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"We Are Thinking About You"

Jersey Post and Mind Jersey have teamed up to reach out to islanders experiencing loneliness.

That is the topic of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week.

The charity has sent out postcards to every home, which people can return free of charge to share their thoughts and feelings.

Mind Jersey Executive Director, Dr. Patricia Tumelty, says they wanted to find a way to reach out and say 'we're here.'

"That can mean lots of different things to different people. We've already had numerous emails and calls from the cards.

Really it's about trying to maybe find somebody who can help you and if you're lucky enough to have a friend or a neighbour or somebody who might help you, then that's great as it can help you make that first move back into the community.

If you don't, there are a lot of services like Mind Jersey who want to find a way to help. We might not be the right person, but if we're not, we send you and help you find a person who may be able to help."

The Mental Health Foundation found, through research, that loneliness has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Tumelty says people looking out for their friends, families, and neighbours and simply asking if they're OK is so important.

"We also know that sometimes just asking the once isn't enough and people are reticent or reluctant sometimes to say to somebody 'are you OK?'

We know from many people telling us over the years when they have been able to find the help that they need, it's because somebody persistently asked them 'are you OK?'

I think statistically, I read somewhere recently that it can take up to 15 times to ask somebody, who is really entrenched in a sad, low mood before they're able to say actually no, they're not OK."

Mind Jersey can be contacted on 01534 880317.

A recent study found loneliness is highest among young people aged 16 to 24 - with 1 in 10 young people saying they often or always feel lonely.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have released a special radio message for Mental Health Awareness Week.

"The past two years have really reminded us of the importance of human relationships.

So, if you think someone you know might be feeling lonely, just give them a ring. Send them a text or knock on the door."

A new group has been set up in Jersey to offer advice and support on mental health.

The government says they'll have input on the Children and Young People's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy.

The group is made up of 14 young people, parents, professionals and islanders.

They were formally introduced by the Lieutenant Governor, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, at Jersey Zoo earlier this week.

"Over the past few years there has been an increase in both demand for mental health services and an increase in complexity of need, which we believe to be exacerbated by the pandemic.

There has been an increase in referrals to both the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and the Youth Enquiry Service (YES).

The Children and Young People Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy has been co-produced with children, young people, parents, carers, and professionals and its implementation will be overseen by this newly created Strategic Advisory Panel (SAP).

I would like to thank the panel for committing to this important piece of work and helping us with our vision for all children and young people in Jersey to be happy and thriving and to able to enjoy the best mental health and wellbeing." - Rob Sainsbury, Director General for Children, Young People, Education and Skills.

Students at Victoria College have been taking part in activities this week with a focus on mental health.

An assembly was led by Year 11 and 12 students earlier this week, which included a video speaking about wellbeing and the impact of loneliness on mental health.

"Opening up is courageous; it is by no means weak."

The topic of loneliness has also been explored during tutor time and an art installation has been created for the school's main building.

"One of our key goals is to foster an inclusive, safe and supportive community at our school, where every student can thrive in a culture of kindness.

I am proud that as a school we are embracing open discussion and proactive education on adolescent mental health. As a Silver Rights Respecting School, we are committed, through Article 6, to each child 'developing to their full potential', and this sits alongside Article 24, which states that, 'children and young people have the right to be both physically and mentally fulfilled.'

As our Student Council themselves choose this focus on mental health, we also further the development of Article 12 in our community, where students' voices are heard, and they are involved in the decision making of the College." - Dr. Gareth Hughes, Headteacher.

Mental health contacts:

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