For many, the recent easing of lockdown has provided opportunities to return to the things that they know and love. However, the pace of change and concern over whether restrictions should be eased yet, may also be causing some people worry, fear or anxiety.
This may especially apply to those more vulnerable to the virus and those of us with mental health concerns.
There are lots of things that can help you to manage these feelings and make it easier to adjust. That's why it's so important to do what we can to look after our mental health and wellbeing – now more than ever – and to reach out if you need support.
Where can I go for help?
- Seek practical support - For practical tips to help look after your mental health and wellbeing and in particular coping with anxiety about lockdown lifting, take a look at the NHS Every Mind Matters website and also the MIND website.
- Speak to others - keep in touch with your friends and family and/or contact a helpline for emotional support.
- Speak to your GP – take a look at Mind's guidance for accessing treatment and support during the pandemic.
- Get referred for treatment - Hertfordshire University Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) offers free talking therapies and other forms of support for a wide range of mental health issues such as: low mood, worry, insomnia and stress. You can ask your GP to make a referral or you can complete a self-referral form.
Alternatively, if you or someone you know needs urgent of emergency support you can:
- Call 999 for emergency intervention
- Call Freephone 0800 6444 101 or NHS 111 and select option 2 for mental health services
- Use the Single Point of Access (SPA) 24/7 Mental Health Helpline provided by Herts Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) if you want to chat, need help or guidance and it’s not an emergency
Herts residents of all ages, including service users, carers, GPs and other professionals can contact the 24/7 Single Point of Access (SPA) Mental Health Helpline team at any hour of the day or night, 365 days a year. The team can provide advice and support who are experiencing a mental health crisis, need some mental health support or just want to talk on.
What people told us
Our research found that for most people, Covid-19 had negatively affected their mental wellbeing. Mental health declined for people who were already getting support from mental health services but also people who had never used these services before. However, only a small number accessed support for their mental health. This was largely because they were unaware of what services were available and how to access them.
Out of all three of our Covid-19 surveys last year the Mental Health Survey received the most responses mainly from people who were shielding. Feelings experienced by respondents ranged from anxiety and depression, isolation and loneliness and lack of motivation.
When respondents mentioned trying to contact the Mental Health Trust for support they noted difficulty getting through and frustration in trying to access the Out of Hours Service and Single Point of Access.
The findings and recommendations were welcomed by the Trust and an action plan to address the issues and assist them in rebuilding improved services for the future was agreed.
Actions included a review of the 24/7 helpline for the Out of Hours Service and Single Point Access to provide an improved response for service users and better guidance on accessing services particularly for crisis support.
You can find out more and read the reports here.