In conjunction with World Mental Health Day on 10 October, health experts in Sefton are encouraging people to look after themselves and open up about any issues they may be dealing with.
Most people will confront some sort of mental health difficulty in their lifetime. The state of your mental health can be affected by factors such as drugs and alcohol, work-related stress and grief – among other things.
Dr Craig Gillespie, local GP and chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “We need to look after our mental health just like our physical health. It’s really important that you speak to someone if you notice a change in your mental health or a change in someone else such as feeling or acting more stressed, being unhappy or disengaged. “
Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG chair, said: “Sharing how you are feeling by speaking to a friend or family member can help you to feel better. Activities such as meditation, exercise and breathing techniques have also been shown to enhance your mental health. There are also local services that can help you should you feel you need more support.”
People in Sefton have access to a number of resources including Access Sefton, a service that provides guided self-help, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling for anyone aged 16 and over.
Ryan Forrest at Access Sefton added: “World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to have a chat with a friend, family member or colleague to ask them how they’re feeling. Opening up the conversation around mental health will encourage those around you to be more aware of how they’re feeling and reach out for support.”
Patients looking for support can refer themselves to Access Sefton. You can contact them directly by telephoning 0300 303 2708 or visiting www.insighthealthcare.org/accesssefton. You can also ask your GP practice for information.
For young people aged 11 to 18 years old there is a free online service called Kooth which offers self help materials and a safe online community 365 days a year. This can be accessed at www.kooth.com
In extreme circumstances, people will experience a mental health crisis. This often means that you no longer feel able to cope or feel in control of your situation. You may feel great emotional distress or anxiety, can’t cope with day-to-day life or work, think about suicide or self-harm, or experience hallucinations and hear voices.
In these cases, you should contact NHS 111 for help.
To find out more about the help available for anyone struggling with their mental health, visit the NHS website