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North Hampshire Prostate Cancer Support Group News

At the April Zoom meeting of the North Hampshire Prostate Cancer Support Group meeting, our speaker Tony Bennett the Chief Executive of Woking Mind, one of the independent charities affiliated to the National Mind Charity, started by sharing some sobering statistics. These figures now show that 1 in 4 of us will at some time in our lives have a mental health issue with 90% feeling a stigma as a result. He explained that it is normal for someone to take around a year to open up to their problems of which two thirds are work related. Tony gave as his definition for good mental health “the ability to cope pretty well with whatever life throws at us”

As a charity he shared that they provide a number of services from ‘drop in’, depression and mindfulness counselling, community wellbeing calls and ‘walking for health’ events, with their aim being to help people understand, know and identify the issue and to seek help. He highlighted how Covid which has impacted all of us, has heightened the level of worry and anxiety for many. He then set out some of the mental health issues becoming apparent as lockdown is eased.

Tony spent time explaining how anyone of us can help someone suffering, with ways to get them to open up and share and whilst never trying to provide a diagnosis, talking positively helping to show how exercise, diet, sleep and just setting aside a time to have fun and ‘ME’ time can all help. For those who struggle to get to sleep, Tony mentioned his own trick of lying comfortably and gradually getting his body to relax starting at his head – he has never completed the exercise – sleep always conquers him first!

Perhaps the most pertinent part of Tony’s talk was his time pointing out that all of us have physical health issues, but as human beings our mental health is the second side of the coin so to speak, with this being increasingly being recognised by healthcare professionals. Indeed 30% of physical problems have a mental health link, with the mental impact on physical health estimated to be costing the NHS around £8Bn a year. It is for this reason our group’s exercise classes play such an important role in supporting our members especially during treatment, as it helps create a positive mental outlook with enhanced outcomes.

In conclusion Tony’s prescription for helping to maintain good mental health includes being able to talk about issues with others, being active, taking up learning new things which gives a sense of purpose, surprisingly giving to others also helps as does setting specific time aside for oneself, and finally as has been increasingly recognised recently, connecting with nature.

Tony’s talk was so well received that members unanimously voted for him to talk to us again about Churchill’s Black Dog times, when it is hoped he can speak in person to us, especially as it looks as if normal physical meetings can soon resume.

For more details of the NHPCSG support group contact:

email: info@nhpcsg.org.uk

Phone or text 07377 430242

Website: www.nhpcsg.org.uk

Keith Bunker