What support services are available?
As well as receiving treatment, you may find that you need additional support to help you live your day-to-day life. The following range of services is available.
Community care is normally split into two categories:
- Health care, which means any care you need to manage your mental or physical health such as medication, therapy or crisis care
- Social care, which means any care or support you need to manage your day-to-day life as a result of your mental health needs, for example transport, money or employment
Some services, including voluntary services, allow for self-referral, which means you can access them without an assessment and you contact them directly yourself.
There may be times when you feel you need to go into hospital for more intensive treatment. Some people find this helpful as it means they can get the support and care they need to feel better. Other people find going into a hospital environment upsetting or difficult to cope with.
An advocate is someone who can both listen to your views and concerns and speak for you in times of need. They may provide information you need to make informed choices or accompany you to meetings or appointments. They may also write letters on your behalf, or speak for you in situations where you do not feel able to speak for yourself. There are of different types of advocacy, such as community advocacy, peer advocacy, or statutory advocacy.
Physical health checks
The physical health of people with mental health problems such as schizophrenia is often a lot worse than the rest of the population. They show higher rates of problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
This is thought to be due to a combination of factors:
- Side effects of medication, such as weight gain
- Lifestyle factors caused by social isolation and low motivation associated with schizophrenia
- Lower rate of treatment for physical conditions by medical professionals who are focused on the mental rather than physical health of their patients
Because of this, you should receive annual physical health check-ups from your family doctor or another medical professional. You should also be able to ask for help with things like giving up smoking or changes to your diet.