When life spills over the edge – can you help?

FEMA - 42051 - Flood Warning Sign in Flooded Georgia Area

I mentioned a few posts ago how the Stress Bucket is an easy analogy for how we deal with the pressures of life – and how when things get too much, and our usual coping mecanisms cease to be a match for our concerns, that this can lead us to develop emotional / mental health issues. We are not machines, and life throws things at us that we don’t always know how to deal with very well.

Sadly a lot of people may well be experiencing that overspill in the coming months –  widespread flooding across the North of the United Kingdom has devastated lives, homes, businesses. People are still cleaning up, throwing out years worth of possessions and irreplaceable mementoes, wondering where on earth the money will come from to replace even the more mundane things like microwaves and kettles.

I live in Hebden Bridge and have been fortunate that my house is not affected – but my home, my town, most certainly has. The good news is that we have seen the most amazing evidence of the goodness of humanity – people helping eachother to clean up, everyone banding together. Volunteers travelling from near and far, donations pouring in – individuals and organisations and companies are doing a lot to ensure that things are put right as quickly as possible. I have a lot of hope that some minds have been changed, and eyes opened by the sheer generosity and kindness which has been shown by diverse communities from across the country in this little valley.

Hopefully, that evidence of love and kinship will help people in more than just the practical ways. But in the weeks and months to come, people will start to be impacted by the trauma they have experienced. The exhaustion of the effort they have had to put in to get their homes dry, stay fed, keep themselved and their families safe – it will creep up on people and affect them in ways they may not expect.

It is perfectly understandable, and natural, that this should be so. And that each rainfall will bring unease (indeed we know there is always a risk of the waters rising again – our last disaster brought two floods in one month). So it is vital that people recognise that their emotions, their mental health deserve as much care as their physical health, and that they seek help if they are struggling – in the same way they would seek help if they start to vomit / get toilet trouble that may come as a result of being in contact with the polluted flood waters.

There are numerous avenues to support – (I list here those that I know for Calderdale, your GP should be able to help you find local help, or look on the Mind website)

Your GP can refer you to counselling and other talking therapies as well as discussing whether any other options (medication) might help in your circumstances

  • Noah’s Ark has a self-referral service – 01422 300457
  • Healthy Minds provides peer-led wellbeing groups in Sowerby Bridge – 01422 345154
  • Calderdale Talking Therapies (Insight Healthcare) offers psychological support for adults registered with a Calderdale GP; this is a self-referral service – 0300 555 0191
  • SANE mental health charity has a helpline – 0845 767 8000
  • The Samaritans – Call: 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

If you work for a large organisation, you may find that you can access counselling or other advice services through an Employee Assistance Provider – or if you are in a union they also often have provision – including financial /legal advice which may help with practical concerns.

I would like to do what I can to help – so I am looking at what I can do to run some Mental Health First Aid courses in the area, hopefully at reduced rates or for free if I can find support to cover costs. This course will raise awareness about mental health, some of the more common diagnoses – how to understand and recognise symptoms, and give a simple method for offering support to others as well as looking after your own wellbeing.

I think it would be particularly useful for those of us in the community who wish to support our friends and families – who perhaps know people they think might struggle to accept mental health difficulties in themselves and so not seek help when they need it.

If there are any unaffected organisations / companies our there who are interested in training for their staff (this is highly useful as stress and mental health are leading causes of sickness absence) – If you are able to book paid places I could offer an equal number of free places to the community. Similarly if anyone could offer an appropriate venue for the training I will be able to offer two more free places. Please get in touch if you wish to work with me in making this training available across Calderdale.

If you would like to offer finanical, or other forms of support, I have collated a list of links here on my other blog:


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