“There is no Health without Mental Health”

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Mental Health Day takes place on 10 October every year with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues.

Many people have found the past few months difficult for many reasons, however help is available for people should they need it.

Esther Osborne from Weymouth is the Patient Participation Group (PPG) Chair for Dorchester Road Surgery and is a keen champion for mental health.

She said “It’s been an incredibly challenging time for everyone and people have been affected differently, depending on their individual circumstances. One common theme I am hearing about though has certainly been an increase in stress and anxiety levels – noticeably so among people who, prior to COVID-19, wouldn’t necessarily have suffered with this at all.

If you noticed a persistent physical health problem that didn’t improve on its own and started to impact on your daily activities, then the chances are you would make an appointment to see your doctor and find out what was wrong.

Why should mental health be any different?

All throughout this pandemic we have been urged to still seek medical advice for other issues if we require it and what we want to do here is stress to anyone who thinks they might be struggling is to absolutely do that and to keep an eye out for our friends and family who may be finding it hard to speak out themselves

Services are still running and the help is there if you need it.  There are various organisations that you can self-refer into or contact directly and who are keen to support people whose mental health has been adversely affected during the coronavirus outbreak.

Top tips to improve your mental health:

  • If news makes you anxious, try to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to.
  • Social contact is important. If your movements are restricted, keep in regular contact with people close to you by telephone and online channels.
  • Avoid using alcohol and drugs as a way of dealing with fear, anxiety, boredom and social isolation.
  • Be aware of how much time you spend in front of a screen every day. Make sure that you take regular breaks from on-screen activities.
  • Use your social media accounts to promote positive and hopeful stories. Correct misinformation wherever you see it.
  • If you are able to, offer support to people in your community who may need it, such as helping them with food shopping.

For more information on what help is available visit https://www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/access-mental-health or contact your GP.