What other support is available?

You may find that, despite your best efforts, you are unable to maintain your mental wellbeing on your own. In this case, you might want to seek professional help to address whatever is affecting your mental wellbeing.

Practical help

If there is a particular situation that is affecting your mental wellbeing, the best thing to do is to seek specialist practical help to resolve the problem. Having someone professional who is familiar with your type of situation can see it objectively and usually get to the root of the problem more quickly. For example, if:

  • someone close to you has died and you are struggling to cope, you may want to talk to a bereavement counsellor
  • you have legal, money or housing problems that are causing you stress or anxiety, you may find it useful to talk to social welfare department
  • you have been unemployed for a long time and this is affecting your mental health, you may want to talk to a careers advisor
  • problems at work are affecting your mental wellbeing, read your organisation’s policies to find out what rights you have and what support mechanisms are available

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing exercises and yoga. It has been shown to help people become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, it is easier to manage them. The ‘Be Mindful’ website has more information and details of local classes around the UK (See ‘Useful contacts’)

Talking treatments

If you are facing problems that are affecting your mental wellbeing, and you can’t resolve these yourself, you may find a talking treatment helpful.

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that aims to identify connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviour, and to help you develop practical skills to manage them. It has been shown to be particularly effective for low self-esteem and anxiety-based conditions.

If your problems stem from early life experiences you might find that other talking therapies, such as person-centred therapy, psychodynamic therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), can help you address these experiences more thoroughly.

If you want to try a talking treatment, your doctor can provide information and refer you to a local service. However, waiting lists for talking treatments at Hospital Authority can be long, so you may prefer to seek therapy or counselling privately.

Private therapists will charge a fee, but some offer a reduced rate for people on a limited income.

Medication

If you are unable to resolve any difficulties you are having yourself, and your feelings develop into a mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression, you may be offered prescription medication by your doctor. These drugs don’t cure mental health problems, but aim to ease the most distressing symptoms.

Many people find these drugs helpful, as they can lessen symptoms and allow them to continue with their normal activities. However, drugs can have side effects that may make some people feel worse rather than better. Your doctor should talk you through the potential advantages and disadvantages of taking any psychiatric medication and discuss possible alternative treatments.

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