Our top tips!
- If in doubt, Google
If you are ever unsure about where you can access support, ask Google. There are hundreds of helplines and charities offering information and guidance that will be relevant to the difficulties that you are experiencing.
- Do not be afraid of seeking support from your GP
A GP’s job is to listen to concerns of their patients and to offer appropriate support and treatment. If your GP refuses to listen to you fully and brushes off your concerns, you can request a different GP at reception when booking another appointment. You deserve to have your questions answered.
- Make use of chaperones at GP surgeries
If you have an appointment with your GP and you will be undergoing a physical exam, you may feel nervous or worried. You can request a chaperone to stay with you during the appointment, who can make you feel more comfortable. This may be especially true for women who have an appointment with a male GP, for example.
Why might I need extra support?
We all need support in life, often even on a day-to-day basis. Just think of all the times someone has vented to you or asked for advice.
However, sometimes we need more substantial support to get through particularly difficult times. It can feel embarrassing, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. The feeling of needing help should never be dismissed and, fortunately, there are many forms of support available that come without judgement.
There are a range of things that someone may need support with:
- Managing money
- Mental health
- Family difficulties
- Relationship difficulties
- Housing troubles
For more details on these issues, you can visit the appropriate pages of our website, which have information and guidance that might help. If you can’t find the information you need, you can speak to one of our mentors.
How will I know if I need any extra support?
It is often hard to know you need support. You might find yourself asking, ‘am I really worthy of getting help?’ This is a common thought for people who don’t feel their symptoms are serious enough, or who don’t feel they have been experiencing their symptoms for long enough to seek out help.
However, you should never dismiss the feeling that you could benefit from support. Taking simple steps, such as speaking to someone about it or finding resources that can help you understand what you are going through, can make a huge difference.
Often, this it is not enough: if you feel that you need more support or that the situation is getting worse, you should speak to someone who can help you through it. You may feel no one else will be understand how you are feeling.
However, there are plenty of people who are well placed to help you understand what you are going through and help you through it. Don’t question your instinct if you think you might need help.
What should I do if I'm worried about my mental health?
Mental health issues span lots of different symptoms and hindrances to the ways in which we function day-to-day. It can feel confusing and like a losing battle when we think about how we might overcome these challenges.
It’s important to remember your experiences are unique to you and completely valid. You do not need to compare your progress, your challenges and your experiences to those of anyone else.
The truth is if you feel you are struggling, your issues are undoubtedly important, even if they can’t be quantified. Getting help from peers and professionals is one of the key ways you can go about understanding your thought patterns and finding ways to make them more constructive.
Therapists and counsellors will never turn you away if you are requesting support. It is important to take care of yourself and these people understand that if you aren’t feeling happy and able to perform your daily duties it is important for you to seek out help.
Counselling and therapy are important, and something that almost everyone could benefit from. So, never doubt that counselling and therapy are an effective and available choice, no matter who you are or what you are struggling with.
I think I might need some help... what do I do?
If you need support, there are plenty of people who will be able and willing to help you. Never feel your problems are not serious enough to speak to someone about – you do not need to struggle alone.
Speak to us
You don’t need to suffer in silence. If you think you might need some extra support and would like to talk to someone, our friendly mentors are on hand to talk with you about anything you might need.
Speak to somebody that you trust
A lot of the people in your life – such as parents, siblings and friends – will care about you and want to help you if you are experiencing any kind of difficulty. Talking it through with them may really help. They can listen to you, offer advice and point you towards additional resources.
Speak to a professional
It may be that those around you do not have sufficient understanding or experience to provide you with the support you need. If you think you would benefit from speaking to a professional – be it a GP, counsellor or specialist – this is nothing to be ashamed of and it could be incredibly helpful for you.
What support can I get at work?
You might be reluctant to tell your employer that you are in need of support. However, discussing your situation with your employer can be highly beneficial in the following ways:
- You will not have to hide your difficulties at work.
- Other colleagues may be more willing to open up about their own struggles.
- It provides you with a basis for requesting support or time off work if you need it or might need it at some point in the future.
Under the Equality Act, if you have a disability (such as a mental health problem) you have rights to get support at work. Your workplace should have policies and support structures in place to help you through difficult times.
You can ask your manager, supervisor or a colleague you trust what options are available to you.
Where can I get support at school?
The first place to find support at school is likely to be your tutor, but you can ask any member of staff who you feel comfortable speaking to. Explain to them what you’re struggling with and see what they suggest.
They may offer to tell someone who is better equipped to help you, such as the school counsellor, school nurse or your head of year. Your school should be equipped with support structures, which are in place so that the people who are best equipped to address your concerns can help you as effectively as possible.
If your school is unable to provide support for disabilities or issues with mental health, you may need to seek support through an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP). This will provide an outline of support and future goals individually designed for you.
If you are between the ages of 16-25, you can request an assessment for this yourself. However, if you are under 16, this request must be made by your guardians, doctors, health visitors or your school. Unfortunately, the process can be extremely difficult and long-winded.
What if the support I'm getting isn't enough?
Sometimes, the help provided may not be an effective solution to your problems. It might be that you’re not getting on well with those who are trying to help you. It might be that the ‘help’ doesn’t have your best interests at heart. It could just be that the methods they used have not been effective for you.
If the help you’re receiving doesn’t appear to be working, begin by self-evaluating to ensure that you’re doing everything the guidance has set out. If you think you’ve done everything you’ve been advised to do and haven’t made progress, tell your counsellor that you don’t feel the sessions are helping. This may seem daunting, but it will allow them to help you by providing additional resources, or guiding you to someone else who might be better placed to support you.
If you don’t feel secure or safe in telling your peer that you’re not responding well to their guidance, then seek outside guidance. Find help from teachers, friends, and trusted individuals who can guide you as to where to go.
What can I do if I'm worried about somebody else?
Look out for the signs
Keep an eye out for those around you: if you notice changes in how they are acting or if they don’t seem like themselves, it may be a sign they are struggling. It will not always be obvious, and there is plenty of information online that can help you to identify signs and symptoms.
Be a listening ear
Often, people will be more likely to seek the support they need if they know that someone is willing to listen. Show that you care about them and tell them they can feel comfortable speaking to you about anything that is on their mind or that they are struggling with.
Point them towards resources
Someone may not feel comfortable opening up to you, or to anyone else. You can mention sources of help they could use, such as websites, helplines or professionals. Our mentors are always available to provide guidance to you or them.
Don't keep it to yourself if you think that someone is in danger
If you think someone is struggling or in danger, it is important for you to tell someone else who might be able to help. If they tell you it is serious or you suspect that they are in danger, you should call 999 immediately.