Local people who need help with low mood or anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic can now attend a group course, or get one-to-one support, without leaving the comfort of their own home.

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s MyWellbeing College has run guided self-help courses for some time but, due to social distancing, is now offering them online rather than in local venues and has switched its face-to-face appointments to a phone or video call – although anyone requiring crisis mental health support should call the Trust’s 24/7 First Response service on 01274 221 181.

Psycho-Educational Courses Lead Jayne Chapman said: “We’re all still in a very unusual situation due to the pandemic – and that means there are more stresses and strains than usual, with lots of unknowns and some things outside of our control.

“People are worried not just about the virus, but jobs and finances, and lockdown has also highlighted feelings of loneliness and relationship pressures. We’re here to help anyone who is feeling stressed, worried, anxious or low.”

Managing MyAnxiety looks at what anxiety is and how it can affect people, before offering helpful solutions for managing challenging thoughts, dealing with panic and sleeping better.

Managing MyDepression offers a range of techniques to help manage low mood, exploring why we feel depressed and offering relaxation techniques as well as useful ways to tackle problems.

Both courses are now online via live webinar, once a week for six weeks, in sessions lasting about an hour. You don’t need any special software or equipment, just a smartphone, tablet or computer connected to the internet.

MyWellbeing College also offers one-to-one guided self-help comprising fortnightly sessions with a therapist and working through a comprehensive self-help workbook. The sessions are available for a range of common mental health issues including health anxiety, panic, obsessive compulsive disorder and specific phobia.

Both the courses and one-to-one guided self-help are free of charge, run by experienced NHS psychotherapists and open to everyone over the age of 16 who is registered with a GP in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale or Craven and is not currently undertaking other psychological therapies.

Jayne Chapman said: “We want to reassure people it’s okay and perfectly normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless and that help is available from the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is visit our website or pick up the phone to enroll on a course or get one-to-one support.”

Previous participants have explained how working with MyWellbeing College has benefitted them and made them realise “we all feel the same at one time or another”. Comments have included:

  • “I don’t feel as alone.”
  • “Even though I was initially sceptical about being in a group, it felt like we were ‘all in it together’.”
  • “This was my first experience of mental health support and it has made such a difference to my day to day life in how I approach stressful situations.”
  • “I’ve learnt that my thoughts and feelings affect what I do, and I now have practical ways in which to break the cycle.”
  • “I feel much more in control of my thoughts and actions. Things really made sense.”

The next Managing MyDepression courses run on Mondays at 1.30pm from 22 June or Tuesdays at 6pm from 4 August. Managing MyAnxiety is on Tuesdays at 6pm from 23 June, Tuesdays at 1.30pm from 7 July, or Wednesdays at 10am from 8 July. To register for these courses or access one-to-one help, enrol at the MyWellbeing College website or call 0300 555 5551 (press option 3).