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Sefton Mental Health Awareness Week

Tackling loneliness in Sefton this Mental Health Awareness Week

Leaders in Sefton are aiming to break the stigma of loneliness during Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), by encouraging residents to open up and talk about their experiences of loneliness and how it impacts their mental health.

Long-term loneliness is closely linked to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and isolation from loved ones. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for many people and those with mental health issues have seen them worsen over the last year or so. Often people feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about feelings of loneliness and how it is affecting their mental health and wellbeing.

Local leaders from Sefton Council and the NHS in Sefton are using Mental Health Awareness Week as an opportunity to encourage conversations around loneliness. They are taking to social media using the hashtag #SeftonInMind to share information on support services in Sefton that are available to all residents to support them with their mental health, feelings of loneliness, or to offer a listening ear to anyone who just needs to talk.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“Now more than ever, many of us may recognise the feelings of loneliness and isolation, but the NHS and our support services in Sefton are here to help our residents during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond.

“We may feel embarrassed to talk about our feelings but it’s time to break the stigma and start the conversation. You’d be surprised when you open up to others, how often you will hear ‘I’ve been there’.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said:

“If you’ve been feeling lonely and your mental health is suffering, you are not alone. This week is a great opportunity to reach out and talk to a friend or family member, or get help from one of our support services in Sefton.

“We can also all help to tackle loneliness in our local areas by reaching out to those who may be at more risk of isolation, such as elderly people, unpaid carers and those in our LGBTQ+ community. Just starting a conversation can really help to lift someone’s spirits and give some much needed social connection.”

To find information on mental health support services in Sefton during Mental Health Awareness Week, you can search for the hashtag #SeftonInMind or follow the Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton CCG, and NHS Southport and Formby CCG social media channels.

You can also find a list of mental health support services for adults in Sefton at: or mental health support service for children and young people at:

Mental Health Awareness Week is organised every year by the Mental Health Foundation as an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. Find out more about the event at:


Sefton schools come together to talk mental health

Published at the request of the local CCGs

School staff in Sefton are set to get more help and support

Around mental health and wellbeing for them and their pupils, through the launch of a new virtual network. 

The education and mental health network hosts a virtual event each half term that teachers, schools’ support staff and representatives from mental health services can attend. Each event includes a presentation from a local school, offers of training and services, and a group discussion on overcoming mental health challenges.

The network is the latest in a range of mental health support initiatives for schools led by Sefton Emotional Health Partnership. The partnership also leads several Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) in Sefton, who work in schools and colleges to deliver early intervention for young people with mild to moderate mental health issues.

The partnership has launched the new network after positive feedback from the Education and Mental Health in Schools Conference - an event they hosted earlier this year in Sefton. The conference was themed around ‘growing together’ and aimed to promote early detection and prevention of mental health problems within schools and colleges.

Jenna Crosbie is a project manager for the Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) in Sefton and co-organised the conference.

She said:

“We are delighted to launch the education and mental health network, after bringing together so many school staff earlier in the year.

“The conference in February proved to be so popular that our new network was launched only a few weeks later, to enable staff to continue to meet up and share their knowledge and experiences with other schools across the borough.”

All school staff who attended the conference said that they felt their knowledge of mental health support across Sefton had grown as a result - something that healthcare leaders are keen to continue with the launch of the education and mental health network. Attendees at the conference learned about the support available for children and young people in the borough from a variety of presentations given by local mental health support services, such as SWAN Women’s Centre, Parenting 2000, The Samaritans, Alder Hey Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and many more.

Attendees also took part in interactive workshops and breakout sessions to share ideas and discuss topics such as concerns about mental health in schools and overcoming barriers to getting mental health support.

Peter Wong, children and young people commissioning lead at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“We believe that mental health can be ‘championed’ and talked about in exactly the same way as physical health. Events like these aim to make sure that we can all learn from each other’s experiences, to ensure that we support the emotional wellbeing of every young person in Sefton.”

Staff from schools in Sefton who would like to join the education and mental health network can email Sharon Cotterall, children and families development officer at Sefton CVS and chair of the education and mental health network at:

Sefton Emotional Health Partnership brings together Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Southport and Formby CCG, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, schools and voluntary community and faith (VCF) sector colleagues.

To find out more about the MHSTs in Sefton, visit:

If you are looking for mental health support in Sefton for children and young people, you can find a list of services by visiting:




Previous Notes and Stories

Just in case you were planning to come to Formby, you ought to be aware that high tides will reduce the amount of beach available for play or parking.

Time to relax more, I'm going to take a break from social media, enjoy your weekend




Enough said!

Is this a sign of retail recovery in our village high street?

I wish our house had visitors like this, red squirrels have been spotted nearby on the estate, but despite lots of trees near the house, none have been tempted.

