Posted on: 15 May 2020
Experiencing mental health problems is more common than you might think. According to Mind, the mental health charity, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. No one should feel ashamed to ask for help, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.
Mind suggest that you might want to seek help if you're:
- worrying more than usual
- finding it hard to enjoy your life
- having thoughts and feelings that are difficult to cope with, which have an impact on your day-to-day life
- interested to find more support or treatment.
So where can I go for help?
We’ve highlighted some options below. The most suitable support for you will depend on your own situation and how you are feeling.
Many people’s first port of call is making an appointment with their GP. Doctors are trained to help with mental as well as physical health and can help you access the treatment you need.
Talk to your GP about how you’ve been feeling and the impact that it’s having on your life. Some of the most common problems include feeling anxious, depressed or stressed, often as a result of life events such as overwork, a new baby or a bereavement.
Your doctor can give you peace of mind by providing a diagnosis of what’s going on and talking you through the possible treatment options such as medication or different forms of therapy. They are also a good place to find out about what support is available in your community, including referrals to local support groups.
Reaching out to your employer can be difficult sometimes and you may feel anxious about doing so, however, employers have a duty of care to their staff and will have avenues of advice and support they can give you to try and help you with whatever you may be struggling with.
Some employers have benefits programmes which can contain a variety of mental wellbeing resources, such as an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
An EAP is a confidential service providing people with a 24/7 helpline whereby you can speak with a trained advisor about anything that’s worrying you and get actionable advice. You can also arrange sessions with a professional counsellor, either over the phone or by meeting face-to-face.
It would be worth checking with your employer to see if this a service they provide and what other support you may be able to receive.
As mentioned above, if your employer does have a benefits programme then this is a great place to start, as these can host a wealth of information about maintaining a healthy body and mind.
The NHS and Mind websites have lots of resources on different mental health conditions – symptoms, guides to treatments and reliable information on what to do if you’re feeling unwell or not quite yourself.
If you’d like to speak to someone on the phone, the NHS has collected a list of helplines here for specific mental health conditions, some of which also offer support by text or online chat.
Family and friends
You may find it easier to talk about your feelings with someone you trust.
Mind has some useful tips here for talking to your family and friends - examples include:
- Find a method of communication that feels right for you. This might be a face-to-face conversation, or you might find it easier to talk on the phone or perhaps even write down how you feel in a letter.
- Practice what you want to say. You could do this in your head or make some notes. Phrases such as "I've not been feeling like myself lately" or "I'm finding it hard to cope at the moment" might provide a good starting point.
- Suggest things they could do to help. This might just be listening and offering emotional support – or there may be practical help you need
Whatever way you choose to go about it, remember that it’s always ok to ask for help. Experiencing a mental heath problem is hard enough – you don’t need to go through it alone.