Sunday, 10th October was World Mental Health Day 2021. This year, the occasion took 'mental health in an unequal world' as its theme. Anyone working in a health or care setting over the last 18 months will know that the pandemic has brought even greater imbalance to an already unequal world.

Michele Moran is SRO of the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Collaborative Programme

Our Resilience Hub was set up as a direct response to the pandemic, to try to redress that imbalance, supporting health and care sector staff and their families. Although many of those who have accessed the service are struggling with the direct impact of Covid-19, others turn to the Resilience Hub in times of bereavement, debt, or relationship problems.

I’m very proud of the Resilience Hub’s services, which are flexible and varied. One-size-fits-all doesn’t work with mental health; to maintain a positive equilibrium we all need different types of support. Having filled in an initial wellbeing questionnaire, those reaching out to the Hub are provided with specialist, confidential advice and information, and ongoing care either directly or through a local service. Care within the Hub is provided via individual care or support groups. These include a bereavement support group and a Long Covid support group, which has proven invaluable to many. One member almost lost their life to Covid-19, and described the group as ‘a lifeline’, saying that through Resilience Hub counselling and its Long Covid support group, they’ve ‘gained strength each day, both physically and mentally.’

The Resilience Hub is of course, a relatively new development but the wellbeing of our staff has long been a priority. Our Workforce Programme has been instrumental in defining the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership as an organisation that puts its people first, adopting a progressive approach to good mental health. For example, as an organisation we’re currently working towards achieving our Menopause Friendly Accreditation.

Low mood and feelings of depression can be very common symptoms of the menopause and perimenopause. Low self-esteem, reduced motivation, anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, poor concentration and low energy can also arise. To support colleagues whose mental health may be impacted, the Workforce Programme is offering a series of awareness sessions for all colleagues and managers. Work is also being undertaken to improve policies, practices, and culture in this very important area. Look out for our guest speakers this month.

Helping men nurture their mental health is another priority. At any given time, around 12.5% of men are living with a mental health disorder. Sadly, we also know that 8.7% of men are dependent on alcohol and that suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.  Our Workforce Programme is currently planning a dedicated Men’s Health Week, which will take place from 8th – 12th November.

Achieving good sleep is another key strand of work for the Workforce Programme. During the pandemic, changes in our sleep patterns (both good and bad) have been commonly reported. There’s a very close relationship between quality sleep and good mental health. In recognition of this, the Workforce Programme has enlisted a sleep expert to help people work through issues related to sleep and the menopause, sleep and children and sleep and shift work.

Right now, we’re living through a sea-change in how people value mental health and wellbeing. No longer the poor relation to physical wellbeing, a well-cared for, healthy mind is now recognised as the foundation stone for a contented life. Work takes up a significant portion of our waking hours, making daily demands on our emotional resources. It makes sense then, that work should also be a place where we can find sanctuary and support for our minds.

 

Lynne Dawson

Author Lynne Dawson

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