How are you?

It’s really important that we talk. You and me and everybody else- it’s probably the most important thing we could do.

We regularly ask each other ‘how are you?’ and a usual response is ‘I’m fine’, but how often do those words hide the truth? During May, mental health awareness week brought the cause to our attention, aiming to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and if you missed it, where were you? Every TV channel, newspaper and social media outlet was filled with articles and support for the week. After those seven days, is that where it all ends?

Sadly, a recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that nearly two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem. Nearly 5 in 10 people say they have experienced depression, with only 13 percent of people surveyed living with high levels of good mental health.

It seems that young people are most likely to suffer with mental health issues and this has led to the shocking statistic that 3 children in every classroom have a diagnosed mental health problem.

The modern world we live in whilst fast, exciting and more connected than ever before, is partly to blame with social media becoming a high risk factor. Online we are presented with images which flaunt ‘perfect’ bodies, ‘perfect’ families, ‘perfect’ lives yet they are a heavily edited reality and in all honesty, what’s perfect? Even Mary Poppins herself was only ‘practically’ perfect in every way! You and me, we’re honestly enough just the way we are.

Are you surviving or thriving?

Life shouldn’t be something we endure but something we embrace and if at any point you feel that it’s all too much, please think about talking; to a friend, to family, to a doctor, whoever it may be. The saying goes that a problem shared is a problem halved and opening up to another person really can make a difference.

I will freely admit that I have seen several counsellors, therapists and doctors on my own mental health journey. I would never see this as a weakness or me failing somehow, but an acceptance that I’ve needed support to get me where I need to be. The journey may not be over but I’m in a better place to assess challenges I may encounter along the way.

And relax! Exercise is best for mental health.

Believe it or not, exercise is a powerful remedy for combatting the effects of mental health problems. The more energetic you are throughout the day, the better your sleep will be and the more relaxed you will feel.

According to, even 10 minutes brisk walking can ‘increase our mental alertness, energy and positive mood.’ You have to admit, that’s not a lot of effort to get a good feel boost.

Exercise promotes new brain activity, firing up neutrons and creating change. It also releases endorphins, your own personal happy drug, and can provide a much needed distraction from the negative thought patterns you may be experiencing.

After starting an exercise regime you will begin to find you sleep better, have increased self esteem, more energy and memory will improve. This is just the beginning. Classes like Carly’s boxing also provide a social element which is important in combatting the isolation mental health struggles can create. As a participant in Carly’s classes I have seen the physical and emotional changes in myself and others and have welcomed the opportunity to be part of an accepting, supportive and growing community. You cannot fail to be uplifted by Carly’s passion and energy, the upbeat music and participant enthusiasm. I promise you will leave on an endorphin high-I literally skip out of the church sometimes!

You are never alone.

Many people in the public eye have also been affected by mental health problems; Louie Spence, Carol Vorderman, Dame Kelly Holmes, James Arthur and Ronnie O’Sullivan are amongst the stars who have spoken publically about their own battles. Closer to home you will find that friends, family and colleagues are also openly or privately dealing with issues linked to mental health and in some cases its ourselves who are. Whatever the situation, don’t be afraid to open a channel of communication or reach out to someone. Even the smallest interaction can have a profound effect and just like a mid 90’s BT advert, it’s good to talk.

Carly has chosen to fundraise and support mental health charity Mind through her classes. If you would like any more information or advice about mental health, or to make a donation, please visit