Cumbria's push to help those struggling with mental health during the pandemic

A number of organisations across Cumbria are coming together and urging people struggling with their mental health to seek help.

The police, the NHS, local authorities and local charities are all represented in the Cumbria Suicide Prevention Group -  a team aimed at tackling the stigma around mental health, potentially saving lives.

Hundreds of thousands of booklets have been distributed, and a new website launched offering advice and guidance on how to cope, particularly during the pandemic.

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Katherine McGleenan, North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Lead explained: “There's been an increased amount of anxiety understandably right across the population anxiety about the illness itself and the impact it might have but also worry about the future; about people's jobs and livelihoods, about school and what's going to happen.

"It's impacting on everybody but if people already struggling with a mental health and wellbeing then it could potentially have a much greater impact.

“I have worked as a mental health nurse for over 30 years and have seen the devastating impact poor mental health can have on people’s lives.

"I have also seen how, with the right support, people can become mentally well again, even in difficult circumstances. We want people to know there is support available and to know how to access help if needed, and that they don’t need to cope alone.”

A new website - togetherall.com - has been set up where people can talk about their mental health and seek help anonymously. 

Mike Conefrey, Public Health Locality Manager, Cumbria County Council said: “We've done a lot of work in training members of the constabulary, members of staff within hospitals, within the local authority, and people within the community on thinking about mental health and supporting people who have problems with mental well-being or concerns about their mental well-being so talk to people around you but also there's lots of online resources available.“

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Households across Cumbria have also received a booklet developed by the local charity Every Life Matters, along with mental health specialists.

The booklet contains self-help information and advice for managing mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as advice on how to support others.

Chris Wood, from the Every Life Matters charity, said: “COVID-19 presents some big challenges to people’s mental health and wellbeing.

"Many of our coping mechanisms, and activities that underpin our wellbeing, are no longer available and we need to be more thoughtful and creative about how we manage our stress, anxieties and mental health generally.

"We have written this booklet to give people practical information and guidance on what we can all do to cope emotionally during the crisis.”


 If you need help, seek it. Below are just some of the online resources available. You can also contact the Samaritans on 116 123