Local residents urged to get their heads together to talk about mental health

Local residents urged to get their heads together to talk about mental health

HEALTH chiefs in West Lancashire are encouraging residents to talk about mental health.

NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting the national ‘Heads Together’ campaign. Spear headed by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the campaign, launched late last month, aims to shatter the stigma of mental health, by starting simple conversations.

To promote the campaign, the royals have enlisted several high-profile celebrities including rapper Professor Green, comedienne Ruby Wax and former English professional footballer Rio Ferdinand, all of which have lived with mental illness themselves, to record short films where they talk openly about their mental health experiences. To watch these videos, search ‘Heads Together’ on YouTube.

One in four people will suffer from a mental health condition at any one time in their life, but of that number, only a quarter will ever seek support. In addition, mental health is the leading cause of sickness in the UK with approximately 70 million working days lost as a result each year.

In West Lancashire help is out there. The Mindsmatter service provides dedicated teams of psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWPs), cognitive behavioural therapists (CBT) and councillors who offer a range of support to help people aged 16 years and older make positive changes to reduce stress and anxiety and improve mental wellbeing. These include stress control classes, one to one support and telephone support. Access is easy and self-referrals can be made, simply by calling 01695 684 177 or completing an online referral form.

For any residents experiencing more severe mental health issues, then speaking to your GP is recommended. Your GP may then refer appropriate patients to the Access and Treatment Team (ATT – formally known as the Single Point of Access and Crisis Team), who will offer same day assessment if required and offer a 24-hour response service.

Ros BonsorDr Ros Bonsor, a GP in Skelmersdale and clinical lead for mental health for NHS West Lancashire CCG, said:

“Mental health issues can affect anyone, from any walk of life, at any age. In West Lancashire, the most common mental health issues facing our population are depression and anxiety.

“It is wonderful that such high-profile figures such as the royals are helping to break down the stigma of mental health by encouraging people to talk about it.

“Simply being able to talk about how we feel can go some way to helping us manage our mental health conditions. However, there is support out there in West Lancashire for anyone that needs it.

“My message is simple, if you are not comfortable talking to friends and family, or if you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health, then you can ring your GP practice, who are also there to help.

“Talking to someone is the first step to helping you manage your condition and getting you on the road to recovery.”