We all have mental health, and it’s important to recognise the value of looking after our own wellbeing, especially in times of uncertainty. Just like physical health, sometimes we’ll feel a little under the weather. Our mental health is influenced by our life experiences and this impacts the way we think, feel and behave. But not everyone will experience mental illness, as this encompasses a wide range of conditions that are often caused by genes or brain chemistry. This can include mood, personality and eating disorders and can impact an individual life differently.
Looking after your mental health day to day
Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure turns into stress when we feel unable to cope with the feeling, the signs, and symptoms of stress will vary greatly from person to person as the experience of stress is very individual. For more top tips on managing stress check out the NHS website by clicking here.
Mindfulness can help us to increase our ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help us to focus our attention, as well as to observe our thoughts and feelings. For more information on the benefits of mindfulness, click the buttons below:
Visit the NHS Mindfulness page
Support for mental health emergencies
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, there are plenty of services and helplines that can help you. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, so you will not be wasting anyone's time by using these services. The NHS has 24 hour urgent mental health helplines for people of all ages to get support during a mental health crisis. The NHS website has more information on urgent mental health helplines, including how to find your local helpline. If you need urgent medical help, please call 999.
The following helplines are all free to use and they provide an opportunity to speak to people specially trained to listen non-judgmentally.
- 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. They are normally open every day of the year from 4pm to 10pm on 0300 304 7000.
- Samaritans offer a safe place to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever is getting to you, big or small. Their 24 hour free phone helpline can be accessed on 116 123 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org which may have a response time of several days.
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call on 0800 689 5652 from 6pm to 3:30am every day.
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). You can call 0800 58 58 58 from 5pm to midnight every day if you are struggling and need to talk. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.
- Shout is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, you can text SHOUT to 85258.
Specialist support for young people, students, and LGBTQ+ people
Everyone should be able to access the support they need if experiencing mental ill health, but sadly the Mental Health Foundation reports that around one in eight LGBTQ+ people have experienced unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they are LGBTQ+ and one in seven have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination. Below are some non-judgmental, welcoming and inclusive services available for LGBTQ+ residents to use if they experience mental ill health.
- PAPYRUS is a national UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. PAPYRUS’ helpline, HOPELINEUK, is a free and confidential service for children and young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, or anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide. PAPYRUS advisers are here to support from 9am to midnight every day of the year by phone (0800 068 4141), by text (0786 003 9967) or by email at email@example.com.
- Childline provides support for all under-19s in the UK. The helpline is 0800 1111 and it’s open 24/7. You can also contact them for help via email or access their 1-2-1 counselling service through their website: www.childline.org.uk/get-support
- Switchboard an LGBT+ helpline available on 0300 330 0630, open 10am–10pm every day. Online chat support is also available on their website: switchboard.lgbt
- MindLine Trans+ is a confidential emotional, mental health support helpline for people who identify as transgender, agender, gender fluid and non-binary. The helpline is available nationwide and can be accessed on 0300 330 5468.
- Mindout Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Queer Mental Health Service have an online live chat support service which can be accessed through their website: www.mindout.org.uk
- Galop are an anti-abuse charity who provide helplines and other support for LGBT+ adults and young people who have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse. You can call their helpline on 0800 999 5428, email firstname.lastname@example.org or get help from their live chat service on their website at galop.org.uk/get-help.
- Mermaids supports gender-diverse young people aged 19 and under, and their families and carers. They offer a helpline from Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm on 0808 801 0400 and via web chat at mermaidsuk.org.uk/contact-us.
- Nightline are student-run listening and information services, open at night when other services on campus may be closed. If you're a student, you can look on the Nightline website to see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service.
- The Mix provides support for people under 25 and you can talk to them about your mental health, relationships, work life, school life, depression and any other issues you're dealing with. Call on 0808 8084 994 from 4pm to 11pm Monday to Saturday, live chat on their website or request support by email using this form on their website. You can also contact their crisis messenger 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by texting THEMIX to 85258.
- Too Black Too Queer (by Brixton Reel) Black LGBT+ short films around mental health and issues facing the black community
- Black LGBTQIA+ Therapy Fund In 2020, in response to the worldwide pandemic, this was set up to fund therapy sessions for Black LGBTQIA+ people, recognising the unique challenges Black LGBTQIA+ people face and the huge mental health toll this can have. Email: email@example.com