Make sure you look after your mental health this winter - column by Kevin Lockyer, chairman of Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

This year has continued to be an immense challenge to the NHS, our staff and the services we provide.

It's important to look after your health this winter.
It's important to look after your health this winter.

I have watched in admiration over the past year while colleagues have shown incredible dedication and resilience in order to ensure that we continue to provide the very best care to our service users during the global pandemic. Covid-19 is very much still present, as the spread of new variants shows, so we must all continue to play our part to protect one another by keeping up good infection prevention measures and getting vaccinated.

As well as our physical health, we must not underestimate the impact the pandemic has had and continues to have on our mental wellbeing.

There is no doubt it’s been a difficult time for us all. That is why it is important to do what we can to look after our mental health and wellbeing, now more than ever.

If you are struggling, it is important that you reach out for support – talk to friends and family. Or if you think speaking to someone else may help, you can call Lincolnshire’s mental health helpline, which is open 24/7 on 0800 001 4331.

The Lincolnshire Here4You advice line, which offers emotional wellbeing and mental health advice for young people and their families, is also open 24/7 on 0800 234 6342.

One of the achievements I am most proud of during 2021, has been how we have worked closely with our partners in health and care, as well as the community and voluntary sector to increase support in our communities for people struggling with their mental health.

Connect to Support Lincolnshire provides an online directory detailing the wide range of services and support available throughout the county. Visit https://lincolnshire.connecttosupport.org/ for more information.

The Crisis Cafes (or Night Light Cafes) currently operating in nine areas of Lincoln continue to provide a warm welcome and peaceful environment for people to go and talk to trained volunteers face to face.

Thanks to additional investment, the cafes will be extending to other areas of the county very soon, particularly on the east coast where we know it is more difficult to access community support.

You can find out more about Lincoln’s Night Light Cafés on the Acts Trust website – www.actstrust.org.uk/night-light-cafes.

The festive season can be a challenging time for many, and it is important to look after yourself and others during this time of year.

I would like to wish everyone a safe and very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

You can find out more information about the services we provide at www.lpft.nhs.uk.