Mental health support: maintaining your mood and wellbeing this winter

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This festive period, Calderdale health and care professionals are offering advice and sharing support for those who may be struggling with their mental health.

Winter can be a complicated time for many people: some look forward to festive joy and the prospect of spending time with family and friends, while for others, it can be a very challenging time of year.

Cold, dark days can affect peoples’ mood and outlook, and local health and care professionals are offering a helpful reminder about the free support that’s available to access directly that can help ourselves and others.

If you feel stressed, anxious, are worrying, have trouble sleeping or are finding it hard to cope talking therapies can help. Fully trained mental health practitioners offer effective and confidential treatment in person, by video, over the phone or through online courses. They’ll support you to develop the tools you need to help you cope when you aren’t feeling yourself. Find your local NHS Talking Therapies service at link).

Talk to someone at any time of the day, or night, through the 24-hour mental health support line. Call handlers can advise, listen, and can direct you to a local mental health service for further support. The confidential service is for anyone concerned about their mental health or worried about a family member or someone they care for.

The team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people aged 18 and over who are registered with a GP in Calderdale. Just call 0800 183 0558.

Young people, parents, or carers who need support overnight can contact Night OWLS confidential listening and advice service.  

If you, or a child or young person you care for is in a crisis, and you are concerned about their emotional wellbeing, contact Night OWLS 8pm-8am by phone on 0800 1488 244, or text 07984 392 700, or chat online at link)

Over 16s can also get support from Healthy Minds, a local mental health charity with a range of support, including crisis support via phone, email or facebook chat. They also have option for in-person support (by appointment, but can be same day). Find out more at link)

Dr Caroline Taylor, Calderdale’s clinical lead for mental health said:

“Some people know they tend to struggle with their mental health at this time of year, but others may be experiencing it for the first time. Everyone should know where they can turn to if they or someone they care about needs support.

“Feeling sluggish and low mood can be quite normal at this time of year. There are some things you can try to do to improve your mood. Exercise can help, as can getting as much natural light as possible, plenty of sleep, eating well and reaching out to talk to someone you trust. But if you feel that your mental health is starting to suffer and you feel anxious or depressed, it may be worth seeking support.

“People can self-refer to NHS Talking Therapies, the 24/7 support line and Night OWLS which means you don’t have to have seen a GP to ask for help.

“Of course, you can always speak to someone at your GP practice, and we can talk you through the different options that are available to help you cope and feel better.

“But please remember that if you or someone you know is in mental health crisis and requires serious or life-threatening emergency mental or physical care, dial 999 immediately.”

Anyone can feel low or alone, but the festive period can sometimes be particularly overwhelming as worries around money, family difficulties, grief or loneliness can snowball, and start to get on top of us.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr Tim Swift, said:

“The winter season can be a challenging time for some people. If you think someone you know is finding things difficult and you’re worried about them, please reach out. You don’t need to know the answers or solve someone’s problems, but by simply being there and listening, you could help someone who might otherwise be struggling alone.

“We’re supporting the Check in With Your Mate campaign, which urges people to look out for their friends and check in with a mate who might be struggling.

“We need to encourage more conversations around mental to help break stigma and potentially save lives.”

Learn how you can help your mate visit link)

Support for men, aimed at ending the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, is available at link) – helping men through the power of conversation.

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