Mental Health Awareness week 2016 in Gloucestershire and Swindon

An Information Bus run by the Gloucestershire NHS CCG and 2gether Trust will be parked at Cirencester Leisure Centre on Wednesday 18th May

The Mental Health Foundation has announced that its focus for Mental Health Awareness week (16th-22nd May) this year will be on Relationships. The Mental Health Foundation state that “we believe we urgently need a greater focus on the quality of our relationships. We need to understand just how fundamental relationships are to our health and wellbeing. We cannot flourish as individuals and communities without them. In fact, they are as vital as better-established lifestyle factors, such as eating well, exercising more and stopping smoking”. Relate Gloucestershire and Swindon are welcoming this decision after campaigning for more relationship support locally on the NHS in their Best Medicine campaign.

Kimberley Wall, Service Development Manager for Relate Gloucestershire and Swindon explains that “the last two ‘The Way We Are Now’ surveys conducted by Relate, Marriage Care and Relate Scotland have consistently shown that relationships are the bedrock of our society. Strong relationships can be the best medicine for people experiencing health and mental health problems but in the same instance external life factors such as illness can negatively impact on one’s close relationships if they aren’t supported. Therefore in order to benefit from the vital and free therapeutic elements of relationships we need to invest in supporting them during challenging times otherwise people may also then be managing a breakdown in their relationships alongside challenging health matters”.

Relate Gloucestershire and Swindon are hoping that the fact Relationships are the topic of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week should encourage more awareness of the impact mental health has on loved ones and hope that the NHS begins offering support for the whole family unit as well as the individual in times of ill-health. This has been highlighted in certain regional areas over the UK in which local NHS services now commission an IAPT service called Couple Therapy for Depression which offers free relationship counselling to couples where one or both partners are suffering from depression. However, it is not currently offered in Gloucestershire or Swindon. Family Counselling is also scarcely offered free on the NHS in these areas which means that only those who can afford to pay for support can access it in times where it can be essential to the survival of family life.

Relate Gloucestershire and Swindon are getting involved with some local events occurring during Mental Health Awareness week including an Information Bus tour run by the Gloucestershire NHS CCG and 2gether Trust which will be parked outside Marks and Spencer’s in Cheltenham on Tuesday 17th May and at Cirencester Leisure Centre on Wednesday 18th May. This is supported by Time To Change, England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. Relate are also asking for your stories and experiences of mental health and relationships in order to promote the importance of relationship support which you can do by filling out an online form at http://www.relate.org.uk/policy-campaigns/our-campaigns/best-medicine/share-your-story/share-your-story-form

Posted: 03/05/2016 15:08:11

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