Southwark’s top GP: Having good mental health is about thriving, not just surviving, when life challenges us

News Desk (04 May, 2017)

"Above all, accept who you are. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were different"

9292Dr Jonty Heaversedge

By looking after our mental health, we can build resilience to help us cope with stresses and difficult times.

There are many simple things that everyone can do to improve their mental health. Talking about  feelings is important – if it feels awkward at first, try again at another time.

Keep in touch with friends and family; supportive and understanding people around you can help you through. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help, whether lending a hand to do something practical or simply by offering a listening ear.

Being active keeps your mind as well as your body fit. Exercise is believed to generate feel-good chemicals in the brain; it can boost self-esteem, concentration and help you to sleep, look and feel better. Walks in the park, gardening or housework all count as ‘being active’. Try to do about 30 minutes’ exercise at least five days a week.

A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health, so eating well can make a difference too.

Alcohol does not help you to solve problems, it creates them and makes things even worse. Seek support if you need to reduce your drinking.

Make time in your life to rest and give yourself ‘me-time;’ also to do something you enjoy. If you are really tired, don’t feel bad about sleeping during the day if that helps, and make changes to your night-time routine and environment if you have trouble sleeping at night.

Above all, accept who you are. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were different.

However, if you need help, you can contact the Southwark Wellbeing Hub (email southwarkhub@together-uk.org)  or for free counselling, you can self-refer to Talking Therapies Southwark by emailing slm-tr.SPTS@nhs.net.

You should consider getting help from your GP if difficult feelings are:

  • stopping you getting on with life
  • having a big impact on the people you live or work with
  • affecting your mood over several weeks

For urgent help, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust run a 24-hour support line on 0800 731 2864.

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