Dr Angela Brady, GP and Clinical Director for Joint Commissioning including Mental Health for NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG, talks about the importance caring for our mental health and why it should be at the top of everyone’s to do list.
There’s no health without mental health and while this may be a cliché, it’s also true. We all have mental health which goes through cycles – sometimes we feel good, while sometimes we may feel low.
As we go through life, we develop circles of support around us and, in turn, we are part of other peoples’ support circles. This can involve friends, family, work, education and, if needed, health professionals.
Having support in place helps us to maintain our resilience when things get tough. This could be understanding how to get through a tough time – a balance of a stiff upper lip and reaching out to our support (even if this is just watching Netflix for a few hours with our friends!).
Young people especially can often struggle to get the right circle of support. With social media playing a key part of everyday life, it seems like it is easier than ever to make friends, but sometimes people can be much more isolated than they appear to be. As individuals, it is important to take notice of the role we play in other peoples’ lives.
Unfortunately, not everyone can create a support network as easily as others, and not everyone has the privilege of reaching out to a friend or relative. That’s why we need to work together within our communities to reach out to one another, whether it is checking in on an elderly neighbour who doesn’t have many visitors, asking someone at work the right question, or talking to the quiet one in school. Building networks with those we see often can bring us happiness for the good times, but can also provide someone to talk to when you’re feeling low.
I am aware how diverse an area it is, with people of different backgrounds and different needs. In order to help our patients, there is also a need for our partners across education, employment, health and social care and also in members of local communities to continue working closely together.
I truly believe that caring for our mental health should be top of everyone’s to-do list. Everyone in Birmingham and Solihull deserves to have positive mental wellbeing.
If you’re in need of mental health support and want to talk to someone right away, the Samaritans helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for people who want to talk in confidence. Call 116 123 for free.