This Mental Health Awareness Week, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) is reminding people they are not alone when it comes to their mental health and is encouraging people to reach out and connect.
Organised by the Mental Health Foundation and running from 9-15 May, the week is focusing on the impact loneliness has on our mental wellbeing and highlighting practical steps we can all take to address it.
Loneliness in young people
A 2019 YouGov Poll of 13-19-year-olds found 69% said they felt alone “often” or “sometimes” in the last fortnight and 59% feel like they “often” or “sometimes have no one to talk to”. Recent research has also found that 18-24 year olds are at higher risk of feeling lonely compared to other age groups, but less likely to seek advice and support.
On hearing these facts, LPT’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB), which is made up of young people from the Trust’s child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) and representatives from the City Youth Council, wanted to do something to help young people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who may be feeling lonely themselves.
The group has developed a list of things that help them when they’re feeling lonely. The tips have been worked up into a poster which can be used by health professionals, such as those working in schools as part of LPT’s Mental Health Support Teams in Schools programme. The tips will also be shared on social media over the week.
Emily Robertshaw, Deputy Head of Patient Experience and Involvement at LPT and Chair of the YAB, said: “The young people on YAB agreed that loneliness isn’t necessarily about the number of friends we have, how many people are around us or the amount of time spent alone. Instead, they agreed it is the feeling of being disconnected and wanting deeper connections with others. It was a very eye-opening discussion; I think we can sometimes assume that with access to social media, young people are more connected than ever, but this is not always the case.
“The group were so keen to try and support other young people and we hope their tips will help others to know they are not alone and encourage them to try something that may help them to feel better.
“I am really proud of the group for opening up to discuss the topic of loneliness. I know it wasn’t an easy subject to talk about. Everyone on the board felt there was a stigma around saying you feel lonely, so I’d like to thank them all for sharing their experiences. By the end of the session everyone agreed it had been useful to talk so openly, so I hope it inspires others to do the same. The more we talk about these things, the more we can reduce the stigma and show it is OK for people to seek support if they need it.”
You can download the YAB’s loneliness top tips poster on the LPT website – or check out LPT’s Instagram account for daily reels.
How you can get support for your mental health
No matter what your age, background or situation, feeling lonely is something we all experience in our lives at different points. But, when loneliness is chronic or long-term it can have serious effects on our mental health.
Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust provides mental health support to children, young people and adults across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and is here to help you with a range of advice and support for a variety of conditions.
If you need urgent mental health support, you can call our Mental Health Central Access Point on Freephone 0808 800 3302. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people of any age. Please call 999 if there is a physical threat to life.
New mums may find the advice on the following websites helpful:
They can also contact a qualified public health nurse using the ChatHealth service (for Leicester City: text 07520 615 381, for Leicestershire or Rutland: text 07520 615 382) and seek mental health advice using the perinatal mental health Mums Mind anonymous text advice service (just text: 07507 330 026).
Children and young people, and their parents, can find age appropriate advice and support on an array on topics, including mental health and wellbeing, on our Health For Teens and Health for Kids websites.
Things you can do to help with feelings of loneliness
- Top tips and advice can be found on the Every Mind Matters – Loneliness webpage
- Find support groups in your local community. Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust recently worked in partnership with the CCG, Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council, Rutland County Council and Leicestershire & Rutland Community Foundation (LRCF) to award around £800,000 of NHS grant funding to 28 local groups across Leicester, Leicester and Rutland running mental health and wellbeing projects, as part of the Getting Help in Neighbourhoods scheme. You can find out more and see the full list of organisations on the LPT website
- Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust also works with other NHS organisations in the county to support a number of crisis cafes across the county, city and Rutland. A full list of venues can be found on our website: www.leicspart.nhs.uk/contact/urgent-help
For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw or join the conversation on social media using #IveBeenThere and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek