For World Mental Health Day, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) is highlighting how community action is needed to improve mental health in an ‘unequal world’. 

AWP is calling on the community to come together to tackle the inequalities experienced by people with serious mental health illness.

The theme of World Mental Health Day 2021, the annual awareness day set up by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is 'Mental health in an unequal world'.

These are AWP's suggestions for achieving this in the community:

  • Having a conversation about mental health 
  • Checking in with someone you haven’t spoken to for a while
  • Making a commitment to yourself to make time for reflecting on how you are feeling
  • Asking your local MP to support better funding of and access to mental health services

Tips on how to recognise you might be struggling with your mental health

Signs you or some you care about may be struggling with their mental health include:

  • Excessive worry or anxiety
  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability
  • Extreme changes in mood
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Unusual experiences, such as hearing voices or worrying that you are in danger
  • Having thoughts of harming yourself in some way

Having a healthy diet, getting regular sleep, communicating with friends and family and exercising regularly can all help improve your mental health. 

Other practical steps that can help boost mood and help people to feel better include taking up a new hobby and looking out for friends and family who may also be struggling.

AWP Head of Psychological Therapies Claire Williamson said: "Quite often, issues relating to mental health only become apparent once they have started to affect our day-to-day life, which is why introducing small feel-good actions is so important.

"Whether it's riding a bike, reading a book or a meal with friends, these small activities can do wonders for our mood and self-esteem.”

Advice and support for people struggling with mental health

If you are experiencing low mood and anxiety for the first time, there is help and support you can access online or through voluntary organisations.

If you’ve tried this and still feel you need help, you can contact NHS 111, your GP, or you can self-refer to talking therapies services

If you’re worried about someone else struggling with their mental health, AWP suggests you try and support them to talk to you about their feelings and encourage them to seek support.  

Every Mind Matters provides practical tips to help with mental health and wellbeing. 

There are also resources that have been developed over the pandemic, including:

If you are an existing AWP patient or service user and in need of help, you can call their 24/7 helpline at 0800 953 1919.

If you are concerned about someone who is in immediate danger, contact the emergency services on 999.

Is there enough mental health support in Salisbury?

We asked readers whether they thought there was enough mental health support in Salisbury for world mental health awareness day, and the majority thought more needs to be done.

Readers felt there was not enough support for adults or children, that support is not localised enough with some mentioning how services are based in Devizes, and others mentioned the long waiting list.

AWP's commitment

The AWP has a number of projects with partners that aim to support patients and service users to find and stay in work with CV, job application, career progression, and interview support.  

AWP Chief Executive Dominic Hardisty said: “My pledge for World Mental Health Day, is that we will do everything we can in our services to improve the physical health of the people we care for, and my ask of everyone working in the health and care sector across the world is, let’s do everything we can to give these people better life chances.

“The life expectation for people with a serious mental illness is 15–20 years lower than for the general population.

"In most cases, this is not due to their mental illness but because of poor physical health, or other conditions related to mental illness, like diabetes and high blood pressure.

"That’s a really big inequality and it’s time for change.”

AWP have made a short film for World Mental Health Day, and encourage viewers to let them know what their pledge and commitment is to end inequality for people with serious mental health illness on their social media channels using @AWPNHS (Twitter and Facebook). 

You can also email letting them know them today, October 10th, at: awp.communications@nhs.net

If you are currently struggling with your mental health, or are going through something and are in need of someone to talk to, don't hesitate to contact the Samaritans anytime day or night at 116 123. 

You can also email them at jo@samaritans.org

Other helplines include: 

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)- for men – call 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight) 

Papyrus – for people under 35 – call 0800 068 41 41 (10am-10pm Monday to Friday, 2pm-10pm weekends, 2pm-5pm bank holidays) or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Childline – for children and young people under 19 – call 0800 1111

The Silver Line – for older people – call 0800 470 8090

Rehab4Addiction – for people with substance abuse disorders (SUDs) – call 0800 140 4690

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