People across Staffordshire are being encouraged to get talking after a 2021 survey showed that more than 50% of people reported a decline in their mental health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research, taken from Formulate Health, shows that 139.92 of every 1000 people living in Stoke-on-Trent are prescribed anti-depressant drugs.
The most affected aged group was 16–24-year old’s, with 62% reporting an increase in mental health concerns. A stark contrast to just 9% of people who said their mental health has improved through the pandemic.
With such alarming statistics growing all the time, Brighter Futures, a not-for-profit provider of mental health services in Staffordshire, is reminding people of the importance of opening up this Time to Talk Day.
Their Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline recorded 3475 contacts in December. This includes 1119 from Stoke-on-Trent alone.
Eunice Burke, Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline Manager at Brighter Futures, says:
“Time to Talk Day is an opportunity to raise awareness. But it shouldn’t need a day to do that – the statistics are alarming and growing all the time.
“We’ve been aware for a long-time of the impact the pandemic has had on 16–24-year-olds especially. Many of our callers over the last two years have been from that age group. People of all ages need to know they have that place to go or a person to speak to if they need it.
“Reaching out is thing you can ever do. So, make it easy for people to come to you. Ask twice, make time. Just pick up the phone, text or webchat we are here to listen, you don’t have to be alone with your thoughts & feelings. Having a conversation is never a one-way street. Sharing your thoughts can give people that extra bit of courage to speak.
“That’s what we try and do and we’re completely confidential with it. We recognise and know it’s about building trust. If someone you know is alone – get in contact or let them know about us. We’ll work with them to discuss other options, plan the next steps, or just simply offer a listening ear to concerns.”
Anybody needing to contact the Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline can do so for free by phoning 0808 800 2234, texting 07860 022821, emailing email@example.com, or instant message through the Brighter Futures website.
To find out more about the mental health support services, available at Brighter Futures, please call 01782 406000 or go to www.brighter-futures.org.uk.