Mental Health Awareness Week | Latest News

Mental Health Awareness Week

This year the theme focuses on tackling loneliness, an ever-prevalent issue especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Most people will feel lonely at certain points in their life, but certain factors will make some people more at risk to this than others.

Feeling lonely does not necessarily mean you are alone. Loneliness is simply when our relationships with other people do not match up to the relationships that we want, it terms of quality and quantity. This means that social isolation and loneliness do not actually go hand in hand, someone can be socially isolated and not feel lonely at all.

There are well established links between loneliness and poor mental health, and so it is important that we try to tackle this issue.

What is Mental Health?

Most of us would have heard it used before when people talk about their feelings or struggles, but what does it really mean?

Mental Health can be both good and bad, just like our physical health. Good Mental Health can stimulate positive feelings and confidence, whereas poor Mental Health can lead to negative thoughts and feelings.

A mental health problem develops when these negative thoughts and feelings become difficult to cope with in everyday life and stop you from doing the things you enjoy.

What causes poor mental health?

There are many things that can cause poor mental health, it could be just one thing, or it could be a combination of factors building up over time. This can include big life changes, relationship or workplace issues, discrimination, grief, pressure, abuse and more – the list is not exhaustive.

Once you notice you are struggling, it is important to seek out support. Whether it is a friend or an anonymous helpline, talking about it to someone can help and keeping it to yourself could leave your negative feelings to spiral.

What is a diagnosis?

Much like a physical diagnosis, it is a way of describing a set of symptoms, or feelings. A diagnosis can be made by your doctor or by a Mental Health Professional who will ask you about your feelings or thoughts and how they impact your life and your physical health.

Some mental illnesses will take longer to diagnose than others as they are complex, and not everyone will showcase symptoms in the same way. Once you have received a diagnosis it may help you to make sense of what you are feeling and can also lead to a sense of relief as you finally have a name for what you are experiencing, and you can look for targeted support. It can also help you to receive reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

You don’t need a diagnosis to find support though, there are a variety of charities and helplines available for anyone struggling no matter what their diagnosis may or may not be. Some people may not even find a diagnosis to be helpful, as they feel it labels or misrepresents them. It is important to remember that a diagnosis does not define who you are.

What about support?

There is no shame in seeking help if you find yourself struggling with your mental health. It is courageous to recognise that you need to talk to someone and to put yourself first.

There’s a variety of treatment and support options for mental health issues. Talking therapies such as counselling will work for some people, and others prefer to use medication to manage their mental health. Peer support is also very important, this can include online groups on Facebook for example or local support groups.

You can also access treatment and support from your workplace or school, your doctor’s surgery, the hospital, and many other places. There is also the choice for support over the phone or online from charity helplines or peer support message boards.

You also have the opportunity to support yourself. You can do this by reading self-help books, and completing self-care activities such as getting outside, exercising, or simply getting a good quality night’s rest.

Support Services

Support Groups

  • Andy’s Man Club is a talking support group for men over 18
  • Reach out for Mental Health coffee afternoon every Monday 1-3pm at North Road Chapel


Peer Support Message Boards

  • The Mix provides support and information for under 25s
  • Side By Side is a community platform by Mind
  • Togetherall is an online support community that you may be referred to
  • Somewhere to Turn is a South East and Central Essex Mind support group on Facebook



  • Childline provides 24 hour support and advice for children and young people – call 0800 11 11
  • HopeLineUK – call 0800 068 4141 if you are having suicidal thoughts
  • Samaritans hosts a range of support services and a 24 hour helpline – call 116 123
  • Anxiety UK provides a range of support services to help control anxiety – Text 07537 416 905
  • Friends for Lives offers free phone support for individuals who are in emotional pain and may be having thoughts of suicide - Call 0333 011 5 121


In House Counselling Service

  • South Essex Homes has a free and confidential in-house counselling service that we offer to all of our residents. The sessions can be carried out over zoom, telephone, and face to face, the counsellors will facilitate this with you. We are also able to offer group sessions for those who are struggling with anxiety and depression. 
  • If you would like to be referred to the service, please contact your support services or tenancy officer who will complete the referral form with you.


There is FREE suicide prevention training from #TalkSuicideEssex if you know someone struggling with their mental health or would like to be able to support someone vulnerable. 

Call 999 if you have seriously harmed yourself or may be about to.

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