Mental Health

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

Life can be busy and chaotic. It’s important to look after your health 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.

Gardening and nature: are good for calming and soothing the mind.

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.

Try relaxation techniques: listen to these free guides can or read the free mental health guides

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.

Symptoms of poor mental health

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 events 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.

Causes of mental health problems

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
  • struggling to cope with emotions
  • financial difficulties – debt and paying bills

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.

What to do in a mental health crisis or emergency

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:

Read our 24 hour support mental health article. You may find it useful to talk to someone you trust or one of the organisations below.

Treatment for mental health problems

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 and use this Wellbeing and Mental Health guide during the coronavirus
  • debt advice putting plans in place to manage your debt or when struggling to pay bills may help

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 Social Work Team at Newcastle City Council helps adults with a mental health diagnosis who receive secondary care (for example, people who have a community psychiatrist) and their carers. They can give information and help plan support. If you are a relative of someone who needs an urgent mental health assessment you should tell the person’s GP or Community Mental Health Team. You may have rights as the person’s ‘Nearest Relative’ to ask for an assessment under the Mental Health Act. Call them for advice.

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.

Local information, advice and support

Signpost North East and North Cumbria (NENC) are the mental health and wellbeing resources hub for the North East.

Counselling services

Vita Health offers free talking therapies on behalf of our local NHS, 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. Sometime called the IAPT service (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies).

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.

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

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind run weekly Safe Space sessions at Brunswick Methodist Church on Tuesday afternoons. You can take part in facilitated group discussions, workshops and activities to help you to learn how to effectively manage your own mental health and get more control over your life. They also offer counselling and wellbeing sessions. Their telephone helpline is open 7 days a week.

EveryTurn Mental Health 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. They run lunch clubs, coffee mornings, leisure activities and mental health support groups.

NIWE eating distress service helps people to increase their understanding of how their emotions influence how they use food.  They support them through a range of sessions to make changes.  NIWE offers counselling, information, guidance, support groups, talks and training

Community Counselling Cooperative (C.C.C.) provides a counselling service to meet the emotional and psychological needs of adults and children living in Tyne & Wear

Support groups

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

Search Newcastle run the Beyond Blue service to support people over 50 years with their mental health. People taking part in the programme may have recently tried to take their own life, or been feeling suicidal for some time. You can get in-person emotional support and join social groups and activities that are matched to your needs. They will support to develop a path to recovery. Groups are held on weekends.

EveryTurn Mental Health provide local mental health support groups for men, university students, Trans and non binary people. They also run lunch clubs, coffee mornings and leisure activities where you can take part and get support.

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

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

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

Anxious Minds provides free confidential support for all sufferers of anxiety and depression

Online support services

These services are commissioned by Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to help you look after your mental health.

Kooth provides free, safe and anonymous online support for young people aged 11 to 18 years.

TogetherAll is a free and anonymous online mental health community for people living in Newcastle and Gateshead. You can talk about your feelings and connect with other people who are experiencing similar feelings. People support each other anonymously to improve yours and their mental health and wellbeing. Trained professionals are available to help to make sure you are safe and supported. TogetherAll is moderated by mental health professionals and led by an on-duty clinical team. They also have online courses and resources to help look after your own mental health. These tools can help with anxiety, depression, low mood or stress.

Telephone support services

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind has a telephone support line which offers listening, practical and emotional support to anyone over 16. It’s open 7 days a week 8am to 10pm.

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

Mind have 2 national telephone helplines. Info Line for general information and signposting on mental health issues. Legal Line for information and advice on mental health related law

Self harm

If you are hurting yourself or self harming, help is available. If you’re worried about someone who’s self harming, you can also get help and support.

Read more on InformationNOW about self harm.

Resources you can use

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.

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.

Mental Health in Later Life booklet from Mental Health Foundation  

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 advice and support.  They are funded by the Money and Pensions Service to provide access to Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space.  A referral is required from an approved Mental Health Practitioner.

Spice FM Mentally Sound radio show and podcasts

ReCoCo talk to Radio Tyneside about mental health and wellbeing

Self Detective is a website that aims to help you understand yourself better. There are resources for self-development on their website and free regular CPD sessions.

Advocacy – help 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

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.

Mental Health and the Equality Act

Disability has a special legal meaning under the Equality Act 2010. A person is considered to be disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a ‘substantial and long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.

Substantial means a large and important effect on your daily life and long-term means if its lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months or more.

This means that if you have a mental health problem the equality Act may protect you from discrimination, as the definition of disability is focused on how the mental health problem has an impact on your daily life.

Read more on Disability Rights 

You can find more useful information about mental health disability under the Equality Act 2010 on Mind’s website

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.

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.

Ouseburn Farm has farm animals, a café, orchard, garden, shop, small animal room and much more. They support people with learning difficulties or disabilities, autism or  mental health problems to take part in farming activities and volunteer placements.

Unforgettable Experiences provides older people, their families and carers, with access to arts, culture, heritage and mindfulness to improve mental health and wellbeing, delay dementia, reduce isolation and improve quality of life.


If you look after a friend or family member who has mental health problems and couldn’t manage without your help, you are a carer.

Newcastle Carers provide confidential information and support to adult carers who are looking after someone living in Newcastle. They provide  support groups, complementary therapy and activities for Carers. They can help to make sure you’re claiming all the benefits that you can and able to take a break from caring.

Cultural and faith based Mental Health

Raphael at Jami provide short or long term counselling for Jewish people with emotional or psychological problems including depression, anxiety, loss or bereavement, relationship or family problems, couple counselling.

Inspirited Minds is a Muslim mental health charity that provides support and counselling services for people by trained counsellors and therapists.

The Mind and Soul Foundation is a Christian mental health charity that provides information and support people emotional or psychological problems and engage people with their local church and mental health services. In partnership with Youthscape they have an online youth mental health service Headstrong.

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: September 12, 2023