The topic of developing an awareness of the types of support for people with mental health conditions is an important one. Mental health conditions can significantly impact a person’s life and make it difficult to cope with everyday challenges. Many different types of support are available to people with mental health conditions, including professional and peer support. Understanding what types of support are available and where to access them can be crucial in managing and recovering from a mental health condition.
Know the benefits of good mental health and wellbeing
Maintaining good mental health and wellbeing is important for overall wellbeing and can provide various benefits. Here is a list of some examples of the benefits of good mental health and wellbeing in tabular format:
|Benefits of Good Mental Health and Wellbeing||Description|
|Better physical health||Mental ill-health is associated with other health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.|
|Reductions in health-damaging behaviour||Good mental health can help reduce unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, substance misuse, inactivity, and unhealthy eating.|
|Greater educational achievement||Good mental health can improve concentration, motivation, and learning abilities, leading to greater educational achievements.|
|Improved productivity||Good mental health and wellbeing can lead to increased productivity and better performance in the workplace.|
|Improved financial opportunities||Good mental health and wellbeing can lead to better job opportunities and higher earnings.|
|Reduced absenteeism||Good mental health and wellbeing can lead to fewer days off work and more consistent productivity.|
|Reduced crime||Good mental health and wellbeing can reduce crime rates linked to substance misuse and personality disorders.|
|Improved communication and relationships with others||Good mental health and wellbeing can improve communication and relationships, leading to more fulfilling and satisfying personal connections.|
|More participation in community life||Good mental health and wellbeing can lead to more involvement in social activities, community events, and volunteer work.|
|Improved overall functioning||Good mental health and wellbeing can lead to improved overall functioning in daily life and the ability to cope with stress.|
|Reduced mortality||Good mental health and wellbeing can lead to a longer life expectancy.|
|Improved relationships||Good mental health and wellbeing can lead to better relationships and a positive outlook on life.|
|Improved self-care||Good mental health and wellbeing can lead to better self-care and care for one’s physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.|
It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list and that there are many other benefits of good mental health and wellbeing. Additionally, everyone’s experience of mental health and wellbeing is unique and can change over time. It’s important to seek professional help if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of poor mental health.
Know the types of support relating to mental health
Supporting people with common mental health conditions can be complex and requires various strategies. Here is a list of some general principles of support for people with common mental health conditions in tabular format:
|General Principles of Support||Description|
|Listen and signpost to support||Listen to the person’s concerns and provide information about available support services and resources.|
|Build a relationship and work in an open, engaging and non-judgmental manner||Develop a positive and respectful relationship with the person, avoiding judgement and bias.|
|Listen to and explore the person’s worries to understand the impact of the condition jointly||Understand the person’s experiences and how the condition affects their life.|
|Be aware of possible stigma and discrimination associated with conditions||Recognise and address the potential for stigma and discrimination related to the condition.|
|Be aware of risks, for example, self-harm, suicide||Be aware of the potential risks and take appropriate actions to address them.|
|Signpost to information about the condition and its treatment and about self-help groups, support groups and other resources||Provide information and resources to help the person understand and manage their condition.|
|Ensure that discussion takes place in settings in which confidentiality, privacy and dignity are respected||Maintain confidentiality, privacy, and respect in all interactions with the person.|
It’s important to note that each person’s support needs will differ depending on their specific condition and circumstances. Additionally, everyone’s experience of mental health conditions is unique and can change over time. It’s important to seek professional help if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of poor mental health.
Types of help and support
Various types of help and support are available for mental health in the UK. Here are some examples:
- Information from charity websites: A number of charity websites provide information and resources on mental health conditions and where to find help and support. Some examples include Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, and SANE.
- Signposting to GP for talking therapies: Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be accessed through a GP referral. A GP can also provide information and support on other forms of treatment available.
- Listening services advice: A number of listening services provide confidential and non-judgmental support, such as the Samaritans. They can provide emotional support, help with practical issues and signpost to other services.
- Medical referral: In some cases, a GP may refer a person to a specialist such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counsellor for further assessment and treatment.
- Online counselling and therapy: A variety of online counselling and therapy options have become available in recent years, such as BetterHelp and Talkspace, for people who may have difficulty accessing in-person therapy.
- Medication: Sometimes, medication is prescribed by the GP or psychiatrist to help with the symptoms of mental health conditions, such as antidepressants for depression and anti-anxiety medication for anxiety disorder.
- Community-based support groups: There are various support groups available for people with mental health conditions, such as those run by charities, local health authorities, and community organisations. They provide a safe and supportive environment where people can share their experiences, learn from others, and gain emotional support.
This is not an exhaustive list, and the type of help and support that will be most beneficial will depend on the individual’s specific condition and circumstances.
Self-help guidance refers to strategies and techniques that individuals can use to help manage their mental health and wellbeing. These strategies can be used alongside other forms of support and treatment, such as therapy and medication. Here are a few examples of self-help guides for mental health:
- Self-help techniques: A variety of self-help techniques can be used to manage symptoms of mental health conditions. These can include relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and cognitive restructuring, which can help individuals identify and change unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour.
- Bibliotherapy: This is a form of therapy that involves reading self-help books or other literature related to mental health and wellbeing. Bibliotherapy can help individuals to understand their condition better, develop coping strategies, and gain a sense of perspective on their experiences.
