Struggling with your mental health? You are not alone. 1 in 4 of us will suffer from mental health problems every year. This can be across a range of conditions, the most common being anxiety and depression.
Underlying causes are thought to be a combination of biological, psychological and lifestyle factors, which means it is vital to consider all three of these areas in the journey to recovery. We have gathered some resources, below, to support you in this.
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Lifestyle and social help
The NHS website has some great advice, tips and tools to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing. You can also ask reception for an appointment with one of our Health Trainers for advice about making positive lifestyle choices. The Health Trainer can refer you for reduced price gym sessions if that’s something you feel would help you.
For those with a BMI over 40 (or >35 with certain conditions) your GP may offer a refer you to the ‘Aintree LOSS service’, which provides specialist dietetic advice, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology and medical management and assessment for weight loss surgery. More details about Aintree LOSS can be found here.
We’ve listed advice about avoiding alcohol and drugs problems here.
Princes Park Run is a free, weekly, 5km timed run at Princes Park in Liverpool. It is open to everyone, free, and safe and easy to take part in, with simple registration in advance.
Addressing sleep problems
Find advice here from national sleep foundation.
Sleepio provides online help for sleep problems, based on CBT
Sleepstation is a drug-free and clinically validated sleep improvement programme, delivered entirely online and available on the NHS
Addressing social isolation
It is so easy to feel lonely in a society where everyone seems busy, yet we know excellent social support and engagement is key in positive mental wellness. If you are struggling to find your own social networks, here are some resources to help you:
Social prescribing is a new venture whereby your GP is able to refer you to a link worker, who will discuss your holistic needs with you, and look to help you take control of your own health, by engaging with activities such as volunteering, arts/craft projects, gardening, befriending, cookery, sports to name but a few.
The Life Rooms is run by Mersey care, and is described as ‘a safe, social community hub for learning, recovering, health and wellbeing’. They have weekly groups and activities, as well as a library, café and social spaces. The Recovery College forms part of this, where you can enroll on courses such as photography, and IT. They also have a volunteer programme.
Imagine Independence Liverpool is an organization that is committed to transforming lives of those struggling with Mental health. They have a befriending service, and peer support groups, and also run courses. This is self-referral, and you need to call 0151 7092366 for a chat about how they can best support you.
The Liverpool Bereavement Service team are a wonderful organization who offer support and therapy to anyone dealing with loss at any stage during your journey. Contact them for a chat and assessment to see how they can best support you. or call 0151 236 3932.
Employment, housing and finance
If you feel work is contributing to your mental health problems, or conversely, that your mental health is impacting your ability to perform your job, it may be your GP can issue you a ‘med3’, or a sick note. This is a note that can excuse you from work until things improve. However, it can also allow you to work, but with amended duties, or altered hours. These are excellent options, as they mean you have some time to tackle your mental health, whilst maintaining some structure and social interaction, which are important. .
If you are struggling financially, Your GP is able to refer you to the Citizens Advice Bureau, who come to the to the practice. They can help if you are struggling to make ends meet, worried about debt, or are unsure as to whether you are entitled to benefits/income support. They also offer free online advice at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or you can drop in at any of their centers. Times and locations are listed online.
If you a young person who is struggling to gain employment, your GP can refer you to Talent Match, an organisation who look to support young people into meaningful employment by finding their talent and potential.
If you are homeless/sofa surfing, or feel at risk of this, we have a representative from the Whitechapel centre in practice, who can advise you as to what steps to take to seek accommodation and support at such a tough time.
Relate are a free counseling service for anyone struggling with ANY type of relationship, whether past or present, with partners, family, children, work colleagues. They have a website full of brilliant resources and contact details for assessment and support:
Self directed and online psychological help
Kooth is a popular online mental health and emotional wellbeing support service, available to all 14-25 year olds in Liverpool.
Mindfulness. Consider a mindfulness app such as Headspace and Calm
Big White Wall– online community mental health services available to students at affiliated universities, including University of Liverpool. Offers peer support, self-help programmes etc.
Space from stress– free online CBT self-help.
Mood Gym. On-line CBT
If you are a student, all of the universities in Liverpool have dedicated counselling services:
University of Liverpool
Support and, if necessary, talking therapies, are available via the wellbeing drop-in service.
For students doing health and life sciences courses at the University of Liverpool, there is a Psychology Support Service which can be accessed via your educational supervisor/course tutor.
