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People in Wales help others to protect and improve their own mental well-being

Published: 22 February 2023

Nearly three-quarters of people (73 per cent) in Wales actively choose to help others in order to protect and improve their own mental well-being, according to a new survey released by Public Health Wales.

The latest survey of the Time to Talk Public Health panel asked 1,072 people in Wales during January about action they take to protect and improve their mental well-being.

The survey found that nearly 9 in 10 people (87 per cent) currently take some form of action. Along with helping others, other popular activities were:  

  • Connecting with other people (72 per cent) 
  • Make time for hobbies (72 per cent) 
  • Connecting with nature (68 per cent)  
  • Being physically active (67 per cent)  

The survey found that three in four people (75 per cent) of people ‘strongly agreed’ that it is important for people to take action to maintain and enhance their mental well-being. 

The survey also asked people how often they feel lonely. Almost 1 in 5 people (18 per cent) in Wales said they feel lonely “always” or “often”. Loneliness can negatively impact on our mental well-being, but small actions can make a big difference.  

Dr Emily van de Venter, Lead Consultant in Mental Well-being for Public Health Wales, said:  

“The January results of the Time to Talk Public Health panel have shown that the majority of people in Wales really recognise the importance of people looking after their mental well-being, and are taking positive steps to protect and improve their own well-being.  

“It’s heart-warming to see that helping others is the most popular way for people in Wales to improve their mental well-being, something which is backed-up by evidence as a really effective way to boost your mood, for example, by volunteering in your community or helping out a neighbour. Also, giving a smile or a “good morning” to people you see in your neighbourhood can brighten their day and help reduce feelings of loneliness by giving a sense of connection. 

“It’s also good to see the range of other activities that people do to enhance their mental well-being, such as connecting with nature and other people, and doing physical activity. These are all excellent ways to look after and improve your mental well-being and bring wider health benefits too.  

”The overall survey results are encouraging, however, with our role to reduce health inequalities we will be looking more closely at the data to understand which groups experience lower mental well-being and how we can best support them.” 

For anyone who is struggling with their mental health or well-being, Public Health Wales’ has a dedicated website which links to a range of resources that can help, at  

Abby Hill, Volunteer Development Officer for Tenovus Cancer Care, said:

“We welcome volunteers from all walks of life. Some have mental and physical health experiences, but all contribute equally to our mission of helping all people affected by cancer live better lives. Our lovely volunteers tell us their confidence, social skills, and job chances improve working alongside us, but it also gives them a feel-good factor, helping them live happier and more fulfilled lives. Our relationship with our volunteers is mutually beneficial and we are grateful to every one of them.” 

Time to Talk Public Health is a new nationally representative panel of Welsh residents established by Public Health Wales to enable regular public engagement to inform public health policy and practice.  

This month’s survey covered mental well-being, vaccines, risk-taking behaviour and health inequalities. Currently in its pilot phase, the panel aims to recruit a nationally representative sample of residents aged 16+ years to participate in monthly surveys and provide insight into key public health issues. If you are interested in being a panel member, please sign up here.