Offering support for World Mental Health Day

The council is drawing attention to World Mental Health Day this year on 10 October by highlighting local services that can support anyone feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Led by the World Health Organisation, this year’s theme is focusing on young people in an ever changing world. Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14 but most cases go undetected and untreated.

Prevention begins with being aware and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. That’s why the council, in partnership with the Community Education Provider Network (CEPN) have provided Mental Health First Aid (MFHA) training to local employees across the council as well as other local statutory and voluntary sector organisations.

The two-day training teaches staff how to identify, understand and help someone who may be developing a mental health concern. It delivers the skills and confidence to provide assistance to someone in distress and direct them to further support.

In Tower Hamlets:

  • 730+ persons working and living in Tower Hamlets have been trained in MHFA
  • a further 280 have received the MFHA Lite training (a half day mental health awareness training)
  • 128 academic and professional staff have been trained in Queen Mary University as part of a wider programme of mental health support for students. 

The council is working with CEPN and Thrive London¹ to roll out a Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) programme to those working with 5-19 year olds. 

The YMHFA will provide skills and confidence to spot signs of mental ill health in young people, offer first aid and guide them towards the support they need.

Mayor John Biggs said: “As a council, we are champions of positive mental wellbeing for both staff and residents and offer a range of specialist support services.

“Tower Hamlets has the youngest population in the country and we know it’s important to raise awareness and provide support as early as possible’’.

An NHS worker recently took the MHFA training and has already gone on to support a person in distress.

The NHS worker said she engaged with an individual who described how they were feeling. The individual has since gone to a GP who has given her medication and is now getting mental health support from psychology services. 

“I would recommend this training to anyone who wishes to take it.  You learn skills that are so useful in everyday life. I am so glad I did,” the NHS worker said.

A council officer, who has also put the training into practice, said they found the training very worthwhile.

 “The training taught me to look objectively at the situation, without judgement, enabling me to look at signs and symptoms,” the officer said.

“The training gave me so many tools. I feel quite confident when dealing with mental health and have recommended the training to my colleagues.”

Anyone living or working over the age of 16 can access this fully funded training.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day, the NHS East London Foundation Trust recently launched a new self-referral psychology and counselling service in partnership withMind in Tower Hamlets and Newham (MITHN).

The new service is called Tower Hamlets Talking Therapies (THTT) and will allow local people to refer themselves if they prefer, or ask their GP or health professional to make a referral on their behalf.

The service aims to help people experiencing a range of difficulties such as anxiety, low moods, phobias, extreme shyness, anger, relationship issues and bereavement. It offers counselling and support for long-term conditions, eating disorders and for women before and after birth.

It’s available to people living in the borough or who are registered with a GP in Tower Hamlets.

People can refer themselves by calling: 020 8475 8080. 

Local events

8 October 2018, 12pm –2pm

86 Old Montague Street E1 5NN

  • Queen Mary University of London will be organising a variety of free activities during the week.
  • The Bangladeshi Mental Health Forum in partnership with the NHS East London Foundation Trust are hosting a community mental health awareness day that will see guest speakers, workshops and discussions, entertainment and massage and much more. Anyone is welcome to come along. Refreshments will be provided.

10 October 2018, 11am – 3pm

Ground floor of the London Muslim Centre, 82-92 Whitechapel Road E1 1JQ

For more information on World Mental Health Day visit:

Posted on Tuesday 9th October 2018