Do you need some help with your mental health? Your GP should always be your first call, however there are also other sources of support that you can turn to. *If you have a genuine emergency please dial 999*
Spot anything we’ve missed? Please let us know!
Your GP should be the first professional you reach out to, they are able to prescribe medication and refer more serious cases to secondary services (like a mother and baby unit). They are also knowledgeable about what other options might be available to you. Occasionally though, this contact doesn’t go exactly the way that you need or want it to. Here are some suggestions if you are struggling:
- Ask for an appointment with another GP within the practice. If possible, enquire at reception if there is someone who has a special interest in postnatal checks or women’s health (this can be done over the phone if you’d prefer).
- Bring someone along for reassurance if you’re nervous. They can wait in the waiting room or come in with you for your appointment.
- It’s really easy to get overwhelmed and to forget things. Write down your symptoms and what you want to talk about in your appointment, and bring it with you.
- Find an advocate, someone to speak for you on your behalf.
*The MIND website has some great information regarding seeking help, including ‘how to make yourself heard’.
SANE (for emotional support, information and guidance for people living with mental illness, their families and carers): Call 0300 304 7000
YoungMinds (information for parents and carers on child and adolscent mental health): Call 0808 802 5544
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35): Call 0800 58 58 58
PANDAS (pre and postnatal mental illness)
Everyone’s Business (maternal mental health specific)
Bipolar UK (for manic depression or bipolar disorder)
Anxiety UK (for anxiety conditions)
This is another good resource for anxiety. It is American so bear that in mind regarding statistics but there is a great deal of other useful, relevant information provided.
Sometimes it helps just to know that you aren’t alone, that others are going through what you are – or have already experienced and survived it…
Social media can be a positive force, if used correctly! In my own experience, it provided essential peer support during a time when I was desperately craving camaraderie and understanding but had no idea how to find it. I now know that face-to-face or virtual peer support is offered as a service through various outlets – ask your health visitor, GP or mental health professional, or enquire via one of the helplines or websites listed above.
I have found many inspiring women through Instagram. Women who are honestly telling their own stories, as well as filling the (care + service) gaps in really powerful ways. I’ll list some of my favourite accounts below. If you know someone who is feeling alone in their struggles, it might be worth suggesting they check one of these accounts out.
**Please remember that while social media can be used for good, managing your experience requires mindful and consisent consideration. It’s easy to develop bad or even harmful habits and so it’s best to carefully consider how and why you use it. Ocassional to frequent social media breaks have become increasingly popular as a tool to retain perspective. Here is a great article on how to have a healthy relationship with social media.