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Mental Health Awareness Week: East London service providers continue to support vulnerable during coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:59 21 May 2020

East London NHS Foundation Trust Talking Therapy Services have marked Mental Health Awareness Week by making posters urging people to Be Kind, particularly during this difficult time. Picture: Ian Roylance, East London NHS Foundation Trust

East London NHS Foundation Trust Talking Therapy Services have marked Mental Health Awareness Week by making posters urging people to Be Kind, particularly during this difficult time. Picture: Ian Roylance, East London NHS Foundation Trust

Archant

Over the past eight weeks people have been encouraged to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The theme of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness. Picture: ArchantThe theme of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness. Picture: Archant

Though these measures are vital to protecting physical health, this so-called “new normal” way of living poses a huge risk to mental health.

Service providers across east London are all too aware of this danger, and with Mental Health Awareness Week in full swing, the continued provision of support has never felt more important.

The North East London NHS Foundation Trust (Nelft) covers service provision in Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering.

It is now running a digitalised programme which offers support online or by phone, with deputy medical director Dr Vincent Perry emphasising that it is “completely normal to feel low, stressed, or worried during these uncertain times”.

Newham Talking Therapies are starting a new online support group next Tuesday, May 26, designed to help people find routine at home. Picture: Ian Roylance, Newham Talking TherapiesNewham Talking Therapies are starting a new online support group next Tuesday, May 26, designed to help people find routine at home. Picture: Ian Roylance, Newham Talking Therapies

Dr Perry also encourages people toward Talking Therapies, a free and confidential service which does not require a GP referral: “You can come to us directly.”

A spokesman for the NHS North East London Commissioning Alliance, which manages seven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) including Newham, Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering, said: “Life may be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, but our mental health services are not – we are open for business.”

The alliance also recommends people engage with Talking Therapies by self-referring online. There are different links for residents of Newham and Tower Hamlets respectively.

Those who live in Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering fall under a shared service with Nelft.

Ian Roylance is heavily involved with Newham Talking Therapies in his role as a deputy clinical lead at the East London NHS Foundation Trust.

The service is starting a new online support group next Wednesday, designed to help people find routine at home.

Ian says such new innovations are designed to “help manage wellbeing through this difficult time”, with residents able to register online or by calling 0208 475 8080.

Outside the NHS framework, Havering MIND continues to provide telephone and online support for their service users.

Operations manager Julia Turner says staff are delighted to be able to provide continued support, and encourages those who may be suffering to reach out.


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