While lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted and London starts to reopen, many people living in the South East area of the capital will still be struggling with the stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic.
NHS South East London CCG is highlighting the problem during Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May) by signposting you to Qwell – the UK’s leading provider of digital mental health support for adults. Qwell is delivered by Kooth, and is accessible for anyone over 26 in the area, with no referrals, waiting lists or thresholds to meet.
Dr Nancy Kuchemann, GP and Clinical Lead for Mental Health at NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Findings from the Office for National Statistics suggest that mental health problems have worsened across all age groups in the past year.
“Many people in South East London have had to endure an array of different problems, including employment worries, the loss of loved ones, isolation and loneliness and the absence of the usual social activities that we used to take for granted.
“These complex emotional challenges won’t just vanish overnight – indeed, the emergence from lockdown may cause its own anxieties and uncertainties. That’s why it’s more important than ever for people in South East London to seek support if they’re feeling anxious, stressed and depressed.”
Qwell is a free and anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing service for adults and is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Adults aged over 26 years of age can receive free counselling sessions from qualified counsellors via an online chat-based platform.
Chats can either be accessed through a drop-in service or pre-booked sessions from any connected device. The site is open 24 hours a day and one-to-one counselling sessions with an accredited therapist are available from 12noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends.
Those using Qwell will also be able to take advantage of a range of self-help tools from reading and contributing to articles, peer-to-peer support via online discussion boards as well as journals and goal trackers.
Younger people aged 10-25 in South East London can also access a similar free and anonymous online service which is available at Kooth.com.
Dr Kuchemann added: “The effects of prolonged stress can creep up slowly, and it can be tempting to dismiss anxious thoughts and feelings, or just hope they’ll go away. Some people seek comfort in unhealthy behaviour, such as increasing alcohol consumption, smoking or drinking more caffeine.
“But this makes matters worse, having a negative impact on physical, as well as mental health. That’s why I urge anyone who’s feeling the pressure to seek help from Qwell.”