Health experts at NHS Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group are encouraging local people to use Blue Monday (16 January) as a positive opportunity to talk about mental health.
Although there is no exact science behind Blue Monday, it marks the time of the New Year when people feel down post-Christmas, are awaiting the January pay day and may be longing for the summer. But rather than focusing on the negative, Surrey Downs CCG is encouraging people to take advantage of the local help that’s available, and also support friends and family who may be feeling down.
The local NHS group is working with a number of organisations who offer support and counselling, funding a service to help people take control and improve their own mental health and wellbeing. Called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, or IAPT, the support can help anyone experiencing anxiety, stress, depression (including prenatal and postnatal depression), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, panic attacks, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Different types of therapy support are available – from private appointments, to group activities or online courses. Each person can pick the option that works for them. You can be referred by your GP or self-refer – the choice is yours.
For anyone wanting a safe place to go during the evening when they need support in an emotional or mental health crisis, the Safe Haven in Epsom is available 365 days a year. It is one of six across Surrey which have an open door for people looking for someone to talk to, or a space to meet people who are going through something similar. Developed in partnership with NHS Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group, the Mary Frances Trust, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Surrey County Council, the service runs from 6-11pm at The Larches, 44 Waterloo Road in Epsom, every night of the year.
Dr Julia Chase, Clinical Director for Mental Health, Dementia and Learning Disabilities at Surrey Downs CCG and local GP, said: “We want to use Blue Monday as an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health and depression, and remind people who feel like they’re battling on a daily basis with no -one to turn to, that help is available. Our free counselling service, improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT), is making a difference to the lives of hundreds of local people, and the Safe Haven in Epsom is helping support many people across the Surrey Downs area when they’re at the point of crisis.
“If you know someone who is feeling a bit down please encourage them to talk – whether it’s to you, one of these services, or their GP – we want to help them feel able to take control of their emotional wellbeing.”
More information about the support available through the improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) service please visit www.surreydownsccg.nhs.uk/gethelp. For details of the Safe Haven in Epsom and the other Safe Havens across Surrey and Hampshire please visit www.surreydownsccg.nhs.uk/safehavenepsom
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