Why we all need to reflect on ourselves this World Mental Health Day
THE Covid-19 pandemic has not just taken a physical toll on people - the anxiety regarding people’s health, the various lockdowns and the financial difficulties faced by many has of course had an impact on everyone’s mental health.
So with World Mental Health Day this weekend, we have a chance to reflect on our own mental state with experts reminding us that now more than ever it is important to talk to each other.
Training team leader at Solent Mind, Mandy Wiltshire
‘The past year and a half have been a challenge for many. The pandemic has affected everyone but impacted on us all differently. Moving forward, it’s so important that we look after our own mental wellbeing. Take time for yourself and treat yourself with the care and compassion that you would treat your best friend.
‘Burnout from stress, over-work and anxiety are real and on the increase. Solent Mind has seen referrals significantly increase over the last year. This implies that people’s resilience and ability to cope in general has lessened.
‘Please remember that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Looking after yourself in times of stress and worry is imperative in order not only to help yourself but also to help those around you.’
In and around Portsmouth there are several different services available to support you if you are struggling with your mental health.’
Joanna Perry, operations director for mental health services in Portsmouth at Solent NHS Trust,
‘We know that sadly, many people are struggling at the moment with their mental health, but it is important that people do not feel they are alone. Mental health can affect people in many different ways and there is support out there for you, if you or anyone you know, is struggling - so please do reach out.
‘If you, or someone you know, needs help with mental health there are a number of places in which you can receive this. You can access PositiveMinds in Portsmouth, an informal support service for anyone who feels low, worried or hopeless, or Talking Change, where a team of therapists and researchers can provide a variety of support, without needing to be referred by a GP.
‘There is also The Harbour – a remote, out of hours mental health crisis service which launched last month, for people living in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Havant and East Hampshire, who need short-term support in times of great difficulty or are struggling with poor mental health.
‘If you wish to, you can speak with your GP who can refer you into other services if needed or, if your needs are more urgent, you can speak with NHS mental health advisors on 111 and they can help access the right support for you.’
Public health consultant for Portsmouth City Council, Claire Currie
‘The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted inequalities nationally and locally in our communities, so much so that the World Health Organisation has chosen this year's theme to be “mental health in an unequal world,”’ she said.
‘Findings from the survey of Mental Health of Children and Young People in England which has just been published highlighted that one in six six to 19-year-olds are likely to have experienced a mental health illness.
‘For adults too, we know that the psychological impact of the pandemic is still emerging and the mental health impacts have not been the same for everyone.
‘Here in Portsmouth this World Mental Health Day, we want to help residents look after their own mental health and wellbeing by encouraging people to talk about and promote their own and others mental health and wellbeing, as well as ensuring they know where and how to access support should they need to.
‘Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time. Our aim is to reduce the stigma around mental health by encouraging people to talk openly about mental health and wellbeing with their friends, family and colleagues.
‘For anyone struggling with their mental health and wellbeing, there is support ‘available in Portsmouth, including free and confidential local services that provide help to adults as well as children and young people.
‘More information about this can be found on the Portsmouth City Council website.’
Ian Hurst, the managing director of mental health awareness organisation We Are Hummingbird
He said: ‘With World Mental Health Day fast approaching, this year’s day may be the most publicised to date. With a global pandemic fresh in our minds, individuals have never been more aware of their mental health.
‘Sadly, the pandemic has heightened the fact that when we hear the term “mental health”, it is often in the context of things going wrong, but this viewpoint can limit our understanding of what mental health really is.
‘It's important to understand that our mental health lies along a spectrum, it's a continual eb and flow of both positive and negative emotions.
‘Learning to focus on these positive experiences can help you to manage what We Are Hummingbird refer to as your “mental health bank account” – and it works in the same way as your normal bank account.
‘We encourage individuals to “cash in” every time something occurs that makes you feel good, whether that's hearing your favourite song, hugging your family or feeling the sun on your face.
‘Being able to talk about your mental health should not just be reserved for when things feel like they're going wrong, but also when they're going right.’