It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week (9-15 May) and this year’s theme is Loneliness.
The last few years have been difficult for everyone and the pandemic has had an impact on the world around us. Whether it is dealing with the virus itself, being impacted by unemployment, feeling isolated, or the tragedy of losing a loved one.We have all had a very personal experience of living through this pandemic, and we know that it is likely to continue for some time.
Loneliness affects many of us at one time or another. We know that feelings of loneliness and isolation can impact on our mental health and that is why I am really pleased to that we are working as part of South London Listens, a unique partnership between the NHS, local authorities, and community organisations to urgently respond to the impacts of the pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of our communities. You can find out more about South London Listens and our two-year action plan which was launched in October 2021 here.
The world is changing, and it is sometimes difficult to keep up. The way we work, the way we shop, the way we interact with other people, all these changes mean we are often forced to find different ways to build and maintain connections with other people.
In the NHS we see people at their most vulnerable and never more so than in mental health services.
We know that loneliness is associated with poorer physical and mental health and amongst older people particularly those experiencing depression. At South London and Maudsley we provide a variety of services for older people both in hospital and in community settings. If you would like to find out more about our services for older people, visit our website South London and Maudsley.
And loneliness can exacerbate other negative feelings.
If you are struggling with anxiety, low mood or depression, you don’t need to suffer in silence; If you are feeling lonely or isolated and you need someone to talk to, you can contact our local talking therapies teams. They offer primary care mental health services which support anyone who has a mental health or wellbeing need.
Appointments are offered in a variety of new ways (eg by phone or video) to provide support and treatment whilst reducing the need for you to travel.
You can either refer yourself directly to your local service or you can talk to your GP who can refer you, so don’t put off getting in touch
And if you don’t feel like talking to anyone there are lots of resources available to help you help yourself. Go to www.good-thinking.uk to find apps and self-management resources which will help you with a variety of concerns.
The important thing to remember is that there is support available to you and your loved ones if you need it.
Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week