Course options available from MyWellbeing College A new NHS MyWellbeing College launches, and is calling on people to enrol on wellbeing focused courses, on what has traditionally become known as the most miserable day of the year – Blue Monday, 16 January.

When life’s ups and downs can leave us feeling low, unable to sleep, anxious or stressed, the new MyWellbeing College, available at www.bmywellbeingcollege.nhs.uk, aims to ward off Blue Monday and increase personal wellbeing by helping people navigate their way through life’s ups and downs.

Blue Monday falls on the third Monday in January, this year 16 January, when Christmas and New Year festivities are little more than a distant memory, and for many people it’s another week until payday, the credit card bill has landed on the mat, work is relentless, the weather is lousy, summer seems an age away and people are reviewing life and are tackling those niggly things they’ve put on hold.

The Blue Monday concept was derived in 2005 by using a calculation involving factors such as poor weather, debt problems, low motivation, abandoned New Year resolutions and returning to work after Christmas, and not from the results of any in-depth research, however, while it had no basis in science, the idea caught on and has become a day that many people have come to dread.

The MyWellbeing College is a free NHS service that is run in partnership by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and local voluntary and community organisations such as Bradford Counselling Services and the Cellar Trust.

The service offers a range of learning opportunities to suit individual needs, people can choose from a variety of options including online courses they can complete in the comfort of their own home to getting out and meeting new people in group courses such as mood matters, which helps overcome low mood, stresspac, which aims to manage stress and anxiety effectively and mindfulness which demonstrates how to “just be” in the present moment. Phone advice or one-to-one courses at a range of locations are also available and the website offers a range of free guides and tools to help people better manage life’s ups and downs.

Forty seven year old Paul Lonsdale experienced low mood and anxiety following work related stress from a demanding career.

Paul explained: “At work my job had changed, which wasn’t necessarily what I wanted or what I was comfortable with.  That led to low confidence, which started to erode away slowly.  That was the trigger for me to experience a bit of anxiety and it snowballed from there.  I realised that something wasn’t really right when I shouted at my cat for being hungry and meowing at me, something he does every single morning as he’s a very greedy cat, and it was just that that made me stand back and realise I needed some help as this wasn’t really me. This isn’t how I should react or how I normally react, so I decided to get some help.

Recognising the signs, Paul decided to enrol on a six weeks mood matters course at MyWellbeing College and has never looked back; crediting the course with giving him the tools he needed to help to tackle the problem.

From the age of eleven Gemma Pywell felt anxious and shy in social settings. This led to Gemma experiencing low mood, anxiety and loneliness during her teenage years. Now 20 years of age and a confident dental nurse, Gemma benefited from enrolling on a stresspac course available through the MyWellbeing College, which led to a boost in self-confidence and a positive impact on her life.

Elaborating further Gemma explained: “I’ve always been quite a shy and anxious person, especially when it came to going places and big groups, that’s always been my big thing, social settings and it’s developed through my teens to low mood and feeling lonely.”  Gemma was offered a variety of options including phone advice, one-to-one or group courses.  “I chose to go for the group course because I’d had one-to-one counselling before and thought this time, why not be a bit more daring so I decided to step out of my comfort zone a little bit. I surprised myself a lot by speaking out in front of the group, which was good.  I definitely feel the experience and the course helped me build my confidence.  Everyone was really welcoming and it was a good way to learn new methods to manage anxiety and stress.”

The MyWellbeing College is open to anyone over the age of 16 who is registered with a GP in Bradford, Wharfedale, Airedale or Craven.

Simon Long, Interim Deputy Director at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to launch the MyWellbeing College as emotional wellbeing is an essential part of all our health. We can all experience problems in everyday life caused by a number of things including relationship problems, bereavement, sleep problems or stress at work, the college offers a range of free courses to give people the tools and resources they need to help cope more effectively. People can refer themselves so they can start straightaway.”

People don’t have to go through their GP to enrol on a course, they can register online at www.bmywellbeingcollege.nhs.uk or give the enrolment team a call on 0300 555 5551 to chat through the range of options available.