LPFT’s Eve Baird: Don’t bottle up your feelings

Social distancing and self-isolation are not as easy as they may seem. Yes, there is lots of free catch-up TV that we can watch and plenty of interaction we can have with others online, but nevertheless, humans are social animals. After a week or two, many of us find ourselves craving meaningful contact.

The outbreak of a pandemic and the uncertainty and fear that comes with it, often means that even the most resilient of us may sometimes struggle with our thoughts and feelings. The impact of coronavirus is affecting us as a society across all levels. Many people are concerned about their finances, while some of us will be worried about our own health or the health of a vulnerable loved one.

I want everyone to know that it’s okay not to be okay but please don’t bottle up your feelings. As a mental health professional, I often see people who were trying to soldier on and put on a brave face until they couldn’t cope anymore. Many of us wait too long before asking for help and talking about your feelings to your family and friends can be a good starting point. However, sometimes we may need extra support from a professional and that’s where the Lincolnshire mental health and emotional wellbeing helpline comes in.

The helpline is a joint initiative between Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, social care and the third sector. It is open 24/7 and by calling 0800 001 4331, you can speak to a member of a highly trained and experienced team of support workers. They can provide you with emotional support, advice and guidance if you are feeling low, anxious or stressed, and think you might benefit from speaking to someone.

You might be in emotional distress and feel like there is nowhere else to turn or perhaps you are caring for someone else and finding it difficult to cope. Contacting this confidential helpline can give you a feeling of relief, wellbeing and peace of mind. The team is here to listen and you won’t be judged.

In addition to the new mental health and emotional support helpline, there are several other resources, websites and helplines that people can turn to for help and advice.

The Every Mind Matters area on the NHS website offers a range of advice on anxiety, low mood and stress. Here, anyone can create a personalised ‘mind plan’ with tailored tips to improve mental wellbeing.

OneYou Lincolnshire is a healthy lifestyle service that supports residents to quit smoking, lose weight, move more and drink less alcohol. During these prolonged periods of social distancing, it’s vital to look after both physical and mental health as they will contribute to your overall wellbeing.

You can also self-refer online to steps2change, the talking therapies service for Lincolnshire, to access help for common mental health problems such as mild depression, anxiety and stress. Anyone who is experiencing these feelings can find more information online by going to the website here.

We are going through an unprecedented time but please remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. Don’t bottle up your feelings; NHS mental health professionals are still here to help you.

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