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On Friday 1st July 2022 clinical commissioning groups (CCG's) across the country were closed and were replaced by new NHS organisations known as Integrated Care Boards.

Therefore, NHS East Lancashire CCG no longer exists and has been replaced (along with the othe seven CCGs in Lancashire and South Cumbria) by the new NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB)

Please visit the new ICB website

Rossendale resident shares appreciation for mental health online support community

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. When Sam Haworth was 29 her mental health took a turn for the worse. After the deterioration of Sam’s mental health back in 2015, she visited her GP in Rossendale seeking help and advice, and was given a list of useful contacts and emergency phone numbers.

This is how Sam first came into contact with Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) and has now been a member and benefited from the free online service for an amazing five and a half years.

Togetherall is an anonymous online community providing a safe space where people struggling with their mental health can talk, share and support each other. As it is online it is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Trained professionals are available 24/7 to keep the community safe. In addition to peer support, there is a range of self-assessments, accessible recommended resources and a wide range of self-guided courses to do at your own pace.

Prior to using Togetherall Sam had difficulties with thoughts, feelings and emotions. Growing up, Sam felt like she was not able to regulate her moods quite as easily as everybody else. This was due to the brain damage Sam suffered at birth, which has left lesions on her brain causing Sam to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a young child.

Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. It's caused by a problem with the brain that develops before, during or soon after birth.

Sam, now 34 years old, said: “What would I say to anybody who is struggling at the moment? Firstly, be kind. I would definitely encourage you to interact with Togetherall. It’s anonymous and monitored 24/7 by trained councillors and it’s really secure so nobody in there knows who you are and there’s nothing to identify you as an individual.

“You can take part in lots of online discussions with other people that are in similar situations to you. Togetherall has a feature called mood bricks, so if you are not able to verbalise how you are feeling, maybe try and express yourself in an artistic manor.

Sam concluded: “You can also take part in little courses in things like self-esteem and recognising your moods and how to track them. So yes, it’s definitely a really good tool.”

Dr Rakesh Sharma, GP and clinical lead for mental health at NHS East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “This is a truly uplifting story which should serve as a great example of self-help to others, particularly during the current pandemic where it certainly has been challenging for us all and it is perfectly understandable that the changes we have had to live through may affect your mental wellbeing.

“If you are feeling at all worried, isolated or overwhelmed, it’s important to know you’re not alone but at the same time equally important to seek help and talk to someone Get support. Take control. Feel better.”

To watch Sam’s story go to: https://youtu.be/kYssoyY-JJ4

Join Togetherall’s safe community to support your mental health, visit: www.togetherall.com