Monday, 19 January 2015

January Blues: Where can I get help?

Firstly I want to say a very big thank you for all the comments and support I've received so far about this mini series. I'm glad many of you have appreciated it. This post is going to be a point of reference of sorts, should you ever need the information. Actually the post was getting so long I've had to split it into a few posts. One that's more general (which is this post) and another for more of a crisis situation (which hopefully will be published soon) and a post on what treatment options are available.
When you are battling with your mental health the hardest thing it can seem to do is to ask for help. Because it can be really difficult to actually admit that there is something wrong. Especially bad enough for you to need help. And of course the thought of needing help can also fill you with fear. Thinking that if you actually told someone what you are feeling then they may think you're crazy, mental or those horrible names nutjob or psycho. And consequently that you will be locked away and sectioned under the mental health act. However in reality this is very rarely the case.And what you are experiencing is something many others are also going through. 1 in 4 people will experience some kind mental health problem at any one time. So try to reassure your self that you will not be locked away.
However when you feel like that asking for help is the biggest step you can take. You may have had people telling you that you need help for some time. And perhaps you dismissed them. However deciding to get help needs to be very much your own want and recognition that you need that help. If you are concerned about a friend or family member there is a specific page on the MIND website for advise
But where do you turn to when you want help? Would you know? Would you know how to help someone else that is suffering or in crisis? Below I have shared some options of where to get help in the early stages.
Talk to someone- firstly you might just want to talk to a friend or family member. Think who will understand and will listen without judgement. If there have been people who have been wanting you to seek help then they might be a good place to start. As long as you feel that they will listen and genuinely care about you. It may be that that is all the support you need. Just getting things off your chest and maybe thinking up solutions with a friend can be a big help.
Talk to your GP - when you have a mental/ emotional problem you may think that going to the GP is a waste of time. That they can only help for physical problems. However, in truth GP's see a large number of people with mental health issues each day. One GP once told me (after I had said that I felt that I was wasting his time) that it was actually about 80% of his job. That being said you need the right GP. One that you feel comfortable with and one who you feel actually really listens to you. Those 2 factors are very important. So if you feel uncomfortable with a certain GP or that they haven't treated you with compassion then ask to see another GP in your surgery. Do not let a bad experience affect your right to be listened to and to get the help that you need. And if you burst out crying in there don't worry about it. They should get you to complete a questionnaire that they can use to assess how you're mental health is, you can find an online copy of it here Fill it out honestly. That way they can help you on a course of treatment that is right for you. I am preparing a separate post on what help and treatments are available.
Counselling- Counselling is one of the course of treatments that could be suggested for you. But as it is not exclusive to needing to see your GP first I wanted to mention it in this post. Counselling on the NHS can have long waiting lists due to the high amount of people that need it. The NHS are trying to put more counsellors into GP surgeries to reduce waiting times for this much needed service but wait times can still be long. Especially for a service where the sooner the better. However if you feel you cannot wait that long then there are other options available.
If you are employed then your employer may be able to get you a counsellor through occupational health. And this in no way should affect your standing at work or make you feel less employable. It is a service they can provide to look after the wellbeing of their staff. So if you are experiencing any problems, even ones that are not work related, then ask your boss if an appointment can be made for you. You don't have to tell them the reason either unless you feel you want to.
If you wish to see a private counsellor then you will need to pay.As with most service providers nowadays a simple search on Google can tell you where there are local counsellor's in your area. Along with a pinpoint to their location and contact details. I simply typed in "where can I find a counsellor?" and a list of local places came up on my phone.
The following site also has a list of directories that you can use:
Mental health charities do such a fantastic job for raising awareness of mental health issues and also offering services to help sufferers.
MIND is a mental health charity that not only is an organization that fights for the rights of those with mental illness but also has thousands of branches across the UK. Each branch offers a number of services available to each community. On the link below you can see what services they offer in your area. Some even offer free counselling, which can sometimes be accessed sooner than through your GP surgury.
Other services include:
supported housing
crisis helplines
drop-in centres
employment and training schemes befriending
You can seek lots of information about different conditions and issues surrounding mental health on their website or their infoline 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 or email 
Other charities and organizations that offer specific help for different issues or clearer groups of society are:
Calm (Campaign against living miserabley)
Free support and information for young men in the UK between the ages of 15-35
0800 585858
Women's Aid
Is a charity for women and children experiencing domestic abuse.
0808 2000 247
Cruse Bereavement Care
Offers specific support to anyone following the death of a loved one.
0844 477 9400
B-eat (Beating Eating Disorders)
Offers advise and information on eating disorders.
0845 6341414
Youth line 0845 6347650
Offers support and advise to anyone affected by brain injury.
0808 800 2244
For advise and counselling for any type of relationship and the problems that can occur within them. They have centres around the country. Visit their website for all services they offer.
0300 100 1234
Helplines and other contacts
When you are in distress phoning a helpline can be useful. Your GP or your local MIND centre will have access to local helplines. However these might have limited hours. If you are in a more desperate need to talk to someone, then The Samaritans is a 24/7 service. Their helpline is 08457 90 90 90 or if you don't feel up to using the phone you can also email them More information can also be found on their website 
In my next post I will be talking about what types of treatments are available for moderate depression and anxiety. Then a post on where to get help in more of a crisis situation.

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