Mental Health Awareness Week 2023
Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, aims to get people talking about their mental health and reduce the stigma that can stop people from asking for help.
This year it takes place from the 15th to 21st May and the theme is ‘Anxiety’.
Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem.
Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including exam pressures, relationships, starting a new job (or losing one) or other big life events. We can also get anxious when it comes to things to do with money and not being able to meet our basic needs, like heating our home or buying food.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems we can face, but there are things we can do to look after ourselves.
Five top tips for looking after yourself
- Stay connected
Spend quality time with friends, family and loved ones. If you can’t meet face to face, call a loved one, friend or neighbour – take time to listen how they are too.
- Talk about your worries
Sharing your concerns with someone you trust can really help.
- Look after your physical health
Try to keep active, eat a balanced diet and take time to relax and get some restful sleep.
- Manage your news intake
With so many stories out there, and 24-hour coverage, it’s easy to feel overloaded and stressed. If it’s having a negative effect, take a break from the news or limit how much you watch or listen to.
- Keep doing the things you enjoy
From a family board game to a jigsaw puzzle, a podcast to a cycle ride – it’s important to spend time doing something you enjoy. Connecting with nature and getting some green time helps reduce stress and boosts our mood.
Reaching out for extra support.
For some, self-care is an effective way of managing their mental health and overall wellbeing, but sometimes, we need extra support.
There is no shame in asking for help. Should you need additional support to look after your mental health and wellbeing, why not consider the following:
Friends and family. If you’re not sure where to begin, reaching out to friends and family is a great place to start.
Workplace support. Mental wellbeing in the workplace has become more of a priority, with many organisations offering mental health support services to their staff. If you don’t want to confide in a loved one because you feel guilty or embarrassed, using a workplace mental health support scheme could be the right first step.
Your GP. They may be able to offer you support and treatment. They can also refer you if appropriate or recommend local options.
Mental health professionals. You may be able to self-refer to the NHS in some areas. This means you don’t need to see your GP first. You can also access therapists through certain charities or privately.
Charity helplines and support groups. See the websites listed below for some examples.
Need more support?
The Sussex Mental Healthline offers 24/7 mental health telephone listening support, advice, information and signposting to anyone experiencing difficulties, or who may be in crisis and in urgent need of help, with their mental health.
You can contact them by calling NHS 111 and select option 2 or dialling 0800 0309 500
The service can access Text Relay calls and New Generation Text calls from hearing and speech impaired callers on 0300 5000 101.
The service is free and is available to anyone of any age who is concerned about their own mental health or that of a relative or friend. This includes carers and healthcare professionals.
Take a look at these websites for extra support with your mental wellbeing:
Healthwatch East Sussex’ Information and Signposting Service
For help navigating health and social care services and support groups near you please contact our free and independent Information and Signposting Service.
Contact us by:
Telephone: 0333 101 4007 Monday – Friday (10am-2pm)
Freepost: Freepost RTTT-BYBX-KCEY, Healthwatch East Sussex, Greencoat House, 32 St Leonards Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 3UT (no stamp required).
To share feedback on health and care services in East Sussex any time, visit the Healthwatch East Sussex Feedback Centre here.