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Support for you and your mental health

Updated Monday, 1st March 2021

With one in four of us experiencing a mental health problem at some point in our lives, it is important that we know where to turn for advice and seek help when we need it. 

 

Urgent support

If you are feeling desperate, distressed and need to speak to someone right now, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123, any time of the day, for free, whatever you are going through.

Medical help

If you are hurt and need immediate medical help or attention call 999, or visit Accident and Emergency (A&E).

If you need medical advice you can book an emergency GP appointment by contacting your local health board or call 111 NHS in England, Scotland and some parts of Wales (check if 111 is available in your area and for additional helpline numbers).

You can also use NHS 111 British Sign Language service if you are deaf and want to use a phone service.

 

Sometimes poor mental health can be triggered by a certain situation but it can also affect anyone at any time, for any or no reason at all.

Support for mental health problems will be different for everyone and can be found in a number of places, but sometimes knowing where to find support can be difficult.

As you read on, we lay out some pathways to further advice and guidance for mental health including signposting you to support services. Many of these provide advice for a variety of mental health and wellbeing needs, but some will respond to specific circumstances that may impact your mental health.

Talking about your mental health

Talking about your mental health can be important but many experience difficulties opening up. This is sometimes due to the stigma or fear surrounding mental health.

Time to Change Wales tackles this stigma and acknowledge that though many of us are likely to be affected by mental health problems discussing mental illness can still be considered a taboo. Time to Change Champions lead the campaign and you may find it useful to read their stories and how talking about their mental health helped them.

If you are struggling to talk about your own mental health, or understand someone else’s, Time to Change Wales provides lots of useful advice and resources on:

Many public figures have spoken out about their experience with mental health. Watch below where writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone worked with the World Health Organisation to talk about  overcoming the "black dog of depression".

Actor David Harewood spoke in the recent Open University and BBC collaborative documentary, Psychosis and Me, about his experience of diagnosis and treatment for Psychosis. Trisha Goddard, Jim Brown and Stephen Fry examine feelings of fear and sadness affecting their everyday lives and discuss their use of mental health services.

Remember, everyone’s experience with mental health is different. You should never feel under pressure to talk about your mental health, but you may find that talking helps. Here are some further tips if you are struggling to talk about your mental health:

  • Write a letter if you are afraid to talk face-to-face.
  • Talk to someone who doesn’t know you such as a GP, support service or therapist if you don’t feel comfortable talking to a loved one.
  • Start by journaling and then transition to speaking.
  • Practice speaking in the mirror before you talk to someone if you are struggling to do so.
  • Remember that you will probably feel a great sense of relief after talking with someone.
  • Remember that you are not alone.

If you want to speak to a professional or seek further support, there any many organisations you can contact. A range of support services are listed at the bottom of this article.

Studying and mental health

Graphic of a person with their head on their desk next to a cup, a plant and some folders, and a low battery symbol above them. Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Image by KrapOlga from Shutterstock.com Our mental health and wellbeing can fluctuate from day-to-day. Studying at University in any capacity can absorb your time, which can make it harder for you to take the time to look after your mental health.

It is very common to experience difficulties during your student journey. You may also find that studying increases your levels of stress and anxiety, as well as exacerbating pre-existing mental health problems.

These difficulties come in many varied forms and can affect you and your studies in different ways. Whether you have a diagnosed mental health problem or not, understanding how to identify when your mental health and wellbeing may be suffering is important so you can take action. First and foremost, so you can feel safe, supported and well but it can also help you study effectively and thrive at university.

Remember, you’re not alone; The Open University currently support over 10,000 students who have told us that have a mental health problem. If you feel as though you’re struggling to cope with your studies your education provider will have pathways to help.

If you are studying with The Open University, please talk to your Student Support Team or tutor. If you are studying at another institution search for your institutions name and ‘student support’ to get information on who to speak to. Alternatively, speak to a representative at your student’s union or your lecturers and tutors.

 

Student Support Services - UK wide

You may feel more comfortable speaking to someone outside of your institution. You can contact the following services for free, if you are a student.

Nightlife

A confidential listening and information service run by students which operates through the night. Operating hours are mainly in line with term times at campus universities.

