health

Mental Health Information

health

Mental Health Information

How are you doing, really?

It’s okay not to be ok. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and sometimes the smallest of things can have the biggest impact; this is normal, you’re not on your own. Your mental health matters. Did you know that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year? (Mind Charity) The way that you may be feeling is completely normal, but don’t suffer alone. If you’re struggling with your mental health, it is important that you reach out to someone – this may be your friends and family, or even professional medical help.

Asking for help is a very daunting task, however, the day you do this, you won’t look back. Struggling on your own can be a very dangerous game. Fortunately, there are many different ways in which you can get help, some more specific to how you’re feeling, or the mental illness that you may be suffering from. There are many different forms of mental illnesses including: depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD, PTSD, BPD and many more. If you believe you may suffer from any mental health illness, it is important you contact the right people for support. It can be an overwhelming task building the courage to get help and then having to find the best service for you, so let us help. The main point of contact is through your registered GP. They will be able to discuss options, such as medication, local support groups, registered charities in the area and may even be able to direct you to different organisations, for example CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) and AHMS (adult mental health services).

Depression

Depression takes form in many different ways and impacts everyone completely different. Generally speaking, depression is a mental illness usually characterised by low moods, fatigue, lack of motivation, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, low self-esteem and sometimes thoughts of self-harm, or suicide. These symptoms aren’t the only symptoms that you may experience, as each case of depression is unique to the sufferer, however the symptoms you may experience with depression last longer than just a few days. It is normal to feel sad, however, if you begin to feel the way you do every day then this suggests how you’re feeling is more than generalised sadness.

Depression is a challenging and draining illness. It is also the most common form of mental illness in the world, with a total of 19.7% of the UK’s population aged 16 or over suffering from depression in 2014. These statistics are only rising. Being trapped inside your own mind can feel like a losing battle at times, but there are people out there to help. If you’re comfortable, talk to your family, friends or even your local GP. Speaking to others can help massively, as this can bring a wave of relief over you because you’re no longer struggling on your own. Your GP may be able to guide you towards those best able to help you, or even offer medication to help tackle the chemical imbalance of your brain- depression isn’t a feeling, it is an illness! If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people close to you, there are other trained professionals that can support you. Some people find speaking to those they know as challenging due to the feeling of exposure, or even embarrassment. It’s okay to feel this way and if you do, here are other routes you can take to access the help you need:

 

Sometimes reaching out for help can be overwhelming, or you may not feel like you need support from others. Simply acknowledging that you have a mental illness is an achievement that you should be proud of! If you aren’t ready to reach out, however, self help might be more for you. Self-help can be achieved in many ways and generally are just little things that you can do in order to help change the way you think and feel. One way to encourage better mental health is creating by creating small goals that you’d like to achieve and how you aim to achieve them. These may be small goals, like take a shower and tidy your room, or they may be goals that require input over a period of time, like improving your physical health. Diet and exercise are proven factors that help boost your mental and physical health, with information about this accessible here. Small goals may seem pointless, but they really are a step in the right direction. You are in control of your goals too, giving you the power to decide what’s best for you- remember there’s always tomorrow to achieve your goals too if today wasn’t successful. Depression can’t be cured, but it certainly doesn’t get better overnight. Be kind to yourself. Below lists several guides on self-help, which you may find useful:

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Feeling anxious is a normal response to certain events or situations, particularly in high stress environments. However, if you feel anxious beyond a rationale scale, then you may be suffering from anxiety. Common symptoms of anxiety include prolonged periods of anxiousness, worrying and stressing out of proportion to the scale of the trigger, you live in accordance to how you feel, so for example you may avoid visiting public spaces out of fear, and you may struggle to control your thoughts resulting in destressing thoughts occurring regularly. Battling anxiety is a struggle, you aren’t able to relax, or be yourself; it is important to remember that you’re not on your own and there’s always people out there to help you. Anxiety is a fairly common disorder, with over 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK in 2013. Like all illnesses and disorders, anxiety is unique to each person, therefore your symptoms may be different from those of other anxiety sufferers.

