MENTAL health and wellbeing is everyone’s business.

Everyone will have a friend, family member, work colleague, neighbour or fellow student who is affected. The effects of Covid have been a big extra pressure.

We can all help. It’s good to talk and it’s good to check out how other people are.

If you ask someone how they are then the reply is often ‘I’m fine’, even when it looks like they are not really feeling fine.

Following up with something like ‘Are you sure?’ or ‘How’s work?’ gives a chance to talk.

It at least lets them know you care, without pushing too hard.

If someone wants to talk, it’s good to spend some time listening to what they have to say and getting in to a conversation.

During the pandemic, there have been extra pressures on us all, which means that a bit of extra mutual support and friendly concern is even more important.

Of course, NHS and other mental health and wellbeing services are still there, working even harder than usual.

They can be contacted in the normal ways through GPs, the Council, voluntary, community and faith groups.

Generous mutual support has grown in the last year or so, in Southampton and beyond.

It’s been good to see this happening. If we can all carry on looking out for each other, it’ll be good for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.

Paul Lewzey