Mental Health and Wellbeing

In these unique and challenging times, it is important to look after ourselves and be aware of not only our Physical Health, but our Mental Health and Wellbeing. 

We have developed a web page which contains some practical tips to support Mental Health and Wellbeing.  Here you will find out about the support that’s available from Occupational Health and our Health and Safety teams.  There’s also a selection of Mental Health and Wellbeing learning resources which includes eLearning, signposting to useful mobile phone applications, mental health related helplines and reports that we hope you find useful.

Resources will be regularly reviewed on a regular basis however if you have any suggestions as to what else needs to be included please let us know by emailing Anne Hawksworth, Learning and Development Office Manager at

Image of the beach on a summers day

Mental Health

One in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point. While mental health problems are common, most are mild, tend to be short-term and are normally successfully treated, with medication, by a GP.

Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems. They are often a reaction to a difficult life event, such as bereavement, but can also be caused by work-related issues. Work can also aggravate pre-existing conditions, and problems at work can bring on symptoms or make their effects worse. For further information click the following link:


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) define stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other type of demand placed on them.” This makes an important distinction between pressure which can be a positive state if managed correctly and stress which can be detrimental to health.  More background information can be found on the HSE website:

For more information open the link below:


Use the support that’s available

This is a challenging time for all of us – and whether we are at work or not many employers provide support.

  • Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programmes, and wider benefits. Use these wherever you need – many have dedicated apps and websites and they aren’t just about counselling. 
  • Sefton Council Occupational Health Service – offers a range of services which includes Occupational Health Nursing and Physicians, Health Promotion, Counselling, Physiotherapy and Psychotherapy.  For referrals, questions or queries, call 0151 934 3650 or email
  • Listening Ear – a telephone support line for member of staff concerned about their emotional wellbeing, mental health, and current situation around Covid-19.  The service is available to all Sefton Council employees including anyone who works in primary, secondary or an Academy within Sefton. Listening Ear has set up a telephone support line on 0800 048 5224.
  • Qwell and Kooth – are safe and confidential online counselling and emotional wellbeing services for Sefton Council, Sefton Schools and Children and Young People.  These services can be accessed through a smart phone, tablet or computer.  

When creating an account choose Sefton from the drop-down menu and the most appropriate role on the second drop down window from the options. After signing up, you will have access to online counsellors every day until 10pm via drop-in sessions or scheduled text-based sessions; self-help materials; moderated forums and personal goal-based journals.

  • Corporate Health and Safety Team are concerned with the physical and psychological health, safety and wellbeing of staff and managers at work, or external factors affecting work. They can advise on changes that may be required to the way we work, the environment and the work itself and can signpost managers and staff to support and tools available where anyone is, or could be at risk of experiencing poor psychological wellbeing, poor mental or physical health.

The team have developed a Psychological Health Risk Assessment guidance and template to enable Managers to carry out a robust risk assessment in the workplace.  Click on the following link for further information – http://intranet.smbc.loc/our-council/health-safety/stress-management.aspx

For further information please contact

  • Active Workforce is a Staff Health & Wellbeing Service, which offers opportunities to improve their health in and around the working day. The programme not only encourages staff to increase their activity levels but also offers opportunities to relieve stress and gain knowledge to help them achieve a healthier lifestyle. The activities range from Exercise Classes, Walking Groups, Monthly Challenge’s, Gym Memberships, Weight Management Courses, Sport Events, Health Seminars to Health Checks, Menopause Groups and a Book Club. All aspects of the programme can now be accessed virtually.  To find out details of the full programme, please visit To register for regular updates about what is on offer for you, please complete the Registration Form
  • It’s quite likely that we will need to accept a certain amount of distress and anxiety relating to the outbreak, in the short and medium term. If you have self-care techniques that work for you, try and make sure that you have what you need. You may need to think differently – for example doing exercise workouts online instead of attending classes. Active Sefton have a wide variety of free exercise classes on their You Tube Channel which can be accessed at any time. Active Workforce also offer 20 minute online Health Seminars including topics such as Stress, Sleep, Back Care and Menopause. You may also want to consider looking at mindfulness practice or finding ways to help others in your community. Self-compassion, and support for others is going to be very important. For access to the Health Seminars or Mindfulness, please email:
  • Staff Health and Wellbeing Toolkit – Sefton Council’s Public Health Team and Communications have put together a Health and Wellbeing Toolkit to help staff navigate this unusual time.  The toolkit contains practical hints and tips whilst working at home, in the community and in the office. The document can be downloaded from here.

