The past few years have taken a toll on the nation’s mental health. The country already had rising rates of anxiety and depression after the pandemic, but the cost of living crisis and struggle to find and stay in employment is only adding to everything.
As a country, we face mental health challenges as we move through, and beyond, the effects of the virus and through the current cost of living crisis. It will surely take some time to become stable again. Meanwhile, there are some quick fixes we can do to protect our mental health:
- Exercise. If there is one thing you can add to your routine to improve mental health and overall wellness it is exercise. This can be tailored to your own interests and strengths, and should be fun. Consider adding cycling, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, dance cardio, running, or just a brisk daily walk. Anything that gets your heart pumping for 20-30 minutes 3 times a week is good for your mental health.
- Learn to Relax. There is no doubt that stress levels have been high and we all need to learn better ways to relax. High stress levels cause a burden on our hearts, can cause sleep disruption, and even weight gain. Try adding some form of stress-reduction action to your daily routine. Take an online yoga class, learn how to meditate, listen to soothing music, or practice deep breathing. There are online cooking classes and art therapy sessions that can also help you relax. Get creative to find ways to reduce stress in your life.
- Eat Better. One thing most of us are guilty of is eating unhealthy comfort foods. This isn’t good because our diet can have an effect on our mental health. Best to aim for a diet that is rich in lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds. Add plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and drink lots of water. Limit sweets and processed foods for optimal health.
- Limit your technology! Put your devices down! In today’s world, many of us rely on gaming, laptops and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and no doubt hundreds more to find and connect with each other. While each has its benefits, it’s important to remember that social media can never be a replacement for real-world human connection. It requires in-person contact with others to trigger the hormones that alleviate stress and make you feel happier, healthier, and more positive. Ironically for a technology that’s designed to bring people closer together, spending too much time engaging with social media can actually make you feel more lonely and isolated—and exacerbate mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. If you’re spending an excessive amount of time on social media and feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction, frustration, or loneliness are impacting your life, it may be time to re-examine your online habits and find a healthier balance.
If you still need further help, see our useful links below.
Are you yourself or is anyone you know struggling with their Mental Health? Visit mind to find lots of useful help, support, coping strategies and direction to professional help.
The NSPCC is a safe space for children and gives them somewhere to turn to in a time of crisis and struggle.
Whether you would like some support to understand more about how you are feeling and find ways to feel better, or you want to find ways you can support someone who is struggling, Young Minds can help.
Health and wellbeing website by Public Health England that covers everything including emotional wellbeing, friendships, self-care; also has games, videos etc. Visit them at https://riseabove.org.uk/
Kooth is a web-based confidential support service available to young people aged 11 to 18yrs, providing a safe and secure means of accessing mental health and wellbeing support designed specifically for young people. It offers the opportunity to have a text-based conversation with a qualified counsellor.
Counsellors are available from 12noon to 10pm on weekdays and 6pm to 10 pm at weekends, every day of the year on a drop-in basis. Young people can access regular booked online counselling sessions as needed. Outside counselling hours’ young people can message our team and get support by the next day. Support can be gained through counselling and also articles, forums and discussion boards. All content is age appropriate, clinically approved and fully moderated.
To find out more visit www.Kooth.com where young people can register and others can find out more about the service.
Laura Berry, Kooth Integration and Participation Worker for Cumbria can be contacted at email@example.com or by calling 07535 088117
5 – 19 School Age Public Health Nurse Practitioner Service: E-school Nurse it is now available for professionals AND parents across the age ranges – however it is about general health needs not just mental health. See attached for details.
5-19 PH Website – the team are constantly updating with information and ideas on their website. https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/ph5to19/
The link below takes you to a recently published guide for educational settings and schools on sudden traumatic death and bereavement prefaced by a COVID 19 section:
My Time Cumbria (Barnardos) Primary Care Mental Health Service:
Initial telephone advice can be obtained from the Primary Mental Health Workers who can be contacted as below:
My Time has put in place a new model of working throughout Cumbria, to provide support during the COVID-19 Pandemic. All new referrals will have a Primary Assessment Meeting online, through an approved platform, or by telephone as part of a three stage process. The administration team will continue to allocate assessments as referrals are received. Those who are currently receiving a service will continue via telephone. Young people who have been contacted are continuing their interventions with the practitioners allocated to them.
Referrals can be made directly by contacting My Time on the number below:
MyTime Cumbria Telephone: 01539 742626 (Working Days: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm)
My Time will continue to triage with CAMHS on a daily basis and will also support Early Help to ensure that young people referred to services access the correct service at the earliest opportunity. They will continue to offer online and telephone support to professionals across the County and support them with identifying suitable and relevant interventions that are available.
CAMHS Support (North Cumbria): Where CYP are experiencing serious mental health issues (currently as staffing allows). The West Team can be contacted on 01900 603985. The East Team (includes Carlisle) can be contacted on 01228 608870.
North Cumbria Crisis Assessment and Intervention Service (CAIS): Where young people feel they are in a mental health crisis, referrals can be made by any professional (with appropriate permissions) by ringing 01228 603964. Telephone assessment and support will be given initially. Available 9am-8pm Monday-Friday and 9am-1pm Saturday and Sunday. (This service is now part of the Adult MH Crisis Service).