A range of mental health support is on offer for anyone in Sandwell who is struggling this month, with the council joining efforts to ‘turn Blue Monday green’ tomorrow. The third Monday in January is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year due to the weather, dark nights and post-Christmas money worries. At a time when people may also be feeling low due to the Covid-19 pandemic and third national lockdown, Sandwell residents are being reassured that they are not alone and that support is available.

Green, which is the international colour for mental health awareness, is often seen as the colour of optimism, new beginnings and hope. The council will be sharing information and advice on mental health services. It will also join numerous other organisations and show solidarity by lighting up Sandwell Council House green tomorrow (18 January). People and organisations can show their support to ‘turn Blue Monday green’ by wearing green clothing or a green ribbon and sharing supportive mental health messages on social media.

Despite the pandemic and the Stay at Home rules, people can also host virtual coffee mornings to check in on family, friends and colleagues and can send messages of hope by displaying a picture of a green ribbon in their windows. If people are feeling worried, lonely or anxious, or know someone who is struggling, they do not need to struggle with these feelings alone.

Services available for support include:

·         Black Country Mental Health Helpline – 0800 008 6516

·         The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week run by specialist mental health staff who will provide advice and support.

·         For under 16s, there’s a great online mental wellbeing community at www.kooth.com

·         For advice on how to manage anxiety and stress, search “Every Mind Matters” online.

·         If you are feeling suicidal, Samaritans are also available 24/7 – call 116 123 or visit: www.samaritans.org to speak with a counsellor today.

Councillor Farut Shaeen, the Council’s cabinet member for Living Healthy Lives, said: “It has been such a difficult time lately and I know many people are feeling anxious. No one should feel alone – there are many advice services and resources, including help that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maria Crompton, added: “Maintaining good mental health throughout life is one of our key priorities. With another national lockdown, we are all feeling the pressure and challenges that come with the Covid-19 pandemic, and some people will be particularly affected, especially at this time of year. So now, more than ever – it’s about staying connected in a safe way and showing we care, giving someone a phone call or dropping them a message and sharing information about services that can help if they’re struggling.”