Speaking about mental health can be 'lifesaving', say Cambridgeshire Mind

Mental health matters

Mental health matters in Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Making sure that you replenish your energy, have a balance in life and speak out if you feel you are struggling is paramount in protecting mental health, say Cambridgeshire Mind. 

Reporter Clare Butler spoke with Chloe Humphrey, who is service manager of the Good Life Service at CPSL Mind. 

Chloe spoke about the work that the charity does in promoting positive mental health and helping those who feel stuck or uncertain. 

The Good Life Service offers a number of community initiatives aimed at encouraging connectivity and increasing wellbeing skills.  

These ordinarily take place in cafes and other locations at the heart of our communities.  

However, due to Covid-19, people can participate from home using Zoom video calls.  

There are virtual Good Mood Cafes which are informal “get togethers” designed to connect individuals to other like-minded people. 

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"We'll have a cuppa and chat and while it’s ok not to be ok, we hope that by joining you’ll feel a bit better than you did before you came,” Chloe said. 

CPSL Mind also offer a number of peer support groups, including those for people who feel that they may be hearing voices, have a personality disorder or just want to improve their wellbeing. 

Chloe explained: “We have structured calm spaces and things that people can do such as visualisations and mindfulness activities for being in the present moment. 

“There are no waiting list and people can access these tools whenever they feel is necessary. 

“Our peer support groups are a place of validation for people to be open and honest and hear others say ‘I’ve been there and I know exactly what you are talking about’. 

There has been a huge increase in the number of people getting in touch with mental health services during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Chloe explained that they have had a “steady number of calls from people reaching out”. 

“We’ve seen that the people who have got in touch with us are those who have never contacted anyone about their mental health before. 

“Just things like being able to go shopping or see a friend was taken away from us during the first lockdown, so that had a huge impact on people. But we have to remember that we were all in it together.” 

CPSL Mind also partnered with Lifecraft Cambridge to support their helpline in 2020. 

Funding meant that this line could be extend from 9am to 11pm at night and that something specifically could be set up for Covid support. 

Encouraging people to connect either virtually or at a distance was important for CPSL Mind to promote at the start of lockdown last March – but also a key message that still stands. 

“Speak to a neighbour or pick up the phone,” Chloe added. 

“Ultimately its being able to replenish your energy and having some sort of balance in your life. 

“We even put something together as a staff team on what coping mechanisms help us.  

“It could just be something as simple as making sure you leave the house to get fresh air.  

“Especially in the winter months you can just get stuck. It takes more effort with the darker nights than summer.” 

Chloe continued: “When you’re in a good place, write down all the things that you know help you, as a reminder for the bad days. 

“Just by doing one thing that may feel small can actually be really big in the long run. 

“I think we have a way to go in terms of the stigma that is out there surrounding mental health. 

“But it’s really important to have the reassurance and knowledge that it’s ok to talk about your feelings – and that can actually be lifesaving.” 

Visit https://www.cpslmind.org.uk/goodlife/ for more information.