Mental Health

Let’s talk about Mental Health?

 

1 in 4 of us will experience a Mental Health problem during our lifetime.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, 1 in 6 young people are now struggling with their mental health as opposed to 1 in 10 pre-pandemic.

1 in 5 people have thoughts of suicide and 1 in 15 sadly attempt suicide.

You may be worried about your own mental health or maybe someone you know is struggling and has spoken to you about their feelings. They may be showing signs you are unfamiliar with and their mood has changed.

Some of the more well-known symptoms of someone struggling with their mental health are:

 Anxious or irritable
 Mood swings
 Seeming withdrawn
 Self-harming
 Saying or doing unusual things
 Struggling to cope with work or studies
 Problems with concentration or memory

but you may not even notice anything as things like depression can often be invisible. Do not feel guilty if you haven’t noticed.

What you can do is:

  • Keep in touch – even if it’s just a weekly call or text to check how they are. Let them know they can get in touch with you if they need to talk. This is a simple, low-pressure way to tell them you’re there for them.
  • Encourage them to get out and about. A walk in the local park or a visit to an art gallery can be a great way to lift their spirits and allow them to talk if they want to. Avoid nights out drinking as alcohol can make depression worse.
  • Ask them how they’re looking after themselves and whether there’s anything you can do to support them, such as helping them find a counsellor or looking after their children while they go to a therapy appointment.
  • Listen properly. Just letting someone talk – and cry if they need to – can be invaluable. You don’t need to have answers for them. Giving them time and space to talk is one of the most supportive things you can do.

What you shouldn’t do

  • Tell them to pull themselves together or snap out of it – they would if they could.
  • Point out all the positives in their life. Depression is an illness that makes it very difficult for people to feel hopeful or optimistic, and telling them to count their blessings is likely to make them feel guilty and ashamed.
  • Pressure them to talk about their mental health all the time. Let them know they can if they want to – that’s crucial – but remember simply getting them out of the house or talking about other things may be just as helpful.
  • Assume they’re better after a few weeks or months. Even if someone seems brighter for a while, this doesn’t necessarily mean their depression has gone for good. Depression can be long term and some people are susceptible to recurring bouts of depression. Those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) will also tend to feel very low and lethargic during the winter months.

Most of all let them know you are there for them.


Mental Health UK, Rethink, Mindwise, Hafal and Support in Scotland have published a very helpful guide, ‘how does it feel’ to help everyone get the help and information they need.

How does it feel?

 

 

 

 

It is important that people are able to access correct information and the opportunity to receive support for their Mental Health regardless of their age, wealth, ethnicity or postcode.

Health and Support for Mental Health.


Your mental wellness is as important as your physical health but seeking help can be daunting. Here’s what to expect when you seek support for your mental health.
 

Mental health matters. One in four of us can experience poor mental health each year. However, only one in eight adults with ill-mental health is getting treatment.  

If you have been struggling with your mental health and are referred for support or are thinking about seeking help, here’s what you should expect from your care.

In need of support now? 

You don’t have to wait to speak to a GP if you need mental health support. You can self refer for talking therapies online, or contact a range of charities for help or more information. 

What should I expect when being referred to a mental health service?

If your GP thinks mental health services can help you, they will write to them to ask for an appointment. Your GP should discuss with you the different types of mental health support available – both within the NHS and provided within the community. You should be involved in deciding what kind of service that you think would best suit your needs.

NICE guidance recommends that the mental health services should do their best to offer you an appointment within three weeks of your GP writing to them. New NHS standards set to be implemented later this year state that you should be offered an appointment within four weeks after being referred for community-based mental health services.

Your appointment letter should include information about getting there and a number to call if you have problems. It should also clearly state who you will see and what will happen during an assessment. 

The letter should also ask if you need any additional support to help communicate or if you would like to bring a family member, carer or advocate with you).

Questions to ask during your assessment

After being referred to a mental health service, you’ll need to attend an assessment. You might feel nervous about this, but it’s important to think about some of the questions you can ask to make sure you get the most out of your appointment. Here are some examples:

  • Why am I being offered an assessment?
  • Will you tell anyone about my mental health problem?
  • Who can provide my treatment and care?
  • Are there any support organisations in my local area?
  • Have you got any information for my family or carer?
  • How can I manage my own condition?
  • Who can I contact if I need help quickly between appointments (in a crisis)?

What should I expect from mental health professionals?

The first mental health professionals you might speak to at your GP surgery might be a Mental Health Practitioner, who can advise you on access to services, or your GP who can refer you to a mental health service.

When referred to a mental health service, you might speak to a qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP), a qualified high-intensity therapist, another healthcare professional or your consultant (this could be a nurse, a psychiatrist or another clinician).

The health and social care professionals supporting you should be easy to identify, friendly and welcoming. They should understand that you may feel nervous and do their best to make your feel comfortable.

How should I be involved in my treatment?

Doctors, nurses and other health and social care professionals should support you to make decisions about your treatment and care.

They should encourage you to manage your condition, including recognising warning sides of your situation worsening.

Professionals should provide you with resources to support you in a format you can understand and information of where you can go to further support. Your mental health team should explain your treatment and also work with you to develop a care plan, including:

  • Activities, such as education, work, volunteering, caring for family members or leisure activities
  • What you can do to keep well
  • How to cope with and reduce any risks to yourself or others
  • Who to contact in a crisis

If there’s a risk you may have a crisis, there should also be a crisis plan.

What should I do in a crisis?

There should be a local 24-hour helpline you can call in a crisis. Your GP or mental health team should be able to give you this number.

If the crisis team thinks you need an assessment or treatment from mental health services, you should:

  •  be seen within four hours and be given clear information about what’s involved
  • asked whether you would prefer a male or female professional to assess you
  • be asked where you’d like the assessment to take place 

The crisis team should be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and should support you to stay at home rather than going into hospital if possible.

Can my family, carer or advocate be involved in my treatment?

Professionals should make sure you can make decisions about your treatment – this is called ‘capacity’. This can change over time if your mental health condition is severe, and your doctor might ask you if you want to make an advance statement or advance decision about your future care.

Mental health professionals should also ask you if you would like a family member, carer or trained advocate involved in your care and, if you agree, what information you’d like to share with them.

Find out more about what you should expect from mental health care in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines. 

Read the guidelines