Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. 1 in 4 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:
- looking after your mental health and wellbeing
- symptoms of poor mental health
- causes of mental health problems
- what to do in a mental health crisis
- types of mental health problems
- local Information, advice and support
- self help resources and online tools
- counselling services and support groups
- telephone support services
- advocacy – support to get your voice heard
- creative activities and complementary therapies
Life can be busy and chaotic. It’s important to look after your health both mentally, physically and emotionally to be able to enjoy life and to help you cope when times are hard. There are many ways you can take time for yourself and develop your ’emotional resilience’ including:
Talking to others about your feelings: being connected to people helps. Call a friend, family member, a telephone helpline or visit a local support group. Ask for help from your GP when your need it. Attend a counselling session. Find local organisations on the right hand of this page.
Practising mindfulness: to help 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.
Keeping your brain active: helps to keep your memory in shape and boost your happiness levels.
Being active: exercising helps to boost your natural happiness hormones. It’s also a way to connect with new people.
Try something new or something you enjoy: taking part in an activity you enjoy will help boost your confidence. Or learn some new skills and try a new hobby.
Take some time for yourself: take a break if you need it, a change of scenery, listen to some music, read a book or you could try a complementary therapies
Eat and drink sensibly: in times of stress or upset we may turn to the food or drink to comfort us or try to change how we feel. Your mind and body need a balanced diet to work well.
Take care of other worries that you have: they drain you of your energy and wellbeing. Local support is available to help with money or debt worries, addictions, looking for work, threat of homelessness, family or relationship problems, and being a carer.
There are a wide range of mental health symptoms. They can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or social background.
Symptoms can include:
- feeling sad, anxious, angry or irritable
- losing interest or enjoyment in things
- crying a lot or unable to cry
- feeling lonely even in company
- worrying a lot about your health despite reassurance from a GP
- uncontrollable and unhealthy eating habits
- poor sleeping pattern
- social anxiety, low self-esteem, as well as low mood, often related to significant life event,s including bereavement and loss, loss of employment or inability to participate in meaningful activity.
Without care and treatment, mental health symptoms can have a serious effect on you and the people around you. There are many ways to look after your mental health.
There is no single cause of mental health problems but symptoms are listed above. 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 for people:
- living in poor living conditions
- from ethnic minorities
- with a health problem such as, long term medical condition or sudden onset condition, alcohol and drug abuse, addictions, insomnia
- unable to participate in their community or activities
- who are homeless
- in the criminal justice system or ex offenders
- conflicting demands of work and home, of ageing parents and growing children
- high levels of job stress
Mental health problems can develop after difficult life events, such as moving house, losing your job or a death of someone special. Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time and using illegal drugs can add to mental health problems, particularly in people who are already vulnerable.
Some mental health problems are more common for certain people. For example, women’s happiness and wellbeing can dip between the ages of 46 and 55 years. Drug and alcohol addictions are more common in men and they’re more likely to commit suicide.
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, need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you can call the:
- CNTW Crisis Resolution at home team NHS (CRHT) available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They offer assessment and home treatment as an alternative to hospital admission, for people over 16 experiencing a mental health crisis
- Community Health and Social Care Direct Emergency Duty Team (EDT) for advice, safeguarding and emergency support
- NHS 111 is staffed by clinicians and call handlers. NHS 111 can transfer you to 999 if it’s an emergency
- Northumbria Police can be contacted if someone is in immediate danger
When experiencing mental health problems you should seek the advice and support of your GP.
It’s important that you know about the options available, so you can make a decision about what treatment suits best. There are many treatment options including:
- medication: is 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.
- self help strategies: download these free mental health self help guides
People with mental health problems need help and support to cope. An important step in the recovery process is for the person to accept they are ill and want to get better. This can take time. It’s important for family and friends to be supportive.
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:
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
- Bi-polar disorder (manic depression)
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.
Patient Information Centre have a range of free mental health guides to download and relaxation techniques that can help relieve stress and gain a sense of wellbeing. Available in both male and female voices.The self help leaflets cover a range of topics such as: abuse, low mood, panic, post natal depression, alcohol, anxiety, eating disorders, controlling anger, stress, self harm and depression, sleep problems, depression in prisoners and post traumatic stress.
Men’s Health Forum offers a Man MOT. This means you can contact a GP 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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 links to medical services near you.
Re Think Mental Illness offers online advice and support.
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.
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 to 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.
Shout is a free text service, on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help. Open 24 hour 7 days a week
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
Connected Voice Advocacy 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.
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.
Converge at Northumbria offer free educational campus-based opportunities to those 18 years and over, in the community who have/ or are experiencing challenges associated with mental health.
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. They provide various support groups for Carers. Search our Events and Activities section and select ‘Support Groups’ in the ‘Browse by type’ box.
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: March 4, 2020