People in the West Midlands are being reminded to get help if they are struggling with their mental health

This Mental Health Awareness Week, people in the West Midlands are being reminded to seek support if they are struggling with their mental health.

The theme of this year’s campaign, which runs from 15 to 21 May, is ‘Anxiety’.

Anxiety can cause many different symptoms, affecting thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. It is a feeling people experience throughout life. But it can become more serious and affect people’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks due to worrying thoughts and behaviour.

However, there are lots of things that people can do to look after their mental wellbeing and help others to prevent these concerns from becoming more serious.

The Every Mind Matters website features expert tips and advice on looking after mental wellbeing and how to be kind to your mind.

The website includes information on self-help resources and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood, and trouble sleeping.

One of the best things to do for positive mental health and wellbeing is to be active – it’s a natural mood booster.

There are lots of free and affordable ways to get moving for all ages and levels of physical ability, including the Couch to 5K and Active 10 apps.

People who are aged 16 or over can also access NHS Talking Therapies services for anxiety and depression. People can be referred to Talking Therapies services by their GP, or they can refer themselves directly online or via the telephone.

Dr Sarah Watts, Clinical Director at Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Talking Therapies and NHS England Clinical Lead for Talking Therapies in the Midlands from Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT), said: “Anxiety disorders present as some of the most common mental health issues, affecting millions of people in the UK every year.

“Evidence-based psychological therapies can help people who are experiencing anxiety”.

Kevin, a patient from Burton-upon-Trent, in Staffordshire who was experiencing anxiety and depression, said: “I contacted the Talking Therapies service as I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety after going through post-recovery from cancer.

“I was having very dark thoughts and almost took my own life. My therapist Carly helped me by giving me focus on things to improve my outlook on life.

“Because of this I am now able to see life from a more positive perspective using the toolbox of techniques that Carly introduced me to.

“I am now involved in a weekly support group with people who have, like me experienced the trauma of having cancer, and people who have recently been diagnosed with it. Having had the help from Carly to improve my outlook on life has helped me to use my experience and share it with others effectively”.

Carly Rowland, Senior Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT) from East Staffordshire, said: “Kevin presented to the service following intensive treatment for cancer.

“We focused CBT treatment around helping Kevin to identify and manage negative beliefs and focus on setting goals in line with his values.

“At our final session, Kevin stated: ‘I have learnt to become a fighter again; to stand up and fight every adversity’”.

Giles Tinsley, programme director for mental health at NHS England in the Midlands, said: “It is natural for all of us to feel worried or anxious at some points during our lives, but Mental Health Awareness Week is an ideal opportunity to remind everyone that there are things we can all do to help ourselves and others.

“Every Mind Matters encourages people to get active as the body releases feel-good hormones that can improve our mood and boost our energy. Taking care of our mental health is really important and it can help us to lead happy and healthy lives”.

Find information and support for your mental health on the NHS website.