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Mental Health Information and Experiences

Mental Health Information

Mental health problems are more common than you may think. 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems at some point in our life. They can affect anyone regardless of sex, religion, ethnicity, sexuality. Mental illness does not discriminate. Mental health problems are not a sign of weakness.

Mental health problems affect the way we think, feel and behave. There is no one cause for mental health problems. Some of the causes include trauma, stress, social issues (e.g. unemployment, homelessness) and genetic factors. Despite the challenges, people with mental health problems face, it is possible to recover from a mental health problem and live a productive and fulfilling life.

This guide will give you an overview of common mental health problems, how they are treated, how you can get help yourself and dispute some of the misconceptions of mental health.

(edited 9 years ago)
Frequently Asked Questions

Am I wasting a doctor's time if I talk to them about how I feel?
Not at all, mental health problems can be serious and you are as entitled to discuss this with your doctor like you would a physical issue.

My parents/friends don't understand why I can't just "try to feel better". How do I explain this to them?
Unfortunately some people still don't have a good understanding of mental health issues which leads them to come out with what can be quite insensitive advice. One way of trying to explain it to them is to try and make them see it as any other illness such as diabetes. They would be unlikely to react with "try to feel better" in that situation or question the need for medication if a doctor thought it would best.

How long do I have to take medication for?
This really varies from person to person and also depends on the medication in question. Some medications such as diazepam are only generally issued for short amounts of time where as it is quite common for anti-depressants to be used for months, years or in some cases even lifetimes. However if you have questions or concerns about how long you are likely to be taking medication for you should ask the doctor who prescribed it.

Are antidepressants addictive?
Antidepressants don't cause addiction like drugs such as nicotine or alcohol. However on stopping the medication it is reasonably common to experience withdrawal symptoms such as an upset stomach or dizziness, these generally only last a couple of days to a week and can be mitigated by gradually reducing the dose.

If I tell a doctor how that I feel suicidal, will I be sectioned?
Not necessarily, if your doctor feels you are stable enough to be treated outside of hospital that is often the route they will take with admission being the last resort if it is felt you are a significant danger to yourself or others. It is important to note that voluntary admission where you and your doctor agree it is the best option for you is possible which does not require you to be sectioned.
(edited 9 years ago)
Common Mental Health Problems


Depression is a mental illness where you have a long lasting low mood that affects your ability to do everyday things. The low mood that people experience with depression is different to the normal downs of everyday life. They are more intense, pervasive and longer lasting. People with depression also experience a lack of energy, loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, loss of concentration, disturbed sleep (either too much or too little sleep), eating more or less, loss of confidence and feelings of guilt. Sometimes, if the depression is severe, there may be thoughts of suicide or self harm.

There are different types of depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression is caused by changes in the length of the day. It normally comes on in the autumn and winter months, and will improve when the days become longer and brighter. Postnatal depression affects mothers after the birth of their child. It can occur between two weeks and up to two years after the birth. Dysthymia is a long lasting, mild form of depression.

Depression is very treatable. One form of treatment is medication with anti depressants. These will need to be prescribed by a doctor. Medication will not cure your depression, but will help lift your mood, so that you may feel able to take action to deal with the problems causing your depression. Talking therapies includes a wide range of different therapies which can help you overcome your depression. One of the most popular is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). You can also use self help exercises such as exercising regularly.

You can read more about depression here -


We all experience anxiety and fear, but for people with anxiety disorders, their anxiety is more noticeable and can make them feel as though things are worse than they actually may be. This level of anxiety affects their day to day life. There are a number of different anxiety disorders including Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Phobias and Panic Attacks.

The symptoms are split into mental and physical symptoms. Mental symptoms include feelings of dread, feeling on edge, problems with your sleep, difficulty concentrating and wanting to escape from the situation that causes you anxiety. Physical symptoms include sweating, heavy and fast breathing, shaking, fast heartbeat and hot flushes to name but a few.

