Mental health resources - what helped me

Having gone through both anxiety and depression, as well as PTSD and its various side issues, I find it incredibly important that there are valuable mental health resources and information easily and widely available. 

I will include here some of the resources that have been a big help to me during my earlier struggles, and a recap on how each of them has helped me. I detail the first one a bit more due to it being incredibly significant.

I hope this could be of help to you too, should you ever need it. 💛 

Please note that as I live in the United Kingdom, the helpline I called, and the face-to-face therapy I attended was provided locally.

Samaritans

They are a registered charity that provides support to anyone in emotional distress or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.

You can find them here.

I called them once. It might have been more than once but I can’t remember as my memory from those times is not the best. But I called them once, and that call saved my life. 

I was at home, feeling absolutely crushed by depression. I felt so much pain and sadness that I couldn’t function anymore. The only way to temporarily relieve it, I thought, was self-harm. 😢 I stood there with a blade and I had the strongest ever urge to press it harder than normal. Hardest. 

I dropped the blade and I rushed to my phone and I called the Samaritans helpline. They answered quickly and I got to talk to someone who listened and allowed me to speak as much as I needed. It was very easy to talk to them, despite the idea sounding scary. But it was not scary at all, once I had them on the line, only a relief.

It must have been at least an hour of me talking, and the other person patiently and kindly listening, asking a few questions here and there, keeping me calm. Sometimes I cried so much that it was difficult for the other person to understand what I was saying – but that was absolutely OK. There was no judgement, just empathy and patience, and I felt safe talking to them. When I had calmed down enough to have a clearer head, they told me to go to the doctor immediately in the morning and ask for help. 

I fell asleep instantly after the call, I was so exhausted. I went to see the doctor the next morning and finally got the help that I needed. That was the beginning of my recovery journey from depression. 🙂

Thank you, Samaritans. ❤️🙏 

The NHS

NHS refers to the Government-funded medical and health care services that everyone living in the UK can use without being asked to pay the full cost.

This is their website.

After calling the Samaritans, I went to my GP (doctor) and told her about being depressed. I don’t remember everything clearly, but she did some kind of test with me, I cried a lot, and even though she didn’t have much time, she had empathy and gave me information on what was wrong with me. The result was ‘morbid depression’. 

I got a diagnosis and a prescription for antidepressants. I also got information on how to get into therapy, although at the time I was not well enough to even start thinking about that yet. I took the medication and started from there. Of course, it differs from person to person what works best, but for me, the meds were a lifesaver. They helped me to slowly stabilise enough so that I could start looking for further help, such as therapy sessions.

Therapy options

I went to therapy near my local area, privately first and not via the NHS due to the company I work for helping me out and covering the cost of initial sessions. After a while, I paid for occasional sessions myself when I felt like I needed it. This was via a small, local counselling centre that offered affordable sessions. I found them on the Counselling Directory.

In the UK, the NHS has information on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) on their website, and a link to find a therapist near your location. At the moment of writing this, it says that you do not need a referral from your GP (although you can go via that route as well) – you can refer yourself to a psychological therapies service.

NHS – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Additionally, check out the official registry of licenced therapists here, in case you wish to pay for private therapy sessions as opposed to going via the NHS.

The British Psychological Society also has a directory of psychologists.

Mind

“We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.”

This is their website

This is my go-to site when it comes to mental health resources and specifically, information about different mental health issues and struggles. Mind is a well-known and well-established mental health charity operating in the UK. They have a LOT of useful information, such as an A-Z knowledge repository on mental health, tips and help resources, stories, and information on how to support others.

Just to add:

It has now been several years since I experienced the above, and I have come to the other, positive end of the recovery journey. 🦋 I wish someone had convinced me earlier that it is possible to feel good again. It absolutely is. If you’re struggling mentally, please don’t hesitate to ask for help. It is hard, scary, difficult, but you absolutely can do it.

Butterfly - mental health resources