Make the Right Call: From blues to despair - you are not alone

Help is available for those with mental health issues Help is available for those with mental health issues

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
10:44 AM

This week, for our Make the Right Call campaign, which aims to direct people towards the right healthcare provider – whether it is a GP, pharmacy, NHS 111 or A&E, we take a look at mental health services. Health correspondent Lauren Everitt reports.

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Five ways to improve your wellbeing

- Altering some of your normal routines can help to change the way you feel.

- Eat a healthy diet and reduce alcohol consumption.

- Exercise regularly and make sure you find some time to relax every day.

- Read simple self-help information available on the internet or from books.

- Attend courses, groups or individual sessions with a trained therapist.

Life throws all sorts of problems at us, adversely affecting how we feel about ourselves and leaving us in a low mood, unhappy, stressed or anxious.

These feelings are not uncommon and are certainly considered a part of everyday life. We’ve all experienced some sort of issue that has affected us, possibly the breakup of a relationship, financial worries, problems at work or the death of a loved one.

Being a part of everyday life means that these feelings will eventually go away after a short time. However, sometimes these feelings of negativity can continue for a long time or for no particular reason.

Whatever the cause, or if there is no obvious cause, if they don’t go away and are getting in the way of your everyday life and you can’t cope, then you may need to make some changes to your life or get some help and support.

There are lots of different labels for feeling low. It could be feeling the blues, being down in the dumps or just “I can’t be bothered”. No-one in life is immune from these feelings, but for most people they will pass.

If they continue, then the most important thing you should know is that there is help available.

What you do and where you go for help depends on the level of negativity and how the feelings are affecting you. There are plenty of options available to help you, which include self-help. By changing your habits, taking control of your thoughts, changing your diet or taking exercise, you really could make a positive difference to your mental wellbeing.

A great source of help is the NHS Wellbeing Service, which offers a wide range of services provided by medical professionals and can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes stress control and wellbeing classes, telephone support, group therapies and short-term therapy and counselling.

If you have been feeling low for a couple of weeks then you should make an appointment with your GP, who will discuss your symptoms with you and let you know what sort of treatment is available.

All these sources of help are available to you so that you can stay in control. If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide you should immediately speak to someone such as a close friend or family member.

Or call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, which offers a 24-hour, non-judgemental, confidential service for people who want to talk.

How your GP can help you

If you have been feeling low for a couple of weeks then you should make an appointment with your GP.

Dr Rosalind Tandy, a GP and member of the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “People often think GPs are there only to deal with physical issues and believe it’s a waste of time talking to a doctor about an issue that can’t be seen or touched. In fact, your GP will be able to help you and establish the best course of action to take.

“Your GP will start by discussing the issues to make sure they are not caused by any other illness. They might do some tests. Depending on your condition, the GP could suggest self-help such as lifestyle changes like taking more exercise or changing your diet. You could also be referred to the NHS Wellbeing Service which provides a range of workshops and courses. Or, in some cases,

you could be prescribed medication.

“Your GP will understand how you feel, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment.”

You can talk to the Samaritans at any time of day or night, about any issue that is affecting you. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your problem is, if you want to talk, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.

Service offers ways to manage stress and make positive changes

Suffolk Wellbeing Service is a partnership between Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Suffolk Family Carers, mTCIC, Shaw Trust, Voiceability, 4YP, Relate, Survivors in Transition and Big White Wall.

They provide wide-ranging help for people who recognise they may be experiencing stress and emotional wellbeing problems and who would like to learn ways to manage their symptoms and make a change for the better.

The service helps more than 10,000 people a year to help people under-stand why they feel the way they do and provide short-term help to support people ready to change.

The help Suffolk Wellbeing Service offers support for family carers, people experiencing problems remaining at work due to emotional needs, or who may want to return to the work-place but need confidence to do so.

Also available are counselling and other talking therapies for depression, anxiety, phobias and trauma. In addition, the service can help marginalised and minority groups access wellbeing support appropriate to their cultural and spiritual needs and offer adapted sessions as required.

Tuija Juusti-Butler, a psychologist at Suffolk Wellbeing Service, said: “It is important for people who suffer from stress anxiety or low mood to know that there is help available.

“We provide a variety of one-off workshops in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds available to everyone over 16 years of age. These cover a range of subjects including relaxation, improving sleep, spirituality and introductions to mindfulness and managing stress.

“The workshops can act as taster sessions, enabling people to decide if they would like to receive further advice and support, or as standalone sessions. Our service is also able to visit schools, workplaces and community groups and deliver sessions on

wellbeing tailored to suit the needs of the attending.”

Following an assess-ment of an individual’s needs, they will be offered the most appro-priate sessions, which are available early in the morning, during the daytime or in the evening. These can be done by telephone, online or face-to-face at various locations across east and west Suffolk.

Those aged over 16 can contact the service directly, by calling 0300 123 1781, or by visiting the website and submitting a referral form online. Younger people aged 13-15 will need to be referred to the service by a health professional, such as a GP or school nurse.

■ www.readytochange.org.uk provides lots of useful information about the Suffolk Wellbeing Service.

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