WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2020: MENTAL HEALTH FOR ALL

Health partners across Coventry and Warwickshire are marking World Mental Health Day on 10 October by raising public awareness of resources that they can access to help improve their wellbeing.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues we are mindful that more people may struggle with their mental health. We will join global organisations and communities and use the day to come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide and good mental health for all is a recognised priority.

Organised by the World Federation for Mental Health, this year’s theme is mental health for all. We all know someone who has been affected by mental health, particularly during the pandemic and the challenges and difficult circumstances it has brought to all our lives. For many it has led to isolation, fear, loneliness and uncertainty, and for some, the difficulties they have faced have even led to thoughts about taking their own life.

We can show support for better mental health by acknowledging the issue and talking to each other to promote wellbeing for everyone. Against the backdrop of the pandemic with national restrictions likely to be in place for some time, this is more important than ever.

On the day Coventry charity, Arty Folk are co-hosting a ‘Come Connect’ community Zoom event with Chat Central between 1pm-3pm (Meeting ID: 838 5877 4856). It aims to help residents connect with local groups offering ways to get more social, be more active, and improve health and wellbeing. Groups attending the event include Men’s Shed, MiFreindly Cities, Voluntary Action Coventry, Foleshill Creates and many more.

For anyone struggling with the demands of life or finding things particularly hard during the pandemic, Dear Life is a valuable resource. The website was developed in partnership by Coventry and Warwickshire local authorities and health services to help signpost vital services to residents who are desperately seeking support for themselves or someone they know.

To continue to raise awareness of the mental health support across Coventry and Warwickshire, www.dearlife.org.uk will feature a series of blog posts from services about the kind of support they can offer to people. With blogs from Samaritans, Wellbeing for Warwickshire, Arty Folks and more, they are a reminder that while the world may feel strange, there is always help available.

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust’s YouTube channel hosts a series of videos dedicated to looking after your mental health and wellbeing which were originally shown during the Wellbeing for Life festival in September.

We can all follow some simple guidelines to encourage good mental health. By paying close attention to our environment and how we feel, it can be easier to manage the things that threaten to overwhelm us. There are five steps that individuals and communities can take to improve mental health and wellbeing and build kindness into daily life; these are the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and include connect, keep learning, be active, give and take notice. More information can be found at www.dearlife.org.uk/looking-after-yourself

Anne Prendergast, lead officer for clinical risk and suicide prevention at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “This World Mental Health Day we want to raise awareness about how important it is to take care of your mental health, during the pandemic, and look out for friends and family who may be struggling. No matter what you’re going through, it’s okay to talk and there’s lots of help and support available to you across Coventry and Warwickshire.”

Coventry City Councillor Kamran Caan, portfolio holder for Public Health and Sport, said:

“This World Mental Health Day we and our partners are continuing to focus on working to reduce the rates of suicide in Coventry and poor mental health. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been so incredibly challenging for many of us. The Dear Life website is a fantastic way to help everyone in our city to feel they have somewhere to go for advice at a time they or someone close to them is struggling. 

“Therefore it is important when addressing this and the surrounding stigma around mental health that we make sure people’s stories are heard, and that everyone in our city feels they have someone to talk to and knows there is help available.”

Warwickshire County Councillor Les Caborn, portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing, said: "World Mental Health day provides an opportunity to talk about this issue and its far reaching impact. It gives us further opportunity to remind people about the work the council does in partnership with health services to offer support to anyone struggling with their mental wellbeing and urge them to seek support.

"It is important for us to have conversations with each other about how we are feeling, the challenges we face and the effect of these things on every aspect of our lives. The coronavirus pandemic has made things particularly difficult for people who may be feeling lonely and confused, facing hardship or addressing concerns about their general health. It is important that people know they are not alone and that services are here to help. 

"We have developed an online resource to help people who are finding it hard to cope. I strongly recommend anyone with concerns for themselves or someone they know to visit dearlife.org.uk, to help them find the right services to address complicated and negative thoughts and feelings. Life is dear, hold on to it."

Every Mind Matters provides useful information and action plans to keep you on track.

Also available to residents is the Stay Alive app, a free suicide prevention pocket resource designed to be a lifeline for people at risk of suicide, or for those concerned about the safety of someone.

For people who can’t access resources online, there is help available to you. If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free at any time, from any phone on 116 123. If you have seriously harmed yourself, call 999 or ask someone to call 999 for you.

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