Nightlight Hotline: 020 7631 0101
Email: listening@nightline.org.uk

Student Minds

Student Minds are a charity that run support groups for students struggling with their mental health. They offer support programmes and workshops to develop the knowledge and skills you need to take care of your mental health. There is also advice on how you can support a friend that may be having a difficult time.

studentminds.org.uk

Students Against Depression

Students Against Depression offers comprehensive information and resources to help you identify low mood or depression and then find a way forward.

studentsagainstdepression.org

Togetherall

Current students can also access free mental health and wellbeing support through our partnership with Togetherall.

They provide a safe, totally anonymous online space to air concerns, explore your feelings and learn how to self-manage your mental health and wellbeing. It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

Grief and bereavement

Losing someone important to you can be devastating, whether it’s a partner, family member, friend or colleague. Grief affects everyone in different ways. You’re likely to experience a range of emotions as you gradually come to terms with your loss. It's quite common for people to feel:

  • Shock and numbness.

  • Guilt about something you said or did not say, or not being able to prevent the death of your loved one.

  • Tiredness or exhaustion.

  • Anger – towards yourself, the person you’ve lost, other family members, professionals or about the reason for your less.

  • Overwhelming sadness with lots of crying.

These powerful feelings may appear unexpectedly, but they may not be there all the time. There is no right or wrong way to feel, but however you are feeling you can seek advice and support from the services listed below.

Graphic of several signs on a post pointing in different directions and labelled with different emotions including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Image by sirtravelalot from Shutterstock.com If you are supporting someone who has experienced a loss, simple acts of kindness and expressions of concern can make a big difference to help bereaved people. However, death can be hard to talk about and many people struggle to know what to say when trying to support someone. If you’re caring for someone who has lost someone Mind provide a wealth of advice on how to help them as best you can.

An introduction to death, dying and grief invites you to think more deeply about different perspectives on death; as well as expressions of grief, to help you better understand the emotional processes yourself, or someone else, may be going through.

It is also important to take care of your own wellbeing whilst supporting others. If you, or someone you’re supporting, are struggling you can contact the services below for further help and advice.

 

Grief and Bereavement Support Services - Wales and UK wide

Wales

CRUSE Bereavement care

The Cruse Bereavement Care Freephone National Helpline is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers, who offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement. You can call: 0808 808 1677​

Cruse Bereavement Care also provide counselling in the follow areas: Cardiff and the Vale, Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf, Morgannwg Branch, Powys, West Wales, North Wales.

Find out more on their website:
www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/local-services/wales/wales  

2 Wish Upon a Star

Support for those affected by the sudden and traumatic death of a child or a young adult aged 25 or under throughout Wales.

www.2wishuponastar.org
Email: support@2wishuponastar.org

SANDS
(Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society)

Leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK. Sands provides bereavement support services nationally and locally.

Freephone helpline - 0808 164 3332
Email: helpline@sands.org.uk

Mobile app
Online community

There a seven local support groups in Wales. Head to:
www.sands.org.uk/support-you/how-we-offer-support/sands-groups
and search ‘Wales’ or your postcode under the locations map. 

 

UK wide

Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care’s Freephone National Helpline provides service UK wide if you are outside of Wales:

England and Northern Ireland: 0808 808 1677​
Cruse Scotland Helpline: 0845 600 2227.

Mind

Mind provides information on bereavement across the UK, including where to go for support for different types of bereavement and how to support friends or family experiencing a bereavement.

Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393
Email: info@mind.org.uk

At a Loss

The UK's signposting website for the bereaved can help you find bereavement services and counselling for specific types of loss.

They also have resources on coronavirus pandemic bereavement.

Sudden

Helps people who have experienced a sudden bereavement to access specialist information and advice across the UK.

Sudden Bereavement Helpline: 0800 2600 400.

 

Further mental health advice and support

You have read some advice and guidance on managing your mental health and wellbeing but below information will guide you towards support services that may further help you.

You may find you need support with something specific that has happened, or is currently happening, in your life. It can be important to get specific support first as it may address any issues linked to and affecting your mental health. Mind provide a comprehensive list of UK wide services which may help such as crisis services, support for addiction and dependency, advice on domestic abuse and more.

Please be mindful that some of these services are only available in certain areas of the UK.

If you need emergency assistance, call 999 or to go to Accident and Emergency (A&E) for immediate help.

