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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

It's Okay to Talk in Tameside

Friday, 08 February 2019

Nearly one in four teenage girls are suffering from mental illness, and half of them have either self-harmed or attempted suicide. Almost a fifth of young people between 16-25 years old disagree with the statement that they find life “really worth living”. 6.8% of boys and 4.2% of girls under the age of 5 are experiencing a medically-diagnosable mental disorder. Over half of all children and young people say they worry about at least one thing “all the time”. Every single one of those numbers go up even further if the young person being asked is LGBT or from a deprived background.

Those facts, gathered by a number of organisations including the NHS and the Prince’s Trust, indicate that we facing nothing less than a full-blown crisis in mental health among Britain’s young people. Politicians and medical experts have blamed everything from social media, difficult economic conditions for young people and even air pollution, but one thing they all agree on is that nowhere near enough has been done to identify mental health problems in children at an early stage, or to provide adequate treatment and support if it is required. Many young people at the moment are turned away because they are considered “not ill enough”, while others face waits of months or even years for basic therapy services.

This week, Tameside joined with a number of other councils, NHS organisations and charities to raise awareness of these issues during Children’s Mental Health Week. In the Hive on Katherine Street in Ashton, our local mental health charity Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind has created a “Time to Talk” table, encouraging people to open up and have positive conversations about how they’re feeling. A text, a walk or a simple “How are you?” can sometimes make a real difference. Remember that you don’t have to be a doctor to talk to people about mental health, and sometimes people will be more willing to confide in friends or other people they know.

We’ve also been talking about what we can do in Tameside to improve mental health treatment and support. On Monday, we held the first of our three annual Partnership Engagement Network Conferences in Hyde Town Hall. These conferences bring together representatives of organisations and the public to discuss how we can improve health and social care in Tameside and Glossop. This time we heard about how we’re trialling new approaches to mental health, tailored to fit the individual’s life circumstances, strengths and interests. Counselling service “Off the Record”, also in Hyde, is working closely with the Hattersley Group Practice to provide weekly drop-in sessions every Tuesday for any 10-25 year old in Hyde who needs support with their mental health. We’re also lobbying the government at every opportunity to improve funding and access for mental health services in the NHS, with a particular focus on young people.

In the meantime, there are a number of ways in which you can help improve your own mental health, regardless of how well or down you feel at the moment. As physical and mental health are closely linked, lifestyle choices like exercising, eating a healthy diet and drinking in moderation can help you both look and feel better. If you feel stressed out, try and take a break or do something you enjoy for a while. Even five minutes can be enough to take the edge off. And if you start thinking that nothing is working, reach out to a friend or a doctor and talk to them about your problems or contact the local Samaritans hotline on 0161 116 123.

For too long mental health has been the elephant in the room. That needs to change. Talking about suffering from anxiety or depression should be as ordinary as talking about suffering from a cold or flu. Thanks to the hard work of many medical professionals, charity workers and local residents, we’re closer to that point than we’ve ever been. Let’s keep going and make sure that it’s okay to talk in Tameside.


Posted by: Executive Leader

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