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Health Matters: Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

Health Matters: Mental Health Awareness Week 2019
13 May 2019

Dr Ian Hulme, GP with Meadowside Medical Centre, Congleton and clinical lead for mental health, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group

Around one in four people will experience a mental health problem this year; this means that mental health is everyone’s business. If you don’t experience a mental health issue yourself, there is a good chance that you will know someone who will.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, a week in which we take a moment to reflect on mental health issues, their impact on people’s lives and the support available for those struggling with their mental health.

In many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it. When we are in good mental health, we feel positive about ourselves and feel able to deal with life’s challenges. When our mental health isn’t so great, you can find that the ways you’re thinking, feeling or reacting are difficult or sometimes impossible to cope with.

This year’s theme is body image and, although body image comes from inside you, it is affected by those around you and by wider society and experiences you’ve had throughout your life.

We have been fascinated by our appearance since the beginning of time, and the idea of beauty and being accepted has always accompanied this, with cultures all over the world subscribing to the idea that a certain look/body type is what we should all strive for.

Many believe that the increased consumption of media such as TV and social media has put additional pressure on us to feel like we need to look a certain way, often an appearance that society deems acceptable. 

It is therefore important to remember that everyone’s body is different, there are natural variations in physical appearances and this doesn’t mean your body is not ‘right’ or that you are ‘ugly’.

There are many different mental health issues, on which I could write many pages but unfortunately space is limited. Instead I can point you toward services which can support you.

If you’re feeling down, Samaritans provide confidential, emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, you can reach them 24 hours a day on 116 123.

If you are still struggling, the CCG commissions a Talking Therapies service that can help with everyday issues affecting your mental wellbeing, as well as professional support for more serious mental health difficulties. You can self-refer into the service on mytalkingtherapies.com.