Where you can go for help in Leeds if your mental health is suffering this Christmas and New Year period

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A series of drop-in sessions will be set up across Leeds in the New Year for people struggling to cope with mental health problems.

NHS bosses have launched the scheme over the festive period as it can prove a tough time of year for many people.

The new sessions will be available across the city throughout the coming year and will be open to anyone in need of help with their mental health or who may be feeling isolated or alone.

Zellany Neal, a mental health practitioner at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Christmas can bring a unique set of challenges if you’re struggling with your mental health. Things can be out of the ordinary, which can be unsettling, and there’s a real pressure to feel like you’re having a good and happy time.

“You may find yourself spending a lot of time with people that you wouldn’t usually be around, which can be difficult if you’re used to your own space, or you may find yourself feeling lonely and unsure of where to turn for company. There’s also the financial burden that may add to your worries, if you feel there’s an expectation that you need to buy certain gifts or feed your family in a certain way, and then there are the effects of alcohol to deal with.

“But the good news is there are things you can do that can help. It can be as simple as going for a walk to take a break from a busy household, doing something you enjoy to distract yourself, or talking to someone.

“It’s important that you know you are not alone.”

As well as providing a listening ear, expert staff at the drop-ins can offer advice and signpost to other relevant services.

They can also provide practical support with things like forms and phone calls related to everything from housing to benefits. The sessions are open to everyone, whether or not they’re already under the care of NHS services. The only people they can’t support are those currently in a mental health crisis, or those under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Trust has also created an animation to share some of the things that can help and places you can go for advice and support over the festive period and beyond.

Since 2016, the YEP has been championing anything which strives to improve residents’ mental health through our #SpeakYourMind campaign.

WHERE TO GO

The sessions are run by a team from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Yorkshire-based mental health and wellbeing charity, Touchstone.

Sessions were previously limited to the city centre. The expanded service covers the following areas:

- Dewsbury Road Community Hub, Beeston - First Tuesday of every month, 11am to 12.30pm;

- Armley One Stop, Town Street - Second Tuesday of every month, 1pm to 2.30pm;

- Reginald Centre, Chapeltown - Third Tuesday of every month, 1pm to 2.30pm;

- Seacroft Community Hub, Deacon House - Fourth Tuesday of every month, 11am to 12.30pm.