While much of the conversation around mental health tends to focus on the things you can do to make yourself feel better when you’re struggling, it’s important to ensure that you’re taking time out of your schedule to look after your wellbeing on a regular basis.
It’s easy to forget, but your mental health is just as important as your physical health. And while the results of regular mental health and wellbeing care may not be as obvious as the physical transformation you might see from strength training at the gym, for example, it’s no less valuable.
Looking after your mental health doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Alongside visiting your GP and accessing NHS mental health services, there are also a great number of free online mental health resources which can be easily accessed from home at a time that suits you.
From the NHS’ own wellbeing hub Every Mind Matters to the free content provided by the likes of Headspace and Calm, there are plenty of great materials to explore covering everything from coping with anxiety and depression to getting better sleep and managing stress.
So without further ado, here’s our guide to the best ones to help you get started.
The BBC’s mental health hub Headroom is an online “toolkit for the mind” which aims to provide a range of free resources to help you look after your wellbeing on a day-to-day basis.
From essential everyday tips and inspiring personal stories to soothing sounds and mood-boosting activities, there’s plenty to explore.
Peer emotional support app HearMe
This free app allows users to connect with a trained, empathetic HearMe listener in real-time to allow you to open up about something that’s on your mind.
The service is completely anonymous and secure, so you don’t need to worry about your personal information going anywhere – just get whatever is on your mind off your chest by sitting down for a quick chat with a trained listener.
You can download the app here via the HearMe website.
NHS Every Mind Matters
This free site powered by the NHS and Public Health England provides access to loads of free mental health resources and advice.
Their Your Mind Plan service even provides you tailored advice and resources based on a short quiz about how you’re feeling and any specific worries you may have at the moment.
You can access the resources on their website.
Calm’s #CalmTogether Hub
During the first coronavirus lockdown, the mindfulness meditation app Calm made a bunch of their resources free to help people who were struggling. And now, they’ve made that a permanent feature on their site.
From soothing meditations help you manage anxiety to sleep stories that will help to calm your busy mind at the end of the day, these free resources are a great way to ground your mind.
To access all the free resources, just follow the link to their website.
Headspace’s Weathering The Storm series
Covering content including navigating change, reframing anxiety, at-home workouts, focus and advice for tough times (such as impermanence and change), the series was designed to help people safeguard their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
The Headspace website is also home to a wealth of articles on a number of different topics including stress and anxiety, sleep and healthy living.
To access the free content, go to the Headspace website.
Help Hub’s free online therapy sessions
The online therapy service Help Hub offers free 20-minute calls or video calls with one of their qualified therapists for anyone within the UK. Whatever your worries or concerns, Help Hub is designed to point you in the right direction and to provide you with some all-important emotional support.
Although the service was originally set up to provide support to a small area in West Oxfordshire, it expanded nationally after therapists across the UK volunteered their time to help people struggling with the effects of isolation during lockdown.
To find out more information, and to register for a session, check out their website.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health, you can find support and resources on the mental health charity Mind’s website and NHS Every Mind Matters or access the NHS’ list of mental health helplines and organisations here.
If you are struggling with your mental health as a result of loneliness, you can also ask your GP for a referral to NHS Talking Therapies, or you can self-refer.
For confidential support, you can also call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or email email@example.com.