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Mental Health

Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. At some time in their lives, one in four people in the UK have a mental health problem  which affects their normal daily life, relationships or physical health.  Read on for more information or use the links below to jump to the section you need.

What is a Mental Health Problem?

There are a wide range of mental health problems, the symptoms and management vary from person to person and they can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or social background.  Because there is a wide range of symptoms, we can only indicate a few symptoms to help you consider how you feel.

Symptoms may include: feeling sad, losing interest or enjoyment in things, crying a lot or unable to cry, feeling lonely even in company and feeling angry and irritable. Other symptoms may include: worrying a lot about your health despite reassurance from a GP; uncontrollable and unhealthy eating habits; poor sleeping pattern; social anxiety, uncontrollable anger and low self-esteem as well as low mood  often related to significant life events including bereavement and loss, loss of employment or inability to participate in meaningful activity.

Without care and treatment, mental health problems can have a serious effect on the individual and those around him or her.

  • Mental health and behavioural problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and drug use) are reported to be the primary drivers of disability worldwide, particularly affecting 20 – 29 year olds
  • Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and ischaemic heart disease.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem

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Causes of Mental Health Problems

There is no single cause of mental health problems, the reasons they develop are as complex as the individual. Sometimes people with mental health problems are discriminated against which can lead to social problems such as homelessness, and may make the mental health problem worse.

Mental health problems are more common in certain groups, for example, people with poor living conditions, those from ethnic minority groups, people with a health problem, people who are unable to participate in community/activities, homeless people and offenders.

Mental health problems can also develop from difficult life events, such as moving house, losing your job or the death of someone special. Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time and using illegal drugs can contribute to mental health problems, particularly in people who are already vulnerable.

Particular mental health problems are also more common in certain people. For example, women (28%) are more likely than men (22%) aged over 65 years, to have anxiety disorders and depression. Drug and alcohol addictions are more common in men, and men are also more likely to commit suicide.  It is estimated that 85% of older people with depression receive no help at all from the NHS.

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What to do in a mental health crisis

A mental health crisis can mean different things to different people. Crises cause a significant disruption to your life and your ability to function. You may have an existing problem that suddenly gets much worse or you might experience a psychiatric problem owing to major life events, such as, an accident, bereavement or marriage break up.

If you are in distress and need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you should call the Community Health and Social Care Direct Emergency Duty Team (EDT) or NTW Crisis Resolution at home team.  NHS CRHT offer assessment and home treatment as an alternative to hospital admission ,for people over 16 who are experiencing a mental health crisis, .

NHS 111  is staffed by clinicians and call handlers.  NHS 111 can transfer you to 999 if it’s an emergency.  Read our 24 hour support mental health article.You may also find it useful to talk to someone you trust or talk to one of the organisations listed below.

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You should seek the advice and support of your GP.

People with mental health problems need help and support to enable them to cope. There are many treatment options, including:

  • medication – used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sometimes medications are used alongside talking therapies.
  • counselling  and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) -a type of talking therapy that allows a person to talk about their problems and feelings in a confidential environment and encourages you to take positive steps
  • psychotherapy – usually involves talking to a trained therapist or specialist, either one-to-one, in a group or with your partner.
  • complementary therapies – treatments that fall outside mainstream healthcare. These treatments range from acupuncture and homeopathy to aromatherapy, meditation and colonic irrigation.
  • and self-help strategies. Download these  mental health self help guides  free of charge.

It’s important that people with mental health concerns are told about the options available so they can make a decision about what treatment suits them best.

Another important step in the recovery process is for the person to accept that they are ill, and to want to get better. This can take time, and it is important for family and friends to be supportive.

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Types of Mental Health Problems

Mental health disorders take many different forms and affect people in different ways. Schizophrenia, depression and personality disorders are all types of mental health problem. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia generally develop in old age, whereas eating disorders are more common in young people. You may find it useful to read our articles on some specific conditions:

The Mental Health Foundation has detailed information about many different types of mental health problem which you can find using their A-Z search facility.

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Local Information, Advice and Support


Counselling Services and Support Groups

A Time 2 Talk offers counselling to support individuals who are facing the impact of life changing events that can result in: Anxiety, Depression, Stress, loss of employment, adjusting to new way of living, loss of living independently, moving to sheltered accommodation, mobility loss, sight impairment, relying on others for care. They can support individuals, their carers, partners, family members and friends.

ReCoCo: The Recovery College  run various peer-led support groups, and free educational and creative courses, which are open to anyone who would find them helpful in their recovery from mental illness, substance misuse, trauma or distress

Richmond Fellowship support and encourage people with mental health problems so they have the knowledge and confidence to make their own choices and manage their condition.

