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 Southwark gets mindful for Mental Health Awareness Week
 
GPs in Southwark are supporting Mental Health Awareness Week this month which runs from Monday 11 May to Sunday 17 May.
 
Mental Health Awareness Week is organised by the Mental Health Foundation and aims to raise awareness of mental health to fight discrimination and stigma and promote mental wellbeing.
 
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, local GP and Chair of Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG),said one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.
 
“Mental health problems can include low mood and depression, stress, anxiety, anger and panic attacks,” he said.
 
“Most people who feel low will start to feel better after a few days or weeks, but if these feelings persist or get in the way of everyday life then it's time to seek help.
 
“If you've been feeling depressed for more than a few weeks or your anxiety is affecting your daily life, make an appointment to speak to your GP.”
 
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 is mindfulness – a process that uses meditation and breathing techniques to focus on the present moment and putting aside thoughts about things that are out of your control, such as past events or worrying about the future. 
 
It’s a mind and body based training that can help you change the way you think, feel and act.  Through being more aware of the way you think and feel about your experiences, whether good or bad, mindfulness can help you to change the way you manage and react to stressful situations, giving you a valuable tool to stay mentally healthy.
 
Bring mindfulness into these daily activities:
 
Go for a walk: try and walk mindfully, noticing the sounds around you and the feel of your foot on the ground. Give your brain a break by thinking about your body and the present moment, rather than speculating ahead about what you’re about to do.
 
Eat a mindful meal: try and slow down and taste the food in your mouth. Really explore the texture; the colour; the smell. You’ll find that if you slow your actions down, your mind will slow down too.
 
Turn off technology: instead of watching TV or texting for hours, why not try changing your routine? Do something that allows you to concentrate on the sensations in your body like going for a walk or taking a bath.
 
Capture moments on camera: taking photos is a great way of being mindful of precious moments as they go by. They’re also a good way of reminding yourself to notice the small things in life.
 
Take a course: Find a course in your local area at www.bemindful.co.uk.  Alternatively, the Mental Health Foundation’s web-based course can be found here.  
 
If you've had thoughts of self-harming or are feeling suicidal, contact someone immediately such as your GP, a friend, a relative or someone else you can trust. If you've already taken an overdose or cut yourself badly, dial 999.
 
The Samaritans operates a service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for people who want to talk in confidence. Call 08457 90 90 90.
 
To find out more about Mental Health Week,click here

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