UK news Cambs mental health charity opens up about supporting people through lockdown last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Over the last year, Lifecraft have received more than double the normal number of calls to their helpline
Breaking News ! Over the last year, living in and out of lockdowns and under a range of restrictions, it has become more important and apparent than ever before, that we need to take care of our mental health. Many people have suffered during the pandemic, from the anxiety of living through a global health pandemic to the feelings of loneliness and isolation as we were told to keep our distance from friends and family. One Cambridgeshire charity has been on the frontlines of this, helping those who are struggling with their mental health. Lifecraft has been in operation for around 25 years and is a user-led mental health organisation based in Cambridge. It was created as a space for people with mental health issues to offer each other mutual support and provides several services to help support people's mental wellbeing. Services are available to both members and non-members, meaning anyone who is struggling can reach out for help. Use our tool below to find out more about Covid support groups near you: Gemma Barron, CEO of Lifecraft, explained: "The services that we run for anybody are Lifeline, which is a mental health helpline, and then we also run a suicide bereavement support service for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. "So that's available to anyone that's been recently bereaved by suicide. "Then the member services, so anyone can become a member if they have mental health issues, so they apply to become a member, it's free to join. "We just go through a short assessment with people and then they can attend several different groups which are aimed to help with people's recovery and building confidence, and generally being around like-minded people and being able to be a bit more resilient." Membership also gives people the option of up to two years of free counselling. The majority of Lifecraft's funding comes from the CCG or county council, however, they are a registered charity and receive support from elsewhere. Read More Related Articles UK Covid rules from May 17: Rule of 6, travel abroad, indoor dining, hugging, cinemas and more Read More Related Articles Indian variant: Does the Covid vaccine stop it? How many cases are there in the UK? And what is being done to stop the spread? Recently, they have been supported by AVEVA, a global expert in industrial software, who have, as part of AVEVA's 'Action for Good Program', pledged to provide post-tax profits to support good causes. Gemma said: "It's already having huge benefits for us, so they've been able to support us with funding and volunteer time, to things that we would have struggled to get funding for - so some of those back-office type IT systems, laptops, things that it's really hard for the voluntary sector to get and invest in. "But ultimately, by investing in those areas, it is going to free up a lot of staff time to be working with people who need our help and support." Now, more than ever, services like Lifecraft must be free to support those who need help, given the toll, the last year has taken on our mental health. "I think it became clear quite early on that lots of people needed help and support," Gemma said. "But that help and support needed to come in different forms to how it had been provided previously. Stock image of a woman with head in hands (Image: Cambridge News) "So the mental health helpline, with funding from the statutory sector, we have managed to extend that, so it was four hours a day, it's not 12 hours a day. "We've been operating 12 hours a day for the last year and we have received more than double the amount of calls in that time. "So there's user need, we've had quite a lot of new callers to the line and the people that are calling, they're generally in greater distress, or have higher levels of anxiety than we previously would have had. "And even those who phone regularly, because we do get regular callers, are struggling more at the moment, so that provides people with listening support so they phone, have a conversation and we talk with them to explore options." Lifecraft has also been carrying out proactive support calls with some members and CPFT (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust) service users to try and reduce admissions to hospital. "That's been positive as well," explained Gemma, "being able to support more people." Given the pandemic, Lifecraft has had to adapt its services, moving face-to-face groups online and over the phone. CambridgeshireLive email updates: We bring the stories to you Signing up to the CambridgeshireLive newsletter means you'll receive our daily news email. It couldn't be simpler and it takes seconds - simply click here, enter your email address and follow the instructions. You can also enter your address at the top of this page in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms. Changed your mind? There's an 'unsubscribe' button at the bottom of every newsletter we send out. However, Gemma said: "That's been difficult for people because not everyone has the technology or the confidence to do that, but for those people that have been able to engage they've appreciated having that contact and the support during that time.
. "People have struggled with that", explained Gemma. "You could have someone who goes to the pub once a week or something, just sits and the bar and is just with people, well they haven't got that at the moment. "You haven't got your going to work and seeing colleagues, and all sorts of changes, it's just been really difficult." With lockdown restrictions easing, many people will have to adjust to returning to 'normality', leaving the house, being around larger groups of people and so on. "At the moment I think there's a lot of anxiety about lockdown coming to an end," said Gemma, "and people having to reintroduce to society.
Talk to someone
You don't have to suffer in silence if you're struggling with your mental health. As well as turning to close friends or family - there are plenty of charities you can talk to or get advice from. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help: Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email email@example.com, in confidence. Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won't show up on your bill. PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141. Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline, but it offers useful resources and links to other information. Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit. Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here. Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. There is a helpline: 0800 58 58 58 or visit the website.
"A lot of people are really nervous about going back to work, people are nervous and feeling overwhelmed just by going out to the shops, things they would have found quite normal previously are now quite difficult for a lot of people - more than you'd imagine actually." Moving forward, Lifecraft is looking to "provide more blended services in the future" as for some, it provides more flexibility than everything being done face-to-face. But for now, anyone who is struggling is being asked to make sure they reach out, and with the network provided by Lifecraft, CPFT and other charities people will be directed toward the best support for them. Explaining how people can reach out for support, Gemma said: "A lot of people get referred to different places through their GP, the GPs are still there, they're still able to support people at the moment. "People can contact voluntary organisations direct - so people can contact us via our website or on our phone number. "They can also phone directly through to our helplines, all the details are on our website. "Other ways, people can phone 111 option 2 which is the mental health NHS number. "There are lots of different ways in but they should all end up in the right place, so even if they phone the wrong place or go and see technically not necessarily the right person, they should end up in the right place, that's what we're trying to achieve."
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