- Positive affirmations: Positive affirmations are positive statements that individuals can use to change negative thoughts and beliefs. These can include statements such as “I am strong” or “I am capable.”
- Exercise, yoga, and healthy eating: Regular physical activity, yoga and healthy eating can improve mental health and wellbeing by reducing stress, improving mood, and promoting a sense of wellbeing.
- Meditation: Meditation is a practice that can help individuals to focus their attention, reduce stress, and improve emotional wellbeing.
These are just a few examples of self-help guidance. It’s important to note that what works for one person may not work for another, and it’s always best to consult with a mental health professional when considering self-help techniques.
Five ways to wellbeing
The Department of Health (DOH) model for improving personal wellbeing, also known as the “five ways to wellbeing,” is a framework that aims to help individuals improve their mental health and wellbeing. The five ways are:
- Connect: This refers to connecting with people around you, such as family, friends, and neighbours. Building strong relationships with others can improve social support and reduce feelings of isolation.
- Be active: This involves engaging in regular physical activity, such as going for a walk or a run, gardening or playing games. Physical activity can improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote overall wellbeing.
- Take notice: This involves being aware of the world around you and taking the time to appreciate the beauty of nature, the people in your life, and the things you have.
- Keep learning: This involves engaging in activities that challenge your mind, such as learning a new recipe, a new language, or taking up a new hobby.
- Give: This involves doing something nice for someone else, whether it’s volunteering, joining a community group, or helping a friend or family member. Giving back to others can improve self-esteem, promote feelings of purpose and positively impact the community.
It’s important to note that these five ways are not a definitive set of recommendations but rather a framework for individuals to reflect on their own wellbeing and to find what works for them.
Emergency help in crisis situations refers to the support and resources available to individuals experiencing a severe mental health crisis. This type of help is intended to provide immediate assistance and support to those who are at risk of harm to themselves or others.
- Crisis resolution and home treatment teams: These teams comprise mental health professionals who provide assessment, treatment, and support to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis in their own homes rather than in a hospital setting. They can provide support and treatment for individuals experiencing severe mental health conditions such as psychosis, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
- Community mental health teams: These teams are made up of mental health professionals who provide treatment and support to individuals with severe and complex mental health conditions. These teams can provide various services, including assessment, treatment, and support to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. They can also provide support and guidance to family members and caregivers.
In both cases, the focus is on preventing hospitalisation and providing support in the community, and the teams are usually available 24/7. They are usually reached by calling the emergency or crisis numbers of the National Health Service (NHS) or by going to the emergency department.
Peer support groups
Peer support groups are groups of individuals who share a similar experience or condition and provide each other with emotional, practical, and social support. These groups are typically led by trained facilitators or individuals with lived experience of the condition being discussed. They can provide a space where individuals can discuss their experiences, share coping strategies, and offer each other support and encouragement.
Some examples of peer support groups include:
- Support groups for individuals with specific mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder
- Support groups for individuals who have experienced trauma, such as sexual assault or military combat
- Support groups for individuals who have experienced loss, such as the death of a loved one
- Support groups for individuals who have experienced addiction and are in recovery
Peer support groups can provide a sense of belonging, validation, and understanding that can be difficult to find elsewhere. They can also provide a sense of empowerment. They can be a valuable resource for individuals who may be hesitant to seek professional help or who may not have access to professional help.
Sources of information
Here are some common sources of information on mental health in the UK:
|Organisation Name||Website Link|
|World Health Organization (WHO)||https://www.who.int/mental_health/en/|
|Rethink Mental Illness||https://www.rethink.org/|
|Mental Health Foundation||https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/|
These resources can provide information on mental health conditions, treatments, support services, self-care techniques, and guidance for individuals, families, and caregivers. They also provide helplines where you can talk to a trained professional for support.
Further sources of reading
These resources provide information and guidance on a wide range of topics related to mental health, including self-care, support services, and good practices for individuals, families, and caregivers. They also offer resources and tools for employers to promote mental health in the workplace.
|Resource Name||Website Link||What it covers|
|Rise Above||https://riseabove.org.uk/||A social marketing programme that aims to equip 11-16 year-olds with the skills to withstand social pressures and build resilience.|
|One You||https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/||A nationwide programme that supports adults in making simple changes that can hugely impact their health.|
|Every Mind Matters||https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/||National campaign and digital platform that equips people to take simple, early steps to look after their own and others’ mental health.|
|MindEd||https://www.minded.org.uk/||Free educational resource on children and young people’s mental health.|
|Time to Change||https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/||A campaign that aims to end mental health discrimination and promotes positive attitudes and behaviour towards mental health issues|
|Mental Health First Aid England||https://mhfaengland.org/||Provides training for individuals, workplaces and communities to spot the signs of mental health issues and provide help on a first-aid basis.|
|Mental Health Foundation||https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/||Provides information and support on a wide range of mental health issues and promotes good mental health for all.|
|The Royal College of Psychiatrists||https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/||Promotes mental health and provides information and resources on a wide range of mental health conditions and treatments.|
|Mental Health at Work||https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/||Provides resources and guidance to employers and organisations on promoting good mental health in the workplace.|