Monday 10 October marks World Mental Health Day, an opportunity to remind Buckinghamshire communities what national and local mental health support is available and how to access it.

The theme of 2022's World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is 'Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority'. While Buckinghamshire Council is unlikely to have a global impact, the local objective is to ensure mental health is a priority for all in the county.

Mental health issues exist in our lives, families, workplaces, and communities, and can affect any of us at any point in our lives. This is why it’s just as important for us to make sure mental health is treated on a par with physical health. If you are struggling with your mental health and are finding it difficult to cope, the first thing to remember is that you’re not alone and help is available.

In Buckinghamshire there are plenty of ways to find support. If you have concerns about your mental health, you should contact your GP. Your GP will be able to help direct you to the support that is right for you. This may include a referral to NHS mental health services.

Alternatively, if you need to speak to someone, the Bucks 24/7 Mental Health Helpline is a great place to start. Anyone concerned about their mental health or that of a loved one can ring NHS 111 at any time, day or night to speak to an NHS mental health professional. They are ready to listen and support adults and children who need advice urgently to ensure they get the right help at the right time.

For a list of organisations providing websites and helplines that can help you if you are struggling or in crisis, visit Buckinghamshire Council’s Care Advice Mental health and wellbeing webpages.

Please remember, if you are concerned about your or someone else's mental health and believe that you or they are at immediate risk of harming themselves or others, call 111 or 999, or go to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department. In Buckinghamshire this is at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Amparo Thames Valley is the new service supporting people bereaved by suicide. This new service has been launched in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, Public Health Berkshire West and Public Health Hub Berkshire East to support residents living in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West and Berkshire East.

The service which is completely confidential service launched on World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September, and provides a range of support to people in Buckinghamshire bereaved by suicide, including:

  • immediate trauma-informed emotional and listening support
  • practical support liaising with police and coroners
  • helping with media enquiries
  • overcoming feelings of isolation
  • putting you in touch with local services that can help

The service is for anyone who has been affected by suicide and support can be provided for family units, groups such as work colleagues, children and young people as well as adults. A referral can be submitted at any stage of an individual’s bereavement, including current and historic bereavement.

Visit the Amparo website or call 0330 088 9255 to find out more information or to make a referral.

In addition to this, Angela Macpherson, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing has pledged to Champion the Change. The campaign from Buckinghamshire Mind and Buckinghamshire Council aims to transform attitudes towards mental health to help end stigma in Buckinghamshire and create hope for those affected by mental illness.

Angela commented:

“The impact of the cost-of-living crisis will affect us all in different ways especially over the upcoming months with temperatures dropping and preparations for Christmas underway. We’re committed to supporting our residents and communities the best we can, and Buckinghamshire Council’s Helping Hand initiative can help signpost to resources to ease financial pressures and support mental health and wellbeing for all.

“Visit buckinghamshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living for more information, advice and support.”

Zahir Mohammed, Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:

"World Mental Health Day is a chance to make mental health a priority by bringing it to the forefront of any conversation. It’s important we all know how to look after our mental health, and how vital it is to talk about things and get help if you are struggling.

"Remember, you do not have to be at your lowest to ask for help. Most of us will feel sad, worried, angry or fed up at times and while for some it is a fleeting feeling, others can find they are so worried that it affects them in their day-to-day activities.

“It is better to talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling and not wait. There is a wide variety of support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem and there will be something that works for you.”

“If you have noticed a relative, friend, neighbour or colleague isn’t their normal self, please just check in with them. The pandemic showed us just how much care and community spirit there is to be proud of in Buckinghamshire so please look out for one another and be prepared to #AskTwice if someone simply says ‘I’m fine’.”