‘Be kind to your mind’ that’s the message from local health experts as part of World Mental Health Day, as they urge people to do the small things to make a big difference to how they feel.
Dr Mary Backhouse, local GP and Woodspring Locality Clinical Lead for Mental Health, said: “Signs of poor mental health such as anxiety, stress, or trouble sleeping can be a natural response to the difficult situations we face in everyday life. For most people this will pass, but they can escalate into more serious issues if people don’t take action.
“I encourage anyone experiencing difficulty with their mental health to seek support, whether that is through campaigns such as Every Mind Matters or through direct access to a healthcare professional.
“It’s important we all be kind to our minds by taking the steps, no matter how small, to look after our mental health and wellbeing.”
Claire Williamson, Head of Psychological Therapies at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said: "When we experience good mental health, we are able to enjoy our lives more with our family, friends and work colleagues. It is therefore so important that we all learn how to be kind to ourselves by taking steps, no matter how small, towards improving our mood and self-esteem.
“It is common to sometimes feel down and anxious for short periods of time, but this can lead to longer periods of depression and anxiety which can have a huge impact on our day-to-day lives. We are therefore encouraging people to recognise the signs that they or someone they care about needs help and to take action to access the support they need."
Every Mind Matters
This year, the new Better Health - Every Mind Matters campaign has been launched, helping everyone to find the little things we can all do to look after our mental health and show how they can add up to make a big difference; helping everyone to lead happier, healthier lives and cope with life’s challenges.
At its heart is the free, NHS-approved Mind Plan, available on the website. By answering five short questions people get a personalised mental health action plan, providing practical tips to help them deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, sleep better and feel more in control.
There is also expert support available to all adults 16 and over across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire through VitaMinds. VitaMinds offer a range of short-term psychological therapies for people suffering from a range of mental health challenges, such as depression, low mood, anxiety, panic attacks and more.
The VitaMinds service can be contacted directly, without referral from your GP or other healthcare service. The team will take the time to understand and listen to what you need to get back on track and provide a range of evidence-based talking therapies as well as guidance and advice on community services that can support you in your local area.
Find out more about VitaMinds at vitahealthgroup.co.uk
Children and young people aged 11 to 19 can also use a free confidential text service called ChatHealth. ChatHealth enables young people to text Sirona care & health’s School Nurses confidentially to ask for advice on a range of issues, from mental health and relationships, to bullying, self-harm and exam stress.
The ChatHealth line is open from 9am-5pm during term time and school holidays, excluding bank holidays.
To use the service, text 07312 263093. You do not have to give your name.
Find out more about ChatHealth here.
Small actions that can make a big difference
Here are five quick tips to improve your wellbeing:
• Take time to do mindful breathing by breathing in and out slowly
• Plan an hour of screen-free time before bed
• Review your to-do list and break down your biggest tasks into smaller, easier-to-manage chunks
• Taking a walk, get some fresh air
• Socialise, see or get in contact with a friend or loved one
Find out more about Better Health - Every Mind Matters.