This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, with Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub keen to speak out against the stigma of mental health and let local people know that help is available for those who need it.
Taking place from 18-24 May 2020, Mental Health Awareness Week is a campaign hosted by Mental Health Foundation with a view to bringing mental health into focus and raising awareness of the challenges that people often face with their mental health.
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is kindness. Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub wants to use the week to celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health.
The issue of mental health is even more pertinent with the isolation, challenges, fears and worries that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought to homes all across the country this year. In March, Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub explored eight ways to take care of your mental health during coronavirus restrictions.
Our mental health is just like our physical health – everyone has it and we need to take care of it. Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems such as depression and anxiety, to rarer issues such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Mary McNeil, Development Manager at Cornerstone House Centre, commented:
“It’s true indeed that there is no such thing as good health without good mental health. Many people face some kind of mental health challenge at some point in their lives. If it’s something you are going through right now, remember that you’re not alone and that with the right support most people get well again or find a way to cope and live a normal life again.
“It doesn’t matter how successful you are or how much you seemingly have going for you in life – mental health problems can strike anyone. It’s not a sign of weakness or failure in any way, it’s an illness. And like any illness or injury, with the right treatment things can get better and you can become stronger again.
“Once upon a time it might have been an unusual step for someone in the public eye to speak about their mental health. But now so many well known faces have taken the step to talk about their own experience of mental ill health and encourage others that they can get better.
“Prince Harry, JK Rowling, Ed Sheeran, Leigh Griffiths, Tyson Fury, Ant McPartlin, Alastair Campbell and Ruby Wax are just some of the names you might recognise who have spoken of their own mental health problems. It really is much more common than you might think.
“The thing about mental health is that it is invisible. It doesn’t matter how perfect someone’s life might seem on the outside – how beautiful a body someone might appear to have, how good their family life might appear to be or how much they always seem to have everything together and in order – the truth is we don’t always know what is really going on in their lives.
“So remember to show compassion and be understanding to everyone you come across today. They might just be struggling with something that is hidden and need someone to talk to or be there for them.”
On why a theme of kindness has been chosen, Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of Mental Health Foundation, said: “Now more than ever, we need to rediscover kindness in our daily lives.
“We want to use Mental Health Awareness Week to celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health. And we want to start a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape as we emerge from this pandemic.
“Kindness unlocks our shared humanity and is central for our mental health. It has the potential to bring us together with benefits for everyone, particularly at times of great stress.
“One thing we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times, helping people to connect and communities to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Kindness is also a vital way we can help support the millions of people who were experiencing mental health problems long before the pandemic started.
“The research clearly supports this – it shows that acts of kindness can help improve emotional wellbeing. This is true whether we are giving or receiving it.”
To support Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, NHS Lanarkshire has produced a range of posters and flyers (see below) to share the kindness message and link to the recently launched national website Clear Your Head.
Meanwhile, local mental health charity Lanarkshire Links is encouraging organisations from across all sectors to join them in their endeavour to create a community campaign focussing on sharing what we do to look after our mental health.
Furthermore, Cornerstone House Centre is an advocate of helping the people of Cumbernauld to improve their mental health. Indeed, the organisation is a provider of free courses such as Living Life to the Full, an award-winning programme which aims to help people experiencing low mood, depression and anxiety by using the approach of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
There are many other excellent services available which can be accessed easily and free of charge by people living in Cumbernauld experiencing a mental health challenge. Please take note of the below information and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any services for help.
FREE SERVICES ACCESSIBLE TO CUMBERNAULD CITIZENS FACING MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES
Anxiety UK – Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition. Telephone the organisation on 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm) or visit their website at www.anxietyuk.org.uk.
Bipolar UK – A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder. Visit their website at www.bipolaruk.org.uk.
Men’s Health Forum – This is a 24/7 stress support service for men by text, chat and email. Visit their website at www.menshealthforum.org.uk.
Mental Health Foundation – Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities. Their website is www.mentalhealth.org.uk.
No Panic – A charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome phobias or OCD. Their telephone number is 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm), and website is www.nopanic.org.uk.
OCD Action – Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources. Their contact number is 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm), and their website is www.ocdaction.org.uk.
OCD UK – A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments. The organisation can be contacted on 0845 120 3778 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or online at www.ocduk.org.
PAPYRUS – Young suicide prevention society. The HOPElineUK number is 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm and 7pm to 10pm, and 2pm to 5pm on weekends), and their website is www.papyrus-uk.org.
SANE – Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers. The SANEline contact number is 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30pm to 10.30pm), and a textcare service is also available by visiting www.sane.org.uk/textcare. A peer support forum can be accessed at www.sane.org.uk/supportforum.
YoungMinds – Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services are provided for parents and professionals. The Parents helpine can be contacted on 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm), and the organisation can be visited online at www.youngminds.org.uk.
There are also a range of organisations and services available which offer support to those experiencing abuse, people dealing with domestic violence, those facing addictions, people going through bereavement, individuals who are victims of crime, people experiencing eating disorders, and those facing relationship or parenting difficulties.
Signposting to a mental health service suitable for you in the Lanarkshire area can be obtained by contacting Well-informed on 0800 073 0918 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Furthermore, a range of local mental health resources can be accessed by visiting the Elament website at www.elament.org.uk.
Later this week, Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub will spotlight Suicide Prevention North Lanarkshire’s ‘You Matter’ campaign on Cornerstone House Centre’s website as Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 continues