How to Access Mental Health Support

Last week a friend called me for advice; her son needed therapy and so she’d been to the GP, but the waiting list was too long, and she didn’t know how else to get help.

So, this blog is for anyone who doesn’t know what help is out there for mental health and how to access it.

Of course, the GP is always a good first port of call. They will be able to tell you what’s available in your area and refer you. If you’re struggling to see a GP however, you can refer yourself through your local IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Services) Find NHS psychological therapies services (IAPT), including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) services – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

For those in employment ask your HR team if they have an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme). If so, you may have access to free, confidential counselling through that.

For those looking for therapy, here are 3 main ones you might want to look into:

  1. Counselling

Counselling sessions provide a safe, confidential environment where you can discuss your problems with a therapist. A counsellor will encourage you to talk about what’s bothering you in order to uncover any root causes. They will help you to address your issues or find ways of coping. Counselling is available on the NHS and privately.

To find a qualified counsellor privately, look at the Counselling Directory.

Counselling Directory – Find a Counsellor Near You (counselling-directory.org.uk)

  1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. It helps you to identify negative thought patterns and reframe them to improve how you feel. It’s available on the NHS and privately

To find a CBT therapist privately, look at the Counselling Directory

Cognitive behavioural therapy – Counselling Directory (counselling-directory.org.uk)

  1. Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy

Solution-focused Hypnotherapy combines talking therapy with hypnosis. Hypnosis, or ‘trance’ is a state of relaxation, where the mind can relax and focus on thoughts and suggestions that might be useful. It’s a modern approach that uses the latest research into how the brain works to help people make significant, positive changes in a relatively short period of time. The key difference is that it’s solution-focused, so we work towards what the client wants to achieve rather than look at the problem that brought them here.

To find a qualified Hypnotherapist, look at the Hypnotherapy Directory

Hypnotherapy Directory – Find a Hypnotherapist Near You (hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk)

What about if you, or someone you love, is in crisis and can’t wait to see a therapist? If you are in crisis, please see your GP as soon as possible. If you can’t get an immediate appointment you can go to A&E for assessment. If you need to talk to someone Samaritans are always open, you can phone them for free on 116 123.

Other helpful organisations are:

MIND Mind | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems

Anxiety UK Anxiety UK – National charity helping people with Anxiety

Childline Childline | Childline

Safeline (people affected by sexual abuse and rape) Everyone affected by or at risk of sexual abuse and rape feels supported and empowered (safeline.org.uk)

I hope you’ve found this useful and please, do reach out for help if you need it. Sometimes, asking for help is the bravest move you can make.