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‘You’re not alone’ – Cornwall Council’s Blue Monday message to anyone struggling with their mental health

Support is available for anyone experiencing mental health difficulties on Blue Monday – or any other time of the year. 

This is the message from Cornwall Council’s Public Health team and its NHS partners who are reminding residents that they do not have to deal with their issues alone. 

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It comes on the third Monday in January (January 18 2021), said to be the saddest day of the year due to a combination of bad weather, long nights and the post-Christmas comedown.  

With the nation in lockdown, this year’s Blue Monday could be an especially low point for many people. 

Statistics suggest that the number of people experiencing possible anxiety and/or depression in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has roughly doubled since the pandemic began.  

Concerns focused on finances, the health of family members, fears around catching the virus, isolation and loneliness, and uncertainty about the future.  

In response, Cornwall Council and its partners across the health and social care system have pulled together a range of materials including guides, web links, phone apps, z-cards for wallets and crucial information and contact details for anyone who finds themself in crisis.  

Many can be found on our webpages and there is a list of other links below.  

Support is being offered virtually as well as face-to-face (when restrictions allow), with targeted work going on in high-risk groups and communities. Initiatives include social prescribing at GP practices, a mobile crisis lorry run by charity Valued Lives, and expansion of debt management and mental health advice and support via Citizens Advice Cornwall and the Pentreath mental health charity, under the Mhend project. 

More on Mhend (Mental Health Employment Needs and Debt advice), which is aimed at helping the most vulnerable communities, can be found on the Pentreath website and on our media releases area. 

Dr Richard Sharpe, public health advanced practitioner at Cornwall Council specialising in mental health, said:  

“It is crucial that people know help and support are available if they find themselves struggling with their mental health. 

“Feedback from across our communities suggests people are feeling more anxious but may not be coming forward for help and support with their wellbeing. There is also evidence that some people who are already known to mental health services are attending with more severe symptoms which are requiring more intensive support.  

“I would urge people to follow the Five Ways to Wellbeing, listed below, and generally to take time to relax, eat well, stay hydrated, and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle that includes good quality regular sleep patterns. We have also provided a number of links below if you need more specific help and support with your mental wellbeing.” 

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are:  

  1. Connect – Lockdown or self-isolation doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch with friends and loved-ones through social media, email, facetime/video calling or a good old-fashioned phone call.   

  1. Be active – Staying active is vital for your physical and mental health, and lockdown doesn’t mean this is off limits. Check out the Healthy Cornwall website for ideas.  

  1. Keep learning – Trying a new hobby or learning something new is a great way to keep the mind active so why not learn a musical instrument, try your hand at photography or become a crossword expert?  

  1. Give - Supporting vulnerable people and/or volunteering can help you make new friends as well as make a huge difference in your community. For more information visit the Volunteer Cornwall website.  

  1. Take notice – Try to be mindful of your environment and make the time to get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can, while still sticking to the rules.  

  

Cllr Sally Hawken, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children, Wellbeing and Public Health, said:  

“It’s OK to not be OK, and no one has to face things alone – this is our message to people. 

“Being worried in these incredibly difficult times is completely understandable and being in lockdown for the third time means it is more likely people will experience feelings such as anxiety, loneliness and being overwhelmed.   

“But we want everyone to know that help and support is there so please take the time to check out what’s available. This could help you improve your own mental wellbeing as well as the mental health of other people in your community.”  

Tim Francis, head of joint strategic commissioning for mental health and learning disability at NHS Kernow, said:  

“We are reaching out to even more people with targeted schemes. This includes people in our farming and fishing communities as well as those in our more rural towns and villages.  

“Providers from – statutory, third and voluntary sectors are collaborating to tackle the impact of the pandemic to make sure people can access the support they need.”   

Dr Yonette Hassell, clinical service and strategy lead for Outlook South West services, which are part of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:  

“At Outlook South West we are aware that many in our community are experiencing worry and low mood for the first time as their day to day lives have changed in light of the covid-19 pandemic.  

“The guided self-help and courses that we offer at Outlook South West provide strategies to help you get your life back on track. Working with our clinicians you can learn to manage your worry and low mood.” 

 

Further information for anyone struggling with their mental health:  

  • 24/7 NHS mental health response line for support and advice: Call free on 0800 038 5300, any time day or night if you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health. The team behind our 24/7 open access telephone response line will listen to you and determine how best to help.  

  • A range of mental wellbeing guides are available on our mental health webpages. They cover everything from childhood through to older age, pregnancy to suicidal thoughts. 

  • Outlook South West, which is part of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has a range of talking therapy services available to people aged 16 and above in Cornwall who experience mild to moderate worry, anxiety and low mood. Outlook South West offers courses (Stress Buster, Finding Yourself Again), guided self-help with clinicians via telephone, video and digital platforms (SilverCloud), and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) appointments. You can refer yourself to Outlook South West by calling on 01208 871905 or completing an online referral form.  

  • Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has 12 free online self-help courses that anyone can take from a platform called ‘SilverCloud’. 

  • Charities including Valued Lives, Pentreath, and Mind contain a wealth of information aimed at helping people with mental health difficulties.  

  • For tips, support and advice on all things health-related visit the Healthy Cornwall website.

  • For mental health safety plans and a list of Apps to support you with your mental health, visit our online mental health safty planning information

  • If you are in crisis and need support then contact your GP or NHS Direct on 111. Other support available includes:  

  • Valued Lives – 01209 901438  

  • Samaritans – 116 123  

  • SANE – 0845 767800  

  • Papyrus – for young adults – 0800 0684141  

  • CALM – for men – 0800 585858  

  • Childline – for under 19s – 0800 1111  

  • Community Mental Health Team – 0845 2077711 

  • Covid-19: Psychological First Aid: A free online training course aimed at frontline or essential workers and volunteers providing support to others.  It explores the psychological impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and what you can do to help other people cope. Access the course for free on the FutureLearn website.