Getting help

If you are concerned that you are developing a mental health problem you should seek the advice and support of your GP as a matter of priority. If you are in distress and need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E.

The Mental Health Foundation is a charity specialising in research and policy development, with a focus on preventing mental health problems. We are not able to advice people directly on their personal circumstances.

Below are details on services and organisations that offer help and support directly to people with mental health problems:

Talk to the Samaritans

The Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day - in full confidence.

  • Call 116 123 - it's FREE

Or email jo@samaritans.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness

You can call the Rethink advice and information line Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm for practical advice on:

  • different types of therapy and medication
  • benefits, debt, money issues
  • police, courts, prison
  • your rights under the Mental Health Act.

Call Rethink on 0300 5000 927 (calls are charged at your local rate).

Mind

The Mind infoline

Mind offer an information line to answer questions about:

  • types of mental health problem
  • where to get help
  • drug and alternative treatments
  • advocacy.

Call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 (UK landline calls are charged at local rates, and charges from mobile phones will vary considerably).

Or email info@mind.org.uk.

The Mind Legal Advice service

If you need legal advice, you can speak to Mind about:

  • mental health
  • mental capacity
  • community care
  • human rights and discrimination/equality related to mental health issues.

Call the Mind Legal Advice service on 0300 466 6463 (UK landline calls are charged at local rates, and charges from mobile phones will vary considerably).

Or email legal@mind.org.uk.

Tell someone you trust

You may find it helpful to talk to your partner, a relative or a friend about your problems. They may be concerned about you and welcome the opportunity to hear what you have to say. If this is not possible, you may prefer to talk to someone else you can trust, like a faith leader or a tutor.

You can find out more about friendships and how to tell your friends on our friendships page.

Talk to your GP

Your GP may be the first person you talk to about your mental health problems. If you have a good relationship with your doctor, you may find it helpful just to know there is someone you can talk to about the feelings you are having. Your GP may refer you to specialist services if he/she feels they will help you. You can find information about talking to your GP about your mental health in our guide.

If you are unhappy with your own doctor, you can ask to see another doctor at the same practice or make an appointment with a different practice in your area. If you are unsure where to find other doctor’s surgeries, look in your local Yellow Pages or try the NHS Choices website.

Specialist mental health services

Most people recover from mental health problems without needing to go into hospital. There are a number of specialist services that provide various treatments, including counselling and other talking treatments. You may also need help with other aspects of your life - for example, claiming benefits or dealing with housing problems. Often these different services are coordinated by a community mental health team (CMHT).

CMHTs are usually based either at a hospital or a local community mental health centre. Some teams provide 24-hour services so that you can contact them in a crisis. If you are already in contact with a CMHT you may find it useful to keep their number by your phone in case you need it. Otherwise you should be able to contact your local CMHT via your local social services or social work team.

Other kinds of community mental health team include Crisis and Home Treatment teams, which provide you with help in your own home and can come out to see you in an emergency or help you get into hospital if you need inpatient treatment.

You may also find it helpful to contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau for advice about benefits, debt problems, legal issues and local services. The Citizens Advice Bureau website has a directory listing its local offices.