Beat the winter blues this Blue Monday
The news tells us that today (Monday 21 January) is blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. Although feelings aren’t dictated by the date, January can be a hard month and cold weather, Christmas bills and shorter days can have an impact on your mental health.
GPs from East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group want to remind residents about the help and support available near you to manage your mental health.
Dr Prag Moodley, a Hertfordshire GP and Chair of the Governing Body, said: “Many of us – even in the health service - feel uncomfortable when talking about problems with our mental health. That’s despite the fact that one in every four of us in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
“I want all residents to learn to approach mental illness in the way that we approach physical ill-health – and there are local services in place to make it easier and more convenient for people to get the help they need. There are simple things that we can all do to help ourselves too - it can be easy to stay indoors but getting outside, especially during daylight hours, and keeping active can improve your mood. Eating healthily and taking up new hobbies can also help.”
The winter weather can also making coping with year-round issues such as anxiety or depression more difficult. For information advice and tips, the NHS ‘Moodzone’ website can help https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/
There is support available and you don't need to have a diagnosed mental health problem to refer yourself for specialist NHS therapy. You may be having panic attacks, struggling with flashbacks and nightmares, feeling low and hopeless or finding it hard to cope with work, life or relationships. The NHS Wellbeing Service offers free and confidential talking therapy and practical support for Hertfordshire residents experiencing these issues. You don’t have to make a GP appointment to get this support as you can refer yourself online at https://www.hpft.nhs.uk/services/community-services/wellbeing-service/referrals/self-referral/
Many of the options that are offered are based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) which has shown through research to be an effective tool for people experiencing anxiety or depression. CBT involves looking at the way you think and your ways of coping, in order to identify changes that you can make that may help you feel better. Courses are available online, in groups or one-to-one.
If you would prefer to speak to someone to make your referral or if you need urgent support please contact Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust, the providers of the Wellbeing Service, on 0300 777 0707.