The Big Listen: How to ask for help with mental wellbeing
Posted on 21 July 2021
On Saturday 24th July it’s The Big Listen, a Samaritans campaign to raise awareness there is someone to listen, 24/7, without judgement or pressure. In the UK, you can reach the Samaritans for free any time, from any phone, on 116 123.
But that’s not all – there are lots of people and places you can go to for help.
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 explained some options below. They are in no particular order; the most useful solution depends on your 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 offer a diagnosis of what’s going on and talk you through different treatment options like medication or talking therapy. They are also a good place to find out about what support is available in your area, including referrals to local support groups.
If you’re reading this, chances are your employer has provided you with access to an employee benefits platform available online or via a mobile app. It’s worth finding out if you can use this to access an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
The EAP has a confidential phone line which you can call 24/7 to 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.
We’ve got lots of mental health articles on Hapi-life. You can find out about:
- 5 easy ways to reduce stress
- How to keep a positive mental attitude
- 7 golden rules for keeping your mind happy
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 know well.
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 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 starting point.
- Suggest things they could do to help. This might just be listening and offering emotional support – or it may be practical help you need it.
However you choose to go about it, remember that it’s always ok to ask for help. Experiencing a mental health problem is hard enough – you don’t need to go through it alone.