Dr Jeff SchryerIn April this year I ran the Manchester Marathon, not my smartest decision, but I wanted to be able to say I have managed one! I enjoy running – it’s great for stress relief and helps to keep my weight down. I have always wanted to run at least one marathon so completing a marathon in my hometown has been a fantastic personal achievement!

What did I learn from my experience? Plan months ahead! This was the main thing that helped me through the journey.

I had a clear goal, a focus and a plan. By focusing on a plan and taking small steps such as doing a 5km first then a 10km followed by a half-marathon, there were achievable celebrations along the journey!

Of course there are always hiccups on the way, I expected them. So I involved my friends from when I first started training as it’s always easier to train and learn together, and I asked advice from the experts who had trod this path before.

Recently I went to a conference highlighting the importance of mental health in general practice. It is known noted that nine out of ten adults with mental health problems are treated in primary care and one in three GP consultations have a significant mental health component.

However, we also know many people with anxiety and depression live with their pain, fear every day and don’t seek help, fearing or not knowing how to talk about it. Help is available but they don’t necessarily seek or receive it.

At the conference MIND, a mental health charity, demonstrated a brilliant set of tools for helping people to talk about depression, anxiety and other mental health issues (although the principals I am sure can be applied to all areas).

There is a great video to watch and some really useful leaflets that may help you prepare for those difficult conversations. Click here to watch the video or download the leaflet here. Much of the message is about being clear about what the issue is, preparing what you want to discuss and enlisting help from friends or family. Preparation and planning to make the most of that time with a GP, to get the best result. Hopefully it won’t be a marathon!!

If you’re local to Bury, you can also check out Big White Wall for online, anonymous advice available 24/7 or Healthy Minds.