Teenagers across the east of Berkshire are getting help and tips on dealing with their mental health from a ‘little blue book of sunshine’. Anyone can sometimes feel down, worried or anxious because of a variety of situations like school, family or friends.

The book, which has been co-produced with young people and the Clinical Commissioning Groups in the east of Berkshire , has been delivered to every secondary school in Slough, Bracknell, Ascot and Windsor for pupils aged 14 and above to keep and refer to whenever they are feeling blue.

Dr Katie Simpson, GP Mental Health Lead for the East Berkshire Federation of Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “It is important that children have the confidence to know what to do if they are feeling down, anxious or stressed out.

The booklet includes information on how to get support and provides lots of useful information and who to contact in times of need. Talking to people they trust can make a big difference and this provides reassurance that there is help out there.”

The book also has a check list of things that may worry young people, and tips on how to deal with anxiety, stress, body image and eating problems, relationships and anger.

You can pick up a copy at school, download a copy to your phone or simply read some of the great advice on the Little Blue Book of Sunshine webpage.


Commissioners in east Berkshire are raising awareness of
hypertension as part of their
campaign to prevent, detect and treat
heart conditions.

This coincides with World Hypertension Day today (19/5) which aims to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage people nationwide to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic.


High blood pressure – known as hypertension – rarely has noticeable symptoms and if left untreated increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.

More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, but may not realise it.
High blood pressure is any reading of 140/90mmHg or more.

Persistently high blood pressure can damage your arteries, put extra strain on the heart muscle and increase your chances of heart attack or stroke.

According to the British Heart Foundation, up to seven million people in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure.

Unfortunately, very often the first time people find out they have it is when they are admitted to hospital after a stroke or heart problem.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked by a health professional, such as your GP or local pharmacist. You can also buy home testing kits. Click here to view a British Heart Foundation video about how to measure your blood pressure at home.

Dr Anant Sachdev, one of the cardiology clinical leads for the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “We know there are thousands of people across Bracknell and Ascot, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, who have undiagnosed hypertension. Our aim is to diagnosis more people so we can treat them and avoid complications such as stroke – one of the most debilitating and soul-destroying illnesses for many patients and families.

“Current guidelines say we should all have our blood pressure checked at least once every five years.

“If you have high blood pressure, or it is close to 140/90mmHg, you should have it checked more regularly. Your GP or nurse will be able to tell you how often.

He added: “While we don’t know the cause of high blood pressure, we do know our lifestyles can have an impact, including obesity, lack of exercise and drinking too much alcohol. In a very small number of people, there is a specific cause (known as ‘secondary hypertension’). Some people may be taking medication or have a hormonal problem that causes high blood pressure.

“Certain ethnic groups are more prone to developing it – for example, African-Caribbean communities. We think they are more sensitive to salt. African-Caribbean people also appear to be more at risk of severe hypertension than other ethnic groups.”
CCG Population Numbers with hypertension Diagnosed

A service commissioned to help people with life-limiting illnesses manage their condition at home has been launched in East Berkshire to coincide with Dying Matters Weeks*.



Commissioned by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the east of Berkshire, the new ‘Rapid Response Service’ was launched on Monday (8/5) by Thames Hospice who is responsible for providing the service working alongside others.

The new community service includes a palliative care telephone service, to give advice to local people on the End-of-Life Care Register and their families, as well as healthcare professionals who need guidance and support on delivering palliative care. The specialist team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to provide guidance on symptom control, practical advice and emotional support.

As part of the service there is also a Rapid Response Team (RRT), made up of a Registered Nurse and Health Care Assistant, ready to make urgent visits to patients on the End-of-life Care Register. The RRT will also support their loved ones.

Jacquie Batchford, Thames Hospice Director of Patient and Family Services, said: “I am delighted that we are able to offer this new service to further support those people in our community who are facing the last year of their life. It will be reassuring for many to know that they will be able to pick up the phone and talk to a palliative care expert, at any time of the day or night, to manage their condition and, if possible, prevent unnecessary hospital visits.”

Dr Anant Sachdev, the end-of-life care lead and palliative care specialist for the CCGs in the east of Berkshire, said: “A lot of people have excellent care in hospitals, hospices, care homes or their own homes when they are dying, but many others do not. Some people experience unnecessary pain and are not able to die where they want to. They can end up dying in hospital instead, because they suddenly get very ill and their carer can’t cope, or health professionals are unable to access the right advice.

“Therefore, I am pleased that the CCG is commissioning a Rapid Response Service in partnership with Thames Hospice, which provides high-quality care. The new service will be open 24 hours every day of the year to offer advice to patients, families, carers and health professionals. Our sincere hope is this will bridge any gaps in getting the right care and the kind of death people want, where they want.”

If you or someone you know requires support or advice on palliative or end-of-life care, please call the team on 01753 848925. To find out more about the services offered by Thames Hospice, visit the website https://thameshospice.org.uk/patients-our-services.

*A national awareness campaign run by the National Council for Palliative Care, highlighting the importance of talking about death and bereavement.