It is becoming more and more recognised that taking care of our mental health is as important as maintaining good physical health. A recent survey showing that more than 8 in 10 (83%) people experienced the early signs of poor mental health, including feeling anxious, stressed, having low mood or trouble sleeping in the last 12 months.
We don’t need to wait until we are struggling with our mental health; there are lots of things we can do to protect ourselves and prevent problems escalating, just as we do with our physical health.
During the recent World Mental Health Day the Duke and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, as well as a host of celebrities, launched a new national campaign to improve the nation’s mental wellbeing, under the banner Every Mind Matters.
Every Mind Matters offers a range of useful resources that help spot the signs of common mental health concerns, provides practical self-care tips and guidance and, importantly, explains when to seek further support.
There is a free NHS-approved online tool on the Every Mind Matters website, which helps people build a personalised action plan to deal with stress and anxiety, boost mood, improve sleep and help feel more in control.
What comes out strongly from this campaign, is the importance of talking to each other about our problems and seeking help where we need it.
Being open about mental health doesn’t have to be awkward and being there for someone can make a huge difference to their life. We know opening up is not always easy, but doing small things can make a big difference for a friend or family member who is struggling.
There are lots of websites nationally that provides advice on how to support someone you are worried about. Search for resources on the Time to Change website for advice and guidance. I have also recently undertaken the free online suicide awareness training by Zero Suicide Alliance, which helps me feel more confident in approaching conversations with someone I know who may not be coping.
We also have a broad range of mental health and wellbeing services in Lincolnshire, ranging from short term talking therapies via our steps2change service, to our more specialised support for serious and long term mental health problems.
Services across Lincolnshire are also set to expand further thanks to new national funding to transform local community mental health services. Lincolnshire is set to benefit from around £6 million over the next two years, as one of 12 early implementer sites nationally.
In addition to changes in how we deliver community services more closely linked with neighbourhood teams, there will also be a number of other new services including a new mental health helpline, specialised support for people with a personality disorder, community rehabilitation, specialist mental health outreach for rough sleepers and an increased crisis response.
There is lots of support available for anyone concerned about their mental health, visit www.lpft.nhs.uk for more information.
Jane Marshall is Director of Strategy at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. She has worked in the NHS for 30 years in various roles and for the last seven years, when she’s been with LPFT, she has been working on ensuring that mental health is given the same importance as physical health.