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For Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May), North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group is highlighting the importance of self-care and the further mental health support that is available.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and so no one is alone. Early identification and using self-care techniques and general lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms and really prevent a situation going beyond someone’s control. In today’s society, the day-to-day demands can feel overwhelming and a starting point in taking control is in being aware of your mental health and asking for help.

It’s not only important to look after your mental health, but physical health also plays a key role, as does a positive social life and therapeutic activities. Throughout the week, North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group will focus on a theme of living well.

The Chairman of North East Essex CCG, Dr Hasan Chowhan, said: “Prioritising mental health is so important. It’s not one-size-fits-all – I like to run or cycle most weekends and make sure that I have protected time with my family, but for other people, mindfulness and meditation might be the key to self-care.

“It’s also good to make full use of your support network around you – friends and family who are happy to help when you are feeling stressed or down. No matter what, it’s important to talk to somebody, which is why I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t been feeling right for a while to self-refer through our IAPT service.”

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is a national initiative and our service, provided by Health in Mind, provides access to a wide range of talking therapy treatments for adults with common mental health problems in and around Colchester and Tendring. 

Find out more about referral, including how to self-refer online, from the Health in Mind website.

Patient Case Study (Anonymous) - Health in Mind

"I first saw a therapist from Health in Mind about six years ago. This time around I was offered treatment with a different therapist, however as I had a really positive experience the first time around, I decided to wait to see the same one again, and had to wait a little longer as a result. I cannot praise the therapist and support worker enough. The therapist was amazing, and her therapy was brilliant, second to none. If it wasn’t for both of them, I would have sat at home, doing little, but smoke and drink, more and more. 

"The support worker contacted me regularly, supported me with the job centre, with conference calls and helped with filling in forms. He was supportive and his contact helped me to persevere. He even contacted me to let me know he was going on holiday. 

"During the course of therapy, I have come to terms with my diagnosis of MS, being made redundant, my mother’s death, and having to have surgery.

"Coming to terms with the MS diagnosis and being made redundant was a big part of the therapy work I received, but it wasn’t easy and was a rollercoaster ride at times, up and down, my depression and anxiety levels were all over the place. At one point my depression was worsening and the therapist suggested that maybe I should contact my GP for my medication to be reviewed. I did as was suggested and went to see my GP, the medication change improved things for me too and this was a light bulb moment for me.  

"The benefits I gained through this troubled time were so beneficial in getting me back to normality. I was strong willed and a people person, however through this time I never thought I would get a job. I had so many interviews and knock backs through this time, however I persevered and kept going with both of their help and support, I never thought I would get out of the rut I was in. We all have ups and downs in life, mostly downs for me. However, both the therapist and staff member kept pushing and encouraging me, giving me the confidence to fulfil a new job role.

"I was then offered a new job, earning more money than I did in my previous role. This new position I have taken on has given me a new lease of life. I’ve been working with a brilliant team, who are open and honest, within a few weeks of me joining the company, I decided to tell them that I had MS, what effects I have, like losing my balance and falling over, even with a stick, telling them that my left side is shaky and sometimes I have to place my left hand under my thigh. I was nervous at first; however it was the best thing I could have said. They now all support me, whether it’s carrying a coffee cup, or helping with my laptop to a room. I’m not embarrassed to tell anyone anymore, as what I have, I have, I can’t ever change, other than my lifestyle.

"I hope that I won’t need therapy again for another 5-10 years, however,  if I do, I would be prepared to wait again, because the experience has been such a positive one, I cannot thank them both enough for helping me to get to where I am now."

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