Living with anxiety is a very stressful and overwhelming lifestyle. If you’re suffering from a severe form of anxiety, you may experience ‘panic attacks’. Panic attacks are unique to each sufferer, however, common symptoms often include rapid heartbeats and palpitations, feeling nauseous, intense feelings of being too hot or cold, pain in your chest, a feeling of not being able to breathe, feelings of dissociation and uncontrollable trembling or body shakes. Panic attacks are very invasive and overwhelming making them hard to overcome; Many people often feel like they’re losing control, having a heart attack or even like they’re going to die. This highly stressful experience can feel like it’s never going to end, but it can be controlled, you just need to know what helps you and how to take control.

For support on managing anxiety and panic attacks, there are many ways in which you can get help. Like many mental health illnesses, anxiety can be treated with medications, which can be accessed through your local GP. If you don’t feel comfortable using medication, alternative solutions may include support groups, therapy, talking to family and friends, or even self-help techniques.

Below is a list of websites that can offer information, support and advice on coping with anxiety and panic attacks, from a professional and self-help perspective:

 

The support out there is endless, if these websites aren’t useful to you there are still other options. Completing your own research on anxiety can be made easy if you know where to start. Like previously mentioned, speaking to your GP is a great starting place. People are out there to help, so don’t be afraid to ask. It can be daunting, but contacting the right people is a great way to start. Your GP can direct you to local support groups where you can contact people directly, talk to people suffering from similar disorders and even make new friends this way too.

Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Bipolar and BPD are similar disorders, however, there are a few distinguishing factors that seperate them. One similarity they do bare though, is that they are both normal and manageable and so there is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed if you suffer from such disorders. Some people may suffer from just one of these mental illnesses, but some people may receive a dual diagnosis.

Bipolar doesn’t define you if you don’t let it. The common symptoms of bipolar involves periods of mania and depression, that often results in prolonged periods of mood swings. During episodes of bipolar, it is normal to experience excessive moods of happy or angry emotions, racing thoughts, impulsiveness, or poor judgement for example. Such characteristics are often very visible to those around you and sometimes due to the lack of control associated with bipolar disorder and BPD, relationships between the people in your life can often be disrupted too. It doesn’t have to be this way. Bipolar can be managed in numerous ways, but this often requires an integrated approach. This is often through the use of medication, talking practices with professionals or groups, speaking to family and friends and self-help techniques.

Managing bipolar can be a complicated and frustrating process, but in the end, it is worth it. The best place to start with the management of this disorder is your GP. They may be able to refer you to local support groups and organisations to help with management techniques. Alongside this, medication is also available. Due to the nature of this disorder, medications such as antidepressants may be beneficial, as controlling your emotions can be a difficult task alone. Additionally, the integration of professional intervention can be beneficial, alongside self-help techniques. For support with this, the following websites may be useful:

 

Borderline personality disorder, although similar to bipolar, poses different challenges. Although this disorder can be challenging to diagnose, it is important that you have access to the support and help you need. The common symptoms of BPD are the same as bipolar, however the key distinction is that those who suffer from bipolar have episodes of ‘normal’ functioning unlike with BPD who experience mania frequently. With BPD, controlling your emotions is a difficult challenge with sufferers often experiencing overwhelming distress caused by irrational thoughts. These thoughts and feelings range from feelings of lostness and dissociation, paranoia particularly over how people view them and even irrational thoughts of self-harm, usually accompanied by irrational behaviour too.

Due to the complex nature of BPD, diagnosing BPD can be a difficult process due to vast similarities of other mental illnesses. Those who suffer from BPD may experience similar symptoms, or may even suffer from disorders like depression, bipolar or even psychosis. In order to receive diagnosis, the first route for help should be your GP. Through your GP, you may be directed to organisations like CAMHs or AMHS to explore what you’re experiencing. Alongside this, you may be offered medication to help, which is the main route for help when living with BPD. Like other disorders, support groups and self-management techniques can help massively when coping with everyday emotions. Access to support and help can be found below:

OCD

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder driven by severe anxiety, that consists of obsessions, or compulsions. OCD is a common illness, affecting 1.2% of the population in the UK. OCD is a tiring illness that controls your everyday life, disrupting your livelihood, relationships and own wellbeing.

What are obsessions?

