Letter to Editor: Helping with anxiety…in Harlow, where compassion and care isn’t hard to find
General / Thu 18th May 2023 at 01:16pm
Mental Health Awareness Week 2023
AS we approach the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 I have to say that I’m surprised and a little disappointed that is seems that very few organisations are interested in talking about it.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not agency bashing. However there was a time when mental health and wellbeing was prioritised, championed, and celebrated with regularity and with positive outcomes in the town.
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 is anxiety.
The UK’s Mental Health Foundation says “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. But anxiety can be made easier to manage.
Focusing on anxiety for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week will increase people’s awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem. At the same time, we will keep up the pressure to demand change – making sure that improving mental health is a key priority for the government and society as a whole.”
Further information about the importance of this year’s theme can be found on the Mental Health Foundation’s website https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/blogs/why-anxiety-theme-mental-health-awareness-week-2023
I believe we are lucky in Harlow where compassion and care isn’t hard to find, but getting support or knowing where to turn to, when you or someone you love is experiencing mental health difficulties can still be hard work, especially if you are feeling stressed, anxious, upset or unwell.
Step one – talk to a family or friend about how you are feeling.
Step two – seek proper advice from your GP or a support service like Mind in West Essex https://www.mindinwestessex.org.uk
Mental ill-health can be the consequence of isolation and it can also be isolating – but only if we do nothing as a community. My timeline on social media suggests that’s not the Harlow way and I hope this letter will be welcomed and perhaps act as a prompt for proactivity on World Mental Health Day on 10th October and Mental Health Awareness Week 2024.
Spencers Croft, Harlow
The cut in NHS mental health beds of nearly 6000 since 2010 means patients are placed in psychiatric wards far from home. These inappropriate out of area placements make it difficult for relatives and friends to support loved ones. Experts say such placements, which the NHS said would end by March 2021, are traumatic for patients and costly but were continuing when the BBC published its report last November. See article https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-63596763
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