The support available to you if you have mental health concerns or a mental illness

Seeking Help

It is commonly acknowledged that admitting you might need help is the first step to recovery for many mental illnesses or issues, but it is often also the hardest step to take.

It is always okay to ask for help - even if you're not sure if what you're experiencing is a specific mental health problem. Below is an overview of the support available and who to talk to should you find yourself struggling to cope.

The section below on Mental Health Support Services is useful for anyone struggling at any stage of diagnosis.

Mood self-assessment

The NHS has a mood self-assessment which uses questions that GP's often use to assess whether someone is anxious or depressed. This assessment should not be used to replace an appointment with your GP, and should be considered as a basic indicator of your mood only.[1]

Whilst this self-assessment is a good guide for getting an idea about what you are experiencing, this is a guide only and it is important to remember that mental illnesses are not limited to anxiety and depression only.

If you have any concerns you should first and foremost talk to your GP, using this self-assessment as a supplementary to a doctor's appointment, not a replacement.

Who can I turn to?

Your GP

First and foremost you should always talk to your GP. Your GP is there to help with both physical and mental health.

GP's can make a diagnosis, offer support and treatments, refer you to a mental health specialist and recommend local support options.

Mental health services are free on the NHS but in most cases you will need a referral from your GP in order to get access to these.[2]

For more information on talking to your GP, such as advice on what to say and what might happen in your appointment, please click here to find out more.

Friends and family

Being able to talk to someone you trust about how you're feeling is an important step and can help relieve feelings of isolation.

Your confidant could help you find information, discuss your options, help with everyday tasks and most importantly provide encouragement and support at a time when you need it.

Whilst talking to someone you trust is a good way to get domestic support, this should be done alongside seeking medical support or advice from a GP and not seen as a replacement.[3]

Charity and third sector organisations

Charity and third sector organisations are a great way to talk to someone and they are often free or low cost.[4]

They can offer talking therapies, peer support options, advice services and advocacy.[5]

However, these services are not likely to give you a diagnosis, provide medical services or prescribe medication.

Peer support

Peer support is an opportunity to get together with those who have similar experiences. By talking to your peers, they can support and listen to how you're feeling, offer empathy and understanding, share experiences and understanding and suggestions for self-care and support options.[6]

More information on the different types of peer support and where to access them is available here.

Work support

  • Whether you disclose your mental health issues at work is your decision. It's a personal choice and up to you whether you feel comfortable sharing it.
  • If you do decide to talk to someone about it, you can say as much or as little as you feel comfortable disclosing.
  • However if you do need support being open can help you get it, especially if you discuss it with your line manager. This can be done in private and doesn't need to be shared publically if you don't want it to be.

Mental Health Support Services

Mind Infoline - Mind infoline gives confidential support and information on mental health related issues including where to get help, drug treatments, alternative therapies and advocacy.

Telephone: 0800 072 0353

Website: -support/helplines/

SANE Mental Health Helpline - SANE runs an out of hour's helpline offering specialist emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers. Open every day of the year from 4.30pm-10.30pm

Telephone: 0300 123 3393

Website: _we_do/support/helpline

Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line - Provides expert mental health information and advice on practical issues. They also give help to carers, health professionals, employers and staff.

Telephone: 0300 5000 927


Samaritans - Provides emotional support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Supporters allow people to talk about feelings of distress and despair and are confidential and offer non-judgemental support.

Telephone: 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI)


Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England - MHFA England offers a variety of articles, videos, information guides, toolkits, etc on mental health first aid skills.

Telephone: 020 7250 8062


[1] NHS

[2] NHS

[3] Mind

[4] Mind

[5] Mind

[6] Mind



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