Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 | News and events

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 | News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway and Barnet

Read the latest NELFT news, including information on our services, new trust staff, research and development of our services.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 (Monday 18th - Sunday 24th May). The theme this year, is the power and potential of kindness. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen an incredible show of kindness across the country, from the weekly clap for the NHS and keyworkers on a Thursday evening, to Captain Tom Moore raising millions for the NHS to looking after the vulnerable in our communities. This week will be a time to celebrate our own acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health.   

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, NELFT will be sharing information on our Twitter (, Facebook( and Instagram( accounts on ways of looking after our own mental health, including signposting to local support services and tips and advice on staying emotionally well.

Here are 10 tips on how you can support your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Stay connected with people - try setting up a "buddy group" with family or friends and regularly check in with people, either online or by phone. That way, you can offer support to anyone struggling or reach out to others if you need to.
  2. Be kind to yourself - self compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself as you would towards others when you are having a difficult time.
  3. Talk about your feelings and concerns - sharing your worries and fears can help you feel less anxious.
  4. Eat well - nourishing your mind and body with quality nutrients can significantly change the way we think and feel.
  5. Keep active and exercise if you can - you can leave the house, alone or with members of your household, for one form of exercise a day, like walking running or cycling. You must keep a safe 2-metre distance from others.
  6. Ask for help - for support with grief, anxiety, or mental well-being, you can call a number of services such as our Mental Health Direct line on 0300 555 1000.
  7. Do something you enjoy or learn something new - engaging in fun activities can help you relax, and take your mind off a difficult situation. If you are having extra free time at home, use this as an opportunity to learn a new skill.
  8. Limit your exposure to the news - while it is necessary to be aware of what is happening, there is no need to overexpose. Allocate a set time of day where you will check the news, for example, during the government’s daily update.
  9. Relaxation and mindfulness exercises - at a time where there is a lot of anxiety, stress and uncertainty about, it can be helpful to take time out to try and relax or shift focus through relaxation and mindfulness exercises.
  10. Get a good night's sleep - sleeping well can help with how we feel mentally and physically, so it is important to get enough


NELFT resources

Waltham Forest Community Learning Disability team youtube videos

NELFT's Waltham Forest Community learning disability team (CLDT) are running a series of online videos for patients and service users during lockdown. You can find more of these videos on the NELFT youtube channel.



Redbridge Talking Therapies Podcast

Redbridge Talking Therapies will provide additional support to our local community and beyond during the outbreak of COVID-19 with a series of podcasts to help you to develop your coping skills in these unprecedented times. Each of our 30 minute podcasts featuring members of our team will guide you in strategies for coping with worry, low mood, isolation, loneliness, relaxation and mindfulness.


Mental Health Direct: 0300 555 1000

If you live in Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex, Kent & Medway, you can call for Mental Health Direct for mental health help and advice anytime of the day or night. It is available for everyone, of all age groups.

NELFT Children’s mental health support

For urgent help, contact:

  • Barking & Dagenham: 0300 555 1035
  • Waltham Forest0300 555 1247
  • Redbridge: 0300 555 1182
  • Havering: 0300 300 1888 and ask for CAMHS
  • Southend, Essex and Thurrock: 0300 300 1600
  • Kent -0300 123 4496 (Option 1, then Option 3)
  • Medway –0300 300 1981

Big White Wall 

Big White Wall is a free, online counselling service which is available to anyone aged over 16 who is living with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues.

The service includes trained professionals accessible 24/7, creative tools to express how you’re feeling and self-guided courses. Visit


Kooth is a safe and anonymous online counselling and support service for young people aged 10 to 16 years old. It provides useful articles, councillors to chat to, community support and journaling. It is available Monday to Friday from midday to 10pm and 6pm until 10pm on Saturday and Sunday.

You can access Kooth here:

Age UK

Age UK can help older people who are at home and need a little extra support with their wellbeing.  They are available 8am until 7pm, 365 days a year on 0800 055 6112 or online:

National Domestic Abuse Helpline

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available for anyone who is subject to physical or mental abuse, they can be contacted on 0808 2000 247.

For more helplines, see the NHS website: