There are a range of people you can talk to about what you are experiencing with your mental health. A number of services and organisations also support people with mental health problems. Often you need to try a few approaches to find out what works best for you.
If you require urgent medical help in the United Kingdom please contact your local GP or call the NHS 111 service on 111. If it is an extreme emergency please call 999. If you are in another country please call your doctor or the local emergency services. Their numbers can be found on this wikipedia page.
If you need someone to talk to urgently and in confidence (for example if you are depressed and/or are having suicidal thoughts) – in the United Kingdom the Samaritans www.samaritans.org offer emotional support 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90. You can also email the Samaritans at [email protected]
In other countries you can find similar services by looking at the Befrienders Worldwide website at http://www.befrienders.org/ It is an international organisation that brings together organisations that provide emotional support and work to reduce suicide. They listen to people who are in distress, without judging them or telling them what to do.
Tell someone you trust. You may find it helpful to talk to your partner, a relative or a friend about your problems. They may be concerned about you and welcome the opportunity to hear what you have to say. If this is not possible, you may prefer to talk to someone else you can trust, like a faith leader or a tutor.
Your GP may be the first person you talk to about your mental health problems. If you have a good relationship with your doctor, you may find it helpful just to know there is someone you can talk to about the feelings you are having. Your GP may refer you to specialist services if he/she feels they will help you.
If you are unhappy with your own doctor, you can ask to see another doctor at the same practice or can visit a different practice within your area. If you are unsure where to find other doctor’s surgeries, use the ‘Find a local health service’ search facility on the NHS Direct website www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Other ways of getting help
Here is a list of other key organisations offering information and support, including helplines and local services for people affected by mental health problems.
Mind: Mind offers advice and support to service users. They have a network of local associations in England and Wales to which people can turn for help and assistance. More information can be found on the Mind website: www.mind.org.uk or Telephone: 0845 766 0163 or Email Mind: [email protected]
Rethink: Rethink is a national charity which provides information, advocacy plus a network of local groups and community services for people with severe mental illnesses and their carers. More information can be found on the Rethink web site: www.rethink.org or Tel: 0845 456 0455 or Email Rethink [email protected]
Scottish Association for Mental Health: SAMH is the biggest mental health organisation in the voluntary sector in Scotland. It operates a range of services across Scotland for people with mental health problems. It also strives to influence public policy. More information can be found on the SAMH website www.samh.org.uk or Tel: 0141 568 7000 or Email SAMH [email protected]
Young Minds: Young Minds provides information and advice for anyone with concerns about the mental health of a child or young person. More information at the Young Minds website www.youngminds.org.uk Tel: 020 7336 8445
Specialist services Most people recover from mental health problems without needing to go into hospital. There are a number of specialist services which provide various treatments, including counselling and other talking treatments. You may also need help with other aspects of your life, for example claiming benefits or dealing with housing problems. Often these different services are co-ordinated by a Community Mental Health Team (CMHT).
CMHTs are usually based either at a hospital or a local community mental health centre. Some teams provide 24 hour services so that you can contact them in a crisis. If you are already in contact with a CMHT you may find it useful to keep their number by your phone in case you need it. Otherwise you should be able to contact your local CMHT via your local social services or social work team.
To find out more, visit the Who’s Who in the mental health section of the NHS Direct’s website http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/mental-health-care-professionals. Also check out the Direct Gov website’s Introduction to Mental Health section for a useful description of services and support: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121015000000/http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/HealthAndSupport/MentalHealth/DG_10023439.
You may also find it helpful to contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau www.citizensadvice.org.uk for advice about benefits, debt problems, legal issues and local services. The Citizens Advice website has a directory of bureau.
Please also use the Mental Health Forum to get help. People here will be able to share their own experiences and knowledge and help you find what works best for you. Often you need to try a few different approaches to find one which suits you.