Paul’s Blog: World Mental Health Day

Horton Housing Association is proud to be supporting this year’s World Mental Health Day, raising awareness for mental health and focusing on the theme of ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the isolation many of us have felt during the periods of lockdown has taken its toll on our mental health. Not being able to interact with friends, family and colleagues as well as not being able to keep to the structured routines we normally have in our lives has meant that depression rates have doubled, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Other factors that have impacted mental health during the pandemic have been rising levels of unemployment and sadly the devastating effect of COVID-19 within our communities.

But there are simple things which we can all incorporate into our daily lives that can give a huge boost to our mental health. Exercise releases endorphins in our body which have been proved to help relieve stress and improve moods, and getting outside and embracing nature is a fantastic way to connect with ourselves.

Talking about your mental health is possibly the most important step you can take. Whether that be with friends, families, colleagues or specialised support, discussing any issues you may be facing can have a very positive effect and may help you to put plans and coping mechanisms in place. We have communications going out this week highlighting what support we have in place for staff at Horton Housing.

Whilst standalone days are great to raise the awareness of certain campaigns, we are strongly behind the idea that Mental Health should be cared for and celebrated every single day. That is why we have worked hard behind the scenes to produce content and arrange guest speakers throughout this week and beyond.

We are very thankful to members of staff and the people we support who have come forward to tell their mental health stories, which you can read from Tuesday and Friday. We are very pleased to welcome Neil Waine from men’s mental health charity Andy’s Man Club to do a presentation with staff on Wednesday around who Andy’s Man Club are and what support they offer. We also have a great Top Three Mental Health Tips article courtesy of Debbie Lynch, Dale Robinson and Tracey O’Connell on Thursday.

Prioritising the mental health of the individuals and families we support is at the forefront of the strength-based approach we employ at Horton Housing. We focus on the positives, the achievements and ambitions, rather than assigning labels.

We have also recently launched an innovative pilot A&E Check-In Service that will see patients presenting with mental health concerns contacted by our qualified wellbeing team, once they have been discharged from hospital.

The year-long scheme will run in partnership with Bradford Council and the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), with the ultimate aim of improving the wellbeing and reducing suicide rates of those being discharged. We have also teamed up with translation service Enable2 to ensure that we can provide this support to a diverse community and offer in-depth local knowledge and expertise.

Through services like this and the content we are producing this week, we hope to play our part in raising Mental Health Awareness.

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If you live in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale or Craven, you can also call the First Response Team on 0800 952 1181. The service offers support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to people of all ages.

If you are worried about someone’s mental health, or your own, you can call Samaritans on 116 123.

The Mind website offers a wide range of help and advice about managing your mental health: There is also advice on this website if you are caring for someone with a mental health problem or condition.

[Cover image via Shutterstock]