On Your Marks: Startling statistic opened my eyes

In my conversion with Ed Cassidy a senior manager in mental health commissioning for Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex CCGs (see last week's column) he told me a startling statistic that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.

Ed Cassidy
Ed Cassidy

Being someone who has not suffered or had too much exposure to people with mental health issues, I found this astonishing.

Last week's columnTo kick off this series of columns, I had a health check with my GP and Dr Minesh Patel at the CCG. But Ed told me the CCG want to take this further.

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The most common mental health problems are anxiety and depression. I touched last week on the recovery college, who run a number of courses to help people recover and help them to self-manage their conditions. It’s really important to develop coping strategies for what life throws at you, same for everyone really.

“Some people find it hard to cope with two or three things out of the blue.

“Even if it’s something that appears quite small, six people are coming round for dinner tonight - that can stress the most relaxed person out.

“We want to commission intervening at an early stage rather than when people are very unwell as it takes much longer to recover. Life is very stressful and we need to make it less so.”

Ed also told me that young men are at greatest risk from suicide in the whole population. It seems strange when you consider you are still young and you shouldn’t have that much stress and strain on you. Ed said: “They think it’s because of societal expectations as well as finding it hard to talk about ‘feelings’ and quite a lot of campaigns are based around Look After Your Mate.”

Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity run a Look After Your Mate campaign. On the Student Minds website it states: “For students, navigating their way through university life can be tricky at times and we know how important it is for an individual to reach out to their friends at times of need. We want students to feel confident in supporting their friends and feel comfortable confiding in each other.”

Student Mind currently have 152 staff members trained to run the Look After Your Mate workshop, representing 64 Higher Education Institutions - including the University of Brighton.

But this is not confined to students. People everywhere should be aware and consider other people. You never quite know how people are processing situations or what kind of day they have had.

Next week I look at will power.

Please visit www.sussexrecoverycollege.org.uk/

- An update on my physical fitness. I have continued with my running and my programme with Horsham Fitness.

I am definitely seeing signs of progress in fitness and my body shape. But my belly is still there and I want to take that on!

Weight wise I started at 113kg and am now down to 108kg. Am pleased with that.

- For more information on Look After Your Mate - visit//www.studentminds.org.uk/look-after-your-mate-training.html

- For Time to Talk - featured in last week’s column - visit @sussexcommunity.nhs.co.uk/ttt or call 01273 666480 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday)

- For information on the Well-Being and tailored health coaching services the CCG provides, visit http://www.horshamandmidsussexccg.nhs.uk/

- You can also visit https://www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/sussex-mental-healthline and https://www.sussexcommunity.nhs.uk/services/servicedetails.htm?DirectoryID=16358