eLearning Resources to Support Home Working

Useful applications (please note some of these apps will charge but many are free)

  • Be Mindful – you’ll complete 10 sessions lasting 30 minutes each that consist of video, meditation, audio and interactive exercises.
  • Sleepio – A online sleep improvement programme.
  • Hub of Hope – A national mental health database for supporting help.
  • Feeling Good: Positive Mindset – A series of audio tracks to help build confidence and promotes a positive mindset.
  • Chill Panda – Learn to relax and manage your worries.
  • Beat Panic – To guide people through a panic attack and anxiety.
  • distrACT – Gives discreet access to information and advice about self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Mental Health Related Helplines

Access Sefton

A free, confidential service commissioned by the NHS. The service is available to anyone aged 16+ and registered with a Sefton* GP.


Phone: 0300 303 2708

Alcoholics Anonymous


Phone: 0845 769 7555

Anxiety UK

A charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.

Phone: 0344 477 5774


BEAT are the UK’s eating disorder charity. Founded in 1989 as the Eating Disorders Association, their mission is to end the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders.


Phone: (Adults) 0808 801 0677 (Under 18s) 0808 801 0711

Bipolar UK

A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.


Cruse Bereavement Care


Phone: 0808 808 1677

Kind to your Mind24/7 support phoneline


Phone: 0151 330 7332 (Sefton Helpline – Merseycare) 0151 330 7332 (Children & Young People – Alder Hey Crisis Team) – 0151 293 3577

Listening Ear

A telephone support line for ANY Council employee including ANYBODY who works in a primary, or secondary school or an academy that is located within Sefton.  Available Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm.

Phone: 0800 048 5224

Mental Health Foundation

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.



Promote the views and needs of people with mental health problems.


Phone: 0300 123 3393

Men’s Health Forum

24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.


Narcotics Anonymous


Phone: 0300 999 1212

National Gambling Helpline


Phone: 0808 802 0133

No Panic

A charity that offers support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).


Phone: 0844 967 4848

OCD Action

Support for people with OCD.


Phone: 0845 390 6232

Red Umbrella


Phone: 0300 002 0061

Rethink Mental Illness

Support and advice for people living with Mental Illness.


Phone: 0300 500 0927


The UKs largest provider of relationship support.



Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.


Phone: 116 123 (free 24 hour helpline)


Emotional support for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.


Phone: 0300 304 7000

Textcare: via text message when the person needs it most:

Peer support forum:


Information on child and adolescent mental health.  Service for parents and professionals.


Phone: (Parents helpline) 0808 802 5544

Mental Health Reports and Websites

The online resources are for anyone living and working in the Cheshire and Merseyside area and include apps, courses, podcasts to support mental health and wellbeing . There is also a wellbeing tool within this called “Silvercloud” through which you can complete online courses around sleeping better, easing stress and building resilience

Useful Books

  • Devon, N. (2018) A Beginners Guide to Being Mental. Pan Macmillan London.
  • Hesketh, I. & Cooper, C. (2019) Wellbeing at Work. Kogan Page, London.
  • King, V. (2016) Keys to Happier Living.  Headline, London.
  • Lyubomirsky, S. (2007) The HOW of Happiness.  Piatkus, London.
  • Peters, S. (2018) My Hidden Chimp.  Bonnier Books, London.
  • Peter, D. (2012) The Chimp Paradox. Vermilion, London.
  • William, M & Penman, D (2011) Mindfulness; A practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World. Paitkus, London.