Obsessions may come in the form of thoughts, or mental images, which are very prominent and persistent. Although these thoughts are constant, they can be very distressing and upsetting, severely impacting how you feel. Examples of obsessions may include repeated thoughts that something bad is going to happen to you, constant thoughts of your relationships going wrong, distressing sexual images, or even violent thoughts.

What are compulsions?

Compulsions are excessive behaviours or thoughts that you experience or partake in, in order to relieve your anxiety. These behaviours are the more commonly associated symptoms of OCD, but like all illnesses, everyone suffers differently. Examples of compulsive behaviour include repeatedly checking things, excessively counting, or even excessively cleaning.

OCD is a complex mental disorder and for those who suffer, it can life altering. These urges and feelings you may experience can take over your every move and disrupt your life on many levels. Others may view your behaviour as strange, or weird; you are normal if you suffer from OCD, however, and there are many routes to help coping with this disorder. Although the cause of OCD is unknown, there are several believed resultants, or contributors of this disorder. These include family history, chemical imbalances of the brain, dramatic life events, or even personality traits, such as being ‘a neat person’ resulting in obsession. The main route of help for those suffering from OCD is by contacting your GP, who will likely refer you to psychological professionals, or contacting these professionals directly. To treat OCD a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medication is likely to be used, including anxiety medication and serotonin-based medication to balance the chemicals of your brain. Getting help can be scary, or intimidating because you may feel embarrassed or ashamed. You shouldn’t be. OCD is as common as other mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety for example, with OCD becoming more common due to social pressures and conformities.

In addition to seeking help directly through professionals, other options still remain. Although medical help is always advised, other organisations are a great place to start, and they may also direct you to support groups. These may enable you to understand your illness further, along with connecting with others you may relate to and feel understood around. For access to additional information on OCD and support from such services, follow the links below:

PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental illness that occurs after suffering from a severely distressing, traumatic experience. With PTSD, sufferers may experience vivid flashbacks, reliving the event they experienced through nightmares or intrusive thoughts and images. These experiences may come on all of a sudden, or may be triggered by something that you associate with the event. Some people may suffer from symptoms of anxiety, such as experiencing bouts of anger and irritability, poor concentration, lack of sleep or even being hyper vigilant. PTSD is such a complex mental disorder that affects every sufferer differently, caused by different events. Common events associated with developing PTSD include experiencing or witnessing a violent crime, losing a loved one, traumatic childbirth or working around distressing situations; these are not the only causes of PTSD, however. The most common signs of PTSD are as followed: relieving the event, feeling on edge, avoidance of your emotions, difficulty trusting or believing- this may come in the form of self-blame, or like no one understands you.

Some people who suffer from PTSD may be likely to develop complex PTSD (CPTSD). Complex PTSD is similar to PTSD, but those who suffer from CPTSD may experience additional symptoms like difficulty processing your feelings and how others interpretate you and experiencing many dissociative symptoms. Those who suffer from CPTSD may also regularly experience suicidal feelings. If you think you are experiencing a crisis, struggling with suicidal thoughts and are at risk, get help now. Your local crisis support can be contacted online, or via telephone:

 

If you feel these contacts are insufficient or unsuitable for you, calling emergency services via 999 or 111 are both great options, where you can be quickly directed to a help centre.

PTSD is a tiring battle, therefore if you feel that you may be suffering from this, it is important to get help. The best way to access help is via your local GP or a psychiatric team. Simply tell them about the symptoms that you’re suffering from and they can provide the support you need.  You may be offered medication, particularly if you experience other symptoms like depression, or sleeping problems. Along side this, talking therapies are available, as this enables you to confront your emotions, which may lead to overcoming your PTSD. This isn’t always the case, but for some, PTSD can be overcome. Group meetings may also be beneficial, as you can share your experiences with others who may understand more than close friends and family. There are many online services that you may find beneficial too, as this can provide you with additional information on PTSD and offer self-care tips. For additional support, follow the links below:

Eating disorders and Body Dysmorphia

In the modern world of social media and the challenges presented by societal pressures, it is hard to control your thoughts and feelings on how you look, how well you’re achieving and whether you’re good enough, which you are.  It’s even harder to manage your feelings and that’s okay because there are always times in our lives when we are presented with situations, or feelings that we don’t always understand. Eating disorders (ED’s) make you feel like you have control over aspects of your life, particularly when there’s a whole bunch of stuff happening beyond your control. However, this can be a dangerous field and if you feel you are suffering from a form of ED or body dysmorphia, then it is important that you access help before you cause harm to yourself. One minute you feel in control, but the next, you’re putting yourself in harm’s way. Losing control of the battle you are facing can be very extreme and in some cases life threatening. It is okay to want to take control and manage your emotions, but this isn’t the way.

