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Mental health: Let's strive to thrive

Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem. It's about thriving – not just surviving – when life challenges us with stresses and strains.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, 8-14 May 2017, and following publicity generated by the Princes William and Harry, NHS Lambeth CCG is encouraging residents to look after their mental health, and to build resilience to cope with the demands of life.

The Mental Health Foundation, who are running the awareness week, describe 10 steps that everyone can take to improve their mental health:

1. Talk about your feelings: If it feels awkward at first, give it time. Make talking about your feelings something that you do.

2: Keep active: Exercise is believed to boost feel-good chemicals in the brain; it can boost self-esteem, concentration and help you to sleep, look and feel better. Walks in the park, gardening or housework all count as 'being active'. Try to do about 30 minutes' exercise at least five days a week.

3. Eat well: A diet that's good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.  For tips on eating well, visit: NHS Live Well or, for local help, see the resources from Lambeth Council's Health and Wellbeing web page or see the advice from Health Help Now.

4. Drink sensibly: Drinking will not help you to solve problems, it creates them. Get advice on healthy drinking from NHS Live Well or, for local help, see the resources from Lambeth and Southwark Mind or see the advice from Health Help Now.

5. Keep in touch: Strong family ties and supportive friends can help you deal with the stresses of life. If you're feeling out of touch with some people, visit the Mental Health Foundation for some tips on talking about your feelings.

6. Ask for help: Family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. Local services are also there to help you. Contact the Mosaic Clubhouse or see the advice from Health Help Now.

You should consider getting help from your GP if difficult feelings are:

  • stopping you getting on with life
  • having a big impact on the people you live or work with
  • affecting your mood over several weeks.

If you need urgent help, or you are worried about someone, you can access the Lambeth Talking Therapy service on a self-referral basis or visit Health Help Now to find information on local mental health support services

7. Take a break: A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some 'me time'; listen to your body: if you're really tired, give yourself time to sleep.  

8. Do something you're good at: Enjoying yourself helps beat stress.

9. Accept who you are: We're all different. It's much healthier to accept that you're unique than to wish you were different. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.

10. Care for others: Caring for others is often an important part of building and maintaining relationships. Find out more about volunteering opportunities at www.do-it.org.uk or by visiting Lambeth community and projects volunteering.

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A Lambeth DataNet project is building evidence to support new mental health initiatives
A team of primary care researchers led by Dr Peter Schofield at King's College London have used anonymised primary care data from Lambeth DataNet to identify patterns of psychosis and schizophrenia in Lambeth. Using geographical mapping they demonstrated an 'ethnic density effect' with the Black population having a lower risk of psychosis and schizophrenia in areas where the Black population are most concentrated.
In other words, living in areas with a larger proportion of your own ethnic group is relatively protective for schizophrenia and psychosis. 
The team are now planning a further study investigating mental health issues in the Lambeth Somali population and again looking at which neighbourhood factors might 'protect' the Somali community. They hope to use this information to support community initiatives that help build a healthier society in Lambeth. 
Find out more about Lambeth DataNet here.

Further information

Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/looking-after-your-mental-health

Mental Health Awareness week: advice on holding a fundraising or information  event https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/get-involved

NHS Live Well hub: http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/Pages/Livewellhub.aspx

Mind: Charity Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Mind offers confidential help and legal advice.  Local branches also operate. To contact the national charity,

Telephone:
0300 123 3393 (MIND Infoline)
020 8519 2122 (MIND London Office)

Website: www.mind.org.uk/

NHS111: Call 111, available 24 hours every day

Sane Line: 0300 304 7000 (6pm - 11pm every day) www.sane.org.uk

Samaritans: 116 123 (24 hours every day)  www.samaritans.org

Contact your local Mind charity

Local Mind charities support over 370,000 people across England and Wales. Services include talking therapies, crisis helplines, drop-in centres, employment and training schemes, counselling and befriending.

Lambeth & Southwark Mind, phone: 020 7501 9203 and press option 1, email: informationservice@lambethandsouthwarkmind.org.uk, website: www.lambethandsouthwarkmind.org.uk, opening hours:  Monday to Thursday 10am to 5pm.

The main provider of mental health care in Lambeth is South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). They have a 24hr information line to point you in the right direction about where to get help, call 0800 731 2864.