gov.uk  7 days a week for support.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust: Mental Health Crisis Team 0300 0200317 – advice for dealing with a mental health crisis is also available at https://www.tewv.nhs.uk/services/crisisadvice/

York charities are still available at the end of the phone to help you during this pandemic. Here are contact details for local charities available during coronavirus:

York Carers Centre: 01904 715 490

The Haven: support for anyone experiencing mental ill health 07483 141 310 Phone line available between 6pm –11pm.

York Samaritans: 116 123 (National) free from any phone Email jo@samaritans.org

York Mind: 01904 643364 For adults: activities@yorkmind.org.uk For young people: youngpeople@yorkmind.org.uk For help accessing benefits, housing and other services, call: 07864 728942

Age UK: 01904 634061 | Age UK York

0800 678 1602 | National

NHS approved sleep tips

Value your sleep

We need to take our sleep seriously and try and make sure we get enough, weekdays and weekends. This could mean going to bed earlier or spending less time in bed (the amount of sleep we need varies from person to person).

Proritise your sleep

Sleep is vital to our health, our wellbeing, our ability to function and to our mood. Prioritising our sleep means sometimes actively choosing it over something else. This may be difficult with the current disruption to our normal routines, but maintaining regular sleep habits is important, so make the commitment to winding down and getting to bed.

Personalise your sleep

The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person, so you need to find the sleep window that is right for you. Try settling earlier or later, or adjusting how long your sleep window is. Experiment, and trust that you will get it right.

Trust your sleep

We’re all designed for sleep, so trust that once you’ve got your pattern into shape, it will happen. If you can’t sleep, get up and move around, do something else for a while, and then go back to bed when you feel sleepy.

Protect your sleep

The most common enemy of good sleep is the racing and worried mind, so try to put the day to rest before you go to bed. Take time to jot down the things that have been on your mind so they won’t trouble you when you go to bed. If you’re working from home at the moment and having to use your bedroom to do so, try to remove all traces of work before you go to bed to revert the room back into a good sleep environment.

[1]YouGov Weekly Tracker (Week 6-7 w/c 11th May and w/c18th May) sample 1735  

[2] YouGov Weekly Tracker (Week 6-7 w/c 11th May and w/c18th May) sample of 16-29 in question 392

[3] YouGov Weekly Tracker (Week 6-7 w/c 11th May and w/c18th May) sample 824

[4] YouGov Weekly Tracker (Week 6-7 w/c 11th May and w/c18th May) sample 775

[5] YouGov Weekly Tracker (Week 6-7 w/c 11th May and w/c18th May) sample 748  

[6] YouGov Weekly Tracker (Week 6-7 w/c 11th May and w/c18th May) sample 1,156