Body dysmorphia is a mental illness that is associated with obsessive behaviours related to the way you look. You may view yourself as ‘too fat’, ‘too thin’ or refer to yourself as ‘ugly’. The reality is that you are beautiful the way you are, however convincing yourself of this is an impossible task. If you are suffering from body dysmorphia, it is likely that you suffer from other mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, OCD or eating disorders. If you are suffering from body dysmorphia, it is important to seek help, particularly if you begin to struggle with further mental illnesses. For support with body dysmorphia, talking to family and friends can be beneficial, as they are able to remind you of your actual worth and support any other battle you may be facing as a result of body dysmorphia. Additionally, you may choose to access support groups, enabling you to connect with people in similar situations to you. For this, your local GP may be able to direct you to local groups, and further organisations including CAMHS and AMHS. With body dysmorphia, many of your emotions are as a result of societal pressures. Dealing with derogative comments, high expectations of body image and the ever-growing markets of diets, or dietary products, it comes as no surprise that more and more people are developing such mental illnesses. Listed below are websites that may provide additional information and support with body dysmorphia:

 

There are many types of eating disorders, which all have distinguishing behaviours associated with them. The most common forms of ED’s include binge eating, bulimia and anorexia. However, you may suffer from an OFSED (other specified feeding and eating disorder). If you suffer from an OFSED, you still are suffering from an eating disorder, but you may not fit into the specification of the more common disorders listed above. Eating disorders are a form of an eating problem where you may experience a difficult relationship with food. This may be in the form of over-eating or comfort eating, restricting your food intake, or punishing yourself for eating some or all foods.

Anorexia is an ED characterised by obsession with weight gain. Being conscious of your weight is a normal part of life, however, it becomes abnormal when it’s the only thing on your mind and you’re willing to partake in unhealthy activities in order to change your weight. This may include restricting calorie intake, the use of laxatives and diet pills, excessive exercise, and hunger denial, for example. These may not be the behaviours you partake in, as everyone’s struggle with anorexia is different, but if you feel that you are suffering from this eating disorder then you should seek help. Anorexia can severely damage your health if you’re unable to control yourself, with impacts such as fatigue and insomnia, low blood pressure, thinning of hair, disruption to your menstrual cycle and in some cases you may suffer from long term impacts of anorexia. Further understanding and support for anorexia can be found below:

 

Binge eating is an eating disorder, that involves the over indulgence of food. People suffering from binge eating disorders will find themselves eating when they aren’t hungry, comfort eating, constantly thinking about food and may suffer from depression, or dissociation after an episode of binging. Binging refers to an episode of over consuming food, usually for emotional comfort. It is normal to confine your feelings into abnormal behaviours, but this becomes concerning when your life is taken over by such behaviours. Binge eating can have severe impacts on your health, with many of those suffering from binge eating being overweight, or obese. For additional information and support on binge eating, the following links may be useful:

 

Bulimia, similar to anorexia, is an eating disorder where you are conscious of your weight. Bulimia involves episodes of over consuming food known as binging, followed by periods of under consuming food known as purging. Alongside this, people may suffer from constant thoughts of food, may over exercise or abuse laxatives over weight consciousness and experience both mental and physical side effects too e.g. depression or fatigue. Again, bulimia effects everyone differently, therefore you may experience only a few of, or more of these behaviours. Binge eating can be very dangerous and result in long term health impacts. Some of these health impacts include osteoporosis, heart, kidney and bowel problems, and dental problems. For more information on bulimia, follow the links below:

 

