“You don’t have to have huge amounts of experience, you don’t have to have mental health qualifications…you just need to be there – that’s the best possible thing we can do this Christmas period.” Jon Andrews, mental health lecturer at Coventry University
The festive period can be a time of celebration but for people struggling with life, feelings of loneliness can intensify. The Coventry and Warwickshire Health and Care Partnership are reminding residents to look out for themselves and each other this festive season.
Over the winter period, It Takes Balls to Talk (ITBTT), a campaign which started in Coventry and Warwickshire, will be sharing videos of men from across the region giving their ‘presents of experience’. The videos cover a range of messages including; support from the Samaritans; becoming a new dad and coping with bereavement after suicide. They aim to encourage a conversation about mental health and remind people that they are not alone if they’re struggling during the winter months.
Alex Cotton, founder of It Takes Balls to Talk, said: “Christmas can be a time of hardship if you’re struggling with your mental health. The ‘presents of experience’ campaign is a reminder that you are not alone with your emotions and to encourage everyone to not hold back on having difficult conversations.
“We all have experiences that affect our mental health, so opening up and sharing these with the people around us will help create a culture of kindness throughout Coventry and Warwickshire and beyond.”
The holidays can be a busy time and our self-care can take a backseat. In September, Coventry and Warwickshire Health and Care Partnership launched the Stay Alive app, a free, easily accessible mental health pocket resource designed to be a safety net and keep minds at ease for when life stressors feel too much. With local mental health and suicide prevention information all in one place, as well as features like the LifeBox, where you can add reminders of the things that matter to you, the app is a prompt to us all to look after ourselves and each other during the winter season and beyond.
Shade Agboola, Director of Public Health at Warwickshire County Council, said: “Christmas can be a wonderful time of year, but for some, the added pressures it can place on people mean it can be a challenging and lonely time for some. There is a wide range of support services available across Warwickshire to help people who are feeling low, stressed or struggling to cope. Go online, pick up the telephone or meet with support workers who are there to help those in need during the festive season.”
Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing at Coventry City Council said: “Loneliness can be difficult to cope with at any time but particularly during the festive season, if things are difficult there are services in the city that can help.
“We are continuing to work alongside our partners to help residents in our city to feel more socially connected by feeling confident that they have someone to talk to. This has been promoted in our Christmas bin calendar signage this year as part of wellbeing messaging, getting into every household in Coventry so that people who may be struggling know where to go for specific support.”
There are also lots of other resources that may be helpful including the national Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign that recognises all of us can experience loneliness at some point in our lives and it’s time we started talking about it. To connect with others, visit https://letstalkloneliness.co.uk/
If you feel like you are struggling, there is a range of mental health and wellbeing support services offered in a variety of ways across Coventry and Warwickshire available to support you.
To find out more about the mental health and wellbeing support services available within Warwickshire, visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/mentalhealth.
More information on support services available in Coventry, can be found at https://www.coventry.gov.uk/mentalhealth.