As many of us rush around getting ready for the Christmas holidays, buying last minute gifts and making preparations to spend time with loved ones, I know others will be struggling to cope when it comes to their mental and emotional health.
The seemingly endless Covid news will certainly not be helping – with rates across the country soaring, and the threat of new lockdowns and restrictions looming over us, it really does seem to be going on forever.
With this in mind, I wanted this week to shine a light on the work we do at Mendip to support people who are struggling emotionally.
No one person with mental health problems is the same. And when it comes to mental health issues, we know that the problem cannot be addressed from one direction alone. We need to work together to address the many ways people’s lives can be impacted, and we know that the earlier people are supported the better.
We have a team of Mental Health Champions. They are passionate about helping improve the lives of those living with mental health problems by finding new connections and ways of sharing information, working closely with the Mendip Health and Wellbeing Board and Deprivation Working Group.
Their work has become ever the more important since the pandemic, as they link up Mendip officers, community groups and other organisations. This way all parties can work together in a linked-up way. The champions are passionate about reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and creating awareness of mental health issues, and the support available.
The Champions also promote mental health and wellbeing via their positions on outside bodies, parish councils and charities. This has included raising questions at Somerset NHS Trust regarding community-based mental health facilities, ensuring the mental health triage work at the Police Call Handling Centre and the Lighthouse Safeguarding Unit is reviewed by the Police and Crime Panel, and promoting the Safer Somerset Partnership work on these issues across other boards.
I wanted to highlight that there’s an incredible resource out there called Open Mental Health. It’s an alliance of local voluntary organisations, Mind and the NHS. Through this partnership, people in Somerset can get the support they need, when they need it.
This comes in the form of 24/7 support for whatever might be troubling someone such as money problems, anxiety, depression, housing challenges, addiction. The dedicated team can help people get specialist mental health support as well as debt and employment advice.
If you need help, or know of someone who does, there’s a ‘Mindline Somerset’ helpline – Tel: 01823 276892. Talking to someone really does help. There’s an email address too: [email protected].
If you have any questions for me about this column, or anything else, do get in touch, I am always happy to hear from you. Email: [email protected] / Facebook: @RosWyke.
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].