 

Further mental health advice and support services - Wales and UK wide

Wales

C.A.L.L. (Community Advice and Listening Line)

C.A.L.L. is a Mental health helpline for Wales offering emotional support and information. The helpline can be used for anyone concerned about their own mental health, or that of a relative or friend.

Call: 0800 132 737 (open 24/7).
Text: 'Help' followed by a question to 81066.

www.callhelpline.org.uk

Hafal

Hafal (meaning ‘equal’) is the principal organisation in Wales working with individuals recovering from serious mental illness and their families.

They help people affected by serious mental illness: this includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other diagnoses which typically involve psychosis or high levels of care, and which may require hospital treatment.

Tel: 01792 816 600/832 400
Email: hafal@hafal.org  

Mental Health Wales This site offers a set of useful links along with a library of information for mental health professionals, clinicians, individuals living with mental illness, families and carers. 
Mind Cymru

Mind Cymru is Mind in Wales. There are 20 local mind support charities in Wales, you can find yours here.

Alternatively, you can get in touch or find out more:
www.mind.org.uk/about-us/mind-cymru/

Call: 0300 123 3393
Email: info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463.

NHS 

NHS Tel: 111 (Wales).

If 111 Wales is not available in your area, call 0845 46 47. More information.

It may also help to talk to your local GP. If you’re unhappy with your doctor, you can ask to see another doctor at the same practice or make an appointment with a different practice in your area.

Samaritans Cymru

Samaritans is a helpline service which is available 24/7 and is a safe space for people to talk about what they are experiencing. Samaritans volunteers work across Wales working in nine Welsh branches. You can speak to them via:

Telephone: 116 123
Welsh Language Telephone: 0808 164 0123

Email: jo@samaritans.org 
Local branches: www.samaritans.org/wales/branches/

UK wide

Black Minds Matter UK

Black Minds Matter UK connects Black individuals and families with free mental health services - by professional Black therapists, specifically for Black trauma.

You can contact Black Minds Matter UK using the electronic form here.

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

Professional body for talking therapy and counselling. You will be able to find information and a list of accredited therapists, including those in your area.

Please note that most of these services are not free. 

British Psychological Society

The Directory of Chartered Psychologists is a service provided by the British Psychological Society and makes it easy for you to find a psychologist in your area.

Please note that most of these services are not free.

Mind

Mind provide information and signposting for a wealth of mental health needs across the rest of the UK.

Infoline: 0300 123 3393
Email: info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463

Mind Infoline, PO Box 75225, London. E15 9FS.

NHS

NHS Tel: 111 (England)
NHS 24 Tel: 08454 242424 (Scotland)
NI Direct Tel: 0808 808 8000 (Northern Ireland)

It may also help to talk to your local GP. If you’re unhappy with your doctor, you can ask to see another doctor at the same practice or make an appointment with a different practice in your area.

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink’s mission is to improve the lives of people severely affected by mental illness through our network of local groups and services and expert information.

Information telephone line: 0300 5000 927
Open Monday to Friday, 10am - 2pm, calls charged at your local rate.

Samaritans

Tel: 116 123

24/7 telephone line, available any time and any day to talk about any mental health needs.

SANEline

SANEline is a national out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers.

Tel: 0300 304 7000 (Open every day of the year from 4.30pm to 10.30pm).
Email: support@sane.org.uk

Shout

UK’s 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in a crisis, anytime, anywhere, if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

Text: 85258 

Switchboard

Switchboard provided listening and signposting services for the LBGTQ+ community. Switchboard create a safe space for anyone to discuss anything, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional wellbeing.

Call: 0300 330 0630
Email: chris@switchboard.lgbt
Website and Live Chat: switchboard.lgbt

 

Acknowledgements

This article was written by The Open University in Wales in partnership with Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Addysg Oedolion Cymru Adult Learners Wales and the Open University Students’ Association. Much of the content in this article was incorporated using feedback from a survey of Welsh part-time and Higher Education students in 2020. Links are directly embedded throughout the article to take to other useful resources but in some cases information and advice has been sourced and repurposed from the following organisations: National Health Service (NHS), The Open University Help Centre, Mind Cymru and Time to Change Wales.

 

This resource is part of the 'Wellbeing and Mental Health Collection' created by the Open University in Wales. You can learn more and find courses, articles and other activities on the collection's homepage.

 

 

 

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