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Today, the NHS will launch a new landmark campaign using the iconic Beatles song ‘Help!” to get the North West taking better care of their mental health.
Backed by some of the UK’s biggest artists, the campaign will encourage people struggling with their mental health to seek support.
‘Help!’, written by John Lennon in 1964, was credited by the superstar songwriter as one of his most honest and genuine songs and with lyrics like ‘Help me if you can I’m feeling down’, the song is the ideal soundtrack to get others thinking about their mental health.
Since the start of the pandemic, many people in the North West have come forward for NHS talking therapies, but with new figures out today showing that over 57% of people in the region were concerned about their mental health last year – and more than 50% of people are also experiencing stress, anxiety, low mood or depression, with 57% reporting that they did not seek professional help – many more could benefit.
However this year people are more conscious of their mental health, with two thirds of people planning to focus more on their mental health in 2022.
The NHS is encouraging anybody experiencing anxiety, depression, or other common mental health concerns to come forward and see how talking therapies can help them.
NHS mental health talking therapies are a confidential service run by fully trained experts and can be accessed by self-referral or through your GP.
And thanks to Sony Music and Apple Corps, who have donated the lyrics and melody of the Beatles classic to the campaign, top names from the UK music industry including Craig David, Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts, Tom Grennan, Laura Mvula, Ella Henderson and Max George, will launch the campaign with a speaking rendition of the song – encouraging more people to seek ‘Help!’.
The all-star campaign, which will run across radio, social media, and on demand, is also being backed by a number of leading charities.
Speaking of her experiences, Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud, and from the North West, praised the impact therapy made on her life.
She said: “I’m someone that has benefited hugely from talking therapy. I think there is such a taboo around it that people almost feel like they’ve failed or they weren’t strong enough to figure out a situation by themselves. But if you’re feeling like you can’t see the wood from the trees or light at the end of the tunnel, it’s imperative to reach out because you can’t always do it alone. It’s about saying this is what is happening to me, it’s not my fault, but my happiness matters and I’m going to put my hand up and say I need some help. I wouldn’t be where I am now without therapy.”
Dr David Levy, Medical Director for the North West region, said: “We know the toll the pandemic has taken on people’s mental health, and January can be a particularly tough month for many.
“If you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or are feeling low, it’s important you know you are not alone and that it is okay to get help. No one should suffer in silence.
“NHS staff have pulled out all the stops throughout the pandemic to keep mental health care services open, and it’s fantastic to see some of the biggest names in music back our campaign and encourage people to get the support they need.”
One of those who has sought treatment in recent years is former secondary school technician and classroom assistant Maxine Jones, who was so inspired by her experience, she retrained and is now a senior psychological wellbeing practitioner for the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) Wellbeing Hub.
Maxine said: “In 2014 I started to experience some challenges with my mental health. My partner was going through some difficulties with his employer which would eventually lead to redundancy, and I had recently had a baby and was filled with worry about what I was going to do next.
“Panic attacks started to be a thing in my life. I’d never experienced them before and found them terrifying. I was feeling anxious and I didn’t know it at the time – but I was also experiencing symptoms of depression. It felt as though my mind wasn’t working as it had been before and I didn’t feel able to work as well as I had been.
“Eventually, I went to see my GP. They made me aware of this thing I hadn’t heard of before called an IAPT service. IAPT stands for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies also known as Talking Therapies. I didn’t know it then, but the next six months would be a life-changing experience.
“Initially I was quite fearful. I felt like there was a stigma attached to what I was doing and was worried that I would face judgement for how I felt. I shouldn’t have worried. In IAPT services everyone is treated as individual with their own thoughts and feelings. I wasn’t compared to anybody else.
“What I would say to anybody who is considering referring themselves to IAPT, is the sooner that you do it, the easier the process is. Like with any treatment, the worse your situation gets, the longer it takes to treat. I don’t have any regrets about my decision to refer myself.”