There are treatments for anxiety. Medication can help reduce the symptoms. Some Antidepressants (e.g. Fluoxetine) can help with anxiety disorders. There are also Benzodiazepines (e.g. Diazepam), but these are rarely diagnosed long term due to the risk of addiction. Finally there are Beta Blockers (e.g. Propanolol), which can help with the physical symptoms. Another option is talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

You can read more about anxiety here


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is described an anxiety disorder, with two parts - obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind; for example, thinking that you have been contaminated by dirt and germs The obsession interrupts your other thoughts and makes you feel very anxious.

Compulsions are repetitive activities that you feel you have to do. This could be something like repeatedly checking a door to make sure it is locked. The aim of a compulsion is to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessions. However, the relief you feel is often short-lived.

There are treatments for OCD. Medication can help reduce the symptoms. Some Antidepressants (e.g. Fluoxetine) can help with OCD. Another option is talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). If your OCD is severe and other treatments have failed, you may be referred to a specialist OCD service.

You can find out more about OCD here

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterised by extreme mood swings, swinging between periods of overactive, excited behaviour (Mania) and depression. These mood swings are not the same as the ups and downs of normal life. In a manic episode people experience euphoria (feeling excessively ‘high’), restlessness, irritability, racing thoughts, excessive amounts of energy, impulsivity and a reduced need for sleep. You may talk very fast and if the mania is severe, you may experience hallucinations and delusions. Sometimes people experience hypomania, a less severe form of mania which lasts for shorter periods and has less impact on functioning.

In periods of depression, you may experience a lack of energy, loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, loss of concentration, disturbed sleep (either too much or too little sleep), eating more or less, loss of confidence and feelings of guilt. Sometimes, if the depression is severe, there may be thoughts of suicide or self harm.

There are different types of Bipolar disorder. Bipolar I involves manic, mixed (where you experience symptoms of both mania and depression at the same time) and depressive episodes. Bipolar II involves hypomanic and depressive episodes. Cyclothymia involves both hypomanic and mild depressive episodes.

There are treatments for Bipolar. Mood stabilisers (e.g. Lithium) should be prescribed to help level out the extreme mood swings. Antipsychotic medication (e.g. Olanzapine) can also be prescribed to help level out your mood, but it is also used to treat mania and any psychotic symptoms. Antidepressants (e.g. Fluoxetine) should be used cautiously with Bipolar, as they can cause mania. However they are sometimes prescribed to help alleviate depression. There are also talking treatments available like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and family therapy (especially when there is psychosis). Psychoeducation can also help those with bipolar recognise and prevent their mood swings.

You can find out more about bipolar here


Psychosis is a term used to describe hearing or seeing things (called hallucinations), or holding unusual beliefs that other people do not share (called delusions). Hallucinations include seeing things that others cannot see, hearing voices that others do not hear and experiencing tastes, smells and sensations that have no apparent cause. A delusion is a belief that other people do not share. For example, you may believe you are related to the Queen, even when you don’t share any relatives. Some delusions are extremely frightening, for example you may believe that the government are spying on you and want to kill you.

You can experience psychosis for a wide variety of reasons. For example it can be due to having a mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It can also be caused by drug use, brain injury or extreme stress. Schizophrenia has positive symptoms including experiencing things that are not real (hallucinations) and having unusual beliefs (delusions). There are also negative symptoms include lack of motivation and becoming withdrawn. These symptoms are generally more long-lasting and persistent.

Another mental illness which has psychosis is schizoaffective Disorder which involves a combination of the symptoms of schizophrenia and mood symptoms such as mania and/or depression. Psychotic Depression is a form of depression where depression is accompanied by psychosis.

Treatment for psychosis includes medication called Antipsychotics (e.g. Olanzapine). This medication will help reduce the hallucinations and delusions. Talking therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for psychosis can help people cope and challenge their hallucinations and delusions. You may be referred to a specialist service for psychosis called the Early Intervention Service (EIS).

You can find out more about psychosis here

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (also known as BPD and Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder - EUPD) is a type of mental illness called personality disorders. This does not mean that people with BPD have multiple personalities or that their personality is “broken”.