Mental Health Concern (MHC) provide supported accommodation, day services and rehabilitation services for people with complex and enduring mental health problems as well as community support and dementia care services.  Your Call offers free support to help people live independently at home

Mind Tyneside and Northumberland runs a Safe Space Service MEA House. It is an informal group that offers essential support to adults who are experiencing problems with their mental health and emotional wellbeing. The aim of the service is to provide a supportive peer group where people can reduce isolation, build confidence, improve their wellbeing and take positive steps towards their recovery. They also have a mental health at work gateway

Newcastle Talking Helps offers free talking therapies, which can help with problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, anger, fears, bereavement and relationship difficulties. You can request a referral from your doctor or contact them directly to make an appointment.

Newcastle United Foundation is commissioned by Newcastle City Council to raise awareness about mental health and encourage participation in health and wellbeing programmes.

North East Counselling Services delivers counselling services to carers and veterans across the North East.

PeerTalk Whitley Bay and Gateshead run free weekly support meetings, where you can talk about your worries and get support from like minded people.

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Advocacy – Support to get your voice heard

Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHA) can support someone who is subject to the Mental Health Act, (This may also be known as detained or ‘sectioned’ under the Act).

  • help patients understand information they are given by people involved in their care/treatment
  • help them to talk to the people involved in their care/treatment
  • access information about how the Mental Health Act applies to patient

The Advocacy Centre North can provide practical support to deal with stress and anxiety that may be caused by not being able to access services or support you need.

Launchpad is an organisation run by and for people experiencing mental health problems. They are involved in the planning, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of mental health services.

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Self Help Resources and Online Tools

Newcastle Libraries run the ‘Reading Well Books on Prescription‘ scheme. The collection provides books available to borrow to help you manage your mental wellbeing. The books deal with issues such as anger, anxiety, fear, panic, worry, assertiveness, confidence, self-esteem, depression, eating disorders, fatigue and pain.

Men’s Health Forum offers a Man MOT. This means you can contact a GP 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Mental Health in Later Life – booklet from Mental Health Foundation  

Patient Information Centre have a range of mental health guides and other health related information available to download for free. Find their Mental Health Self Help Guides here.

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) provides information and hosts a webchat service and a private online forum for men bereaved by suicide.

NHS.UK provides an online symptom checker, health information and help to medical services near you.

Re Think Mental Illness offers online advice and support.

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Creative Activities and Complementary Therapies

Chilli Studios provide creative based services for people with mental health problems,  to promote social inclusion, encourage social interaction, build resilience, develop skills and ability, enable potential and improve wellbeing.

Key Enterprises provide opportunities to learn practical skills and make new friends through a range of hands on activities including, DIY training, The ‘Men’s Shed’ project: have a go at woodwork, making, repairing, finishing or restoring items or craft and hobby activities, bike repairs and maintenance, physical and recreational activities such as cycling and artistic projects.

Mindfulness is a therapy that helps you to pay attention to your thoughts, sensations and feelings in a non-judgemental way. Mindfulness is the opposite of being on autopilot and enables you to take control of your mind rather than allowing your mind to be in control of you. It can be helpful for people with mild to moderate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

Complementary Therapies such as acupuncture, aromatherapy and reflexology can be used to improve mood and wellbeing.

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Newcastle Carers provide confidential information and support to adult carers who are looking after someone living in Newcastle. If you look after a friend or family member who has mental health problems and couldn’t manage without your help, then you are a carer.

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Telephone Support Services

  • Mental Health Matters helpline is a confidential out of hours telephone service, which is staffed by trained and experienced telephone helpline workers. The service offers emotional support to anyone calling, including carers, and provides information on local and national mental health services.
  • SANE line is a national confidential out of hours telephone helpline that offers information, crisis care and emotional support to anybody affected by mental health problems. Interpreters are provided for callers to Saneline through Language Line, a service offering interpretation in over 100 languages.
  • Samaritans offer confidential listening either on their 24-hour telephone helpline, or face to face without an appointment. Face to face drop-ins are available 9am – 9pm.
  • Community Health & Social Care Direct have an Emergency Duty Team (EDT) who are available out of normal office hours for mental health emergencies.
  • NHS 111 deals with urgent requests that are not a life-threatening emergency.  They have call operators to triage callers and a trained clinical team who will offer support and advice.

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Please note – The content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you are feeling unwell, make an appointment to see your GP or contact NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.

Last updated: August 16, 2019

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