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Doctors in East Lancashire are supporting World Mental Health Day

In support of World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2016, doctors in Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire are encouraging anyone experiencing problems with their mental health to contact their GP to arrange an appointment, and to talk to family and friends about their wellbeing.

Local doctors are throwing their support behind this year’s awareness day, the theme of which is ‘Dignity in Mental Health - Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All’. By doing this, they hope to tackle the stigma and isolation that continues to act a barrier to care for people with mental health conditions.

It is estimated that one in four people each year will experience a mental health problem in the UK. The most common problems are:

- depression
- generalised anxiety disorder
- panic disorder
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

There is still a great deal of misunderstanding that surrounds mental health, although more information is available than ever before. Doctors are urging people to break the stigma around mental health by talking about it with friends and family.

Dr Rakesh Sharma, clinical lead at NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Talking about mental health with friends and family might not seem that important, but there are still so many people who suffer on their own, isolated and unwilling to ask for help. Talking about mental health is the first step to a solution, sharing with others is brilliant for your emotional wellbeing and by talking about these issues we can help to crush any remaining stigma and help people get the care they need.”

Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Blackburn with Darwen, added: “Your GP practice is the front door to many other services and if you think you might have a problem, even if you’re unsure, you should book an appointment. Very often, people talk themselves out of going to see a doctor, and this is the opposite of what is needed. Just like physical illness, early diagnosis is really important in the treatment of mental illness, so don’t ignore something you think might be an issue.”

How to access mental health care
If you live in Blackburn with Darwen or East Lancashire area and are concerned you might be experiencing a mental health problem, you should contact your GP practice. They will be able to identify any issues you might be facing and can talk you through the treatments options available. Local services may be provided by your GP surgery, a large local health centre, a specialist mental health clinic, or a hospital. Treatments vary from one-to-one to group settings, and can incorporate families or friends.

Alternatively, you can access a range of information and resources at:             http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/online-mental-health-services/Pages/introduction.aspx, including links to Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) services. 

If you don’t wish to speak face to face with your GP in the first instance but you have concerns about your mental health, or that of someone you know, you can ring the Lancashire Care Wellbeing and Mental Health Helpline on Freephone 0800 915 4640. It is available Monday to Friday 7pm until 11pm and on weekends 12 noon until 12 midnight.