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Physical and mental health

Once you are referred to hospital, your waiting journey begins.

Make the most of the time before you see your specialist to improve your physical and mental health. Small changes can make a big difference. Improving your physical and mental health will reduce your risk of complications and will help you recover faster if you need treatment.

The information on this page is aimed at helping you arrive for your appointment or treatment in the best possible physical and mental health. Below you can find information about:

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Mental health

We all have mental health, and life is full of ups and downs for everyone.

Having good mental health helps us relax, achieve and enjoy our lives more. Whilst you are waiting for planned hospital care you might be:

  • Feeling frustrated or lonely.
  • Concerned about your finances, health, relationships or relatives.
  • Feeling down, worried or anxious.

It is okay to feel like this, they are normal reactions to uncertainty and challenging life events.

If you have noticed changes in the way you are thinking or feeling over the past few weeks or months that concern you and cause you distress, see your GP or current mental health practitioner.

If you need urgent medical attention but it is not a life-threatening situation, you should first call 111. If you think life is at risk, you should call 999.

There are services available to help you with your mental health:

  • SHOUT is a free text and online support service

With this 24/7 crisis text messaging service, you can send a text message any time of day or night wherever you are – every conversation is with a real person. Just text SHOUT to 85258. You don’t need an app or data and there is no registration process. It is silent and won’t appear on your phone bill.  It is confidential and anonymous.

  • Living Life to the Full

This programme has resources to help you improve your feelings, beat stress, sleep better and to boost your ability to live well. It provides key information using everyday, non-complex language and is available on the go or at home 24/7. There is a dedicated module for people living with a long term conditions. Visit Living Life to the Full.

  • Silvercloud

Silvercloud is available for people aged 16+. These online programmes help ease your levels of stress, sleep better or build resilience. You can choose to use any of the programmes. They are self-help, confidential and secure. Visit Silvercloud.

  • Kooth

Kooth is a free text and online support resource for children and young people aged 11 to 18 years. Chat to their friendly counsellors, read articles written by young people, and get support from the Kooth community. Visit Kooth.

Young adult on the phone.

Mental health crisis lines

If you feel you need mental health support please contact one of these 24/7 crisis lines:

  • Bolton, Manchester, Salford, Trafford and Wigan: 0800 953 0285
  • Bury, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport, and Tameside and Glossop: 0800 014 9995

If there’s an immediate risk of danger to life, you should ring 999.

Whether you’re feeling suicidal, worried that someone else is or have lost someone to suicide, you’re not alone. Whatever you’re going through, Shining a Light on Suicide will help you get the advice and support you need.

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Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of complications during surgery.

Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of complications during surgery. If your operation is not urgent and you are overweight, taking time to lose weight before going ahead may be of great benefit to you.

Losing weight is not about getting it right – it’s about getting started. Making small, simple changes can really help you shed the pounds. Get started today with our tips, support and specialist offers.

You can download a free NHS weight loss planning app to help you start healthier eating habits, be more active and start losing weight.

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Eat a healthy diet

Your body needs to repair itself after surgery – eating a healthy diet before and after your surgery can really help.

There are lots of useful resources that can help.

Check out these simple, easy to follow, pocket friendly and tasty recipes that the whole family can cook.

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Quit smoking

If you’re going into hospital for an operation, it’s strongly advised that you stop smoking as soon as possible.

Quitting smoking before an operation will reduce your chances of complications and speed up your recovery after surgery. It will also make your stay at hospital more comfortable as smoking is not permitted on hospital grounds.

Try to quit smoking as soon as you can, as this will give your body as much time as possible to repair itself before surgery. The best way to quit smoking is with a combination of personalised support and stop smoking aids, like nicotine replacement.

With help, you’re much more likely to quit smoking than if you use willpower alone. Visit Make Smoking History to get free access to the latest quitting aids, one-to-one advice and support in your local area.

Alternatively, you can talk to a friendly stop smoking advisor over the phone. Call the Greater Manchester Stop Smoking Helpline free on 0300 123 1044 between 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday, including bank holidays.

You can also speak to your GP or local pharmacist for help to stop smoking.

Get help to quit and stay smoke-free in hospital

In many hospitals across Greater Manchester, there are teams of specialist stop smoking nurses who can help you quit smoking. When you arrive at hospital, you’ll be asked if you smoke and visited at your bedside by a stop smoking nurse. They will give you one-to-one support and may prescribe you nicotine replacement or stop smoking medication to help you stay smokefree.

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Move more

There are many changes you can make to reduce the risks of surgery.

Your heart and lungs must work harder after an operation to help the body to heal. If you are already active you will be used to this. While you are waiting for your operation, try and increase your activity levels. Activities that improve your strength and balance will also be useful for your recovery. Always check with your doctor first what type of exercise is most appropriate for you.

No matter how much you do, physical activity is good for your body and mind. Adults should aim to be active every day. Some is good – more is better still. A daily brisk walk can boost your energy, lift your mood and make everyday activities easier.

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Alcohol can have many effects on the body, but importantly it can reduce the liver’s ability to produce the building blocks necessary for healing.

Make sure you are drinking within the recommended limits, or lower, to improve your body’s ability to heal after surgery.

Cutting back on alcohol can be an effective way to improve your health, boost your energy, lose weight and save money.

Any reduction in the amount you drink every week will be beneficial – and with the right support, it’s easier than you think. There are some simple tips and tools to help you start cutting down today.

Medical warning

Get medical advice before you stop drinking if you have physical withdrawal symptoms (like shaking, sweating or feeling anxious until you have your first drink of the day). It can be dangerous to stop drinking too quickly without proper help. There’s lots of support out there.

Find your local alcohol support service now or call Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 for free confidential help for anyone who is concerned about their own or someone else’s drinking.

Last Updated: 11 April 2024

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