Mental health and wellbeing

Good mental health is about feeling well in your own mind. Good mental health and resilience are fundamental to our physical health, our relationships, our education, our training, and our work and to achieving our potential. Our mental health can change over time. This can be because of life events which cause distress or unhappiness, or it can happen with no apparent cause. These changes can lead to mental health difficulties or illness.

 

Crisis Support

If you are concerned about a deterioration in your mental health or feel unable to keep yourself safe, please call  0800 0234 650 if you live in Milton Keynes.

Mind BLMK’s dedicated Crisis Café team are there to support people across Bedford, Luton, and Milton Keynes. This free service is available 365 days of the year and there to support you. To speak to a member of the team, please call 01525 722 225 between 5.00pm to 11.00pm, or for further information about their work and the support offered through the Crisis Cafés, please visit - https://www.mind-blmk.org.uk/how-we-can-help/crisis-support

Alternatively, if you need immediate help contact the emergency services or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department (A&E)

Concerned about your mental health or wellbeing?

If you have concerns about your mental health, speak to your GP. They will ask you questions about your mood and any strange or negative thoughts or feelings you may have been experiencing, to help to understand what is wrong and make a diagnosis.

There are many recognised mental health conditions that doctors can diagnose. These include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress and schizophrenia. Your doctor may suggest a number of treatments such as medication, counselling or therapy. In many cases these treatments can be very effective and help you get back to a state of good mental health. If necessary they will refer you on for more specialist support.

Mental health services in Milton Keynes

  • Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust  offer mental health services across Milton Keynes for people of all ages
     
  • Kooth - a free and anonymous online counselling and emotional well-being service for children and young people aged 11-19 living in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes which has been commissioned by the local NHS and Local Authorities. Children and young people who need a bit of extra support, are worrying about their future or experiencing difficulties at school or at home, can use it to:
    • get advice, support and guidance for any problem, no matter how big or small. 
    • chat online to professional counsellors,
    • read articles written by young people
    • join forums covering  topics ranging from exam stress and anxiety to eating disorders and grief to receive peer-to-peer support, access self-help materials and keep a daily journal
        
  • The Adult Care and Health Directory has information about local community services and the Mental Health and Autism Social Care Team
     
  • Bedford, Luton & Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group directory has information on mental health services and resources in Milton Keynes
  • Milton Keynes Talking Therapies Service (IAPT) are effective and confidential treatments delivered by fully trained and accredited NHS practitioners. They can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.

Mental health campaigns and resources

Every mind matters

Every Mind Matters is the first government mental health campaign that focuses on protecting and improving people’s mental health

Heads Up

HeadsUp is a local campaign that aims to prompt men to recognise when they are feeling low and how to take action. The website can be used:

  • for an online check-up and toolkit for men's mental wellbeing

  • to see information on what local services are available to support men before crisis point is reached

  • to find out how to support a man in your life who may be feeling low

See The Signs

See The Signs is a local campaign to encourage awareness of how to support someone with suicidal thoughts and encourage us to talk openly about suicide.

Five Ways to Wellbeing

Evidence suggests there are five steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing - if you give them a try, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life. All five of these actions are free, easily achievable and can be done by anyone. You might already be doing some of the ‘5 ways’ without even being aware of it!

1. Connect

Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important. Talking about how we are feeling, or just having a catch up can be really helpful. You can stay connected via email, social media, video calling or telephone. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Evidence shows that good relationships with family, friends and our wider communities are important for our mental wellbeing and that happy people have stronger social relationships than less happy people – this may be because social networks promote a sense of belonging and wellbeing. There's also evidence that being around people with strong mental wellbeing can improve your own mental wellbeing.

Building relationships for wellbeing means:

  • strengthening your relationships with people who are close to you, such as family and friends
  • broadening your relationships in your community and the wider world

Some local services you might find useful:

Links to find out about connecting:

  • NHS Choices - connect for mental wellbeing
  • The Silver Line - a confidential, free helpline for people over 65 years of age across the UK which is open every day and night of the year it offers information, friendship and advice and links callers to local groups and services and can offer regular befriending calls
  • Age UK is a charity working with older people and offers help, information and advice

For more information, read the article published on Mind.

2. Be active

Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness, and make it a part of your life.

What you do with your body can have a powerful effect on your mental wellbeing. Regular physical activity is associated with a greater sense of wellbeing and lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.

