Our Partnership is made up of organisations working closely together to plan services and address the challenges facing health and care services across the area.
In this section you will find links to useful information and publications about our partnership.
We are committed to meaningful conversations with people, on the right issues at the right time. We believe this is an important part of the way we work.
Engagement gives people an opportunity to have their say on services. By gathering people's views, it helps us understand what matters to people.
In this section you will find all Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made to our Partnership. You can also ask a question of your own.
We all need to see and speak to people, and there are a lot of things you could try to help you not feel so lonely. Why not see how many of these you could try? Make a list of friends and their phone numbers or Skype details and keep it somewhere that is easy to see, like up on your fridge. If you’re feeling lonely, try calling a few friends and have a catch up.
Try video calling with Skype, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger, these are free and allow you to see people’s faces. You could even do something 'together' like a coffee break, or eating a meal, doing an online quiz… using the video feature can make you feel like you’re together even when you’re not. Let family know that you’re self-isolating and would love to hear from them.
Many people find writing a diary helpful. It doesn’t have to be a traditional diary, it could be pictures or poems if you prefer.
Experts suggest that structuring your day could help - for example, getting dressed each morning and having set mealtimes each day. You could have practical tasks to do each day, if you’re not working, this could be time to finally sort the back of the wardrobe or the weeds in the garden.
Try to reframe your thoughts, if you can. It’s better if we can accept a lack of control, and see the positives. Could you get a book delivered, or is there one on your shelf that you’ve been meaning to read? Could you make a list of films you’ve been hoping to see and enjoy getting through them? Is there something you’d like to learn that you could block out in your day, like learning to cook something new or doing a free online course? What would you enjoy that you can do at home?
If you’re living with people, try to avoid arguments and conflicts as much as you can. These won’t help the situation. If you start getting angry or an argument is starting, most people find that taking just take five minutes away from the situation to calm down is helpful.
Remember that people respond differently to challenging situations, and everyone deals with anxiety differently. You don’t have to develop a new hobby or ‘make the most of the pandemic’. Perhaps what you need is rest, and that’s ok too.
You can get support for your wellbeing from the Every Mind Matters website.
This is a strange situation for all of us, and it’s normal to feel scared when things are so uncertain and you may be worried about your health or the health of your loved one. Instead try and take as many steps as possible to protect yourself, feel grateful for what you can, and if you need help, then please speak to someone.
These tips to cope with anxiety and depression may help. Or call Anxiety UK on: 03444 775774, or use their Live Chat Advisory Service. Alternatively, you may find the following ideas useful:
These are unprecedented times, with information changing regularly. It can be difficult to digest and understand what it all really means to you. Use a trusted source for your information on the coronavirus, such as the NHS website so you'll know the information is accurate.
Articles and headlines you read on social media can make you scared and anxious. Try to remember that sensational stories that have shock value make people more likely to read them, and that fake news is common on social media. This Behind the Headlines coronavirus page provides expert opinions on stories in the news and the evidence, or not, behind them.
Caring for someone can be a full-time job so taking a break every so often is vital for your wellbeing and quality of life. Although it’s more difficult to take a break away from your home right now, it’s important you still take time for yourself. After a break, many people feel stronger and rejuvenated - ready to take on their responsibilities with renewed vigour and a more positive outlook. It may help to: sit in the garden; listen to music; read a book; go for a walk; learn a new skill; connect with people on line; talk to your friends on social media; or have a virtual social gathering with family or friends. Sometimes you don’t need a long break, 10 minutes relaxation or breathing exercises can make you feel revitalised. There are lots of free apps out there for you to try.
Virtual tours are best enjoyed using headphones so you can get of feeling of peace and quiet - and being there. Your loved ones and children might also enjoy these tours. You can tour London or visit museums and zoos. Why not be adventurous and try a tour of these American National Parks or watch the pandas at Atlantic Zoo.
Google Earth is offering virtual tours of some of the world's most incredible national parks to provide an escape for people you can be mentally whisked-away to inspiring destinations on the other side of the planet. You can visit your bucket-list of America's national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite, the alligators of the Everglades and the rock salt basins and of Death Valley. There are so many choices available, go wild and explore!
Stress is part of everyday life and, for many carers stress can be a major factor affecting their health. Stress is caused by the many demands made on our time and energy and the expectations we have of ourselves. Not all stress is negative – stress can alert you to potential dangers and can also spur you on to achieve a goal or complete a task. However, sometimes the balance tips too far and the pressure can become so intense or so persistent that you may feel unable to cope.
Stress can make it hard to cope with the demands of caring. You can become more and more exhausted, tense and irritable, putting a strain on relationships. This can make you feel you are losing control over your life and that there is no way of regaining this control.
