January’s blog – Getting off to a healthy start in 2015

SONY DSCThe festive period seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye.  We put so much effort into having the ‘perfect’ holiday period, and whilst for many it is a fun time to spend with friends and family, for others it can be a really challenging time.

Many people put themselves under lots of pressure at this time of year, from shopping and financial worries to social demands.  The continuing cold weather, the long dark nights and for some, feelings of loneliness, can all take their toll especially when the holidays are over.

As many as one in four people will experience a common mental health problem such as anxiety and depression at some point in their lives.  After the hustle, bustle and pressures of Christmas and the New Year, it’s not surprising that January is one of the peak times for people to feel fed up, low, or stressed.

We are trying to spread the word and encourage people not to bottle up their emotions and struggle alone. If you are feeling like things are getting on top of you, help is available from a free NHS service known as ‘Healthy Minds’. You don’t need to see your GP, you can refer yourself by logging on to the Healthy Minds website – it’s totally confidential, takes literally a few minutes to fill in the form, and a trained professional will be in touch to offer you support whether this is a group workshop or something more individually tailored.

There is some really good evidence to show that there are five simple steps that we can all take to give our mental health a positive boost. By connecting more with people around us, friends, family and work colleagues, taking time out to be more active, even if it’s just going for a walk to get some fresh air. The ‘I will, if you will’ campaign in Bury has been really exciting. Learning new skills can also give you a sense of achievement and new found confidence, you could try cooking or learning to play a musical instrument (my father took up water colours at 70 years old, and made my mother’s life much easier!) and by giving to others, even if it’s just a smile, a nod, an appreciation or a simple thank you.  Finally, it’s really important to find some ‘you time’, just five minutes can make all the difference.

There are some really enthusiastic and pro-active groups in Bury, run by Bury residents for Bury people, such as ADAB, Age UK Bury, the Bury Carers Centre, Making Space and the Creative Living Centre. My ‘New Year’s resolution’ is to find out more about these amazing organisations and the people that run them, and encourage more patients and friends to participate in them.

Thanks for reading this month, wishing you a happy and healthy 2015.

Dr. Jeff Schryer, GP and CCG lead for Mental Health

We are always really pleased to see people attend our regular Board meetings. The meetings are held in public and the next one takes place on the 28th January 2015, starting at 3pm at Townside Primary Care Centre in Bury town centre. Please feel free to come along, but if you can’t come, you can still follow discussions and decisions as they happen via our Twitter feed @NHSBuryCCG

We do like to receive your feedback, so feel free to get in touch via Twitter @NHSBuryCCG, through our website www.buryccg.nhs.uk , by email buccg.communications@nhs.net or give us a call on 0161 762 3106.