Saturday 10 October is World Mental Health Day. This year, the NHS in Leeds is supporting the theme of ‘mental health for all’ by highlighting the range of support available to everyone in the city.
Everyone has mental health and as with physical health, it doesn’t stay the same. At any given time, around one in four people experience mental ill health. However, this year, the coronavirus pandemic means that many more people are experiencing poorer mental health or a mental health problem. Health concerns, physical and social isolation, job losses and a general atmosphere of change and uncertainty are contributing to this, and while some people will bounce back quickly, others may need support to feel better again.
Dr Gwyn Elias, GP and Clinical Lead for Mental Health for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Anyone from any walk of life can be affected by mental ill health. It’s important to recognise that this year has been particularly hard and that it’s okay not to feel okay.
“As we go into winter, things may be especially tough for some of us. I’d urge everyone to stay safely connected and to regularly check in with friends and family. If you have older neighbours or know someone who may be shielding, ask if they need any shopping picking up. This will not only help them but will make you feel better too.
“Connecting with others in a Covid-safe way is just one way we can boost our wellbeing. Other things like learning to relax properly, getting plenty of sleep, exercising, discovering new hobbies – these can all help improve our mood and build our resilience so we’re better able to respond if life takes an unexpected turn.
“However, if you start to struggle with your feelings, it’s really important to reach out for support. Mental health services across the city are open, as they have been throughout the pandemic, and though they may be delivered a little differently, they’re still there to support people who need help.”
As well as national mental health resources, people in Leeds can access a wide range of support including self-help resources, helplines and crisis services. These include:
- West Yorkshire mental health support line – 0800 183 0558. The 24/7 service provides free, confidential support, advice, information and guidance for anyone registered with a Leeds GP who is concerned about their own or a family member’s mental health.
- MindWell – 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/coronavirus
- The NHS Every Mind Matters website also includes a wide range of resources to help with anxiety, low mood and stress. Audio guides and reading lists to help with stress and anxiety are also available at nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression
- 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. 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 – www.mindmate.org.uk
- The pandemic has been particularly challenging for new parents and parents to be. A range of perinatal mental health support is available in Leeds. More information is available at https://www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/myself/feeling-unwell/i-am-pregnant-or-a-new-parent
- Support for anyone concerned about alcohol or drug use is available from Forward Leeds
- Anyone worried about gambling can find support from the NHS Northern Gambling Service, which provides specialist addiction therapy and recovery to people affected by gambling addiction, as well as those with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and suicidal feelings. They also provide help to people close to those with gambling addiction, such as family, partners, and carers.
- Leeds Recovery College delivers a range of education and training courses that have been specifically designed to increase awareness and understanding of mental health, wellbeing and personal recovery. The courses and workshops are free to attend and are open to any adults who live, work or study in Leeds (this includes service users, carers, staff and volunteers). You do not need a referral to join a workshop. Visit Leedsrecoverycollege.com
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 – www.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).
- A new dedicated team of peer support workers is now up and running in partnership with Touchstone. The team are part of the Crisis Resolution Intensive Support Service which provides intensive support as an alternative to hospital for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis
Anyone whose life is in immediate danger should call 999.