It is no big news that January can be a difficult month. Festivities have ended and whether or not they lived up to expectations or brought with them their own difficulties, getting back into a routine and perhaps taking stock of one’s situation as the new year unfurls, can bring on all sorts of troublesome feelings.
The good news is that in recent years there has been a welcome shift in the awareness of, and attitudes towards mental health. High profile personalities from footballers, to royals, amongst others, are all openly talking about their own mental health issues and using their own experiences to help promote the importance of sharing problems and seeking help.
The government is also investing more than ever before in mental health services. A current green paper is asking for feedback from the public on a number of proposed measures to improve mental health support for children and young people. Earlier intervention and prevention, especially in and linked to schools and colleges, as proposed by this paper, is something I support and have spoken about on numerous occasions. We need to take action to ensure our children receive the expert help they need to enable them to confront and tackle emerging mental health problems before they develop into much more serious ongoing adult mental health problems.
Alongside what the government is doing and what celebrities are doing to help this cause, there are many worthy local initiatives making a difference in this area. I recently met with Tony Sigrist, founder and CEO of ‘Talking FreELY’, a new mental health charity in Ely. They are working towards establishing a replicable model of best practice in the mental health arena.
Back in October, there was a ‘Mental Wellbeing Week’ in Histon and Impington with a range of activities aimed at encouraging people to feel more comfortable talking about mental health as well as participating in music, sport and arts and craft wellbeing activities. I was very happy to take part in their ‘Any Mental Health Questions’ evening which was part of the week’s events.
An increasing number of initiatives tackling mental health should hopefully mean that in years to come the January blues will be far less pronounced and much better supported.
The green paper consultation ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’ closes at midday on 2 March 2018, If you want to have your say, you can do so at https://engage.dh.gov.uk/youngmentalhealth/