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Mental Health Support

Information and resources for improving your mental health and wellbeing.

This page is designed to give you useful information around mental health problems, and how to access resources for these in the Leeds area.

The MindWell Leeds website is a really good place to start to get to grips with some of the more common mental health conditions. There are a large number of links to help you understand mental health problems better, along with links to some of the resources available to you in the Leeds area.

The NHS website also has a large section on mental health issues, including dealing with a crisis or emergency.

We really recommend having a look at these websites first of all before delving deeper into some of the information below.

Mental health problems are incredibly common:  it is thought around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point. It is important to not be embarrassed, ashamed or guilty if you feel this way. Being open, and speaking to people about the way that you feel is really important in these situations, that can be family, friends, partners or any of the contacts listed below.

Increasingly, the focus is on treating mental health problems the same as we would physical health problems. This means addressing not just one single issue, but the larger picture. That is why a consultation will often involve more than just prescribing medication. Any of the team you speak to may recommend any of the below:

 

Exercise

The effects of exercise on mental health are HUGE. There is good evidence to suggest that even periods of brisk walking for 10 minutes can improve mental function. Exercise releases endorphins and the hormone serotonin, both of which are involved in controlling your mood.

In addition, it can give you a sense of empowerment, and can act as a really useful distraction if you are feeling unhappy, stressed out or low.

So what exercise should you be doing? It doesn’t really matter! The answer is, whatever works best for you and is most likely to keep you motivated for longest! Below are a few links for suggestions if you have never exercised before, but this is no means exhaustive; football, gym, boxing, swimming, running, all will do the same job.

Running/jogging

We are now a park run affiliated practice – this means that we are linked in with the Bramley park run, a 5km walk/run every Saturday which takes place in Bramley Park. This really is for all ages, it doesn’t matter if you are an elite athlete or have never run in your life, it’s a really welcoming environment for people of all abilities. (If you are dead  aganist the hills, Armley park run is a little flatter!) See Bramley Park Run for further info.

Walking

Bramley Walking Club display a flyer in our waiting room with more information. One You Leeds also have a Bramley walking club as part of their ‘Move More’ programme. See Move more events for further details.

Swimming

Swimming is fantastic if you have problems with joint or muscle aches, as it is non weight bearing. You can go at your own pace and gives you a good chance to clear your head.

Bramley Baths have a great pool (and gym and other fitness classes) and are open 7 days a week- see Bramley Baths for more details

Alternatively Kirkstall Leisure Centre is part of the Leeds City Council gyms- see Kirkstall Leisure Centre

Gym

There are a wide number of gyms available in the local area, both private and council led. Have a look at Find A Centre to find the nearest council gym suitable for you.

One You Leeds also have exercise groups you can join for free, have a look at their website One You Leeds for further information

Eating well

There is lots of evidence eating well can lead to improved energy and mood. A well balanced diet includes 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, along with balancing your body’s levels of proteins, fats, dairy and carbohydrates.

The NHS has a good guide called ‘Eat Well’ which is worth having a look at: NHS Eat Well Guide

 

Other therapies

You may hear the doctors talk about meditation or yoga in your appointment.  For lots of people, mental health problems are brought on by increasing levels of stress in our day to day lives. Learning how to manage that stress is key to improving and rebalancing your mental health.

A really effective way to do this is through clearing your mind of all of the thoughts which are constantly floating around in it, and the following methods are a really good way to do this.

Lots of people are quite sceptical about these as a way of controlling your mood, but if you go into it with an open mind it is really worth trying, and you certainly don’t have to be able to put your foot all the way behind your head to enjoy the benefit!

 

Meditation

Meditation essentially involves sitting quietly and taking time to pay attention to what is going on around you and inside your body. Some people think it is ‘tuning out’ of your thoughts, although it is more acknowledging them and using them to create a calm state of mind.  It doesn’t necessarily have to involve lots of chanting and hand movements, although if you want to do that, that’s OK too!

There is a good bedtime meditation (“Beditation”) video to improve winding down at night time Bedtime Meditation Video

Alternatively the 3-4-5 breathing, as advocated by Dr Rangan Chateerjee, is a useful way of controlling breathing. Breathe in for three seconds, hold for four and then breathe out again for five seconds. You can do this once or twice throughout the day to gradually improve your breathing.

Yoga

Yoga and pilates have the double benefit of helping your mental health but also improving physical fitness also. You can do it in classes or by yourself at home, which makes it a great flexible way of exercise.

