Mental health and wellbeing guide out from Every Life Matters

Cumbria’s suicide prevention charity Every Life Matters Cumbria, in collaboration with North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network, have launched a new guide to looking after mental health and wellbeing during Covid-19 and three new short animations as part of its “look after yourself, look out for others, and get help early” awareness campaign. ‘Wellbeing and mental health during Covid-19: A guide to looking after yourself and others’ was originally published last spring, and has now been revised to reflect a growing understanding of how we can protect our wellbeing during the pandemic, with further places offered to get help and support.

A series of animations promoting the key messages of the campaign: ‘Look after yourself, Look out for others, and Get help early’ support the guide.

Chris Wood, development manager at Every Life Matters, said: “We know a lot of people are feeling more stressed or anxious right now. These are challenging times, and though we have an end in sight now to restrictions we still have a way to travel, and Covid-19 will likely continue to exert an influence on our lives for most of 2021. It is important during this time to be kind to ourselves and keep doing the things that we now know are effective at protecting our mental health. And if you do find yourself struggling, remember as well that it is OK to reach out for help. The earlier we get support the less a mental health issue will progress.”

For more information about where to get help when struggling with mental health issues or thoughts of suicide, go to https://www.every-life-matters.org.uk/find-support/

If you are having thoughts of suicide, or have been affected by this article, support is available at; Samaritans – Call 116 123 – There round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. PAPYRUS – Call 0800 068 41 41 – 9am to midnight. Support line for young people at risk of suicide. CALM – Call 0800 58 58 58. Men’s Helpline open 5pm – Midnight. Shout Crisis Text Service – Text Shout to 85258 to get 24/7 text support Young Minds Crisis Text Service – Text YM to 85258 to get instant support. MindLine Cumbria – 0300 561 0000 Mental health information, guidance and support.

Every Life Matters said during 2020 we learnt a lot about how we can protect our mental wellbeing through these difficult and stressful times, such as getting outdoors, staying in contact with friends and family, keeping active, getting a good night’s sleep and reaching out for help when we were struggling were all highlighted as crucial factors in protecting our mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has also reminded us how important it is to look out for each other. Alongside an increase in mental health issues, many people have experienced increased levels of isolation during restrictions. And loneliness is strongly linked to increased chances of developing mental health issues. Support from family, friends, neighbours and colleagues is an important protective factor. The smallest displays of kindness, like picking up the phone to check-in on someone, could make all the difference. If you are worried about a loved one or neighbour who may be struggling, check in and offer support. And don’t accept ’I’m ok for answer’. If you are really concerned ask twice, be persistent, and be helpfully nosey.

Katherine McGleenan, North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Lead, said: “I have worked in the region as a mental health nurse for many years and know that getting the right information and support, at the right time, is not always straight forward. Often people either don’t know how or where to find support, or don’t want to ask for help, often due to the stigma. We hope that this guide and these animations will encourage people to start conversations. We want everyone, whatever their circumstances, to know there is support available, and to know how to access help if needed, and that they don’t need to cope alone.”

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