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Five Ways to Wellbeing

18 September 2015

Earlier this year a three-year campaign called Five Ways to Wellbeing was launched in Bedfordshire to help people take practical steps to improve their feelings of wellbeing. This month we are focusing on the ‘Connect’ aspect of the campaign. 

Residents across Bedfordshire are being asked to think about how they can connect with each other to help people feel better.

We are encouraging people to do something different to make a connection with others.

  • Talk to someone instead of sending an email
  • Speak to someone new
  • Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
  • Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them

Muriel Scott, Director of Public Health said: “The mental health and wellbeing of our local residents is a key priority for us. This is an exciting campaign and we want to help people to understand the simple steps they can take to make a positive difference to their lives.”

Pam Johnson, Hospital Ward visitor and former nurse, lets family carers know about the Carers in Bedfordshire Carers Lounge at Bedford Hospital. Pam says that by connecting with carers she helps them and herself: “I am able to pay back some of the help that I received whilst I was carer. I feel useful and I hope that I am able to help people with some of their problems.

Volunteering gives me a reason to get up in the morning and gets me out of the house. It gives me a social life, a chance to meet new people. It breaks the awful periods of loneliness. Being alone 24/7 is very hard to cope with.”

Muriel Scott continued: “Connect with the people around you, with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these connections as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.”

A great place to start making connections is at a local club or group. Keep an eye out for posters advertising local events, or visit your library. Libraries often have notice boards and keep lists of local activities.

Poor mental health is common; at least one in six people will experience a mental health problem in any one year and mental health illness is the leading cause of long-term absence from work. It affects people of all ages; 10% of 15-16 year olds experience mental health illness. In half of those with a lifelong mental illness, their symptoms started before the age of 14 and in 75%, symptoms started before their mid-twenties. Older people are at an increased risk of depression due to factors such as retirement, social isolation, bereavement, long term illness and disability.

The Bedfordshire Mental Health and Wellbeing Service provided by East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) offers support for individuals who are experiencing depression, anxiety, sadness, anger, extreme shyness, obsessive behaviour, phobias or relationship difficulties. People can contact their GP about accessing the service or call 01582 393144 direct.

The Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a collection of mental health self-help guides to give people easy access to advice about a range of mental health problems. These guides can be accessed via www.selfhelpguides.ntw.nhs.uk/bccg/

If you would like more information about mental health issues, go to www.mind.org.uk . Alternatively, for a chat about anything that may be troubling you, contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.

To view 5 Ways to Wellbeing on-line visit:

Bedford Borough Council via www.bedford.gov.uk then click on ‘Happiness and Wellbeing’

Central Beds Council via www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/mentalhealth

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group via https://www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk/your health/Five ways to wellbeing

Notes to editors

Public Health’s Five Ways to Wellbeing campaign is being supported by Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG), and the new mental health services provider in Bedfordshire, the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT). 

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are:

Connect – With the people around you; with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

Be Active – Discover a physical activity you enjoy that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Take Notice – Be curious. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling.

Keep Learning – Try something new. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving.

Give – Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Join a community group. Carry out a random act of kindness.

For further information please contact:

Justine Halsey, Corporate Communications

Tel: 01234 276276

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