Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year. But Thursday 10 October, 2019 is World Mental Health Day – a day for global mental health education, discussion, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.
So West Sussex County Council’s Youth Emotional Support (YES) Service is using the day to encourage everyone to take steps to look after their own wellbeing.
The YES team is promoting five recognised steps we can all take to live happier, more positive and fulfilled lives:
1. Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships. Learn more in Connect for mental wellbeing.
2. Be active – you don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life. Learn more in Get active for mental wellbeing.
3. Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike? Find out more in Learn for mental wellbeing.
4. Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. Learn more in Give for mental wellbeing.
5. Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. Learn more in Mindfulness for mental wellbeing.
YES is part of the Early Help services in West Sussex and helps young people aged 11-18 to identify, acknowledge and work through difficulties that are having a negative impact on their emotional wellbeing.
Last year the YES team supported 2,152 young people and a further 466 were helped to find alternative services provided by partners.
Some of the things YES supports young people with includes anxiety, low self-esteem and confidence, harming behaviours, low mood and depression, sexual identity and gender identity, emotionally-based school absence, sleep issues and how to regulate emotions.
Paul Marshall, West Sussex County Councillor for Children and Young People, said: “Our highly trained YES team offer free one-to-one and group support to young people through a variety of locations around the county.
“Staff work closely with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), GPs, school nurses and colleagues in Early Help to support young people through the challenges of adolescence and in assisting them in making positive choices in their journey to improved mental health and emotional wellbeing.
“May I wish everyone a happy and healthy World Mental Health Day.”
Some of the young people supported by the YES team said:
“I feel better because I decided to change my thinking…I learned techniques for relaxation and combating anxiety.”
“My mood and life have changed for the better since working with my YES worker.”
“Each session has provided me with constructive advice to help me challenge and improve my wellbeing.”