People with BPD may experience rapid mood swings, a deep feeling of emptiness, a intense fear of abandonment, an unstable sense of identity (e.g. not knowing who you really are), impulsivity, anger and thoughts of suicide and self harm. They may find it hard to make and maintain relationships, and may experience hallucinations or delusions.

Despite the myths that personality disorders cannot be treated, BPD is treatable. The main form of treatment is therapy. The main therapy is Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT), which involves group work, and in some areas, individual sessions. Other therapies include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT) and Problem Solving Therapy (PST). There are many others too. There is no medication specifically for BPD, however medication such as Antidepressants (e.g. Fluoxetine), Mood Stabilisers (e.g. Lithium) and Antipsychotics (e.g. Olanzapine) may be prescribed to treat individual symptoms.

You can read more about Borderline Personality Disorder here -

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a group of mental illness where problems with food spiral out of control. People with an eating disorder have serious changes to the way they eat. They may eat far less or overeat. Often there is distress about their body shape or weight. One type of eating disorder is Anorexia. Those with anorexia, try to keep their weight as low as possible. It can make eating very distressing and they may have a distorted view of how they look, thinking they are overweight when they are actually underweight.

Another eating disorder is Bulimia. Those with bulimia, try to keep their weight as low as possible. They will often binge eat and then try to make up for the amount you have eaten. You might do this by vomiting and/or taking laxatives (this is called purging). You may starve yourself or exercise excessively to work off the calories.

Sometimes, people have elements of an eating disorder, or have symptoms that do not normally fall within the diagnosis of one of the main eating disorders. If so, a doctor will diagnose them with an ‘atypical eating disorder’ or an ‘eating disorder not otherwise specified’ (EDNOS). People with binge-eating disorder eat large quantities of food in a short period of time uncontrollably. This can mean you may be overweight for your age and height.
With Eating Disorders, it helps to get early treatment. Treatment mainly consists of talking therapies such as counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

You can read more about Eating Disorders here -
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Suicide and Self Harm

We all want TSR to be a safe place for users to get support and constructive, helpful advice. We do not want anyone to get triggered or feel worse as a result of posts on the site, whether that would be a response to your post, or a separate post made by another user. It is for this reason that we have rules relating to self harm and suicide discussion.

Please note that our current policy is that any discussion of suicide or self-harm is not permitted, whether that's writing about contemplating it, or discussing methods. We also cannot allow code words to get around the suicide/self-harm discussion ban. It is important to note that this includes anything written in spoiler tags. Please also remember that posts that do not directly mention self harm or suicide, but imply or hint about it, may also be triggering for users.

The reasons for this policy are:

- We are not professionally trained to deal with serious, potentially dangerous issues like this. We feel that directing people to appropriate help is safer than posting on TSR about it.

- Often messages about these types of feelings end up getting replies which are at best well-intentioned but unhelpful and at worst downright malicious. We would never want someone to be made to feel worse for posting about their feelings.

- There is a real risk of both triggering other users and increasing dangerous behaviour by allowing discussion of self-harm methods etc.

We do not want TSR to be seen to be a site which encourages or promotes self-harm.

Unfortunately, moderators are not able to monitor all posts in the site all the time, and therefore we rely on the report function to help us become aware of problematic posts. If you see a post about self harm, suicide or something that is triggering, please use the report function to bring it to our attention.

If you have any queries about moderation, please make a thread in Ask a Health & Relationships Moderator, and a moderator will reply to you as soon as possible.

Self harm

What is self harm?
Self harm includes a wide range of actions and is defined as the act of deliberately causing harm to yourself. This includes causing a physical injury, neglecting yourself or putting yourself in dangerous situations. Examples include cutting, burning, head banging, taking an overdose, taking personal risks, skin picking and neglecting yourself.

Who self harms?
Anybody can self harm, regardless of age, class, ethnicity or sexuality. There is no stereotypical self harmer. In the UK 400 people self harm per 100,000 population, which is one of the highest rates in Europe.

Why do people self harm?
There is no one reason why people self harm, but self harm is primarily a coping strategy. Some of the reasons why people self harm are to release tension and distress, to punish themselves, to feel something and to ground themselves, to gain control and to express themselves. Self harming is not attention seeking in any way, infact, in the majority of cases, self harm is a very private act and individuals will go to great lengths to hide their injuries.

