Halton Borough Council is delighted to receive funding from Public Health England to help local residents whose mental health has been impacted by the pandemic.

During the Covid 19 pandemic, more people across England have experienced isolation, loneliness, anxiety and depression on a scale not seen in recent times. Whether this has been caused by social isolation, working from home, being furloughed or laid off, bereavement or illness, it is clear that there is need for greater support at an early stage.

A spokesperson for the Council’s public health team says:

“From local intelligence we knew people were struggling with bereavement and financial insecurity and the lack of support in these areas was impacting their mental health. We knew we needed to address these issues as soon as possible. If we can help people at an early stage before they need intervention from mental health services this is better for the individual but also reduces pressure on local mental health services.”

The funding received has been used to launch bereavement support for children, young people and adults as well as provide additional support to those experiencing financial insecurity.

Three local organisations have been commissioned to deliver services through this programme: Child Bereavement UK, Listening Ear and Citizens’ Advice Halton.

Nicola Creaser, of Child Bereavement UK, says: “We are able to offer support to children and young people under the age of 25 who live in Halton who are bereaved of anyone important to them as well as adults bereaved of a child of any age. We can offer this support at our centre in Wides as well as via video call, telephone call or instant messenger.”

To make a referral for support, call the helpline on 0800 02 888 40.

The organisation offers a face to face group for young people as well as an online group for young people. Also on offer is training for professionals.

Listening Ear will be providing counselling and support to anyone age 18 and over in Halton who has been bereaved. The service includes:

  • One to one counselling
  • Group counselling
  • A Friendship After Bereavement group
  • A Helpline

Paul Etherington, from Listening Ear, said: “Anyone who has been affected by the loss of a family member, friend or someone they’ve cared for can access the service. Our trained staff will help talk it through with you, in confidence.”

For practical and emotional support, call free on 0800 048 5224 (10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday).

For counselling, visit www.listening-ear.co.uk/refer/

More information is available from the website: https://listening-ear.co.uk/halton-bereavement/

Hitesh Patel, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Halton, said: “We are really pleased to be involved in this important partnership with Halton Cpuncil. COVID has had a huge impact on local people, especially those with low income.  Recent news has confirmed what advisers at Citizens Advice Halton were already seeing; more people struggling to keep up with rising fuel prices, more people worried about job insecurity due to furlough ending, more people affected by relationship breakdowns, more people coming to us with poor mental health and wellbeing.

“Anyone struggling to make ends meet, worried about their personal debt, or wanting support to find a job or access training, should get in touch ASAP – our advisers are here and ready to help.”

The CAB can be contacted on 0151 257 2443.

Halton Public Health will also be working with the Halton Youth cabinet to provide activities for children and young people in the community to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Cllr Marie Wright, the Council’s portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, says: “The pandemic seems to have made it easier for people to speak up when they are distressed or struggling, but they are then faced with a lack of support or long waiting lists when they try to access support. We hope that these 3 new services we are announcing today will be a great step forward to helping local people cope with the significant challenges we have faced over the past two years. “

World Mental Health Day 2021

This Sunday, 10 October, is World Mental Health Day. Taking place on this date every year, the campaign aims to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing, encourage people of all ages to talk about mental health and break down the stigma surrounding mental health.

Help for Halton residents

If you want more information about mental health services and how to protect and improve your mental health and wellbeing, visit our Mental Health Information Point which has details of lots of local and national services and helplines. www.halton.gov.uk/mhinfopoint

Sometimes it’s easier to text than talk. Shout offers free, anonymous and confidential support via text at any time, day or night, every day of the year. Text REACH to 85258 for support.

If you need urgent help with your mental health, you can call Halton’s 24/7 mental health crisis line for FREE on 0800 051 1508.