Getting help for my mental health and how to access support

What does getting help for my mental health mean and how do I access it? 

Asking for help is not only brave, but also vital for either maintaining good mental health or recovering from and managing mental ill-health. 

On this page we provide information on different ways to get help for your mental health and how to access this support.

Talking

Talking about your feelings and asking for help is part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy. 

  • Family and friends can be a vital source of support when things are difficult. You may already have some people you know that you can speak to if you are feeling unwell. Reaching out to the people in our lives is a key element of regaining and maintaining good mental health.  
  • Opening up to someone you trust - Sometimes relationships with friends – and with family in particular – aren’t so straightforward. If you’ve not spoken to friends or family about your mental health before, it’s worth giving some thought to which person you might approach. You will likely have a sense of who has more capacity to offer support, and who will be able best understand and empathise with what you are experiencing.  
  • If you do not have someone you can talk to - there are other ways to gain support, such as through an online community or peer support. See the information below on this. 

Online communities

Engaging with an online community can be a great source of connection. You may find like-minded people who are experiencing mental ill-health too. This may help to reduce feelings of loneliness and help you to feel understood.  

  • Mind's Elefriends - is a supportive online community where you can be yourself. We all know what it’s like to struggle sometimes, but now there’s a safe place to listen, share and be heard.  Whether you're feeling good right now, or low, it's a safe place to share experiences and listen to others. 

Join Elefriends now

Peer support

Peer Support is where people with lived experience of mental ill health give help and support to one another.

It may be social, emotional or practical support but importantly this support is mutually offered and reciprocal, allowing peers to benefit from the support whether they are giving or receiving it. 

Using your own mental health experiences to help someone else and receiving support from them in return can be rewarding and meaningful. It can help you to feel connected. 

Access peer support.

The above link takes you to Mind's website.

Mental health online

Sometimes the beginning of getting help can be making sense of what you are going through by reading about it online. Getting informed may help you to collect your thoughts before you take the next step of reaching out for further support with your GP, a therapist, a charity etc. on the phone or face to face. 

Mental Health Foundation resources:

Mind information and support 

Rethink information and support 

NHS information and support 

Helplines for information

You may find it comforting to speak to someone on the phone rather than online when wanting more information about mental health – there are information lines available that are dedicated to just this: 

Mind info line  

Available Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm to provide information on a range of topics including: 

  • Types of mental health problems 
  • Where to get help 
  • Medication and alternative treatments 
  • Advocacy. 

Call Mind info line on 0300 123 3393 (UK) 

Mind legal line  

Available Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm to provide legal information and general advice on mental health related law, covering: 

  • Mental health 
  • Mental capacity 
  • Community care 
  • Human rights and discrimination/equality related to mental health issues. 

Call Mind legal line on 0300 466 6463 (UK). 

Rethink advice and information line  

Available 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 (UK) (calls are charged at your local rate). 

NHS Choices  

24-hour national helpline providing health advice and information.  

Call NHS choices for free on 111 (UK) 

Helplines for emotional support

You may find that speaking to someone over the phone about how you are feeling helps you. There are different helplines and listening services available that can provide emotional support. They are staffed by trained volunteers who want to help you. 

Samaritans helpline 

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

Call 116 123 (UK) - it's FREE or email [email protected]

Crisis Text Line  

If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support. 

Shout can help with urgent issues such as: 

  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Abuse or assault 
  • Self-harm 
  • Bullying 
  • Relationship challenges 

Text Shout to 85258 (UK).

CALM

National helpline for men to talk about any troubles they are feeling.  

Call 0800 58 58 58 from 5pm-midnight 365 days of the year. 

Find out more about helplines

The above link takes you to Mind's website.

Self help

You may find that self-management or ‘self-help’ is a great way to feel empowered when looking after your mental health.  

It is about learning the methods, skills, and strategies to effectively manage your own activities towards your mental health. It allows you to pull together different tools and techniques to create your own mental health care plan

GP

If you are struggling with your mental health, it is good to let your GP know, as they should be able to sign-post and refer you to sources of further support, depending on your circumstances.  

A&E

If you are having difficulty understanding or controlling your emotions, or experience suicidal thoughts, please go to your nearest A&E department where you can be helped by trained professionals with experience of supporting people in distress. 

Find your nearest A&E

NHS Talking therapy

When things feel difficult, a lot of people find it helpful to talk to someone. Sometimes talking to a therapist when you are in poor mental health can be particularly helpful. Your GP should be able to help you discuss options, and refer you as needed, though some services are self-referral. Unfortunately it is often necessary to wait at least a few weeks to begin, and this wait can vary depending on where you are in the country.  

If you are waiting, then we hope that the alternative sources of help mentioned on this page provides you with options for support during this period.  

Private talking therapy

Talking therapies can help you work out how to deal with negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes. 

There are many counsellors and psychotherapists in private practice. The cost per session can vary depending on the therapists’ level of training and experience. It you are able to pay for therapy; it is best to find someone who is registered with one of the two main accreditation bodies in the United Kingdom: 

Support groups

Some people find that support groups are a useful way of connecting with people facing similar difficulties. Evidence suggests that support groups are helpful for people who are struggling with their mental health as well. A number of different organizations offer mental health support groups in different parts of the country. Mind have an online resource for finding a support group in your area.  

Charity support

Talking therapies can help you work out how to deal with negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes. 

Some charities offer talking therapies. They can offer a variety of talking therapies, including over the phone, face to face or group support and often provide it at a lower cost than private and sometimes free. There are excellent charities throughout the UK that are experienced in providing help for their local community. 

You can use the search functions on the links below to look for therapy through charities:

Workplace benefits

Help could be checking if your workplace provides any care benefits or support services for their employees 

It can be a great idea to investigate what benefits your workplace provides their staff. As you may already be entitled to mental health support that you didn’t know about. Often workplace care packages include care for mental health. This may come in the form of a set number of talking therapy appointments, or information lines.

Support in your local area

You may want to find out what mental health support is available in your local area, in order to see what options are available before you reach out for help. 

Guides to support and services:

Supporting someone else

You may have come to this page because you want information for supporting someone else. If this is this case, and you want to learn more about how to support them or learn how to support your own mental health while caring for someone then we have provided further information below:  

How do I support someone with their mental health? 

How do I access help as a carer? 

Waiting for support to begin - what do I do now?

We want to acknowledge that you may have tried to access help through the NHS and might be waiting to hear back or be on waiting list.  

Our aim is that the information above gives you hope while you wait and shows you that alternative options is available. 

I am in crisis - what do I do?

If you yourself are feeling like ending your life, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress. 

  • The Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day - in full confidence. Call 116 123  (UK) - it's FREE or email [email protected] 
  • Shout can help  if you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support.. Text Shout to 85258 (UK), available 24/7..
We hope you have found this page useful. If there are any further questions that you have about getting help for your mental health or accessing support that you feel we haven’t covered then get in touch at [email protected]