More action needed to tackle mental health crisis in UK, says Solent Mind
Acting Director of Services at the mental health charity, which offers help and support in Portsmouth, she has written this feature to highlight the growing scale of the problem and how Solent Mind offers support.
For more about Solent Mind services in Portsmouth visit www.solentmind.org.uk/portsmouth.
A lot has been written about the state of the UK’s mental health and how it has worsened due to the cost-of-living crisis, writes Clare.
Research commissioned by Mind reveals exactly how big an impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on people’s wellbeing in the UK.
Worryingly, eight in ten British adults say their mental health has been affected by the cost-of-living crisis, and almost a fifth say the cost-of-living crisis is decreasing how often they are able to make space to have a conversation about mental health.
Locally, the number of people that we’re supporting with a mental health problem is increasing year-on-year. In 2021 to 2022, we supported 54,886 people - this is 20,000 more people than the previous 12-month period - and we anticipate this number will rise again in 2022 to 2023.
Managing your mental health can feel like a challenge, especially when you’re experiencing added stress from external factors such as the cost-of-living crisis, but it cannot be ignored.
And so, the ability for support services to be flexible and adept has never been more important.
Solent Mind has always sought to be flexible and adept and walk along its communities, opening new services and providing support to respond to the needs of more people than ever before.
Currently, we offer eight types of services in Portsmouth - spanning early intervention and wellbeing services, through to peer support, crisis services, and support with getting into and staying in employment.
Our Portsmouth Wellbeing and Peer Support is increasingly popular amongst people in the local community who are feeling low, worried or hopeless.
Through 1:1 support and workshops, Portsmouth Wellbeing and Peer Support helps anyone who is finding life difficult identify their needs and incorporate steps into their daily routine to make things feel more manageable.
Support is provided by Solent Mind’s peer support and wellbeing practitioners, who have all lived through their own difficulties and can relate to how people using Portsmouth Wellbeing and Peer Support are feeling.
Using their lived experiences, our practitioners help other people with their personal recovery journeys through drop-ins, face-to-face sessions, one-to-one support, advice and guidance, workshops around managing wellbeing, support groups, social inclusion and outreach support.
Our Solent Recovery College is also helping to teach more and more people in Portsmouth practical skills to manage mental health, and how to get the best from mental health services in Portsmouth, in a safe and confidential space - with 657 adults having enrolled so far this year.
Whilst I’m incredibly proud of how much the breadth and depth of our services has grown in Portsmouth over the last few years, there is still a lot of work to be done.
To allow organisations like our own to continue to develop new approaches to mental health, and ensure that services are better connected with physical health care and other public services, sufficient funding is needed.
We also campaign for more awareness of mental health and greater reduction in stigma to accessing support, to help us achieve our mission. This being to ensure that anyone in our community experiencing a mental health problem has somewhere to turn to for advice, information and support.
I have Bipolar Disorder.
All my life, I have felt different as other people didn’t experience emotions the way that I did. Other people seemed to me to be so remote from their emotions that I believed everyone else must be a robot, put on earth by God to test me.
After the diagnosis, nothing changed right away except the meds. Don’t get me wrong, medication has saved my life, but I always felt as though it was something being done to me. That began to change when I had cognitive behaviour therapy. I could see that I could have some influence over my own mental health.
Then I took a course at Solent Recovery College and began re-framing my mental health as a recovery journey. The techniques I’ve learned at the recovery college have been very helpful. I practice mindfulness, I’m rebuilding routines, I keep copious lists and I try not to over commit.
Early this year, I took on the role of team lead at Solent Recovery College. I love having something I believe in to work for. It’s liberating to have a job where I don't have to hide my diagnosis, I don’t have to be my diagnosis, I can be as different as I like. Just like everybody else.
GET SUPPORT: Visit www.solentmind.org.uk/portsmouth, email [email protected] or call 023 9282 4795, Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 5.30pm, for more information about Portsmouth Wellbeing and Peer Support.