What should I do if I self harm?
See below about how to get help (link needed). Also look here (link neeed) for distractions you can use. The National Self Harm Network (NSHN) has it's own forum where you can speak to other users and trained staff for support. The NSHN is a registered charity which specialises in supporting individuals who self-harm and helps them to improve their quality of life.

How can I help someone who self harms?
People who self harm find it hard to express and cope with their emotions. They need a way to express how they feel in a safe environment. The best way to do this is to talk to them, and let them know that you are available for them if they need to express how they feel.


Suicidal thoughts can be terrifying. They can bring up all sorts of emotions such as guilt, anxiety and shame. You may know why you feel suicidal, you may feel overwhelmed with your emotional pain, you may feel guilty for things that have happened in the past. You may feel that there is no way out. Alternatively, you may feel like you have no reason to kill yourself, which can be very confusing.

You may be very clear you want to die, or you may not care if you live or die. Suicidal thoughts can be confusing because sometimes you may feel like you want to die, but at the same time you are seeking help. This doesn’t invalidate your feelings about suicide, but this situation can bring about great distress.

Feeling suicidal?
Right now you may feel like no one can help you, but no matter how big your problems may seem, there is help out there for you.

Try talking to someone close to you e.g. a family member or close friend, and let them know how you feel.

You could make an appointment with GP. Feeling suicidal is definitely a good enough reason to make an emergency appointment, so don’t feel afraid to ask for that.

Contact the Samaritans. The Samaritans is a confidential listening service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can contact them by phone, email, letter, or by dropping in at one of their branches (branches however are not open 24/7). You can find all their details here -

Contact Nightline. Nightline is a confidential listening service available at night. You can contact them by phone and a 1:1 messaging service. Their e-mailing service is open throughout the day. You can find their details here -

Try and keep yourself busy - try some of the distraction here (link to depression distractions thread)

If you are with Mental Health services you could contact your care-coordinator, or if you don’t have one, the duty team.

If you have a care plan, refer to that and follow your crisis plan.

Contact your local Mental Health Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team.

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How to get help

If you are thinking of getting help with your mental health, there are a range of options for you.

Your first point of call should be your GP. Your GP will be able to refer you to other NHS services including counselling, talking therapies and specialist mental health services. Your GP can also prescribe medication to help you. You might find it helpful to write down a list of what you would like to say at your appointment (e.g. the symptoms you are experiencing). A free website called Doc Ready ( can help you with writing down a list of what you would like to say. You can also bring a close friend with you to the appointment if you would like some moral support. Your GP is there to help, and whatever you say, your GP has heard it all before!

If you feel that you can’t talk to your GP, there are other services you can access. If you are at university you can contact your university’s counselling service. These services can offer a range of different interventions including individual counselling, group workshops, and other therapies such as art therapy. If you are at school or college, there may be a counsellor at your school. The best way to access this would be to tell a tutor or teacher you trust.

There are voluntary organisations that offer support for mental health problems, such as MIND and Rethink. They offer a range of services including individual counselling, group workshops and advocacy. You could also attend a support group for people with mental health problems such as the hearing voices network.
(edited 9 years ago)
Role of Professionals

Your GP is your first point of call for mental health problems. They will be able to prescribe medication such as antidepressants, refer you to talking treatments such as counselling and CBT. If your mental health problems are severe or if you don't respond to treatment your GP may refer you to specialist mental health services (e.g a community mental health team). GPs are also able to diagnose mental health conditions, but in complex cases, this will be left to a psychiatrist.

Psychiatrists are qualified medical doctors who have done further training in treating mental health problems. They work in a variety of settings including the community (e.g. community mental health teams, crisis resolution and home treatment teams and early intervention teams), and also in hospitals. Psychiatrists are able to diagnose mental health problems and prescribe medication to help treat mental health problems.

Counsellors are trained professionals who provide talking treatments that aim to help people to cope better both with their life and their mental health problem. Most counsellors specialise in a specific type of therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Counsel lord work in a variety of settings including university counselling service, GP surgeries, community mental health teams and hospitals.

