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World Mental Health Day is an international day for global mental health awareness and was first celebrated in 1992. The overall objective is to raise awareness of mental health issues, tackle the stigma of mental health and encourage continuous support.

Our mental health is just like our physical health; everyone has it and we need to take care of it. You wouldn't leave a broken bone to heal itself without any care or treatment would you? Mental health problems affect around 1 in 4 people in any given year and range from common problems such as depression and anxiety to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The Corona virus pandemic has brought to the forefront just how important it is to take care of our wellbeing and mental health. After spending months in lockdown, unable to see family and friends for a hug and the ongoing uncertainty of the economic climate, more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health has gotten worse.

As we approach winter and more restrictions are being enforced across the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic, experts are warning there is a looming mental health crisis. Making positive change can seem difficult, especially during uncertain times and sometimes, it can be hard to know where to start. Whether you want to take the first steps towards getting some help or learn more about helping those around you, here are some top tips:

Keep active and get outdoors - Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise and fresh air keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.

Eat well - Our brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

Keep in touch - There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible, especially in these times. You can also give them a call, video chat, or message them instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!

Ask for help - None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or simply a listening ear. Local services are also there to help you.

Take a break - A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, an extra break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.

Get enough sleep - Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it's important to get enough. Doing things like yoga or meditation before bed can help you wind-down and relax, taking away the stresses of the day.

Here at Service Care Solutions, wellbeing and mental health support is one of our top priorities and we have a number of things in place to support all employees:

o We have partnered with Lancashire MIND for the last 2-years to offer regular, 1-2-1 Wellbeing Coaching sessions. Employees can anonymously arrange 30-minute appointment slots to speak to a Wellbeing Coach who will help to build resilience, develop healthy coping strategies and improve wellbeing and quality of life. This can be arranged on an ad-hoc basis or a block of 6 x 1-hour sessions.

o We signpost our employees to Able Futures. Able Futures delivers the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. They offer nine months confidential, no cost advice, guidance and support from Able Futures mental health professionals to help you cope with work while you manage a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression or stress.

o Wellness Action Plans are in place for employees to remind us what we need to do to stay well at work and it details what our line managers can do to better support us. It also helps us develop an awareness of our working style, stress triggers and responses, and enables us to communicate these to our manager. These are optional and available to all employees.

o We are currently in the process of recruiting our first cohort of Mental Health First Aiders who will provide confidential, on-site support across all areas of the business. Our first aiders will be able to act as a point of contact, reassure a person who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress, and signpost them to professional support.

o We also offer additional support through:
o Regular open communications with line managers;
o ‘Open door’ policy - all roles within the business are seated together in an open plan office, leaving all meeting rooms free for private conversations;
o Our Occupational Health provider issues medical support on any absence related issues;
o A dedicated HR team available to offer impartial advice and a confidential, listening ear.

As we approach World Mental Health Day this Saturday, I encourage you to reach out to your loved ones, check in with a friend you maybe haven’t spoken to for a while and always be kind as you never know what someone else may be experiencing. Here are some useful links to support:

For more information on Coronavirus and your wellbeing

Samaritans offers free, confidential support 24 hours a day on 116 123

 Apps such as Headspace and Calm offer free support and techniques, search for these in the app store

Find a list of national mental health services and helplines

NHS Live Well homepage

Big White Wall is a safe online community of people who are anxious, down or not coping who support and help each other by sharing what’s troubling them

Grassroots Suicide Prevention 

If you would like to work for a company that values maintaining good mental health then please contact us here to find out what vacancies we have.
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