This Thursday February 4, we are focusing on the importance of mental health. Now more than ever with the pandemic and lockdown many of us have lost contact with friends, family and colleagues. We want you to reach out to people and to talk about mental health.

This year it is all about ‘the power of small’. This could be anything from a quick text to a friend, to having a virtual coffee morning with colleagues, or a socially distanced walk. Small steps have the power to make a big difference.

The Employment Advisors in Healthy Minds have been supporting business across Buckinghamshire in having support and guidance on how to have conversations about mental health in the work place.

Anisha Gangotra, Senior Employment Advisor, said: “The pandemic has been ongoing for some time and the fundamental way we’ve had to live our everyday lives has changed during this time.

“Workplaces look very different these days and the era of the chat by the coffee machine is no longer possible, which is why it’s as important as ever to check in with our colleagues to give us the opportunity to connect and support each other.

“It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, it could simply be taking the time to have a virtual coffee and catch up or giving a colleague a call to say hi, which isn’t part of the usual work-related meetings. These small gestures can go a long way to help someone feel supported in the workplace and create stronger connections with each other.”

One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any year. We believe no one should have to fear being treated differently because of a mental health concern.  In Oxford Health there are a number of teams offering support to you during this difficult time.  Remember you can get the help you need.

Tell me more about the support I can access

A 24/7 mental health helpline for adults and children in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Call 111 and they will put you through to a mental health professional who can offer support and guidance.

Mental Health Services for children and young people in other locations:

Swindon: 01865 903 422 / Marlborough and Melksham: 01865 903 777 / Salisbury: 01722 336 262 Bath and North East Somerset: 01865 903 889

Healthy Minds – Buckinghamshire’s free NHS talking therapy service. They are available Monday – Friday and have lots of useful resources on their website.

Talking Space Plus – Oxfordshire’s free NHS talking therapy service. Look at the website to see how they can best support you.

Individual Placement and Support are another unique service for people over 18 who are not in work and are under the care of our adult mental health teams or early intervention service. It allows patients who want a paid job the chance to work with one of Oxford Health’s employment specialists to reach their employment goals and find a working environment focused on individual preferences.

Safe Haven sites are available in Oxford, Aylesbury, Banbury and High Wycombe. These are weekend out of hours mental health crisis units for people who wish to access support and often someone to listen.

There are lots of resources and advice about having conversations about mental health on the Time to Talk Day page here.e