Supporting Herefordshire’s Mental Health

Knowing that mental health still holds stigma in rural areas, it is important to keep the conversation goingWe need to continue spreading awareness about it, ensuring people know how it can affect lives, and to let those suffering know they are not working through their difficulties alone. 

What is Mental Health?

For those who are unsure, the term mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing; it is all about how people think, feel, and behave. Poor mental health can have a detrimental effect on people’s day-to-day lives, relationships, and physical health. A decline in mental wellbeing can happen to anyone, at any point, and we should never feel ashamed of needing support – whether that is from family and friends, or from trained professionals. 

Listed are a handful of mental health conditions that you may have come across: 

  • Depression 
    • Clinical depression  
    • Psychotic depression 
    • Postnatal depression 
    • Depression in children and young people 
  • Anxiety 
    • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) 
    • Social anxiety 
    • Health anxiety 
  • Low Mood 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Eating disorders 
    • Anorexia nervosa 
    • Bulimia 
    • Binge eating disorder (BED) 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD) 
  • Body dysmorphic disorder 

If you would like the full list and to look at these in more detail, please see the NHS website.

Mental Health Support in Herefordshire

Alike to our physical health, it is important to look after our mental wellbeing. Challenging times will always occur throughout life, but knowing what support is out there for you and others will be beneficial.

Complementary Therapies 

Yeleni Support Services is a Herefordshire-based, complementary therapy center that caters to everyone’s needs, supporting physical, mental, and emotional health. They also have the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark, which recognises Yeleni as a cancer care center of excellence, meaning that it is an ideal environment where you know you will be supported with sensitivity and respect. 

Complementary therapies sit alongside mainstream medical care, and many people find them helpful as they increase a sense of wellbeing and relaxation, as well as easing the side effects of medication. A selection that has been found to be particularly helpful is acupuncture, aromatherapy massage, Bowen Therapy, hypnotherapy, meditation, reflexology, Reiki, and yoga; these have all been suggested by MIND and Rethink. These therapies can help with symptoms of depression, feelings of stress and anxiety, and insomnia. Hypnotherapy, as an example, can help to identify areas of life that have impacted on mental health and enable the person to deal with them helpfully. 

Many people suggest that complementary therapies can be a less direct/intimidating way of gaining support. Sometimes during a complementary therapy session, difficult feelings can be released. Having one-to-one support from a highly-skilled, friendly, caring therapist in a calm, relaxing environment will also contribute to the sense of increased wellbeing. 

Yeleni also offers a free telephone befriending service for those who are feeling lonely and isolated as well as online wellbeing sessions including seated yoga, gentle exercise, meditation, and others.

Group Support 

Herefordshire Mind, which is a local mental health charity, also offers ongoing support to our community – their focus at the moment is their Safe Haven Service which provides support to anyone over 10 years old who is struggling emotionally. This offers a safe space, a respectful listening ear, and time to explore coping strategies. If necessary, the Safe Haven Team can also refer and direct you to further services too. This excellent service is open 7 nights a week at their Community Hub from 5.00 pm until 10.00 pm. It is free and offers support over email, telephone, or face to face.  

In addition to this support, Herefordshire Mind offers a number of groups that are free to attend such as, Active Minds, Art Space, Mind Gardening, Poetry Workshops, Shared Reading, and Mindful Breathing & Relaxation. You can find out more information about these on their website. 

Loss & Grief 

Something that we all will experience in life is loss, whether that is a loved one, relationship, pregnancy, pet, or job. With this loss comes grief, which is a completely normal and natural reaction. A number of thoughts and feelings can come into play when dealing with a loss, and it can be hard to understand them.  

Dawn Ford is a loss and wellbeing specialist based in Hereford, whose main work is to deliver the life-changing Grief Recovery Method (GRM). This is an 8-session programme, teaching you a set of emotional tools; helping you to make peace with past hurts and trauma ‘by gaining the knowledge that leaning into your emotions, no matter how painful, is the natural way to heal the pain.’ 

The GRM is a ‘unique, holistic approach to loss’ where you will have the opportunity to reflect upon two significant relationships within the sessions. Dawn Ford says, “The success of the programme is dependent upon your honesty and your willingness to think about things that you have said. The requirement of you to participate so proactively in your own healing journey is what makes this programme so unique and empowering. You acquire the skills to take ownership of your emotions and without forgetting experiences, you can resolve the grief and pain which often comes with memory.”

Men’s Mental Health 

Although mental health can affect anyone, discrimination and stigma can make people apprehensive about reaching out for help. This is often the case with men, and they tend to suffer in silence. The stereotypical view of a man is to be tough and fearless, and society holding those characteristics against men means that many will not reach out when they need support. As a result of this, men often turn to self-medicating with the use of alcohol or drugs, which can make things a lot worse.  

Hereford Men’s Mental Health Group provides a safe place for men who are at risk of, are suffering from, or have recovered from, mental health conditions. On the second Monday of every month, the group meets and offers men of all ages to come along. There is no obligation to talk about personal issues but knowing there is a safe space to communicate with others may make it easier to open up. Additional to this there is a WhatsApp group set up, so there is the choice to use that outside of the meetings.

Self Care

As well as having formal treatment it is important to know about self-care techniques and have a go at them. Not only can they help existing problems, but they can also prevent some developing and getting worse. Some to try are: 

  • Staying aware of our mental health by spotting early warning signs, keeping a mood diary and telling people around us, including the doctor, about what helps. 
  • Stay connected with family and friends; this can help us feel valued and confident about ourselves, as well as helping with having a different perspective on things. If going to family and friends is not an option, trying community events could be a good place to start. 
  • Peer support can bring people together, who have had similar experiences, to support one another. Helping to feel accepted, increase self-confidence, challenging stigma and discrimination and finding out new places for support. 
  • Make time for therapeutic activities, such as relaxation, mindfulness and getting into nature. 
  • Looking after our physical health by getting enough sleep, keeping physically active, avoid drugs and alcohol, make time for personal care, and eating healthily. 

Matt Owen, who is a personal trainer based in Hereford, explains that “Exercising is a great way to help relieve stress from all personal and work life. Having that get away from other life factors can really help take away any thoughts that get you down. Having that one hour away, in your own bubble and exercising can turn a negative mindset into a positive one, with it helping to relieve negative thoughts and energy. After completing a session, you get those post workout endorphins, helping to give relief and happiness in our other worries. Exercising can change you mentally & physically, both growing stronger together in harmony.” 

Going to the gym can be quite daunting, and can often make people feel quite anxious, so Matt has created a short video discussing five tips to reduce anxiety at the gym.  



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A post shared by Matt Owen | PT & Online Coach (@mattowenfitness)

Find Mental Health & Wellbeing Support in Herefordshire

Take a look at our Wellbeing section for more mental health and wellbeing support throughout Herefordshire.  

Anytime Fitness Hereford

Catherine Gennard – The Emerging Woman Coach

Dawn Ford Advanced Loss and Wellbeing Specialist

Flawless Physique

Garry Jones Coaching

Also, if you provide services or support to the community, please get in touch so we can get you listed on What’s In Hereford. 

1 thought on “Supporting Herefordshire’s Mental Health”

  1. Brilliant article. It’s a good place to start as you can find all sorts of ideas to boost mood. I also didn’t realise Hereford had such an array of holistic therapists. Well done team

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