Still, we live in hope, have a good day. Incidentally these are great photos.

Formby is full!

One of my weekly 'must reads', here's the latest edition.

Lots of jellyfish have been spotted on Formby beach, one visitor even reported that they got stung. Mind where you tread.

You can't stop people from open water swimming when the sun comes out

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Disappointing behaviour in Formby

English Commoners History

What you really know about Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest?

For Twitter followers of my account  @formbyvillage you will note my abiding interest in the idea and practice of the commons and commoning. I hope you find this video interesting.

Professor Peter Linebaugh, the acclaimed historian of commons, discusses the social and political histories of English commoners caught up in their struggles with state power and early capitalists. He explains the importance of Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest; the criminalization of customary practices as early capitalism arose; the special relationship of women to the commons and therefore their persecution; and the role of commoning in struggles for political emancipation.




Understanding Tai Chi

Is Tai Chi useful during Covid lockdown? Tai-chi

I don't know about you but I've always been interested in Tai Chi since the 80s. On one occasion my family and I spent a fortnight living in the 13th Arrondissement district of Paris.

Everyday local residents came out of their homes and in groups to carry out their Tai Chi exercises.

The National Health Service has the following explanations.

Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, combines deep breathing and relaxation with flowing movements. Originally developed as a martial art in 13th-century China, tai chi is now practised around the world as a health-promoting exercise.

Are there different styles of tai chi?

Yes, such as yang, chen and wu. Some teachers often practise a combination of styles. The main differences between the different tai chi styles are in the speed of movement and the way the body holds the postures.

Am I too old for tai chi?

No, tai chi is commonly performed as a low-impact exercise, which means it won't put much pressure on your bones and joints. Most people should be able to do it.

Can tai chi help with arthritis?

There is some evidence that tai chi can improve mobility in the ankles, hips and knees in people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is still not known if tai chi can reduce pain or improve the quality of life for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr Paul Lam explans the principles behind Tai Chi.


There is a huge amount of Tai Chi teaching resources on YouTube. During this second Covid lockdown and in Autumn and Winter outdoors exercise is much less practical.

Why not try Tai Chi indoors?

I'm going too, I'll let you know how it goes.


From hospital volunteer to NHS care.

Published on behalf of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust.

From hospital volunteer to NHS care.

Volunteer katy at ODGHa
Volunteers play a very important role in life at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.  Due to the pandemic, many existing volunteers had to stay at home to shield from the virus, so the Trust called out to other local people for help.  One of those who came forward was Katy McMahon.

Katy started volunteering as a ‘meet and greet’ volunteer on the front desk at Ormskirk hospital.  Now several months on, she has secured her first ever role, working in the hospital as a healthcare assistant in the radiology department.

Katy explains: 

“I really wanted to help the NHS in some way during the pandemic, I was happy to be placed anywhere but delighted to get the position working on the front desk.

“I volunteered on a Monday and Thursday afternoon, which fitted perfectly around finishing my master's degree, and from the very first day I loved it. Initially I thought being on the front desk would simply involve directing patients and visitors around the hospital, but it is so much more than that. Some days would involve contacting departments for visitors to check on loved ones, while others days would be much busier and could even involve supporting individuals with injuries waiting to go into the Walk-in Centre next door.

“Volunteer manager Irene was incredibly supportive throughout my time volunteering. She would visit or telephone the desk regularly to see how we were getting along and would always be available to contact regarding any questions or queries we may have had.”

“As my Masters is in Public Health, it was always my plan to work within healthcare. Although, after months of failed applications I began to lose hope that this would ever happen. I had managed to secure a couple of interviews, yet due to my lack of hospital experience I was not considered. However, that was until I was contacted to attend an interview for the role of healthcare assistant at Ormskirk.

“Despite only volunteering for a few months, I had learnt so much about the hospital and the NHS in general, which really helped me with my interview questions. For example, from directing patients to the ultrasound department, I understood what scans took place and in which area of the hospital. I also knew so much more about NHS patient confidentiality and standards. Most importantly, I was able to use so many examples of interactions I had with patients which demonstrated my ability to work under pressure, with difficult scenarios and situations which showed my genuine passion to support others.  As a result, I got the job!

“I know that this would never have been possible without volunteering and I would not be in such an amazing job without.

Volunteer manager Irene Gardner continues:

“Katy has been an absolute pleasure to work with. She is very dedicated and incredibly professional, really impressive at such a young age.  I’m delighted that this has led to her first job; in what I am sure will be an impressive career with the NHS. Good luck Katy!”

If you are interested in volunteering at the Trust, please contact Irene on 01704 704796 or email  Roles range from gardener to ward runner, and each give valuable experience for anyone looking for a new role, or their first role.