Coping with stress
The symptoms of stress can be both mental and physical, and can vary. Symptoms can include anxiety, anger, depression, lack of appetite, sleeplessness, crying often, tiredness and difficulty concentrating. Physical symptoms can include cramps, muscle spasms, chest pains, dizziness, restlessness, nervous twitches and breathlessness. The first step in dealing with stress is to recognise that it is happening. You may have so little time to yourself that you don’t realise at first. When you do start noticing the symptoms of stress do not struggle on, hoping it will go away. The sooner you deal with the problem, the better, and just talking about how you feel can help you find a way to deal with it.
Depression is an illness, just as flu and chickenpox are. Depression is one of the most common medical conditions in Britain today. It’s really common and in fact one in five people will suffer from some form of depression at some time in their life. Usually this is a temporary low however sometimes depression can go on to play a large part in our lives.
Knowing what the symptoms are, who you should talk to and what treatments are available should help you deal with depression quickly. Depression is when we feel low or sad and can’t find any pleasure in life. Many of us feel like this sometimes, but depression is when these feeling last longer and are more extreme. Other symptoms of depression include:
Depression can build up gradually, so you may not realise how much it is affecting you. And because of the stressful nature of their lives, carers can be more prone to depression. If you have recognised any of these symptoms in yourself, you may be affected by depression.
Talking to other people who are in a similar situation can be a great help. Not everyone finds this easy but it may be a surprise to find that others feel the same way as you. For example, you could join a local carers' group to share your experiences, or talk online using their chat function. Your local carers' group or local council may also be able to help you get a break from caring.
If you can, talk to your family and friends as well. Just talking about how you feel and getting it out into the open, can make you feel better. Sharing your feelings and problems with those close to you may mean that they realise that you need more help from them.
It's important to find time to rest and energise, even if it’s going for a walk, listening to music or watching a favourite film. Visit our looking after your health and getting care and support sections may help you consider ways to make time for yourself. The important thing is not to push those feelings away – it is important to allow yourself to feel these perfectly normal feelings and not get overwhelmed with guilt.
Sleep is a vital part of our daily life and keeps us healthy, both physically and mentally. As a carer you may be having broken or not enough sleep. Occasionally, having a disturbed night will affect you the following day, but if you are having trouble sleeping for longer than a night or two, then everything will seem harder. You may find that you are constantly tired, go to sleep during the day, have trouble concentrating and making decisions, feel overwhelmed and start feeling depressed.
Carers can often find it difficult to have a good night’s sleep especially if the person you care for needs help or disturbs you in the night. Caring for someone brings extra pressures, such as money worries, emotional worry, isolation, along with not having to look after yourself. All of these can contribute to stress, which can make it hard to get to sleep, and keep you awake at night. These tips for getting better sleep may offer some guidance and support to help you. If your sleep continues to be a problem, speak to your GP.
Talk to your GP, and remember that you’re not alone; your GP will have seen a lot of patients with depression and stress-related problems and will not judge you. Your GP may recommend counselling or another talking treatment. A counsellor will listen to you, and help you to find ways of dealing with your stress. Again, they are not there to judge you.
There are also medicines you might be able to take to relieve some of the symptoms of stress. If stress is making you feel depressed, your GP may prescribe antidepressants to help make life feel better. Different antidepressants suit different people, so if you aren’t happy with the one you are prescribed, go back to your GP. Consider all of your options before taking antidepressants. Ask your GP for information about side effects. Tell your GP if you would prefer to try talking treatments first.
Caring for someone can be very rewarding and can bring you closer together, but it can also be challenging and sometimes upsetting. Many carers can all too easily get caught in a cycle of resentment and guilt; resentful that their life is no longer their own, and guilty for feeling like this. It is important to acknowledge these feelings and not bottle them up. It’s also important to make sure that you look after yourself. This page on the CarersUK website contains information to help you think about your feelings and suggests ways to get the support you need.
You may feel that you should be doing more, or doing something better, in terms of your actual caring role. Then you feel guilty because you 'aren't doing a good job'. Remember that in some situations the person you are caring for may also feel guilty. It is possible they feel guilty about being a 'burden' or they see the affect caring has on your life. Do not punish yourself for feeling like this; acknowledge the feeling and move forward.
It is normal to feel resentful that your life is not perhaps the one you imagined. Perhaps your relationship with the person you care for has changed and you miss how it used to be. The person you are caring for may not always seem to appreciate what you are doing for them. You are bound to be affected by this.
The stress of lockdown means that domestic violence is on the rise. If this is happening to you, it's important to know that you are not alone. Even if you are unable to leave your home at the moment, you can still access support through these helplines. If you are in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police. Silent calls will work if you are not safe to speak, use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted. You can also register with the police text service - text REGISTER to 999. You will get a text which tells you what to do next. Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.
Talk about the issue to the person you are caring for or to someone else that you trust. If you can, talk to your friends and family. Let them know how you are managing and ask them for their support and help.
If you don't feel able to share these feelings with friends and family, talking to other carers can help. They will be familiar with what you are going through and may be able to suggest solutions that have worked for them. Do you know someone who has been a carer? Is there a carers' group nearby? Have you thought about joining an online carers' discussion forum?
The Carers UK forum is a place where you can share what's on your mind, day and night.