In our weekly spot where we chat about wellbeing and mental health, a wish for a bit of movie magic in the midst of taxing times.

Hello everyone, hoping we find you warm and as well as can be.

Here at Film Stories we try to convey a sense of optimism, of cracking on and getting through stuff. And yes, sometimes it is helpful to look for the positive when the world outside our windows looks bleak.

But we are also realists. For a huge number of people, these are not just bad days, they are shitty days. And they are relentless, overwhelming, and sometimes seemingly without end.

We wish we could take some movie magic, sprinkle it like January snow and make those Disney endings come true. But – of course – life is not a film script. We know that so many of you who visit this site are going through very hard times.

Time is also missing. Time spent with older people, with your loved ones. Deducted as a terrible price paid to the pandemic. Given up to keep each other safe, but irreplaceable in terms of memories, of guilt. Many of you have lost jobs, lost homes, lost the very foundations meant to protect you during the worst of times.

Some of you are walking the hardest path of all – you’ve lost family. Something irreplaceable has been taken from your lives. Even when the pandemic begins to lift, and normal service is resumed, there’s a hollow there. An emptiness at the table, a missing voice in both celebration and commiseration.

I see the newly widowed neighbour walking past my window with her head bowed, a single where once there was always a double, and my heart breaks for her.

And guilt is hanging over us right now. Over the parents doing their best to hold it together, to balance childcare and work, of not having the resources at hand to connect all the wheels on their particular train to tracks warped and blistered by outside forces. Many people who feel like their best efforts are simply not enough, and lie fretting in the dark hours, wondering how they can squeeze that last ounce of themselves out for the good of others.

This week, we’re acknowledging the darkness. Our demons have been made real, they can’t be chased away by sunshine and a cheery virtual hug. The grief and stress and uncertainty are real, and they are valid emotions. We repeat, these are shitty times.

We often post support links here, and we will continue to do so. There are people out there who can offer support, practical yet consoling words, or a lamp in the darkest moments. Grief and sadness cast a pool of darkness around us; let others in if you can to brighten the way forward.

To everyone passing this way, thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, wherever possible. Pick up the phone, have a natter with someone. Email an old friend, ask one another if you are okay. Take care of your hearts.

Jane.

Support is available from the following organisations:

In an emergency, life threatening situation only, call 999 immediately. 24hrs a day every day.

https://www.nhs.uk/…/urgent-and…/when-to-call-999/

For urgent but none emergency medical attention call 111 (or 0845 46 47 in certain areas of Wales.) 24hrs a day every day.

https://www.nhs.uk/…/urgent-and-emergency-care/nhs-111/

For your local crisis team contact 111 at any time of day and ask for their details. Crisis teams are available to offer support in times of a mental health crisis. This number works in England, Wales (also call 0845 46 47) and Scotland.

https://www.nhs.uk/…/urgent-and-emergency-care/nhs-111/

S.O.S – Silence Of Suicide

Phone lines are open 9am until midnight 7 days a week (including every day over Christmas and New Year) Volunteers are waiting to listen to your worries so please don’t suffer in silence. If you are over 18 then call;

0300 1020 505

www.sossilenceofsuicide.org

[email protected]

PAPYRUS

Young suicide prevention society for under 35’s

Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 – (Mon to Fri, 10am to 5pm & 7 to 10pm. Weekends and bank holidays, 2pm to 5pm)

Website: www.papyrus-uk.org

Child Line for any issues at all for under 16s

0800 1111

https://www.childline.org.uk

Samaritans

Phone UK and ROI 24hrs a day, 365 days a year

116 123

Text 07725 909090

Email [email protected]

Welsh language line 7pm to 11pm 7 days a week

08001640123

https://www.samaritans.org

No Panic

10am to 10pm then pre recorded crisis help after this time

0844 9674848 5p per min

Youth 13 – 20

0300 7729844

https://www.nopanic.org.uk

British Red Cross

0344 871 1111 Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm

Borrow a wheelchair / disability aid line

0300 456 1914 Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm

https://www.redcross.org.uk

Mind Mental Health charity info line

0300 123 3393 Mon – Fri 9am to 6pm (closed 25th 26th Dec and 1st Jan and all bank holidays)

Text 86463

https://www.mind.org.uk

Re-Think Mental Health

0300 5000 927 10am to 2pm Mon – Fri

Email [email protected]

https://www.rethink.org

The Mix 13 to 25 year olds

0808 808 4994

Their crisis messenger text service provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, and are experiencing any painful emotion or are in crisis, you can text MIX to 85258.

https://www.themix.org.uk

Anxiety UK

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

Phone: 03444 775 774 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5.30pm)

Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.

Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

Website: www.thecalmzone.net

Men’s Health Forum

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

Website: www.menshealthforum.org.uk

Mencap

Charity working with people with a learning disability, their families and carers.

Phone: 0808 808 1111 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)

Website: www.mencap.org.uk

Beat – for people battling eating disorders.

Phone: 0808 801 0677 (adults) 12pm – 8pm Mon to Fri and Weekends 4pm – 8pm or 0808 801 0711 (for under-18s)

Website: www.b-eat.co.uk

Cruse Bereavement Care

Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)

Website: www.cruse.org.uk

Refuge

Advice on dealing with domestic violence.

Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)

Website: www.refuge.org.uk

ManKind

Helping men escape domestic abuse.

Phone: 01823 334244

https://www.mankind.org.uk

Safeline

For people affected by or at risk of sexual abuse or rape.

Phone: 01926 402 498

https://www.safeline.org.uk

Switchboard LGBT+ helpline

Advice and understanding for LGBTQ+

Phone: 0300 330 0630

https://switchboard.lgbt

Email: [email protected]

Financial difficulties and debt:

The websites below offer information on where to get benefits advice and financial support.

https://www.turn2us.org.uk

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/

https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits

https://www.entitledto.co.uk

https://www.nationaldebtline.org

https://www.stepchange.org

https://capuk.org

If there are any useful resources we’ve missed, please put them in the comments. Take care all x

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