Community mental health nurse / Community psychiatric nurse
A community mental health nurse (CMHN), also sometimes known as a community psychiatric nurse (CPN), is a nurse with training in mental health. CMHNs offer a wide range of services including counselling, administering medication and providing support to help people cope with their mental health problem. They often commonly act as a care coordinator in community mental health teams. CMHNs work in GP surgeries, community mental health teams and also, psychiatric hospitals. Some CMHNs have a special interest such as children or drugs/alcohol addiction.

Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists specialise in the assessment and treatment of mental health conditions. They are able to offer talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT).

Child psychologists and psychiatrists
Some psychologists and psychiatrists specialise in working with children and young people. They treat mental health and behavioural problems such as ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They can also help children and young people come to terms with traumatic events.

Psychotherapists have a similar role to counsellors, but they usually have more extensive training. They offer a talking treatment called psychotherapy which is a longer and more intense talking therapy than counselling.

Occupational therapists
Occupational therapists (OTs) provide training support and advice and help people with mental health problems reach their maximum level of functioning and independence through activities and therapy. OTs work in a variety of settings including community mental health teams and psychiatric hospitals. They often commonly act as a care coordinator in community mental health teams.

Social workers
Social workers bridge the gap between mental health services and social services. They can provide advice on practical issues such as benefits and general support to help people cope with their mental health problem. Social workers work in a number of settings including community mental health teams and social services. They often commonly act as a care coordinator in community mental health teams.

Approved mental health professional (AMHP)
An approved mental health professional (AMHP) is a mental health professional who has received special training to decide whether people need to be treated in hospital. Part of their job is to assess people under the 1983 Mental Health Act, and decide if a person needs to be compulsorily detained in hospital. Being compulsorily detained in hospital under the 1983 Mental Health Act is also called "sectioned".

Care coordinator
A care coordinator is a role performed by a mental health professional (e.g. A social worker). They will work with you and other professionals to formulate a care plan and will then ensure that the care plan is followed. Not everyone with mental health problems will be allocated a care coordinator, normally care coordinators will work with those who have severe or enduring mental health problems.

Types of mental health teams

Community Mental Health Team (CMHT)
A team consisting of a wide ranging multi disciplinary team including psychiatrists, community mental health nurses, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists and social workers. They will work together to form a care plan and, if you need one, a care coordinator will work with you to ensure it is followed. A community mental health team will also be able to provide practical support such as help with housing and benefits, alongside treatment for your mental health problem. You are usually referred by your GP if they cannot manage your mental health problem by themselves. Community mental health teams are also known as recovery teams, as they provide long term support.

Early intervention service (EIS)
A specialist community mental health team which focuses on the early detection and treatment of psychosis in those aged between 18 and 35. They work with people experiencing their first psychotic episode and support people for up to 3 years.

Crisis Resolution & Home Treatment Team
A specialist team which focus on treating people in crisis. They act as an alternative to an admission in hospital. Their work is short but intensive, usually being seen everyday by a member of the team. They can work with you to help you get through your crisis and help with your general well being. You can be referred by a number of people including your GP and a community mental health team.
(edited 9 years ago)
Treatment Options

Please note that different treatments will work for some people, but not for others. We give experiences of treatment from TSR members in this section, but please take these experiences with a pinch of salt.

Talking Therapies


Counselling is a common talking therapy. Counselling is for people who are generally well but are going through a difficult time, for example, experiencing bereavement or a relationship breakdown. Usually you can only get a certain number of counselling sessions (six to 12 sessions). You can expect your counsellor to help you to understand how you are feeling. You can access counselling from a variety of sources including your GP, through a voluntary agency such as Mind, or through a counsellor at your school, college or university.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can help you to change how you think and what you do, which are both linked to how you feel. CBT looks at problems and difficulties in the ‘here and now’ rather than your past or childhood. CBT will help you look at how you think about yourself, the world and other people and how that affects your reaction to situations. CBT is often useful for treating a wide range of problems and conditions such as anger, depression, anxiety, PTSD and psychosis.

