Imagine Independence this week launches first ever Merseyside Mental Health Week

Imagine has launched the first ever Merseyside Mental Health Week to raise awareness of the impact

of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of local people.

Imagine Independence, which is based on Hope Street, says it is aiming to bring together the people and organisations from across the region to support thousands of people suffering with poor mental health.

Merseyside Mental Health Week will deliver a week-long programme of online events and community activities.

This includes working with local people on Imagine’s Building Up Stronger project which is trialling a new approach to providing mental health services, improving digital skills and reducing loneliness and isolation.

Building Up Stronger, which is being launched with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, will use community based social prescribing to connect people with projects and support across nine wards in the city centre to help them stay connected during and beyond lockdown.

More than 13% of Liverpool’s population has a common mental health condition and Imagine expects this to significantly increase as the pandemic continues to take hold.

Research projects from both the Centre for Mental Health and John Moores University, have highlight how the pandemic has made mental heath inequalities worse. Those with pre-existing mental illness have experienced more frequent problems during lockdown related to their mental health.

He said: “I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts in the past which left me unable to work for two years.

“It was only when I engaged in talking therapy and peer support with Imagine that I was able to turn my life around and gain the confidence to become a support worker.

“Since the lockdown I have experienced a relapse in my symptoms, as have many of the people I work with. I hope through Merseyside Mental Health Week, more people will be encouraged to seek out the support available to them.”

Margaret Hanson, Chief Executive of Imagine Independence, said: “Merseyside Mental Health Week couldn’t have come at a more important time for our region as we move into increased lockdown restrictions.

“It is vital that we not only increase the support available for people struggling with mental health challenges but raise awareness of how people can access support. “We hope that through Merseyside Mental Health Week we will encourage more people to seek out help.”

Merseyside Mental Health Week is backed by Mersey Care, Professional Liverpool and Knowsley Chamber of Commerce, with more partners to be announced.

To find out more and get involved visit www.imagineindependence.org.uk/MMHW

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