Mental Health Tips When Living in a Vibrant City

Living in a bustling city can be an incredible adventure, especially with all the exciting opportunities around every corner. However, living an urban lifestyle can bring its fair share of stresses which can often take a toll on your mental health.

The constant noise, crowded spaces, and fast-paced life can contribute to a heightened state of stress, often referred to as ‘urban stress.’ The feeling of having to be constantly alert can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues if not properly addressed.

A study by the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health found that city dwellers have a 40% increased risk of mood disorders and a 20% higher risk of anxiety disorders compared to those living in rural areas. Additionally, they found that the occurrence of schizophrenia is almost doubled for those born and brought up in cities.

These statistics highlight the significant impact that urban stress can have on our mental wellbeing. It’s important to understand that urban stress is not just an inevitable part of city living that should just be accepted. Instead, it’s a serious issue that we need to address, by utilising effective stress management techniques, mental health support and resilience training or techniques.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a step towards better mental health. Don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance if you find yourself struggling to cope with urban stress. Your mental health matters, and it’s important to prioritise it.

Importance of Building a Social Network

Living in a vibrant city can be an enriching experience, filled with opportunities for personal and professional growth. However, the fast-paced urban lifestyle can sometimes leave people feeling isolated, highlighting the importance of building a strong social network for your mental well-being.

A healthy social network opens doors to emotional support, practical help, and a sense of belonging, all of which are crucial in maintaining your mental health. Regular interaction with friends, family, or community groups can also provide a much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. It encourages a sense of connection, helping to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation that can be detrimental to mental health.

The community plays a pivotal role in providing support, especially in times of stress or crisis. Local community-based organisations often offer resources such as counselling services, peer support groups, and mental health workshops that can be invaluable for those struggling with mental health issues.

Having a social network can also mean easier access to mental health services. Friends and family are often the first to notice if you’re struggling, and they can provide the encouragement and assistance needed to seek professional help. They can also help navigate the various options available, such as counselling, online therapy, or local mental health clinics.

A robust, healthy social network can be a vital lifeline when embracing city life, providing consistent emotional, practical, and psychological support. It’s an important ingredient for a balanced and healthy mental state when living in a vibrant city, allowing us to feel connected, supported, and understood.

Taking part in arts, culture and creative activity

As a Foundation, we know how powerful creative activities can be in stimulating positive mental health, encouraging short-term and longer-term benefits through meeting new people, expressing oneself and sharing your feelings.

Through our Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund, we have supported numerous creative projects across East London that promote good mental health and tackle it as subjects for exploration, such as Arcola Theatre Mental Health Community Theatre Company, S.M.I.L.E-ing Boys Project – Foundation for Future London and ARTBASH & be’s project, My Safe Space. These are supported in partnership with Westfield Stratford City.

Meanwhile our City of London Corporation co-funded Foundations Programme gave backing to a range of mental health-focused projects that used creativity to promote positive impact on learning and health and wellbeing. For instance, Babel Theatre’s, The Orpheus Project, was supported by a Collaborative Commission in 2022 and 2023. The community cohesion project for young men in East London tackles the stigma of mental health and loneliness through training, community and creative development. In 2023, Humourisk CIC received an award for Hands On Training – East, practical training growing confidence and life skills for 16-60 years. The project enables learning through comedy and humour, written, visual and performance art, observing individuality and commonality and challenging stigma.

Finding Time to Connect with Nature

Living amidst the hustle and bustle of a vibrant city can often leave us feeling disconnected from the peaceful calm and restorative power of nature. By making time to immerse ourselves in natural environments, it can do wonders to improve our mental health and wellbeing.

You might be surprised to discover that even the most urban areas, such as East London, boast a handful of green oases. Take, for instance, Victoria Park. Known as the ‘People’s Park’, it provides a peaceful escape with serene walking paths, stunning wildlife, and a breathtaking boating lake. The Lee Valley Park, stretching along the River Lea, is another haven for nature lovers. It offers a rich blend of wildlife habitats, sports facilities, and riverside trails, ideal for both contemplation and physical activity.

And of course, the fabulous Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which neighbours all four boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets and offers a range of unique green spaces including gardens, trails, meadows, wetlands and also playgrounds, waterways and rivers. In the spring, make your way to see the London Blossom Garden come to life, planted to commemorate the city’s shared experience of the Coronavirus pandemic.

By spending time in these verdant spaces, it allows us to take a break from the constant stimuli that comes with being in a city, instead reducing stress and promoting a sense of calm. The simple act of taking a stroll amidst the lush greenery, away from screens, can dramatically improve our mood and creativity. It presents an opportunity to reconnect with our natural roots, stimulating a sense of belonging and peace.

Despite the pace of city life, it’s essential we carve out time to embrace the natural world. Remember, it’s not about finding vast expanses of wilderness. A simple park bench under a blooming tree or a quick lunch in a riverside meadow can be just as effective in rejuvenating our mental health.

Where to Find Support in East London

East London boasts a wealth of resources for mental health support that cater to diverse needs and circumstances. These resources range from support groups to mental health charities, and from NHS services to private therapists.

Firstly, the NHS offers a variety of mental health services in East London. Prominent among them is the East London NHS Foundation Trust, which provides community and inpatient mental health care. They also have a 24/7 urgent mental health helpline, a reassuring presence for those in immediate need.

For those who prefer a more intimate setting, local support groups can be a lifeline. Organisations such as Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham offer peer support groups where individuals can share their experiences and coping strategies.

Charities also play a key role in East London’s mental health support network. The charity Mind provides a range of services from crisis support to advice and advocacy.

There are also numerous private therapists and counselling services available for those who prefer or require a more focused one-to-one approach. Websites like Counselling Directory list qualified therapists in East London, enabling you to find a professional that suits your needs.

It’s important to know that seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. East London has a large network of mental health resources, ready to provide the help and support you need.

This article has been written by PMAC, a UK mental health organisation that specialises in delivering bespoke mental health/wellbeing training to non-profits across the UK. For more information, see

For more information about the Foundation’s funded projects covering a wide range of topics and interests, see

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