Eating disorders can overlap with other forms of ED’s, but they can also be linked to other mental illnesses too. Having an eating disorder can take over your life, but it is important to remember that you’re not alone. Like mentioned previously, you may experience eating disorders beyond the more commonly seen ED’s and so it is important that you seek help too.  Talking to people you trust is always a great starting point. They may be able to offer emotional support and care for you when needed. This may include meal planning or workouts together for example. Talking can be very daunting, however, people truly want what’s best for you. You may receive support from your local GP, as they can refer you to specialists, local support groups and organisations too, Additionally, they may be able to help with any other mental illnesses that have arisen with your eating disorder, which could further support you on your road to recovery too. For more support on eating disorders, including anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia and OFSED’s, the sites below provide more information and support on how to face and overcome your battle:

Addiction

Addictions are common in the modern world with services being more accessible from the comfort of your own home. Gambling, alcohol and drugs can give you a short-term thrill because you’re taken away from reality. It’s normal to want to hide away from the problems in your life, however, the thrill you may experience won’t always be there and so can put you in a dangerous position.

Gambling or betting can be fun. It’s something you can do with a few friends, or even in your own company. The thrill you get from winning, especially larger amounts, can leave you feeling ecstatic, but with every high comes a low. Gambling can take over, developing from a hobby to an addiction. You may find gambling on your mind all the time, you may be acting irrationally and irresponsibly with your finances, putting your personal possessions and relationships at risk. If gambling starts to take over your life, it’s definitely time to get help. Even if you’re at an early stage in your addiction, help is available to encourage change before the worst comes. For support on gambling, the links below can provide you with help and information on your addiction:

 

If you don’t feel there’s enough support online, talking to your GP could help. Cognitive therapies can help overcome gambling, along side local support groups, where people understand and relate to you and your struggle. For further self-support, there are small steps you can take to ensure you remain on top of your addiction. These may include prioritising paying bills and eradicating any debt you may have incurred. Other steps may include changing your attitude towards gambling by avoiding others who gamble, or by reminding yourself gambling isn’t a way of making money.

Alcohol and drug abuse can have an overwhelming impact on your health and everyday life. Alcohol and drugs are commonly used in social situations amongst younger people. You may take part in consumption because your mates are, which is okay, however when drink or drug abuse becomes a way of avoiding your problems you need help; sometimes your addiction may be a result of simply not realising how much you consume on a regular basis. Relying on substance for whatever reason you have may feel like a good option, as you don’t have to face reality. Avoiding reality only creates a new reality though. Your new reality becomes poor physical and mental health, the breakdown of relationships with family and friends, financial struggles and much more. This is no way to live. If you feel that you may be suffering from addiction it is important you reach out for help before its too late and you cause permanent damage to yourself. Below are numerous help lines that can offer support and guidance with your addiction:

 

Like any illness, addiction doesn’t go away overnight. The first step to managing your addiction is acceptance of the fact that you have an addiction and acknowledging the need to get help. You may find it easier to speak to close friends or family for support on your journey. Your GP may be able to refer you to local support groups, where you can share your problems with people in a similar predicament. Therapy may be beneficial, particularly if substance abuse is your way of dealing with troubles in your life. The important thing to remember is that everybody will come across a point in their life where they need support, there is no shame in that.

Addictions aren’t always gambling and substance related. If you feel you are suffering from addiction beyond alcohol, or substance, you should seek help. You can again speak to family or friends, or even your GP. Particularly, younger people are exposed to addictions due to the way society has become. One example may be gaming. For help more specific to your addiction, search engines can be a great place to start. Searching for things like ‘gaming addiction help’ or ‘sex addiction help’ will find helplines more suited to your needs. Everyone’s battle is unique and there is no shame in suffering addictions beyond the ‘stereotypical’ forms.

Victims of Crime

Beyond mental health illnesses, there may be other reasons for why you feel the way you do. Sometimes we get overwhelmed, or faced with difficult situations in our lives, causing additional stress. This is normal and more times than not, the situation is dealt with and we can move on with our lives. Sometimes though, things happen beyond our control that we simply struggle to move past them for reasons such as trauma, embarrassment, or possibly shame. If you are a victim of crime, moving on isn’t an easy task, no matter how extreme the crime was. You may have experienced hate crime, physical abuse, rape, muggings or even may have witnessed a crime. When faced with such situations, we automatically have a fight or flight response, but this ultimately doesn’t change the emotional outcome of what you’ve experienced. If you’re struggling to move forward since the crime you experienced, you may need some support with coming to terms with what happened and moving on with your life. Living through a crime is terrible enough without reliving your experience everyday emotionally.