CBT is widely available on the NHS and is delivered by someone who is properly trained. Sessions are usually weekly and last an hour. An average number of sessions is four to 15 but this depends on what you need.

Experience of CBT from TSR Members

DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a form of talking therapy designed for people with borderline personality disorder (or emotionally unstable personality disorder) and/or significant self harming behaviour.

During DBT you learn how to control your behaviour and cope with distress and difficult situations. You learn how to reduce harmful behaviours like self harm, how to help regulate your mood swings and also how to deal with relationship problems. DBT includes group sessions, and in some areas, you will additionally work with a therapist individually. DBT is a new therapy, and therefore isn’t available in all areas.

Experiences of DBT from TSR users



Antidepressants are a group of drugs used mainly to treat depression. Some antidepressants however, can treat other mental health problems such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety and bulimia.

Experiences of Antidepressants from TSR Members

Mood stabilisers

Mood stabilisers are a group of drugs used mainly to treat bipolar disorder. They are also used in schizoaffective disorder and recurrent depression.


Antipsychotics are a group of drugs used to treat psychosis. This includes psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. They are also used in bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

Experiences of Antipsychotics from TSR Members


Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs used to treat a number of conditions including anxiety. It is often prescribed on a PRN basis (to be taken only when needed). However, this group of drugs are addictive so must be prescribed cautiously.

Experiences of Benzodiazepines from TSR Members

Other Therapies

Experiences of other therapies from TSR Members

(edited 9 years ago)

Written based on experiences and information provided by the NHS and Mind.

Misconception: Medical drugs like anti-depressants make everything better
Anti-depressants are not magic pills, while they can certainly help your situation they do not make everything perfect, in some cases it can mean trying multiple types to find one that works. Some people experience side effects however by working with your doctor with time the right drug that helps you the most can be found with minimal or no side effects.

Misconception: People who say you're just thinking negatively
It's not as simple as that. Depression is an illness and you should never disregard someone's depressive problem as just thinking negatively, instead you should help them focus on the core of their problem - or just listen. Listening can make all the difference. Many depressed people just don't have anyone to talk to so they build up the emotion and their problems. What seems hopeless becomes more hopeless, and you're stuck in a vicious circle.

Misconception: Depression is just a temporary mood
People can become depressed for a short while when something negative happens, but depression is an actual condition that can last for weeks, months or even a whole lifetime.

Misconception: Teenagers who say they have depression are just angst
No, (what would be diagnosed as clinical) depression does strike (a certain percentage) teenagers just like any other age range.

Misconception: It's there for life
No, treatment of it can in the majority of cases eradicate it completely.

Misconception: Just a mood, not a serious condition
It can increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts (and from that suicidal actions), self-harm, lack of willpower and negativity - and the resulting effect that has on a person’s life can be huge.

Misconception: If you take antidepressants it means that you're crazy, or that it's weak to turn to medications, or that all antidepressants will turn you into a zombie, affect your personality, etc.
There seems to be a lot of stigma out there around medical drugs for depression. But clinical depression is an illness, and like many other illnesses, drugs can assist. They certainly won't 'make it all better' but they can help to 'take the edge off' to allow the individual to continue their life and hopefully take the steps needed to

Misconception: telling your doctor you're depressed/having suicidal thoughts will get you sectioned.
Telling your doctor will not automatically get you sectioned, specific criteria have to be met for this to happen and the decision is not taken lightly. Often some other solution can be found such as the use of the Community Mental Health Team or a Crisis/Home Treatment Team.
(edited 9 years ago)
Other Resources and Information

Mind - a mental health charity with plenty of information on their website.

Rethink - a mental health charity with plenty of information on their website.

National Self Harm Network - a charity to support people who self harm, also contains a forum about self harm.

Samaritans - a charity which supports people who are suicidal, or in distress. You can contact them by phone, email and by letter.

beat - Eating disorders will be Beaten. It's a charity to help people who have eating disorders.

MoodGYM - a free online CBT programme.

