This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. The past couple of months have been challenging for everyone, and many have been left feeling anxious, lonely and sad because of the loss of routine and fewer opportunities to see family and friends. I realise that this time may be acutely difficult for people living with mental health problems.
The most important thing for us all to remember is that no one is alone in feeling this way. One of the slogans that’s been repeated on social media throughout the week is that ‘sometimes it’s ok not to be ok’: it is utterly understandable and normal to be feeling sad and anxious during this very difficult time. Having said that, this doesn’t mean that we should have to suffer in silence when we do feel any of these things, and there are practical things that we can do that can help. Gentle forms of exercise like walking, jogging, and following yoga videos online can all be beneficial, and being outside can do wonders to boost your mood.
Of course, sometimes things can get too much, and some people find that talking about their experiences helps. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to friends and family about how you’re feeling, or if the problem you’re suffering with is more severe, then it’s important to know where to access help. For people in the Caerphilly area, the council’s mental health service offers short term treatment for individuals and groups, including counselling, behavioural therapy, and stress management. You can be referred to the service by your GP, and if you want to access more information, you can call their referral point on 01443 802673.
More generally, and if you find that the waiting list for these services is a little long (the impact of cuts, I’m afraid), then there are national helplines like Samaritans Cymru (116123), Mind (020 7840 3188), No Panic (for help with panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders and general anxiety – 0808 808 0545), and Cruse Bereavement Care (020 8939 9530). The people who are on the other end of the telephone have been trained to listen; they’re not there to offer judgement or to give advice you don’t want to hear. They’re only there to listen to what you’ve been feeling, and sometimes that in itself can be a tremendous help.
Of course, everyone is different, and no one should feel under any obligation to have to speak about things if they’re not comfortable doing that. People deal with these things differently. But if you are finding things too much, it might be worth trying one of the services I’ve mentioned, because the support they offer is invaluable. And please remember: no one is alone.
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