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Progressing mental well-being in the Square Mile - Autumn 2020 update

The last six months have tested us all in different ways. According to research published as part of the ‘Coronavirus: Mental Health and the Pandemic’ study (led by the Mental Health Foundation in partnership with the Universities of Cambridge, Swansea, Strathclyde and Queen’s University Belfast), almost one in five (19%) of UK adults feel hopeless, with:

  • More than one-quarter (27%) of unemployed people feeling hopeless;

  • Almost one-third (32%) of young adults aged 18-24 feeling hopeless; and

  • Almost one-third (31%) of people with pre-existing mental health conditions feeling hopeless.

Now, more than ever, we need to be kind to ourselves and each other and to take advantage of the resources available to protect our mental health and wellbeing.

Although Castle Baynard’s ‘Dragon Cafe in the City’ cannot currently operate from the Shoe Lane Library, the amazing team behind this programme promoting mental wellbeing has moved everything - except the free 15-minute massages - online.

Now, following a break for August, they are back with virtual sessions every second Wednesday, offering free group therapy sessions, creative workshops, talks, Tai Chi and yoga online. You can find out more at: https://www.dragoncafeinthecity.com/.

The City of London Corporation has also launched a brand new Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre which will provide online counselling and psychotherapy to individuals, couples and groups who are experiencing any of a range of emotional and psychological difficulties including depression, anxiety, marital and relationship issues, those relating to family and work life, self-esteem issues and life transitions (such as moving towards retirement). Importantly, these services are available to all City residents, including those on low incomes.

According to Foresight’s ‘Mental capital and wellbeing project’ the ‘5 ways to wellbeing’ are:

  1. Connect - with friends, family and those around you

  2. Be active - exercise hugely benefits mental wellbeing

  3. Take notice - observe the world around you

  4. Keep learning - be it something new or not

  5. Give - you benefit too

So, you might want to take advantage of one of the City’s new self-guided-walks or participate in the City of London Time Credit initiative (offering credits in return for volunteering with community programmes in the City that can be redeemed at various attractions and organisations throughout London).

Beyond these resources, residents can also always access:

  • Free help and advice from Hackney Talk Changes if you are experiencing common mental health problems, by calling 020 7683 4278 or via their website;

  • Free bereavement support through St Joseph's Hospice, via 0300 303 0400 or by emailing stjosephs.firstcontact@nhs.net; and

  • 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Helpline: 020 8432 8020.

For more information and a fuller list of resources please visit the City’s webpage.

If you have any queries, concerns or issues, please get in contact.

Natasha Lloyd-Owen

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