Health view: Get support if you’re struggling to cope


- Credit: Mark Sepple

Spring has brought me one very significant change: I am honoured to be elected chair of Barking and Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and to serve our residents.

This is a position of great responsibility and I am determined to follow my predecessor, Dr Mohi, in making your healthcare our priority.

Mental health is a key issue for residents and the NHS. We know one in four people will experience a mental health issue, and you’d be surprised how many visit their GPs with varying degrees of anxiety, depression and stress.

Stress is the focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 14-20). There’s no one reason for stress, and sometimes no obvious cause. It can be a result of major upheavals and life changing events such as divorce, unemployment or bereavement; or a succession of seemingly minor irritations like feeling undervalued at work.

Of course, some stress is normal, but too much can be harmful. Indeed, stress plays a major part in making poor mental health even worse.

That’s why it’s essential for anyone feeling overwhelmed, or unable to cope to contact the free, confidential Talking Therapies service on 0300 300 1554 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri), or book an appointment with their GP.

Additionally, if you or anyone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call the crisis line for free, any time of the day or night, on 0300 555 1000.

For more information about mental health services, visit