Participating in as little as 10 minutes of activity can increase mood. So although adults should aim to be active for at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) a week, being active in bouts of 10 minutes or more is a great way to start – and if it helps you to feel good then why not give it a go.

Some local services you might find helpful:

  • Physical Activity MK promotes physical activity opportunities within Milton Keynes
  • the Sports Development team supports and co-ordinates a range of sporting and recreation opportunities for everyone across Milton Keynes
  • Walking for Health can guide you to the nearest nature walks within five miles of Milton Keynes

Other places to find more information about getting active:

3. Take notice

Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Some people call this awareness 'mindfulness', and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. 

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present (through our sensations, thoughts and feelings) directly enhances wellbeing.

Some local services you might find helpful:

  • Parks and Open Spaces in Milton Keynes details the best green spaces around the city for recreation and lakeside walks
  • The Parks Trust Milton Keynes runs events from the Proms in Campbell Park to nature reserve open days, as well as organised walking groups 
  • MK Gallery offers a programme of exhibitions, events and international contemporary visual art as one of the UK's leading galleries.

Other places to find more information about getting advice:

4. Keep learning

Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun and can give you a sense of achievement and confidence and it can also improve mental wellbeing. It doesn’t have to mean getting qualifications. There are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life. 

For children, learning plays an important role in social and cognitive development. However, continuing to learn through life can improve and maintain our mental wellbeing. The opportunity to engage in work or educational activities may help to lift older people out of depression.

NHS Choices – learn for mental wellbeing

Some local services you might find helpful

  • Support your wellbeing at Smile:)MK -  a programme of courses delivered by Adult Education (part of Community Learning MK) aimed at supporting people with mild to moderate depression, anxiety and/or sleep difficulties by providing access to various learning activities
  • Adult Learning - Community Learning
  • Tourism and Culture
  • Milton Keynes Libraries
  • Arts for Health (Milton Keynes) uses arts and creativity to improve health and wellbeing
  • The Open University offers flexible part-time study, supported distance and open learning for undergraduate and postgraduate courses and qualifications
  • Milton Keynes College offers full time and part time courses from GCSEs to HNDs, as well as professional skills courses and apprenticeships
  • Cranfield University based in Milton Keynes offers research, postgraduate education and professional development

5. Give

Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

Giving is the ability to cope with life’s problems and make the most of life’s opportunities. It’s about feeling good and functioning well, both as individuals and collectively.

Even the smallest act of giving or kindness counts, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts of giving or kindness, such as volunteering at your local community centre, or joining a community group can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. 

Feelings of happiness and life satisfaction have been strongly linked with active participation in social and community life. Helping, sharing and giving are likely to be linked with an increased sense of self-worth and positive feelings.

Giving to others and co-operating with them can stimulate the reward areas in the brain, creating positive feelings.

Helping and working with others can also give us a sense of purpose and feelings of self-worth.

Giving our time to others in a constructive way helps us strengthen our relationships and build new ones. Relationships with others also help mental wellbeing.

Volunteering in Milton Keynes

There are a range of opportunities to volunteer in Milton Keynes. The following links provide details of volunteering opportunities in a range of settings from libraries, heritage and culture, outdoors, and caring:

  • Volunteering in Milton Keynes is for everyone, whatever your age or situation, whether you have a short amount of time, are looking for a one off opportunity or something more regular to get your teeth into
  • www.ncvo.org.uk is committed to supporting, enabling and celebrating volunteering in all its diversity with resources for all aspects of volunteering
  • search through one million opportunities to volunteer at national web-site vcconnect.org.

Links to find out about giving:

Workplace health and wellbeing

Workplace health and wellbeing - national and local resources to support organisations and businesses to support workplace mental health and wellbeing

Social clubs in Milton Keynes

Are you lonely? Do you want to attend social clubs and meet new people? Do you enjoy trying new things? If yes, then Milton Keynes has lots to offer.

From Knit and Natter to Open Mic Nights, there’s something for everyone. The organisations listed below provide further details of the social clubs and groups that they offer across Milton Keynes.

Age UK 

Carers MK Support Groups - Carers MK

Alzheimer’s Society

Phoenix Rising

Woburn Sands Town Council 

Newport Pagnell Town Council 

Brooklands Centre 

New Bradwell Town Council

Olney Town Council 

Great Linford Community Hub 

MK Library Events and Activities 

MK Children’s Centres

For other organisations who want to share their social clubs and groups on this page, please contact CCTeam@milton-keynes.gov.uk

MKCC is not responsible for checking these events, please contact event organisers for details.