There is a free YouTube channel called ‘Yoga with Adriene’. This has a huge range of meditation and yoga videos, ranging from complete beginner stuff to quite advanced yoga. Her ‘Meditation for Anxiety’ and ‘7 Min Meditation to Start your Day’ are worth a look. Her 30 days of yoga course is also a good place to start – 30 days of Yoga.

Alternatively, there are lots of local yoga and pilates courses which offer one to one or group work sessions.

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is very trendy, but really the concepts of it are very straightforward.

It is all about being involved in the here and now, and being aware of your surroundings, rather than with your head down on your phone or lost in the stress of every day life.

It is a lot harder than it sounds to do this, as we are programmed to do a million things at once. This can take place in a number of ways. Some people use Mindfulness with concepts like Yoga, whereas others prefer to just use the principles in their day to day life rather than focussing at any one particular time.

There is a great smartphone app called “Headspace” which offers a free 10 day beginners guide to Mindfulness (Android or Apple)

The NHS website breaks Mindfulness down into a few different subheadings:

  • Notice the everyday
  • Keep it regular
  • Try something new
  • Watch your thoughts
  • Name thoughts and feelings
  • Free yourself from the past and future

There is more information on each of these topics available at NHS Midfulness.

 

More specific support

MindWell

The MindWell Leeds website (mindwell-leeds.org.uk) gives a good breakdown of some of the mental health problems we see most often.

The  ‘Help’ section is great for looking up support both locally and online- just click on the link below to see what options there are for phone contact, dorp in-centres, online support and other advice: Mindwell Leeds

IAPT (16 years +)

MindWell also has links to the counselling service in Leeds, IAPT- (this stands for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies). They can be contacted directly vie a self-referral at Leeds Community Healthcare or on 0113 8434388. They generally take your details then will ring you back to discuss what form of treatment may be best for you. There is often a waiting list of at least a few weeks to get into these sessions, so it is best to organise early on if you are thinking you may want help with this

Linking Leeds (16 years +)

Linking Leeds is a new service available to all patients in Leeds, and replaces the ‘PEP’ team you may have heard of before. They aim to provide support to people with regards to health and wellbeing, by ‘joining up the dots’ which link people’s home circumstances and mental health. They provide support in the form of ‘Social Prescribing’ to help people get back on their feet.

They can be contacted through your GP or via self-referral at Linking Leeds or on 0113 336 7612

Phoenix Health and Wellbeing

This is a team based in the centre of Leeds. They offer alternative therapies and counselling focussed at people who have long term health conditions or who have low income. This can either be access by talking to them directly of speaking to your GP about this. They also operate good workshops on mental health in the workplace too.

They can be contacted on 01132340818 or at Phoenix Health and Wellbeing

Citizens Advice Leeds

Lots of mental health problems can stem from, or are linked in with issues surrounding money and housing amongst other problems. The Citizens Advice team can provide free support with this to help manage debt, housing issues and welfare queries. They can be contacted on 0113 223 4400

Pathways Leeds

This is a Christian organisation (but you don’t need to be Christian to access their support) based in Moortown, which offers counselling for people with any form of mental health problems or issues with bereavement, relationship issues and more.

Their website seems to still be under construction but has links to their booking forms and how to contact them: Pathways Leeds

Andy’s Man Club

This is service run exclusively for men, by men who have been through mental health problems themselves and volunteers to help support those going through mental health problems. They run in a variety of sites around Leeds (see the website for further information). They offer talking groups but also offer peer support in a friendly non-judgmental environment – Andy’s Man Club.

Well Bean Café

This is a not for profit café which is run in different areas of the city depending on the day. It acts a safe place to get support and help for people with mental health problems. Their website is at Well Bean Cafe and tells you the different operating times. They can also be contacted on 07760 173476 to find out further information.

 

Other resources

1) Mind provide good information about various mental health problems, treatment options available and support for people with these mental health conditions, www.mind.org.uk

2) Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Website offers self-help booklets on lots of different conditions which are worth a look at: www.ntw.nhs.uk/pic/selfhelp

3) Some websites used to offer free Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, such as MoodGym. There is now a fee of $39AUD for a year’s access to this (Around £21) but there are some excellent online self-help resources available for that. If you want further information about other online CBT, it is best to speak to you GP about these

4) Getselfhelp.co.uk has some useful resources for self help and online access to some CBT and models of dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The website has an awful lot of information so can be quite overwhelming but is definitely having a look through to see if there is anything relevant to your particular situation.

 

Three things to make sure you do every day:

Talk to people you trust

Get out and get some fresh air and Exercise

Make sure you do things you Enjoy and spend time with people you Enjoy being around

 

 

 

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