University of Liverpool Nightline service– Open 8pm-8am every night, run by volunteers and there to help anyone who needs support: 0151 795 8100
All of the above are freeservices.
Liverpool John Moores University
LJMU Counselling service
LIPA Counselling service
Liverpool Hope University
Liverpool Hope University counsellign service
Otherwise, Talk Liverpool is an NHS service offering a range of talking therapies, from group sessions to CBT/CAT etc. This is a self-referral process – fill in quick online form and psychologist will call back for an hour’s assessment. Their website also has self-help information.
YPAS offers support, including psychological therapies, for anyone aged 10-25. You can self-refer by calling 0151 707 1252, or by downloading the referral form found on their website and emailing it back to them.
Alternatively you can seek counselling privately. The Counselling Directory is a useful resource for finding a therapist to suit your needs.
Biological help (medication)
Medication is not for everyone, but if your GP has suggested it may be beneficial for you, here is some basic information about medications used:
1. Beta blockers – e.g propranolol. Used as needed for the physical symptoms of anxiety and panic- palpitations, dizziness, breathlessness, sweating, nausea etc. Work in the short term.
2. SSRI’s – examples are fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram. These are used for anxiety and depression, often when these diagnoses are affecting how a patient functions. SSRI’s are usually well tolerated and are a safe drug. They can take 2-3 weeks to work, they very occasionally can make things slightly worse before better, and they can have some mild side effects initially, which tend to go after a week or so. After a first episode of anxiety or depression, you tend to use for 6-12 months. This would always be monitored by your GP.
3. Occasionally, your GP may suggest a sleeping tablet. In some circumstances, these can be very useful, for example after an acute upset or life event. However, these can be addictive, and are not a long term solution for sleep problems.
However, there are some important things to note about taking medication:
Medication is not recommended for mild or moderate depression.
Although medication can treat some symptoms of depression and anxiety, it does not address the causes. Therefore, combining medication with psychological and social interventions is vital
Medication is at least a 6 month commitment– It is recommended you continue with medication for 6 months after your symptoms have improved to reduce chance of symptoms returning.
It is worth mentioning that there are some medications that can treat mental health that you do not need a prescription for. These are available over the counter, are herbal-based, and include:
St Johns Wort – This has been used to mild and moderate depression, mild anxiety and sleep disorders.
Dr Bachs – These products include a ‘rescue remedy’ spray to help with anxiety and panic, and a sleep product.
Nytol – these products focus on helping with sleep.
Although these are not prescribed by a GP, and not included in clinical guidance, anecdotal evidence is that they can be beneficial. Before you take these products, make sure you discuss them with the pharmacist to ensure they are right for you.
Your GP can guide you on whether medication is right for you at this time.
Brownlow Health is open 8am-630pm Monday-Friday. A GP will always call you back between these hours if you are in crisis.
The Liverpool Light 181-185 London Road, Liverpool, L3 8JG. The service is run by trained mental health support staff and will operate from 6pm to 12pm, 7 days a week
The Liverpool Mental health Crisis team is based in the Royal Hospital A&E department. You can turn up anytime if you are in a mental health crisis, or call them on 0151 7062000, and ask for the crisis team
The Samaritans, OPEN 24/7 – call 116 123
James’ Place A Liverpool based service providing help to men in suicidal crisis.
Staying Safe: Help and resources for people experiencing suicidal thoughts.
PAPYRUS provides confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through their helpline, HOPELINEUK: 0800 068 4141
Other general resources
Autism Services Directory
‘Autism and Mental Health’– a leaflet from Autistica UK
Self Help Guides. A range of fantastic leaflets from Mersey Care.
Adult ADHD self report scale. This is not a diagnostic test, but may be useful for you to fill in if you think you may have ADHD, before seeing a GP. (WHO/Harvard Medical School)
Generalised Anxiety Disorder- Self Help
‘Autistic Spectrum Quotient 10‘ (for adults). This is not a diagnostic test, but a useful guide (recommended by NICE) for recognising when people may benefit from referral. If you think you may be on the autistic spectrum, it may be helpful to complete this test before seeing your GP. More information about Autistic Spectrum Disorder here.
Beacon Counselling Trust. They offer free gambling counselling in Liverpool.
The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust raises awareness of depression and fights stigma so that people stay mentally well and get the help they need.
Dementia Information Service emails from NHS Choices. Sign up here.
Social Phobia Questionnaire. A screening questionnaire for Social Phobia. This is not diagnostic. Always discuss results with your doctor if concerned.