Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK runs from the 13th to the 17th May this year (ie now!) and it's a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about mental health issues and the importance of taking care of our emotional well-being. We need collectively to prioritize our mental health, not be afraid to seek help if needed, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health challenges.

Research from University College London exploring the incidence of depression and anxiety found that that between 2000–2019 the incidence of mental health conditions overall increased, more than doubling in 16–24-year-olds. The research from UCL analysised data from more than 29 million (29,480,164) individuals in the UK, who were followed for an average of 12.5 years. In total, the data accounted for 237,123,186 years of people’s lives (or ‘person years’) and found that the the incidence of common mental disorders increased between 2000–2019 from 55.9 to 76.9 per 1,000 person years.

Depression, anxiety and stress aren't just excuses to slack off.  They are conditions that significantly affect people’s lives. In 2018, these ‘common mental disorders’ accounted for 12.5% of sickness leave in the UK.

However, thanks to a decrease in the stigma around mental health disorders and an increase in public awareness, more of us feel able to contact our GP, or speak to friends and family than ever before.  And there are many more resources available to individuals too. (see footnotes)

As someone who has struggled with my own mental health issues at various points in life I would urge you to speak to someone and not struggle on alone if you are feeling down, anxious or stressed.  There is help available and no one needs to struggle alone.  Life can be so tough and even if you don't feel able to talk to someone you 'know', like your friends, family or GP, there are always more anonymous sources available to offer guidance and help.

My own journey with mental health wellbeing and healing has included medication, meditation, walks, nature, family, CBT, talking to my GP, crying into my pillow, cuddling my dogs, yoga and of course essential oils.  

Here are some of my favourite de-stressers and mood boosters. They aren't an automatic low mood fix.  After all, we can't be super happy all the time.  But they are a support and they have definitely helped me when the times are hard.

Here are my top 5 oils for your aromatherapy medicine kit, to get you through tough times:

Ylang Ylang - Cananga Odorata Essential Oil

Ylang Ylang essential oil is an intense floral oil with intense actions.  The oil is extracted from the flowers of the Cananga Odorata tree and it's great for 'jittery' mental health issues, like stress, anxiety or panic. It's great for those introverts who internalise too much and can't then cope well with the buried stress and emotions that eventually bubble up. It is particularly good at calming panic and agitation that is linked to the heart (ie palpitations and panic attacks) and it helps calm the nervous system through the regulation of adrenalin. It is also great for withdrawn and flat mental health conditions like depression, as it opens up the emotions and is a euphoric lifter of the spirits.

Neroli - Citrus Aurantium var. Amara Essential Oil

Neroli is a profoundly calming and balancing oil for the Autonomic Nervous System.  It has a sweet floral scent and is one of the my absolute go-tos for either acute shock (literally sniff it from the bottle!) or for chronic stress.  It's another great oil to use if you are the kind of person who bottles up and internalises your stress, anxiety or low mood over a long period of time.  Extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, this oil will not the be cheapest one in your cabinet but it is well worth the price as it can uplift your spirits when you are feeling down with either depression, fatigue or burnout and it can also support you when your emtions are running high with anxiety, insomnia, stress or panic.  As a balancer or the psyche it is second to none.

Cardamom - Eletteria Cardamom Essential Oil

Cardamom is a hugely comforting and warming essential oil that is extracted from the pods that are used in Indian and Asian cooking.  The oil has strengthening and restorative properties and is particularly good for mental conditions that are linked to depression, burnout and exhaustion.  I've found it a really helpful oil to use for states of chronic fatigue, physical weakness linked to low mood, and overwhelm.  This oil is also a really good one to use if the mental state has caused stress related upset to the digestive system.

Sweet Orange - Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Essential Oil

Sweet Orange is a bright, uplifting and supportive oil that smells amazing and is one of the most affordable essential oils out there - so if you are on a tight budget this is the one is for you.  Extracted from the volatile oils that are found in the rind of the Sweet Orange fruit, this oil boosts the para sympathetic nervous system and is a great one to use for any kind of stress that impacts on the nervous system. It is a really useful oil for those who work too hard and need a tonic to support them.  As a mild sedative oil it is helpful for overwrought mental states like anxiety, panic or stress but as a strengthener and euphoric oil it is also helpful for closed down mental health conditions like depression.

Lime - Citrus Aurantifolia Essential Oil

Lime is one of THE most uplifting and fresh oils available and is useful to support any condition impacting the nervous system.  The oil has a cleansing energy and is particularly useful for mental health disorders that have been exacerbated by long term physical ill health or illness.  Like Sweet Orange, the oil is extracted from the rind of the fruit.  I find it particularaly useful for helping with lethargy, chronic fatigue and depression - it literally can help sweep out and clean the psychological cobwebs and help to lift the mood. 


UK Mental Health Support:



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