Look after your mental health this Christmas

The NHS in Leeds is urging local residents to look after their mental wellbeing this Christmas and to reach out for support if they need it.

Like most major events and festivals this year, Christmas 2020 will feel different for most people. Some will be celebrating with fewer people than usual and some may be staying away from others to reduce their risk of coronavirus.

Dr Gwyn Elias, GP and Clinical Lead for Mental Health for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, said:  “The festive season is a wonderful time of year but it can also be difficult for many people. This year, the measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus mean we may not be able to do the things we would normally do or be with friends and family.

“Whatever your circumstances, connecting with others is really important for our mental wellbeing. Even with the current restrictions, there are lots of ways to do this, either by simply talking to family and friends or taking part in online events, such as local virtual carol concerts or national activities like the #JoinIn Christmas campaign on social media. Details of local events can be found at https://www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/myself/feel-better/christmas-events

“As well as staying connected, getting out into the fresh air and doing some exercise, trying a new activity, helping others and focusing on the present are all really important ways to boost our wellbeing

“If you’re feeling low, please talk to someone about how you’re feeling rather than keep things bottled up. Many times, just sharing your feelings with someone who cares will help, but if you need more support, help is available throughout the holiday period.

“Please remember that too much alcohol can impact negatively on your mental health so please use moderation. If you’re concerned about your alcohol use, you can get in touch with Forward Leeds, the city’s alcohol and drug service www.forwardleeds.co.uk/

“If you feel you need to speak to someone, a free 24/7 support line is available, providing  confidential support, advice, information and guidance for anyone concerned about their mental health or someone they care for.

“So take care of yourselves this Christmas, but also look out for one another. Please take the time to check in on friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbours and let them know about the support that’s available if they need it. You can find key details at www.leedsandyorkpft.nhs.uk/news/articles/christmas-mental-wellbeing-toolkit/” 

Anyone registered with a Leeds GP can call the mental health helpline on 0800 183 0558. The service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and complements mental health services already available in Leeds. These include:

  • MindWell is the mental health website for people in Leeds. The site includes a coronavirus mental health information hub which brings together information about self-help resources for mental health and where people in Leeds can find help for their mental health as well as practical offers of support during the Covid-19 pandemic: mindwell-leeds.org.uk.
  • The NHS Every Mind Matters website also includes a wide range of resources to help with anxiety, low mood and stress.
  • Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service is for anyone aged 17+ registered with a Leeds GP and provides support and psychological therapies for common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The service also provides online therapy courses and self-management tools which are available at any time day and night to help with a wide range of issues including stress and anxiety, mindfulness, depression and bereavement. Help is available immediately through online courses at https://leeds.omnitherapy.org/
  • If you prefer talking therapies, you can also refer yourself through the website: leedsmentalwellbeingservice.co.uk
  • Children and young people can visit the MindMate website for information and support about their emotional health and wellbeing: mindmate.org.uk
  • Further advice and resources can also be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/

Support for people in crisis is also available:

  • Connect – a survivor-led local helpline which offers emotional support and information to people in Leeds every night from 6pm-2am on 0808 800 1212. Connect also provides online support through instant chat for people – lslcs.org.uk Connect specialises in working with people at risk of suicide and self-harm and those with complex mental health needs.
  • Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (LYPFT) Single Point of Access (SPA) – if you, or someone you’re worried about, needs urgent care or treatment for a mental health crisis call the SPA on 0300 300 1485 (open 24/7, every day).
  • Anyone whose life is in immediate danger should call 999.