Are mental health issues an elephant in your room?

Paul Devlin. Chairman of LPFT. EMN-160310-145546001
Paul Devlin. Chairman of LPFT. EMN-160310-145546001

Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation NHS Trust is the county’s provider of mental health and learning disability services, with its headquarters in Sleaford.

Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation NHS Trust is the county’s provider of mental health and learning disability services, with its headquarters in Sleaford.

Chairman Paul Devlin writes in a guest column:

You may remember TV adverts about first aid in response to physical ill health.

Vinnie Jones’ heart resuscitation to ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is a good example.

But would you know what to do if a friend or a family member experienced an episode of mental ill health? Do you think you’d have the confidence to approach them and talk openly in the same way you would if it was a physical health problem?

Unfortunately, mental health carries a lot of stigma, even though anyone can experience common mental health problems. One in four people at some point in their life will suffer from depression, anxiety or stress. That might include you. And if not, will likely include someone you know.

But mental health can still be an ‘elephant in the room’ – we know it is there, but just don’t know how to deal with it. Do we say something? Should we ask about it, or not ask? Should we just pretend that nothing is happening?

This year’s World Mental Health Day (October 10) may be a chance to talk openly about something you have been avoiding.

I know that when I feel depressed, anxious or stressed, it can be hard to find the words to tell someone else. Sometimes just asking, ‘How are you?’ or ‘Are you okay?’ can be a start to a life changing conversation. Though, of course, if your friend or loved one doesn’t want to talk right now, don’t press them. Let them know that you’re there to listen, whenever they are ready to talk.

We should not be afraid to speak about our problems. For some, talking to a family member or a friend may be a good start. For others, it may be easier to talk with a professional first. That’s why anyone can self-refer to our steps2change NHS talking therapies service, and for many, seeing your GP may also be a first step on the recovery journey.

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will be celebrating World Mental Health Day. Our services will have stands in community spaces around Lincolnshire.

Come along and talk to our staff and learn more about help and support available locally. And begin talking about that elephant in the room.

Visit www.lpft.nhs.uk

○ Also, to mark World Mental Health Day, Sleaford Foyer will be hosting a special event on Monday, October 10 at its premises in 81 Eastgate, Sleaford.

There will be hot and soft drinks and food served from 10.30am to 3pm. There will be games and stalls, all to challenge stigma and raise awareness of mental health issues. The event is also to showcase what services and help are available to people.

It will also be a fundraising opportunity for the groups to raise some money to keep the groups running.