St Neots group offers help for those struggling with mental health
- Credit: ABC Life Support
“When it comes to mental health people don’t know what to say, they fear that they may make it worse, so they tend not to say anything.”
These are the words of Danielle Bridge, who is CEO of ABC Life Support based in St Neots.
During the pandemic, the social enterprise company has helped train people to take care of their physical and mental health.
Danielle explains to me that they want to break the stigma about speaking out on mental illness and empower people to know how to make a change.
“We need to be able to open up conversations around this so that people can help each other,” she said.
“There has been a massive increase in people having conversations around the subject – it seems to be on the public radar now.
“However, this pandemic is affecting people profoundly.
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“We’ve had people message us on our Facebook page and say they are in crisis, so we signpost them to agencies that can help them.”
ABC Life Support took their training courses online during the first lockdown.
They undertook surveys to gauge people’s reaction to topics relating to mental health and started to put practical tip videos on their Facebook page.
“People are beginning to be more open about their struggles because they are hearing about other people and their stories,” Danielle continued.
“If people know what to do and ways to help then this can be major for employers in workplaces too, as it can empower people to help one another.
“If we’re not opening up about how we’re feeling then it builds into the stigma that we can’t talk about it.
“We need to change the angle on that completely.”
Danielle emphasised that although they can’t fix people’s problems that may be causing them to worry; they can offer advice on ways to cope.
“This is about helping people make it through,” she added.
“It could be taking time out from something that triggers them to feel unwell – such as watching too much news. So, protect your consumption of this.
“Exercise is really important too and taking walks in nature and just getting that fresh air.
“Make sure you take time to do something that you love doing – that could be singing or doing artwork – whatever makes you happy.”
Reporter Clare Butler spoke to Danielle as part of The Hunts Post's We Need to Talk series.
For further information on the Mental Health First Aid courses that ABC Life Support runs, call 0800 046 7410.
Mental health crisis helplines
If you're in crisis and need to talk right now, there are many helplines staffed by trained people ready to listen.
Samaritans. Call 116 123 (free from any phone) or email email@example.com.
SANEline. If you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
The Mix. If you're under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (Sunday-Friday 2pm–11pm).
Papyrus HOPELINEUK. If you're under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 07786 209 697.
Visit https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline to find a local NHS urgent mental health help especially for your area.