Partners Information and Advice
NHS urges people with mental health worries to seek help.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that almost one in five adults were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the pandemic and almost one in eight developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms.
Ongoing research has shown that there are still many barriers to accessing mental health support, including highlighted feelings of mistrust with mental health services as a result of negative experiences, as well as the fear or shame of disclosing mental health concerns with loved ones.
Dr Leke Oyedotun, GP based in Lincolnshire said: “COVID-19, loneliness, bereavement, concerns around job security and so many other factors have had a huge impact on the mental health of the nation over the last year. A small act such as talking to someone can make such a difference in acknowledging and dealing with your mental health and wellbeing. It’s important to know you are not alone and support is available – whether that is through NHS services or family and friends.”
Not everyone will need professional support to get through anxiety, but for those that do the NHS provides services across England, which are easily accessible. Support can also be found through many independent Black charity organisations such as Inside Out UK.
NHS Talking Therapies are a confidential service ran by fully trained experts, and the service can also be delivered in your chosen language through multi-lingual therapists or confidential translators. People can access the service by visiting their GP or refer themselves online.
The latest referral figures for NHS mental health services from August 2020 show that referrals were recovering but were still down by 11% compared to the previous year. Of those referrals, 89.1% would start treatment within 6 weeks, with an average of 7.6 sessions of treatment.
Dr Ayodele Ajayi, Medical Doctor who specialises in Psychiatry said: “It is very encouraging to see the first national campaign on mental health services run by the NHS, as it’s vital to encourage people to come forward for mental health support.
“The talking therapies service has been available through the NHS since 2008, and it is recognised worldwide for its scale and effectiveness. It can be highly effective in helping people who are experiencing anxiety and depression, and I encourage anyone who is struggling to come forward to get the support they need, irrespective of race, age and background. Trained therapists can help you by working through feelings of anxiety or depression – so please speak to your GP or self-refer online to access the free support that is available.”
The service has been fully running throughout the pandemic with almost 95% of talking therapies delivered remotely from July 2020 through a digital platform or over the phone, allowing people to stay in contact and get support more flexibly and comfortably. Face to face appointments are also still available, and services have implemented new measures to limit infection risks.
The NHS is here to help. To find out more about talking therapies, you can visit the NHS website: nhs.uk/talk
Public Health England
Around 7 in 10 Black adults are motivated to get healthier in 2021 due to COVID-19
A recent England-wide survey revealed over 90% of Black adults have made the decision to make healthy changes in 2021, with 7 in 10 saying that they are motivated to make these changes due to coronavirus.1
In addition, the survey found that 36% of those surveyed said they wanted to adopt a healthier lifestyle for their children/grandchildren, whilst 29% wanted to improve their health for their partner. The data also revealed the most common things people want to do differently in the new year are exercising more (60%) and eating more healthily (58%).
Currently, over 73% of Black adults are overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from diseases including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Despite the latest coronavirus restrictions, there are still lots of ways for people to make these healthier choices and Public Health England’s Better Health campaign encourages and supports adults in taking small steps towards a healthier lifestyle – whether it’s losing weight or getting more active.
The Better Health website offers a wide range of free NHS approved tools and tips to manage weight loss such as the NHS Weight Loss Plan, BMI Calculator, Easy Meals App, or to get more active such as Active 10 and the Couch to 5k programme.
The Better Health campaign also works in partnership with a number of weight management and physical activity partners who are providing both free and exclusive discounted offers.