The NHS across Coventry and Warwickshire are encouraging local people to look after their mental health and to reach out if they need support.
Every July, the Samaritans run their ‘Talk to Us’ campaign to promote the services they offer in their communities and share tips on how to be a better listener. This year, the campaign has more poignancy as people are impacted by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the lockdown restrictions.
Whilst the Samaritans have taken the difficult decision to stop offering face-to-face support in their branches during the lockdown, their free phone line (116 123) is still open 24/7 to help anyone who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure.
Dr David Spraggett Chair at NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “It’s really important to talk about how you’re feeling, whether it’s by phone or video call with a friend or family member, a chat with a neighbour over the garden fence, or by using one of the helplines available, such as the Samaritans.
“The NHS is still here for you, so please contact your GP or NHS111 for support if you need it.”
Dr Imogen Staveley, Deputy Chair at NHS Warwickshire North CCG, said: “Recent changes to guidance to support people who live alone or who are single parents to form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size is a positive step forward, however I urge people to continue to maintain good hand hygiene and follow the guidelines.
“Coronavirus is still in the community and we must stay alert and follow the guidance including social distancing. Those who are shielding who have been advised that from 6 July, they can participate in more activities and gatherings and form a support bubble is going to really help people’s mental wellbeing but, please ensure you follow the guidelines and continue to social distance.
“However, those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to remain at home as much as possible, taking particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.”
Dr Sarah Raistrick, Chair at NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG said: “There are lots of ways to look after your mental health, such as the NHS’ 5 steps to mental wellbeing. It is possible to practise all of these whilst staying in or close to home: connecting with friends and family, staying active, learning new skills, giving to others, and paying attention to the present moment (mindfulness).”
The Samaritans have a webpage with advice if you’re worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, and a self-help app to track your mood and find practical tips and techniques to look after your emotional health.
For local mental health advice and resources during the coronavirus outbreak you can also visit Warwickshire County Council website or Coventry City Council website. The websites offer tips and advice on coping during this uncertain time, and the mental health and wellbeing support still available to you in Coventry and Warwickshire. Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action also provides a mental health services directory where you can find local organisations, groups, and agencies that provide services and support people affected by mental health issues.