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Liverpool-based company, Mashbo and scouse comedian, Jake Mills have created national mental health database, The Hub of Hope (hubofhope.co.uk) to offer support to those in need during the Christmas period and beyond. The web app enables users to find local and national support information regardless of age or gender, using just a postcode.
Mashbo, creative designers and trustees of Chasing the Stigma (CTS), the charity behind the web-based app, have funded a 50 fly poster campaign, which will promote the Hub of Hope across Liverpool city centre, so keep your eyes peeled for them and get sharing on your social media. A recent Hub of Hope study showed that Liverpool came second in a league table of UK cities with the most users seeking mental health support, narrowly missing out on the top spot, taken by London.
The 50 posters carry details on how to access support via the resource, alongside the striking yet simple message that the doors are open to thousands of grassroots and national organisations 24/7 throughout the Christmas period.
The decision to launch the campaign was made based on research from multiple sources including Rethink Mental Health, which revealed that the pressure to be cheerful and splash out on presents can cause mental strain, exacerbating symptoms such as panic attacks, depression, low moods, sleeping problems and cause thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
We chatted with Scouse comedian and mental health champion, Jake Mills who is adding his support to the Hub of Hope Christmas campaign. Having previously suffered with depression, Jake gives us his top tips for keeping the Christmas blues at bay over the festive period.
Jake said: “I came up with the idea of the Hub of Hope 3 years ago after I publicly spoke about my suicide attempt after living with depression, 4 years ago. The more my story was covered throughout the national press, the more people started to get in touch with me asking where to go for help. The truth was, I had no idea. I realised that wasn’t good enough and so I wanted to make help as easy as possible to find for anybody who needed it.
“I know now that there are thousands of incredible, life saving services available, from charities to community groups, they were just too hard to find. So, by creating the Hub of Hope, we can make that whole process a lot easier. We can allow people to find help and support at the click of a button. I think it is crucial to let people know that they are not alone, there are options and there is help”.
1. Don’t buckle under the pressure. Nobody likes forced fun and one persons idea of a good time is another person’s nightmare. The holidays can be whatever you want them to be. If you are uncomfortable or unhappy, don’t feel as though you have to put on an act to please everybody else.
2. Keep in touch with the people you feel happy around. It might be that many people don’t have anyone to spend Christmas Day with and the break from the normal routine can lead to separation and loneliness. Try and plan ahead, keep in touch with the people you like to talk to, schedule time to talk or see each other.
3. Take a little bit of time out of your day for yourself. Go on a walk, get out the house, read a book or listen to some music. Whatever works for you, go do it, unapologetically.
4. Christmas can be a time where we miss those who are no longer in our lives. It’s ok to be sad when reflecting back, Christmas doesn’t have to be all Noddy Holder and St Nick. If you want a good cry, have one!
5. Christmas can be a particularly difficult time when it comes to anxiety. From opening presents in front of everyone, to having to play games or simply be around people. Again, don’t feel the need to perform. Take a break. Do things your own way.
6. We can all overindulge at Christmas, with food and drink everywhere you look, it’s easy to just keep going until you burst. This mightn’t always be the best thing for your mental health, never mind psychical. Try and break the cycle a little with a bit of fresh air, healthier eating and exercise – it doesn’t have to be a run, it can just be a walk to the shop, but it can do your mental health the world of good.
7. Rest! Whether you love Christmas or hate it, use the break as an opportunity to really rest your mind and body.
8. Don’t suffer in silence. Whatever you are going through, help is available, there are people to speak to. You never have to be alone
To find out more and access support, head to www.hubofhope.co.uk or click here to find out more about Chasing the Stigma. If you offer mental health support services, you can register to join Hub of Hope here.
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