Updates & Info
A recent study from the University of Bristol, explored the links between debt, ageing and mental wellbeing. It concluded that within the UK's older population in particular, those finding it "very difficult to get by financially" were eight times more likely to report reduced mental wellbeing compared with those who were comfortably off. The report's authors called the results "staggering" because it clearly demonstrated how the precursors to mental health deterioration are often hidden.
Not everyone turns up at an A&E in crisis, and not everyone with moderately poor mental health is directly in touch with services of any kind. This matters because everywhere around us there are people struggling with financial and other stresses. The older population are also, on average, much more likely to feel lonely and isolated – both triggers for poor mental wellbeing.
The latest initiative from the anti-stigma campaign Time To Change is Time to Talk Day, which takes place on Thursday. It pinpoints how so much of the anguish that people are trying to deal with is behind closed doors, with many people afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
Many of those living with mental health difficulties, be it for the first time in response to something such as debt or because of longstanding conditions, say that feeling free to talk can make an enormous difference day to day. They say, too, that if others reach out and pay attention through even the smallest of gestures, it can ease the burden. We may not all be able to directly influence how crisis or other care is provided, but that doesn't mean we can't do something.
As one person involved in the Time to Talk Day puts it: "If you know someone who is struggling, a kind word or a hug can go a long way."
If you are feeling very distressed, despairing or suicidal and need immediate help please contact your GP and request an emergency appointment, contact the Samaritans on 116 123, or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department.
If your GP surgery is not open, you can contact the NHS Out of Hours Medical Service on 111. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation. If you feel at harm to yourself or from other – go straight to your nearest Accident and Emergency.
If you are concerned that someone else is very distressed and might be considering suicide please encourage them to contact their GP and make an emergency appointment. Alternatively you might wish to encourage them to speak to the Samaritans on 116 123.
If you are concerned that someone is about to act on thoughts of hurting themselves you might wish help them attend the nearest Accident and Emergency Department. Alternatively, you may choose to contact the Police on 999.
Similarly, if you become concerned that someone is at risk of hurting somebody else
If you feel you need to talk to someone in confidence, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on:
Tel: 116 123
(TEXT MESSAGE ONLY number available on 07725 909090)
There are also local Samaritans branches across Hampshire and Dorset.