Depression Distractions Thread
(edited 9 years ago)
Hospital admission

Sometimes, people become so unwell they cannot manage their mental health at home, or with help from available services. In this case, a person may be admitted to hospital. In the majority of cases, those in hospital agree to come in, however, when a person is very unwell, or unwilling to come into hospital, they can be detained under the Mental Health Act (‘sectioned’).

What treatment will I receive in hospital?

In hospital you will have the emotional support of nurses, healthcare assistants, occupational therapists and other support staff. If you need to talk to someone, there should always be someone for you to talk to. You will see psychiatrists whilst in hospital and they will most likely prescribe medication to help with your symptoms. If you are struggling more than usual the nursing staff may give you some extra medication to help with this. Most wards have occupational therapy groups which can help you gain skills which will help you when you are discharged. Sometimes you will be able to partake in talking therapy whilst on the ward, however this depends on the area you are in.

What is it like being on the ward?

Whilst on the ward you will have a key nurse who you will check on you and who will meet you to discuss how things are going. The amount of activities on the ward will depend on the ward. You will also have weekly ward round meetings with your consultant and other people involved in your care. You will also be able to have visitors, but there is often a restriction on visiting times. After this, life on the ward can be very boring, so if possible, you should bring some stuff into hospital to keep you occupied, e.g. a book. There are restrictions on what you can bring into hospital with you, for example, headphone leads and lighters. There will be a patient lounge where you will be able to watch TV. Depending on your level of risk, you will be put on a level of observation. This can range from being checked on every hour, to having a member of nursing staff with you at all times.

Experiences of being in hospital from TSR users

(edited 9 years ago)
Getting help for Mental Health Issues at University

Reach out for help at the earliest opportunity.

Go and see a doctor if you can. Yes it will be scary and yes your head might be screaming at you not to, but in the long run, thats the way you're going to get the most support, be it medications, therapy, whatever - plus if you end up needing an extension or extenuating circumstances you will most likely be asked to see a doctor anyway.

Take advantage of the help provided by the university - counselling, therapy, support groups. The NHS has giant waiting lists and private is pricey, so when we're talking about a couple month long semester, it really does come in handy.

Tell your personal tutor, module organiser, studies advisor, whoever is the person that looks out for you and your studies as soon as you feel comfortable, tell them as much as you can and give them regular updates. Having a good relationship with them could prove very helpful if you need an extension/miss an exam/need to defer for a year.

Have a friend who knows a decent chunk of information, not only is a problem shared a problem halved, but if worst comes to worst, if something happens to you or you do something to yourself, you will have somebody there who will have a bit of an idea and will be able to calm everybody down and add some clarity to the situation (they also act as a handy advocate for a night in if you don't fancy going out one evening)

Acknowledge your ability and shortcomings.

If an essay is due next week and you're in a depressive episode unable to get out of bed, then get an extension. Don't push yourself and make your mental health worse by trying to force yourself - it's not worth it.

Don't leave everything until the last minute - you won't do yourself any good wired up on red bull and pulling all nighters.

Don't feel guilty for not studying 24/7. Your down time can count just as much towards your grades as your study time.

Stock up on some supplies to keep in your room - tea/coffee/squash, nonperishable food, microwaveable food, dvds, books, blankets - if you're in a place where you don't feel up to interacting with people, having everything you need to just have a bit of a mental health day can be exactly what you need to push yourself through the rough patch.

Draw up a life timetable - I've never been one to timetable my academics, but I do timetable the rest of my life - its much easier to take breaks and have afternoons off and such to do stuff that you enjoy doing when they've always been in the works and aren't spontaneous.

Write everything down, i.e deadlines, when/where all of your lectures are. I don't know about you, but when I'm in a really bad patch, I have the memory span of a flea.

Understand and get your mind over the idea that you won't always be the best. A lot of us at uni will have come from a class where quite often we were very good at the topic and we were used to being towards the top of the class. Accept that that will be the situation for everybody in your year, and not everybody can come at the top of the class all the time. As long as you did as much as you could, try and accept that.

Always be open to trying different study techniques/methods, you never know what you will discover.

Push your boundaries.

Thanks to: The_Lonely_Goatherd, Sabertooth, team_mcdreamy, snowflake and James for putting this information together.