As a victim of crime, it can be difficult to talk about what happened and you may begin to develop mental illnesses as a result. These may include depression, panic attacks, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Getting support is the best way to manage your emotions and it may help eradicate the pain that you feel. Your family and friends are great to talk to, as they can help manage your emotions by sharing your stress load and can offer personal support when you need them. You may not feel comfortable speaking to the people around you out of embarrassment or shame for example, which is okay. There are other options available for you to choose. You may find that reporting your experience to the police could help massively. The police can provide you with the support you need and prosecute the criminal responsible for your experience. This could ease your mind knowing that the criminal responsible is unable to affect anyone else or yourself. It’s understandable if reporting a crime isn’t something you want to do, as this may awaken your emotions and the fear of exposure may kick in. It is always recommended that you report any incident to the police, but if this isn’t for you other options remain open. There are many confidential helplines you can access online, or via telephone that can offer support, alongside local support groups where you can share your experiences with people facing similar situations to yours. Contacting your GP is always a good option too, as they may refer you to local support groups, therapy or even offer you medication to help manage any mental illnesses that have developed as a consequence of your experience. Below are several helplines that you may find useful:

 

Being a victim of crime, it is important to remember your self-worth. You didn’t deserve to experience what you did and IT WASN’T YOUR FAULT. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to always control the things that happen in our lives, all you can do is try your best and remind yourself that things will get better. Getting help is not shameful, but powerful.

LQBTQ+ Community

Self-acceptance is a thing of beauty. You should never be ashamed of who you are, especially when it relates to your identity or sexuality. No single human on the planet is the same, so why should we all have to fit into the same category? Accepting who you are can happen at any age. You may know who you are from being a small child, a teen, or even during your adult years; there is no right or wrong age, nor is there a right or wrong time to accept yourself. In the modern world, there are still many negative stigmas associated with being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but you have worth and rights no matter what other people think. We are at such a pivotal point in history for acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, with same sex marriage being legalised in over 40 countries worldwide now, which is a huge milestone in this fight! However, there is still a long way to go for the LGBTQ+ community for global acceptance and so it is likely LGBTQ+ members may face discrimination in their life.

‘Coming out’ can be a challenging time for anyone. Constant fears of what people will say, think or even do to you as a result of your identity is completely normal. For some people, they may even risk abandonment, particularly in homophobic environments. This shouldn’t mean that you have to hide who you are. When you first accept yourself and are ready to share this, you shouldn’t be pressured into it. Coming out is one of the biggest moments of any LQBTQ+ members life. Your story should be told on your terms and when you’re ready. You may find that coming out to your friends is easier than your family and this is okay. Your friends will most likely support you no matter what, as your identity doesn’t change who you are. The same applies to your family. It is normal to feel like you will be letting them down, or like they’ll be ashamed, but ultimately, they will prioritise your happiness over anything else and accept you with love.

If your coming out experience isn’t accepted by your family or friends, it is important to remember that you are normal and there is no shame in accepting your true identity. There are many routes of support, some that may be more suited to your story particularly, for example, being religious and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Like previously mentioned, the negative stigma associated with being gay or transgender for example unfortunately still exists and is more frequently associated with those of older generations or religious beliefs. This is no excuse, but for some families, acceptance may come with time and education. For support with your coming out experience, there are many routes that can be accessed online, or even through your GP. Your GP may be able to guide you towards local support groups that you can access, or even support lines, like cognitive therapy. This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, but enables a safe space for you to talk about your experiences and help manage your feelings as a result.

Hate crime is a common occurrence in the LQBTQ+ community, despite wide acceptance. People are afraid of difference, but you should be proud. If you are a victim of hate crime, it is important to remind yourself of your worth. You may be confident enough to report this behaviour to the police, which is always encouraged. This can result in prosecution and punish those responsible for such acts. However, it is understandable if you want to avoid authorities and so it is important you are aware of other routes of support that you have access to. If you face discrimination in your workplace or place of education, it is important you inform those that can make change. This may be tutors, mentors, or HR faculties. By highlighting this sort of behaviour, people will be aware of the discrimination existing and as a result punishment and education on the acceptance of the community will be put in place. Additionally, you can talk about your experience of discrimination with support groups and helplines, which can be accessed online. Below are relevant helplines for members of the LGBTQ+ community, to help with acceptance, discrimination and safe spaces:

 

It is statistically proven that members of the LGBTQ+ community are 2-3 times more likely to suffer from mental health illnesses than heterosexual people in England. There are many reasons for this, including self-acceptance, family acceptance and even discrimination. Everyone’s journey is different, meaning there is no right or wrong reason for why you may be suffering from mental health issues. If you believe you may be suffering from a mental illness, please read our mental health section for further guidance and support.

Supporting Others

You may be faced with a situation where you feel someone may be suffering and in need of support. If you feel this is something you are faced with, it is important that you fully assess the situation you are faced with. Try to understand what may be causing this person to feel or behave the way they are, identify changes in character and behaviour and identify whether this person is aware or in denial of the situation they are faced with.

Living with people suffering from mental health illnesses can be a difficult task, whether this be in the form of depression, or addiction for example. You may feel like you want to help this person yourself, which may either be welcomed or rejected by them. To support others, it is important you look after yourself too, or you could face your own battles too. To help others, it is important that you offer a safe confidential space for them and if you fear for their safety, you are able to get them the help they desperately need. Below are relevant help lines that can support you whilst you’re supporting other:

 

Supporting someone through a tough time will be really appreciated by them, especially as mental health can become a lonely battle. However, beyond mental health, people may require support with other problems that they may face. This may be a victim of crime, or even someone experiencing difficulties with their identity and sexuality for example. In order to help people facing such issues, it is important you remain a safe, confidential person that they are able to trust and remain understanding. Talking about such topics are very personal and is a huge challenge to those facing such ordeals. It is important you know your limits however, as experiences of crime and neglect can impact you emotionally too. For guidance on how to support victims of crime, or LGBTQ+ troubles follow the links below:

Supporting Yourself

Living around people suffering from mental health illnesses, addictions or people that don’t want you to succeed can be exhausting. No one should feel at risk or belittled in their safe space, but unfortunately, this is reality especially for those living at home. Mental health and addiction can control peoples lives without them even realising. Being in denial about their suffering can result in hostile, or even violent behaviour towards the people closest to them. This is no excuse, and you shouldn’t have to face this at any age, from anyone. Trying to support struggling people can be challenging, especially when you just want to help. However, it is important that you don’t jeopardise your own health in the process, or you don’t take their abuse and make excuses for this behaviour. If you are experiencing such behaviour from others, below are relevant guides and support for people in your position:

Young Carers

Being a young carer can be an emotionally and physically draining time in your life. You may be caring for a sibling, parent, grandparent, or even a friend. This takes great courage and you should be proud of your efforts. Although being a young carer can feel like an empowering experience, you may also suffer as a result. Having someone rely on you is a great pressure, as their well being is in your hands. Not only this, but if you’re caring for someone struggling from an illness that results in poor treatment towards you, it can feel like a losing battle. If you find yourself struggling, it is important you seek help and support. If you aren’t mentally or physically able to care for yourself, the standard of care for someone else will likely become inadequate too.

Talking about your struggles can be challenging, but ultimately it is a great way to relieve the weight on your shoulders. Simply talking to someone around you may support you emotionally, reinforcing your self-belief and ability to continue providing adequate care to your loved one. Sometimes, it can be beneficial connecting with others facing similar responsibilities too. You may find local support groups by contacting your GP or any medical teams that already support the person you are caring for. Additionally, accepting more help if you need it isn’t shameful. You are doing your best and by asking for further assistance enables your loved one to access the help they need. There are many routes of support online too, where you can share your experiences and receive extra support if you need it:

Get In Touch

Location: Lincolnshire CVS, Municipal Buildings, West Street. Boston. Lincolnshire. PE21 8QR

Telephone: 01205 510888

Email: youthlincs@gmail.com