Health: Welcome in New Year with a fresh outlook for 2015

Don't let the January blues get you down. Picture by PA.
Don't let the January blues get you down. Picture by PA.
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It’s a new year, where we have fresh optimism and all make promises to do better than we did last year.

This could be anything from leading a healthier lifestyle by doing something as simple as walking more, drinking and smoking less or even trying to finally cut out these habits. Whatever your New Year’s resolution, I hope you try hard and achieve your goal.

Some New Year’s resolution tips

Take part in ‘Dryathlon 2015’ in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Reduce your drinking levels to within NHS guidelines (no more than three to four units for men and two to three units for women per day).

If you have had a heavy drinking session, avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

Reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke with a view to quitting.

Take up light exercise and build on from there.

The January blues

Some people might find the prospect of a new year quite difficult due to personal situations making the ‘January blues’ worse than most.

Whatever the cause, if negative feelings do not go away or get too much for you to cope with, or are stopping you from carrying on with your day-to-day life, you may need to make some changes and get some extra support. Speak to your GP or call NHS 111, which is open all day every day.

You can also self refer if you need help by contacting Leeds Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) which provides short-term psychological therapy for people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, stress and anxiety. The service, available to anyone aged 17 and above who is registered with a Leeds GP, is on 0113 8434388.

Other helplines include Samaritans on 08457 909090 (24 hours a day seven days a week), Connect Helpline on 0808 8001212 (6pm to 10.30pm every night of the year) for confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.

If you have suffered from depression or anxiety in the past, get help early to avoid any repeats. More information on help available in Leeds can be found at

What the CCG is doing

At NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group, our New Year’s resolution is to continue to provide the best possible service for our local residents.

This January, we need your views on our local plans for 2015-16, which gives people in south and east Leeds the chance to prioritise what services they feel are most important. To give your views online, visit or call 0113 843 1660 to request a paper copy and return by free post.

In the next few weeks we will also be engaging with our local communities about our commissioning intentions for the coming years and more information will follow.

Late last year, we introduced our GP extra hours scheme, so patients can access GP services beyond the normal opening hours until the end of March, which along with NHS services like 111, walk-in centres and minor injuriesn units are hoped to help ensure any visits to A&E are avoided unless the situation is life-threatening.

I wish you all a happy 2015.