Dr Steve Tomkins, Medical Director, for Southern Health talks about the pressures we have faced during the pandemic and how you can get mental health help and support this summer.
“The last 18 months have been tough. We have had to deal with situations and problems that have never been seen before. As a result, mental health issues have been brought into sharp focus. Many of us have had to isolate on our own, or care for family members or loved ones in difficult circumstances, and we may have neglected our own mental health needs. Now that life is beginning to return to some form of ‘normal’, it is important that we get the support we need to ensure our mental health stays on track.
“Across Hampshire there are a range of services offering support. However, there are also many simple things we can do ourselves that will support our mental health. The five steps to wellbeing are a great place to start. Evidence suggests these steps can have a big impact on how we feel. The five steps are:
- Connect with other people - Good relationships can help us build a sense of self, enabling us to share positive experiences. They can also provide emotional support.
- Be physically active - Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing
- Learn new skills - Learning a new skill can also improve our mental wellbeing, boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem.
- Give to others - Acts of giving and kindness create positive feelings. They help us connect with other people.
- Pay attention to the present (mindfulness) - The simple act of appreciating the present moment and paying attention to the things around us can improve our mental wellbeing.
“Doing any one of these can help improve your mood and they are a great first step in helping you take control of your own mental health. However, sometimes we might need something more and if that is the case please don’t hesitate to reach out for the support you need.”
Mental health support across Hampshire:
- In a life-threatening emergency, always call 999
- If you need urgent mental health support in Hampshire, contact NHS 111, as we have a dedicated mental health triage team co-located in the NHS 111/999 service across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight supporting people presenting with mental health symptoms. The team are working hard behind the scenes to reduce waiting times for people whose mental health needs support, as well as providing people with mental health support/interventions so they can stay at home and self-care.
- Enhanced web-based mental health support is available on the online 111 service, via 111.nhs.uk
- A new mental health rapid response service was launched last year for people in Hampshire. Calls triaged through the 111 or 999 service are routed to the rapid response teams as required. The teams consist of paramedics and mental health nurses in special vehicles. The service is designed to provide a fast and effective response to emergency situations where a person is in mental health crisis.
- italk offers a range of mental health services that support patients throughout Hampshire (excluding Southampton and Portsmouth) with common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. You can self-refer directly to the service through their website. Steps2Wellbeing offer similar mental health services for patients in Southampton and Talking Change offer similar mental health services for patients in Portsmouth.
- The Lighthouse in Southampton and Adults Safe Haven in Havant are both safe havens run in conjunction with local Mind charities and can provide crisis support to people.
- PositiveMinds offers support to anyone in Portsmouth facing struggles with their mental or emotional health. The service is a partnership between Solent NHS Trust, NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Portsmouth City Council, and Solent Mind. Our trained Wellbeing Advisors can offer support by calling 023 9282 4795.
- For people already using community mental health services, please continue to contact your care team in the usual way. It may be that you will receive routine care over the phone or via video-link rather than face-to-face.
National resources - The NHS has a range of advice for the general public around mental health, including various wellbeing tips and advice on mental health issues, different challenges and how to support others. The advice can be accessed here: